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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

October 8, 2009 at 2:52 PM

A proud time for Bob Engle

When the Cy Young awards are announced in November (Nov. 17 for the American League, Nov. 19 for the National League), there’s a chance that Felix Hernandez of the Mariner and Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals win in their respective leagues.

I personally think it will be Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum (Carpenter’s teammate, Adam Wainwright, has a shot as well in the National League). But there’s certainly a chance it could be Felix, who has had a stupendous season (just not quite as stupendous as Greinke) and Carpenter (for whom it would be Cy Young No. 2; he won the award in 2005).

Hernandez, as we all know, went 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA, pitching 230 2/3 innings, allowing 200 hits, striking out 217, walking 71, with a 174 ERA-plus. Carpenter went 17-4 with a 2.24 ERA, pitching 192 2/3 innings, allowing 156 hits, striking out 144, walking 38, with an ERA-plus of 185.

What does this have to do with Bob Engle, the Mariners’ vice president of international operations? Glad you asked. Engle, who has been with the Mariners since 2000 after a long stint in Toronto, was responsible for the acquisition of both players.

As the Blue Jays’ director of scouting from 1990-95, it was under Engel’s watch that the Jay selected Carpenter in the first round (No. 15 overall) in the 1993 draft. By the time Toronto ill-advisedly released Carpenter after the 2002 season, Engle had moved on to the Mariners, joining his long-time mentor, Pat Gillick, in Seattle. Engle then spear-headed the signing of Hernandez as a 16-year-old Venezuelan free agent on July 4, 2002.

Another of Hernandez’s main contenders for the Cy will be Toronto’s Roy Halladay, the 2003 American League winner, who finished 17-9 this season with a 2.79 ERA (plus a league-leading nine complete games and four shutouts), working 239 innings, giving up 234 hits, with 208 strikeouts, 35 walks, and a 157 ERA-plus.

Yes, Engle drafted Halladay, too. He was still Jays’ scouting director in 1995 when they selected Halladay in the first round (No. 17 overall) out of Arvada West High School in the Denver area.

Jack Zduriencik rightly gets a lot of credit for his scouting acumen, but Engle — who also signed Carlos Triunfel, Jose Lopez, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Erasmo Ramirez, among others — deserves mention as well.

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