The Wichita Wingnuts’ top starter Jon Link did not make his scheduled start on Friday in Laredo when the team clinched the South Division title. However, his scratched outing was not due to injury or any negative information at all. Instead, the former Major Leaguer found out that he was having his contract purchased by the Miami Marlins. He will be assigned to Miami’s Double-A affiliate in Jacksonville.
In his second year as a starter, Link was once again dealing on the mound. He will depart the Wingnuts tied atop the list of American Association pitchers with 11 wins. The right-hander is also in the top ten in ERA, currently seventh with a 3.26 number. In his last start with Wichita he set the franchise record for strikeouts in a single-game with 16 in seven innings against the Grand Prairie AirHogs. Link was also named as the league’s pitcher of the week for the first seven days in July. In two starts during the seven day stretch, Link went 2-0 with three runs allowed in 13.0 innings. He struck out 12 opposing hitters, while issuing just one free pass. He defeated the Amarillo Sox and then worked 7.0 shutout innings five days later against Sioux City.
The right-hander spent just over a month with the Wingnuts in the beginning of the 2013 campaign before his contract was purchased by the Detroit Tigers in mid-June. At the time of his departure he led the American Association in both wins (six) and ERA (1.74) and was fifth in the league with 38 strikeouts. Link also tossed the first complete game of his career on June 17th versus Gary SouthShore. The Columbus, OH native allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his seven starts and had a string of 24.0 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Tigers initially sent Link to their Double-A affiliate in Erie where went 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in five games, all starts. In 39.2 innings of work he struck out 21 while allowing 30 hits and five walks. Those impressive numbers earned Link a promotion to the Toledo Mud Hens, Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate. There he worked 43.2 innings in 11 appearances, seven of them starts. He also finished three games and closed the season with a 5.56 ERA.
Link is in the midst of his tenth season of professional baseball and was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 26th round out of Bluefield College (Bluefield, VA) in 2005. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Link is 34-27 in his career with 93 saves over 400 appearances. The veteran was named the Double-A Southern League's Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2008 with the Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox). Link had a 4.15 ERA in nine relief appearances for the Dodgers in 2010. The Columbus, OH native made his Major League debut on April 20th of that season with two shutout relief innings against the Cincinnati Reds.
Link becomes the third player the Wingnuts have sold to a Major League organization in 2014 and the 22nd all-time. Below is the complete list of players who have had their contracts purchased from Wichita.
Wingnuts Sold to Major League Organizations
OF Dustan Mohr, 2008 - Colorado Rockies
RHP Will Savage, 2010 - Los Angeles Dodgers
RHP Ben Graham, 2010 - Washington Nationals
LHP Justin Dowdy, 2010 - Tampa Bay Rays
OF Ryan Patterson, 2011 - Arizona Diamondbacks
LHP Dustin Pease, 2011 - San Diego Padres
RHP Cephas Howard, 2011 - Texas Rangers
OF Kenny Gilbert, 2011 - Chicago White Sox
OF Brent Clevlen, 2011 - Cincinnati Reds
OF Brent Clevlen, 2011 - Philadelphia Phillies
SS Jose Martinez, 2012 - Houston Astros
LHP Nate Robertson, 2012 - Toronto Blue Jays
RHP Matt Nevarez, 2012 - Tampa Bay Rays
RHP Andrew Aizenstadt, 2012 - Philadelphia Phillies
RHP James Hoyt, 2012 - Atlanta Braves
OF Adam Buschini, 2013 - San Diego Padres
RHP Jon Link, 2013 - Detroit Tigers
LHP Ryan Hinson, 2013 - Atlanta Braves
1B C.J. Ziegler, 2013 - Minnesota Twins
C J.T. Wise, 2014 – Texas Rangers
RHP Matt Nevarez, 2014 – Pittsburgh Pirates
RHP Jon Link, 2014 – Miami Marlins