Sarfate with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
|Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks - No. 58|
|Born: April 9, 1981|
Queens, New York
|MLB: September 3, 2006, for the Milwaukee Brewers|
|NPB: April 14, 2011, for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp|
|Earned run average||4.53|
|NPB statistics |
(through 2018 season)
|Earned run average||1.57|
|Career highlights and awards|
Dennis Scott Sarfate (born April 9, 1981) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball. He has previously played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros, and Baltimore Orioles in Major League Baseball. While an average reliever in the United States, Sarfate became one of the greatest closers in Japanese history after moving his career overseas. Sarfate holds several NPB records, including most single-season saves and most saves by a foreign pitcher.
Sarfate graduated from Gilbert High School in Gilbert, Arizona. He was an All-American and First Team All-State. He was the Scottsdale Tribune Pitcher of the Year in 1999. The Texas Rangers selected Sarfate in the 15th round of the 1999 MLB draft. He did not sign, enrolling in college. He attended Arizona State University in 2000 and Chandler-Gilbert Community College in 2001.
The Milwaukee Brewers selected Sarfate in the ninth round of the 2001 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut on September 3, 2006. He pitched in eight games for the Brewers, with a 4.32 earned run average (ERA).
The Brewers traded Sarfate to the Houston Astros on September 11, 2007, for cash considerations. On December 12, 2007, the Astros traded Sarfate along with Luke Scott, pitchers Matt Albers and Troy Patton, and third baseman Michael Costanzo to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for shortstop Miguel Tejada.
After beginning his professional career as a starter, Sarfate spent 2007 and began 2008 as a relief pitcher. On July 28, 2008, he was moved to the Orioles starting rotation. He returned to the bullpen after just 4 starts, in which he went 0-2 while allowing 18 runs in just 15 innings.
Sarfate began 2009 in the Orioles' bullpen, but was sent to AAA Norfolk in May after posting a 6.49 ERA in 8 appearances. He was called up again in September, and pitched much better, posting a 3.48 ERA over 12 relief appearances.
In 2010, Sarfate began at AAA Norfolk, where he pitched 3 innings before getting injured.
In 2011, Sarfate signed with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Japan's Central League. Sarfate quickly became one of the top closers in Japanese baseball. He spent one season with the Saitama Seibu Lions in 2013.
In 2014, Sarfate joined the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, and got the final save of the 2014 Japan Series. In 2015, Sarfate closed out the 2015 Japan Series as well as the Hawks won their second championship in a row. During the 2016 season, Sarfate recorded 43 saves, a new record for most single-season saves in the Pacific League.
On April 2, 2017, Sarfate recorded his 178th save in Japan, setting a new record for most saves by a foreign pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball history. The record was previously held by Marc Kroon of the Yomiuri Giants (177). On July 4, 2017, Sarfate recorded his 200th save, becoming the sixth pitcher in NPB history to reach that threshold and the first foreign pitcher. On September 5, 2017, Sarfate earned his 47th save of the season, breaking the record for most single-season saves in Japanese baseball history. He finished the season with 54 saves. Sarfate earned two saves and a win in the 2017 Japan Series, and won the Japan Series Most Valuable Player Award.