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Randy Wolf

Randy Wolf

Position(s):
P
Nicknames:
Wolfie
Born:
August 22, 1976
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Left
Height:
6'
Weight:
200 lbs
Major League Debut:
6-11-1999 with PHI

 

Randy Wolf is a left-handed starting pitcher who has played for the Philadelphia Phillies (1999-2006), the Los Angeles Dodgers (2007 and again in 2009), the San Diego Padres (2008) and the Houston Astros (2009). When healthy, he is one of the top lefties in the game, as evidenced by his 2003 All-Star season. Blessed with a buckling "12-6" curve ball that can drop down to a speed in the 60-mph range, Wolf then strikes the batter out or induces an out with his fastball or change-up.

Amateur career

Wolf played PONY League Baseball in West Hills, California. He played high school baseball at El Camino Real in Woodland Hills, California, where he was named High School "Pitcher of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times in 1993, and "Player of the Year" in 1994. Wolf was the US ace in the 1994 World Junior Championship, allowing 3 hits and 2 walks in 10 innings while striking out 15. He was 1-0 with a save and a 0.00 ERA for the Bronze Medal team.

Wolf was originally drafted out of high school in the 1994 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but decided to attend Pepperdine University.

He was a freshman first-team All-America, West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year, second-team college All-American, and a West Coast Conference All-Star.

Draft and minor leagues

Wolf was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 25th round of the 1994 Major League Baseball Draft, but did not sign. He was then drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the second round of the 1997 Major League Baseball Draft. He rose through the minor leagues quickly, including stops with Single-A Batavia (1997, 4–0, 1.58, 7 starts), Double-A Reading (1998, 2–0, 1.44, 4 starts), and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (1998, 9–7, 4.62, 23 starts & 1999, 4–5, 3.61, 12 starts).

Philadelphia Phillies

Wolf made his major-league debut on June 11, 1999, against the Toronto Blue Jays, pitching 52⁄3 innings, giving up one run, and recording his first career victory in the Phillies 8–4 win over Toronto.

He followed that up with a good season in 2000, going 11-9 in 32 starts with a 4.36 ERA/1.42 WHIP. Though Wolf only had 160 strikeouts, he did eat up 201 innings. He had the most innings on the Phillies' pitching staff (they traded Curt Schilling during this season), and was also the only one to post double-digit wins.

Wolf came back strong in 2001, with a 3.70 ERA, though he was briefly demoted to the bullpen due to wildness. Wolf worked himself back into shape with three starts in the minors, and finished the year with an erratic 10-11 record in 161 innings, with 152 strikeouts.

He posted his best season in 2002, with a 3.20 ERA/1.12 WHIP with 172 strikeouts in 210 innings. Many thought he should have been an All-Star that year, but instead he was chosen in the next year. Wolf posted better numbers after the All-Star Break - a 7-3 record, 2.10 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 3 complete games and 2 shutouts - and was viewed as one of the top lefties in the game entering the 2003 season. Wolf came back with the best record of his career, 16-10 in 32 starts, including 2 complete game shutouts. 

Unexpectedly, the innings were probably catching up with him and he missed significant time in 2004 and 2005 due to shoulder injuries, with a combined 36 starts.

On August 11, 2004, Wolf hit two home runs while pitching the Phillies to a 15–4 win against the Colorado Rockies.

On July 1, 2005, Wolf underwent Tommy John surgery, missing the remainder of the season and the first half of the 2006 season. He made his return to the Phillies' rotation on July 30, 2006. He finished the 2006 season with a 4–0 record, pitching only 55 innings.

Phillies fans created a fan club known as The Wolf Pack, whose members came to games sporting wolf masks. This prompted the Phillies promotional team to have a Randy Wolf Mask giveaway night. When one member of The Wolf Pack died, Wolf attended the funeral.

After the 2006 season Wolf's contract with the Phillies expired and he became a free agent.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Wolf signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He went 9-6, 4.73, with almost a strikeout per inning for Los Angeles in 2007, but made only 18 starts and on July 4, 2007, Wolf went on the 15-day disabled list due to left shoulder soreness. He underwent shoulder surgery and missed the rest of the season. On November 1, the Dodgers bought out his 2008 option and allowed Wolf to become a free agent.

San Diego Padres, Houston Astros

On December 1, 2007, Wolf signed a one-year contract with the San Diego Padres. On April 15, 2008, Wolf had a no-hitter through 62⁄3 innings against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park before Brad Hawpe hit a single. He pitched well over the first half, prompting speculation that he would be traded to a contender given the Padres' poor start. The trade materialized at the end of July, but Wolf's destination was surprising: he was sent to the Houston Astros in return for Chad Reineke; at the time, the Astros were fourth in the NL Central and seemingly out of playoff contention. His record stood at 6-10 in 21 starts with the Padres. He went 6-2 in 12 starts with the Astros, rekindling interest in his services.

Return to Los Angeles

On February 6, 2009, Wolf signed a one-year, $5 million contract to return to the Dodgers. He turned in one of his best seasons, finishing 11–7 with a 3.23 ERA in 34 starts for the team. 

He was particularly strong in the last two months of the season, going 6-1 after August 11 while the Dodgers went 8-2 over his last 10 starts. He started Game 1 of the NLDS against St. Louis - the first postseason appearance of his career - but was not involved in the decision. He also started Game 4 of the NLCS and again got a no-decision, giving up 3 runs in 5.1 innings in a game the Dodgers eventually lost 5-4 to the Phillies.

Milwaukee Brewers

On December 14, 2009, Wolf agreed to a three-year, $29.75 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.

In 2011, he started 33 games (4th in the National League) and was 13-10, with a 3.69 ERA. Through 2011, his 9 career shutouts were 6th-most of all active pitchers

Scouting Report

Wolf has a Four-seam fastball clocked at 87–90 mph. He also regularly throws a late breaking slider in the upper 70s, a big sweeping curveball in the upper 60's to lower 70's, however it has been clocked at under 60 miles per hour, and occasionally mixes in a change up in the mid to upper 70's. Wolf primarily pitches to contact for fly balls, though he is capable of racking up strikeouts in his starts. His pitching repertoire closely resembles his lefty teammate's, Chris Narveson.

Personal life

Wolf's older brother, Jim, is a Major League umpire. To avoid a potential conflict of interests, Jim is not allowed to work behind the plate on games his brother pitches. More recently, Jim has not been allowed to work games that includes his brother's team. If his crew is involved in games that include Randy's team, he is removed from those games and switches with another umpire.

In 2007, Wolf purchased a house in Los Angeles' Hollywood Hills from rocker Slash.

Wolf's entrance music is "Jambi" by Tool.

The Wolf Pack

From his second start with the Phillies, Randy Wolf had been followed by a fan group called the "Wolf Pack," who donned wolf masks, cheered him on and danced, and displayed a large banner. Explained the founder of the Wolf Pack:

"We were playing pool at my brother Albert's house, and we’re listening to the Phillies game like we always do," Kevin says. "Curt Schilling had been whining that the Phillies had no pitching, but here they bring this Wolf guy up and he's great. We just wanted to support him and show Curt Schilling that we did have pitching. So we took an old sheet from my mom's closet and wrote WOLF PACK on it, got some masks, and went to his next game."

The signature move of the Wolf Pack, and the one that got them on the nightly highlight shows, was the strikeout routine: An exaggerated umpire's punch-out, repeated 10 times and punctuated with a "Whooo!"

Sources:

Wikipedia and BR Bullpen

 

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