Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Has Santa already gifted the Australian Baseball League (ABL) an early present that Major League Baseball decided to send away to Misfit Island because nobody wanted it? Could it be the recently released Xavier Paul? Could it be true that one of Major League Baseball’s most prestigious franchises–the Atlanta Braves, well-known for snagging raw material and manufacturing the best–prematurely cut bait and released the ABL’s catch of the season? Could this be an extreme case of mistaken identity?
Often confused with the German-born pitcher of the same name who made his MLB pitching debut in 2002 with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Australian native Canberra Cavalry pitcher Steve Kent set the record straight. “I’ve been mistaken for ‘that’ Steve Kent a lot of times,” Kent explained. “When I was with the Braves, people would often send me his baseball cards to sign. It is pretty funny because he had one season with the Braves in 2005 and then my first season with them was 2006.” Could the team have made a clerical error by releasing Kent? Why did the Braves sever ties with their top 10 prospect who was signed at age 16?
In 2007 Danville Braves starting pitcher Steve Kent (AKA Steven Kent) was ranked lucky #7 among Atlanta farm hands with a 1.14 WHIP and also ranked #10 with a .241 opponents’ batting average. Equipped with a wicked curveball and a solid feel for pitching, the Aussie dominated his competition until Tommy John surgery put him on the shelf in 2009. Returning for the Single-A affiliate Rome Braves in 2010, he staged a remarkable comeback with a blemish-free 2-0 record and 0.69 ERA.
Lady luck went sour for Kent’s career as a Brave in 2011 as the guy who hit the big jackpot on the minor league slots inherited an earned run average the size of a jumbo jet (.777) and subsequently was given his walking papers to the welcoming island of the ABL. Since then, the tides have turned for the man ‘Down Under’. In his lucky number seven appearances this 2011-12 season, Canberra lefty reliever Steve Kent has become the league’s top winning pitcher with three victories (3-0, 1.50 ERA) and one save in 12 innings of work out of the Cavalry bullpen. Heading into round five of ABL competition, Kent and the Cavalry’s pitching arsenal led by San Diego Padres prospect Hayden “Big Dog” Beard, former Philadelpia Phillies prospect Mike McGuire and former Cleveland Indians prospect/current American Association Indy pitcher Brian Grening are now in the league’s top 20. Only second to defending champs Heat in combined ERA (3.70), Canberra’s pitching staff is on the improve.
What a joy to have uncovered the Australian Baseball League’s best kept secret, Steve(n) Kent. Hopefully, he will never be mistaken again for another left-handed pitcher in the same organization with the same name.
Thanks for reading the article!
I am very impressed with your comprehensive coverage of baseball around the world, especially in Australia and China. Please write more of these pieces so we can explore the international world of baseball along with you!
Thanks very much for your feedback. It appears the subject of my mistaken identity article–Cavalry pitcher Steve Kent–has checked in with his comments moments ago on my personal email. Here’s what he said:
(23 minutes ago)
Awesome article! I really enjoyed it mate!!
THANK YOU STEVE…GO CAVALRY!!!
Hi Roberto.I’m Tom from South Wales in the UK.Thought you might be interested to know about Welsh baseball.Our version has some differences but also many similarities to the US version and has been played here since 1892.It’s very much a grass roots game and is very popular in our capital city,Cardiff.Here is a link about the game.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_baseball There is a also a good 2 part guide on youtube if you type in Welsh Baseball.
I found this site via the UB40 site,I am also a fan and post under the username rhondda rudie.Congratulations on a great site
Thanks great poost