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Dennis Tankersley, Jr. R/R 6-2 185 02/24/79
bats: right
throws: right
height: 6-2
weight: 185
dob: 02/24/79
Acquired: from Boston in trade for Ed Sprague 2000

scouting report: Tankersley has a very active fastball consistently 94-95 and good slider. His curve and change are effective. Tank has a lot of confidence in his fastball and will challenge hitters with it instead of nibbling at the plate. Pitches very agressively.

DATE OPP RESULT   IP    H    R   ER   HR   BB   SO   GB   FB  PIT   BF  DEC  REL  ERA* 
May. 21 @Col L 7-6 5.0 5 4 4 3 3 4 5 8 97 23 -- -- 3.63 
May. 26 @Mil W 8-7 5.2 5 5 5 1 1 6 6 7 88 24 W(1-0) -- 4.70 
May. 31 Mil L 12-1 4.0 10 7 7 1 5 3 5 6 80 24 L(1-1) -- 6.33 
Jun. 5 SF L 12-2 3.1 3 5 5 1 3 3 0 10 68 19 L(1-2) -- 7.12 
Jun. 10 @Bal L 8-6 3.1 4 5 5 0 5 1 5 5 79 19 -- -- 7.75 

Tankersley began the 2001 season at Lake Elsinore, where he overmatched the Cal League before being promoted after just eight starts. He manhandled the Southern League too. He didn't slow down until his elbow wore out at Triple-A. In his three starts for Portland before being shut down, his ratios were decent in spite of a grisly ERA. His line for the year shows why he's high on prospect lists:

Year     Level      Affiliate         IP    H   BB   SO   HR    ERA
2001     High A     Lake Elsinore   52.1   29   12   68    1   0.52
2001     Double-A   Mobile          69.2   44   24   89    6   2.07
2001     Triple-A   Portland        14.1   16    8   16    2   6.91

With his elbow healthy, he started this season at Mobile. His walk and hit rates were higher than last year, but the Padres, facing some injury problems, saw enough to call him up after just seven starts at Mobile:

Year     Level      Affiliate         IP    H   BB   SO   HR    ERA
2001     Double-A   Mobile          30.2   28   14   30    1   2.64

The Padres' rotation is staffed with finesse pitchers, while Tankersley throws two mid-90s fastballs and a major-league slider. Like the other Padre pitchers, he works ahead in the count. Unlike the other Padre pitchers, he's no longer a Padre, having been sent back to Mobile after posting a 7.75 ERA in seven starts and failing to get into the fifth inning in any of his last three outings.

Padres' Dennis Tankersley named SportsTicker Emerging Prospect of the Year
By Kevin Winter
SportsTicker Enterprises

BOSTON -- While many knew all about Josh Beckett, Tim 
Redding and others who have dominated the minor league 
landscape this season, not too many people had even 
heard of San Diego Padres farmhand Dennis Tankersley 
coming into this year.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the ill-fated 
(from Boston's angle, of course) deal for Ed Sprague 
last June, Tankersley pitched at three levels this 
season and may have the Red Sox kicking themselves for 
years after dealing away one of the top arms in all of 
minor league baseball.

A 22-year-old righthander, Tankersley began his season 
with one of the more dominant six-week stints in Class 
A California League history. Tankersley went 5-1 with 
a 0.52 ERA in 11 starts with the Lake Elsinore club 
before being promoted to Class AA Mobile. He fanned 12 
batters in his first Class AA start and went 4-1 with 
a 2.07 ERA in 13 starts. Tankersley yielded just two 
earned runs over his final 29 2/3 innings of work. 
After fanning 89 batters and yielding just 44 hits in 
69 2/3 innings with Mobile, Tankersley was promoted to 
Class AAA Portland.

"He dominated the California League and when you 
dominate like that, he basically made us move him," 
said Padres' farm director Tye Waller. "Then, he 
pitched the same way at Double-A."

A member of Team USA in this summer's Futures Game, 
Tankersley lasted just three starts with the Class AAA 
Portland club until he was shut down for the season 
with a tired arm. For the year, Tankersley went 10-4 
with a 1.98 ERA in 25 appearances.

"This guy has done a tremendous job for us all year," 
said Waller. "He's been outstanding from day one. We 
knew he was going to be good when we got him. But, not 
this good."  Tankersley, who has pitched at three 
levels this seasons and for five teams over the past 
two seasons alone, appreciates the opportunity that he 
has been given in San Diego.

