Scott Elarton was chosen by the Houston Astros in the 1st round of the 1994 Major League Baseball Draft (25th overall) when he was just 18 years old. Foregoing college for the minor leagues, Elarton went from the single-A level to triple-A in 1997 and made his major league debut on June 20, 1998 at only 22 years of age.
Elarton spent most of 1998 as a relief pitcher and registered an impressive 3.32 earned run average (but gave up the game-winning run in the pivotal Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the eventual league champion San Diego Padres). He started 1999 in the bullpen but was moved to starter in early July and was impressive again with an overall 3.48 ERA and 9-5 record.
Elarton had shoulder surgery after the 1999 season and started 2000 on the disabled list and in minor league rehabilitation. Despite the injury, he had the best season of his career in 2000 posting a 17-7 record for a poor Astros team that compiled only a 72-90 record. Elarton was named the team's pitcher of the year which was an easy choice as he won twice as many games as any other pitcher on the team. He had a high 4.81 ERA but that was still better than all of the starters and most of the relievers on the team in the brand new hitter-friendly Enron Field.
Unfortunately for Elarton, he has not regained the glory of 2000. In 2001, Enron Field got its revenge and Elarton's ERA continued to skyrocket up to a miserable 7.14. He was traded to the Rockies for Pedro Astacio at the trading deadline. Although he was back in his home state of Colorado, the Rockies' Coors Field stadium is an even more hitter-friendly stadium. When his 2001 season mercifully came to an end, he had a 7.06 ERA and was fifth-worst in the National League in home runs allowed and eighth-worst in earned runs allowed.
Matters got worse when Elarton had major shoulder surgery and missed the entire 2002 season and then spent 2003 primarily in the minors (with another poor 6.27 ERA in 11 games in the majors). 2004 started out even more miserably with an ERA of 9.80 before the Rockies released him in mid-May.
Getting away from hitter-friendly parks worked wonders for Elarton. After being released by the Rockies in 2004, he was signed to a minor league contract by Cleveland, pitched very well and was soon back in the majors. Elarton was markedly better with Cleveland posting a much more reasonable 4.53 ERA although he continued to be victimized by home runs and his record was only 3-5. On August 29, 2004, Elarton pitched the best game of his career, a two-hit complete game shutout allowing only one walk and six strikeouts.
In 2005, Elarton spent his first season entirely in the majors since his disastrous 2001. He responded with a very nice 11-9 record for the second-place Indians and a 4.61 ERA that would have been better except for a poor first five weeks. Again the downside was home runs allowed as he ranked in the ten worst in that category for the second year in a row.
After the 2005 season, Elarton was signed as a free agent by the Kansas City Royals.
There is some disagreement on what was Scott Elarton's most productive season. Some believe that it was 2000, when he posted a 4.81 ERA, won 17 games and struck out 131 batters. However, others believe that it was 1999, when he posted a 3.48 ERA and struck out 121 batters.
- Selected by Houston Astros in the 1st round (25th pick overall) of the free-agent draft (June 2, 1994 - signed June 2, 1994).
- Traded by Houston Astros to Colorado Rockies in exchange for Pedro Astacio and cash (July 31, 2001).
- Granted free agency (December 21, 2002).
- Signed by Colorado Rockies (January 8, 2003).
- Granted free agency (December 21, 2003).
- Signed by Colorado Rockies (March 5, 2004).
- Released by Colorado Rockies (May 24, 2004).
- Signed by Cleveland Indians (May 25, 2004).
- Granted free agency (October 27, 2005).
- Signed by Kansas City Royals (December 16, 2005).