Highland native Geoff Hartlieb finished up his season strong for the Bradenton, Fla. Marauders, the Class-A Advanced Affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates that competes in the Florida State League.
Hartlieb made five scoreless relief appearances in a row to close out the season. In that six-inning span, he converted two saves and allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out six.
“The second half of my season in Bradenton was awesome and I loved the opportunity to play there,” the 2012 graduate of Highland High School. “I was happy I finished the year healthy and strong, which were two of my main goals going in. I wore down last year at the end (for the Bristol, Va. Pirates, the rookie affiliate) and I wanted to really finish well this year and I was able to do so. The name of the game is putting up zeros anyway you can and I’m confident in my abilities going forward to continue doing so.”
Overall for the Bradenton Marauders, Hartlieb earned three saves with a 3.48 ERA. He allowed 29 hits and nine walks while striking out 36 in 31 innings of work.
Hartlieb started the season for the West Virginia Power, a Class-A affiliate that competes in the South Atlantic League. While there, he converted all six save opportunities and crafted a microscopic ERA of 0.83. He also posted an impressive WHIP of 0.86 and opponents only hit .191 off him. Hartlieb surrendered just 22 hits and walked six while punching out 26 in 32
For both Class A teams combined, Hartlieb combined to earn nine saves and a 2.42 ERA in 63 2/3 innings of work. He also struck out 62 compared to 15 walks.
He said this season was the most learning and growing he had ever done since he started throwing again in college at Lindenwood University.
“I learned a ton from my pitching coach, former big leaguer with the Brewers, Matt Ford, and it really translated as the season went on,” Hartlieb said. “I had some outings that don’t look great on the stat line, but I learned from them. I was really happy with my year, disappointed in a few outings obviously, and I have room to grow in a lot of places but I took a big step forward as a pitcher this year. I was playing with some very talented guys who I know I’ll see in the bigs someday and I got to meet some more veteran minor leaguers in our system and learn from them also.”
Hartlieb said he hopes he did enough to get a look next year at the Altoona, Pa. Curve, the Class AA affiliate of the Pirates who plays in the Eastern League and is named after nearby Horseshoe Curve. The name also alludes to a curveball, a type of pitch.
But before that, he has Florida Instructional League starting Monday, Sept. 11.
“The organization wants me to get some more innings under my belt before next year and it’s a great opportunity to throw in front of scouts and our higher-ups,” Hartlieb said. “I’m excited for the chance to go again. After that, I will be returning home to train at P3 in St. Louis and work the rest of the offseason in preparation for next spring training.”