Lefty Erik Averill to miss '07 season

Every once in a while, there is a deft reminder of just how fragile pitching prospects are. Sometimes a pitcher's career is derailed by injuries before it really gets under way. Other times, the career runs off track following that first breakout season. It appears Erik Averill's career has hit a significant bump right in between those two points.

Just six months after helping the West Michigan Whitecaps to the 2006 Midwest League title, left-hander Erik Averill finds himself on the shelf for the entire 2007 season. Averill recently underwent elbow reconstruction surgery, and will not pitch again until 2008.

Averill's campaign with West Michigan flew largely under the radar; but at season's end, he had turned in an impressive performance. Leading the Midwest League in innings pitched (171.1) and games started (28), Averill turned in a 9-8 record with a 3.73/1.28 line, and a K:BB of over 2:1. Erik's season was highlighted by a dominating run through the Midwest League playoffs. While he did not allow an earned run in 11.2 postseason innings, Averill saved his best for last; a six-inning gem (6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K) to clinch the league title over Kane County.

Originally a 20th round choice of the Tigers in 2005, Averill previously enjoyed a standout career at Arizona State; highlighted by a junior season that saw him go 11-4 while earning Honorably Mention All Pac-10, Tempe Regional co-Most Outstanding Player, and ASU co-Pitcher of the Year honors. For his collegiate career, Averill finished with a 23-10 record and 4.10 ERA in 70 appearances for the Sun Devils.

TigsTown.com's 40th ranked prospect, Averill was poised to team with many of his '06 Whitecaps teammates to help lead the 2007 Lakeland Flying Tigers rotation. Instead, Averill will conduct his rehab at TigerTown, with an eye towards returning to game action next spring.

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