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Jeremy Allen Bonderman is a starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Bonderman is six feet and two inches tall and weighs 220 pounds. He bats and throws right-handed. As well as throwing arguably one of baseball's best sliders, Bonderman also throws a four-seam fastball and a change-up.
Bonderman attended Pasco High School in Pasco, Washington. In his last year of high school baseball, he went 5-2 and recorded a 3.60 ERA. He is the only high school junior ever to be drafted in baseball history. He was held back a year early in his schooling, and passed his GED to earn his diploma. He was selected by the Oakland Athletics as their first round pick in 2001.
Criticism of Bonderman
Bonderman was considered to be a bad draft pick by Billy Beane. In Michael Lewis's book Moneyball, Lewis mentions Bonderman as an example of an unwise first round draft pick since he was a high school pitcher. While he may have been a risky pick, Bonderman has developed into a fine ballplayer in his own right. The pick was also something as Bonderman has the learning disability dyslexia.
He debuted in the major leagues when he was 20 years old. While many felt this was a bad move by the Tigers, Bonderman seemed ready and the Tigers didn't have much to look forward to as they were in a rebuilding stage. Considering how well he worked out in the end, many feel the Tigers should have delayed his arbitration clock, thereby getting more of his prime years at a low price.
In his first season he had a 6-19 record. He was benched for the final week of Detroit's famously awful 2003 season to avoid becoming the first pitcher in 23 years to lose 20 or more games in a single season. However, the feat was accomplished by his teammate Mike Maroth.
He did better in 2004 by going 11-13 with a 4.89 ERA. Bonderman had a season of contrasts due to injury in 2005, as evidenced by his season splits, but on the year showed improvement with a 14-13 Won-Loss record and a 4.57 ERA and a 4.10 xFIP.
Bonderman was the Tigers' Opening Day starter for the 2005 season. At 22 years old, he was the youngest pitcher to start on Opening Day since Dwight Gooden started for the New York Mets at the age of 20 in the 1986 season.
In 2006 he posted a career best 14-8 4.08 ERA record. He started Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Yankees. He pitched five perfect innings before giving up a hit. He then pitched 3.1 more innings, surrendering only one run. Bonderman was the winning pitcher in the game that gave the Tigers the series. He pitched again in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, pitching six innings and giving up three runs before being pulled. The Tigers would go on to win the game and series for the American League Pennant. In the World Series, he pitched six innings giving up only two runs. He left the game with the Tigers in the lead. However, the Tigers would ultimately lose the game, as well as the series the following day.
Bonderman finished second in the 2007 All-Star Game Final vote.
- Selected by Oakland Athletics in the 1st round (26th pick overall) of the free-agent draft (June 5, 2001 - signed August 22, 2001).
- Traded by Oakland Athletics to Detroit Tigers as part of 3-team trade (August 22, 2002)in which Detroit Tigers sent cash to Oakland Athletics; Oakland Athletics sent Carlos Pena and Franklyn German to Detroit Tigers; New York Yankees sent Ted Lilly, Jason Arnold and John-Ford Griffin to Oakland Athletics; and Detroit Tigers sent Jeff Weaver to New York Yankees (July 5, 2002).