The 2013 season marks the fifth in the brief history of the Gwinnett Braves Baseball Club. To honor that milestone, GwinnettBraves.com will feature some of the great players from the previous four seasons of G-Braves baseball on "5th Season Friday." The feature will run each Friday until the Season Opener on April 4.
Friday, January 11: Todd Redmond
Last week's "5th Season Friday" feature centered on Barbaro Canizares, the all-time Gwinnett Braves leader in just about every major offensive category. This week, the focus turns to pitching and the man who accomplished more on the mound than any other G-Brave, right-hander Todd Redmond.
Often overshadowed in the rotation by prospect arms like Tommy Hanson in 2009, Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor in 2010 and Julio Teheran in 2011, Redmond made his Triple-A living on being a consistent innings eater with a knack for piling up strikeouts. In a three season stretch with Gwinnett from 2009 to 2011, he logged at least 24 starts, won at least nine games and struck out at least 100 batters. Based on those years plus over half a season with the G-Braves in 2012, Redmond is the young franchise's career leader in wins (34), starts (97), innings (583.0), strikeouts (486) and complete games (4). His 3.78 ERA while donning the G-cap is second among Gwinnett pitchers with at least 200 innings.
Redmond arrived in Gwinnett in 2009 riding the momentum of a tremendous first season in the Atlanta Braves' system. A Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand from 2005 to 2007, "Red" came over via trade in late March of 2008 and made his Double-A debut with Mississippi that year. He compiled a 13-5 record and 3.52 ERA in 28 games, earning the Southern League's Pitcher of the Year award.
His introduction to Triple-A with the G-Braves proved rocky at first. From April through June, the 6-foot-3 hurler went 4-6 with a 4.91 ERA in 16 games, 15 starts. A brief move to the bullpen in late July helped stabilize Redmond, and he'd finish the season on a dominant note. He went 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in five games in July, 3-0 with a 3.97 ERA in six games in August. Redmond ended the year atop the club in wins (9), strikeouts (106), starts (24) and innings (145.0). Though he wouldn't pitch in the International League Playoffs, Redmond instead left to pitch for Team USA in the 2009 International Baseball Federation World Cup. He went 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 22.1 innings for the Gold Medal team.
A 24-year-old Redmond returned to Gwinnett in 2010 and once again was a model of consistency in the rotation. In a career-high 28 starts, the right-hander matched his nine wins from the previous season while posting a 4.26 ERA and striking out 142 batters over 169.2 innings. On May 28, 2010, he turned in the most brilliant pitching performance in Gwinnett Braves history.
In a start at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, KY, Redmond flirted with perfection. He retired the first 16 Louisville Bats hitters he faced before walking Corky Miller with one out in the sixth inning. A second walk to Chris Burke put runners on first and second with two outs, but catcher J.C. Boscan picked Miller off of second base to end the threat. Redmond wouldn't allow another baserunner in the contest, striking out three including Burke looking to secure Gwinnett's first no-hitter.
Even with the successes of his first two seasons in Gwinnett, the best was yet to come for Redmond. In 2011, he went 10-8 with a 2.92 ERA, his lowest single-season earned run average since 2006. If not for the 15-3 record and 2.55 ERA of teammate and International League Most Valuable Pitcher Julio Teheran, Redmond might have been regarded as the league's best right-hander. He led the IL in innings pitched (169.2), ranked second in WHIP (1.17), third in ERA and fifth in strikeouts (142).
The 2012 season marked a return to Gwinnett for Redmond, his fourth-straight year on the team's Opening Day roster. Named the Opening Night starter by pitching coach Marty Reed despite the presence of Teheran in the rotation, he turned in 4.0 innings of four-hit, two-run baseball in a no-decision on April 5 at Durham. He'd go on to a 6-6 record and 3.58 ERA in 18 starts with the G-Braves, including a 7.0-inning complete game shutout against Columbus on June 15.
After more than seven years of waiting, Redmond was finally called up to the Major Leagues when the Braves purchased his contract on June 17. He wouldn't pitch for Atlanta, however, as he was optioned back to Gwinnett just four days later. Redmond's last start as a G-Brave came on July 12 at Louisville, the team he no-hit in 2010 and ironically the club he was about to join.
The Braves traded Redmond to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for shortstop Paul Janish on July 14, ending his 101-game tenure with Gwinnett. He finished out the year with Louisville, going 2-5 with a 3.77 ERA in eight games, seven starts for the Bats. That included a less than memorable return to Coolray Field on August 12, a start in which Redmond surrendered five runs on the strength of three G-Braves' homers in a 5-2 Gwinnett win.
The 2012 season concluded with the accomplishment that had eluded Redmond for so long. He was called up by the Reds for a spot start in a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs on August 18, his Major League debut. Though he allowed four runs over 3.1 innings in a 9-7 Reds' loss, Redmond was finally a Major League pitcher.
Entering 2013, Redmond currently resides on the Reds' 40-man roster with expectations of challenging for a spot this spring. Whether or not he finds long-term Major League success, the man they call "Red" is remembered in Gwinnett as one of the best pitchers to put on a G-Braves uniform.