Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Oakland A's/Seibu Lions Series: John Wasdin

The next part of our series brings in someone who came into his professional career with a lot of promise, but as time went on, he only became really known for just that promise as his career never came close to what it was supposed to be.


Tenures: 1995-1996 with the Oakland A's, and 2009 with the Seibu Lions

Statistics with the A's: 30 games, 23 starts, 148.2 IP, 5.81 ERA, 5.69 FIP, 1.426 WHIP, 4.9 K/9

Statistics with the Lions: 14 games, 11 starts, 57.2 IP, 5.31 ERA, 1.734 WHIP, 3.7 K/9

A Tallahassee man through and through, John Wasdin went to high school in the state capital of Florida before staying home for college and playing for the Florida State Seminoles. He was a late round pick by the New York Yankees out of high school, but he decided to sign with the Noles. His hype grew as his college career wore on and he was taken with the 25th overall pick in the 1993 MLB Amateur Draft by the Oakland A's.

After dominating the California and Southern Leagues in 1994, Baseball America named him the 56th best prospect going into the 1995 season. And despite struggling in the Pacific Coast League, he was still called up by the A's later in 1995, making his Major League debut. In 1996, he made 21 starts and struggled throughout the year, and was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Jose Canseco.

From there, he never really made it as a starting pitcher, Red Sox even comically nicknamed him, "Way back Wasdin," for the amount of home runs he gave up, and by 1999, he was made a full-time reliever. And he saw limited success in that role. He then spent time with the Colorado Rockies and had his best season with the Baltimore Orioles in 2001, but after that season, he decided to take his first stab at NPB, signing with the Yomiuri Giants in 2002. He made 7 starts for Kyojin and made 10 appearances total, as the Giants would go onto win the Japan Series that season. He wasn't very good in Japan either, and he bounced around the minor leagues, before making sporadic appearances in MLB with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004, the Texas Rangers from 2004-2006 and finally with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007.

One interesting tidbit is that in 2003, Wasdin threw a perfect game with the Nashville Sounds in front of an estimated attendance of fewer than 750. Wasdin struck out 15 in this incredible start, in what would end up being the best footnote of his career.

After failing to get a call up in 2008 with the St. Louis Cardinals, Wasdin signed with the Seibu Lions ahead of the 2009 season. The Lions were coming off a Japan Series title and Wasdin looked to provide the club with some depth. Unfortunately, Wasdin had very little success with his second stint in Japan, while the Lions finished 70-70-4 and missed the playoffs. Wasdin would see his career end after his only season with them.

As his playing career wrapped up, Wasdin jumped right into coaching baseball and has since gone right into the A's minor league system. From 2012-2016, he served as the pitching coach with the A's AA affiliate (MLB equivalent of San-Gun), the Midland Rockhounds. In 2014, Wasdin celebrated an AA championship with former Lion, Hiroyuki Nakajima, who was playing for the Rockhounds at that time. He spent several years with the Baltimore Orioles organization and even made it to their MLB staff as a pitching coach, but wasn't retained after the 2019 season. 

Photo Credit: Seibu Lions
Photo Credit: Seibu Lions

Others from the A's/Lions Series: 

Mateo "Matty" Alou

Jose Ortiz

Ty Van Burkleo

Taylor Duncan

Roger Repoz

Jim Tyrone

Esteban German

Bert Campaneris 

Hiram Bocachica

Sean Nolin


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