"That makes it even more special," said Tankersley, a 
38th-round draft-and-follow from the 1998 draft. "A 
lot of guys who are first or second-round picks 
usually get rushed along. And, as a pitcher, I've 
really had to earn my spot. I've had to show what I've 
had, and I've really had to work hard."

Though Tankersley will not pitch again this year, his 
numbers speak for themselves. The hard-throwing 
righthander will receive a very long look come next 
February in Arizona, when San Diego begins to assemble 
its big league rotation.


22 aug 01: Tankersley in February Dennis Tankersley likely won't pitch again until February, when he is to compete for a job in San Diego's rotation. The Class AAA right-hander is to have an MRI on his shoulder in San Diego today, but medical staff in Portland ruled out structural damage. "It's precautionary," said general manager Kevin Towers. "More than anything, he's tired. He's been through a lot. To go from A ball to Double-A to the Futures Game to Triple-A he's at an area where you want to back him off." Tankersley threw 62 innings with Lake Elsinore, then 69 with Mobile (Ala.). He allowed 13 runs (11 earned) in 14 innings with Portland. The 22-year-old, who had arm problems as a Red Sox farmhand, is widely regarded as one of the top pitching prospects among all minor leaguers.

Minor league baseball profile Saw Tankersley for the first time tonight, against a potent Mudville offense (Ben Broussard, Dane Sardinha, Josh Spoerl and Rainier Olmedo lead the charge for the Nine). Tankersley began today as the Cal League leader with a 0.40 ERA. Throwing 6 1/3rd innings of scoreless ball, Tankersley lowered that ERA down to 0.31. In 28 2/3rds innings this year, Tankersley has allowed just one earned run. Proving he is indeed human, he allowed three walks tonight--in his previous 22 1/3rd innings in 2001, he had yet to surrender a base-on-balls. Tankersley allowed 3 hits, while striking out 7, and picked up the win to improve his record to 3-1. Cal League batters are hitting .175 against him so far in 2001. Tankersley's fastball was clocked tonight between 89-92 mph. His most impressive pitch, though, is a wicked slider that he was using as his money pitch throughout tonight's game. That slider is one of the most impressive ones I've seen in A-ball. Tankersley continuously went to that pitch on 2-strike counts throughout the game, yet Mudville hitters couldn't get their bats on it. If you're a Red Sox fan, you've got to be grimacing at Tankersley's emergence. Last June, the Sox dealt Tankersley and SS Cesar Saba to San Diego for journeyman 3b Ed Sprague. Less than 2 months after the trade, the Red Sox released Sprague and he was resigned by San Diego--so Boston exchanged Saba and Tankersley for the "privilege" of renting Ed Sprague for 7 weeks--at Boston, Sprague hit .216 in 111 ABs. Ouch. The 6' 2", 185-pounder just turned 22 in February. Dennis was a 1998 draft-and-follow pick in the 38th round by the Red Sox, after his freshman season at Meramec Community College in St. Louis, Missouri. He's a native of St. Charles, Missouri, which is a St. Louis suburb.


Q & A with Portland Beavers' righthander Dennis Tankersley August 28, 2001 Dennis Tankersley BOSTON (Ticker) -- As it looks right now, the Boston Red Sox will forever rue the day that they traded away yet another player who went on to achieve great things in another uniform. Back in 1988, the Red Sox dealt Class AA third baseman Jeff Bagwell for aging reliever Larry Andersen. While Bagwell has gone on to become one of the best hitters of his era, Andersen was out of the organization the next year. Last June the Red Sox, desperately in need of third base help, traded righthander Dennis Tankersley to the San Diego Padres for journeyman Ed Sprague. While Sprague was released from the Red Sox after less than two months in the organization, Tankersley has gone on to great things in the Padres system. The 22-year-old righthander was originally selected by the Red Sox as a draft-and-follow in the 38th-round of the 1998 draft. After signing in May of 1999, Tankersley went 1-0 with a 0.76 ERA in 11 games in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Last season, he was 5- 3 with Augusta of the Class A South Atlantic League before being dealt to the Padres. Since the trade, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound righty has been nothing short of dominating. So impressive, in fact, that he climbed from the Class A California League to the Class AAA Pacific Coast League in a span of just over two months. For the season, Tankersley is 10-4 with a 1.98 ERA. He fanned 173 batters in 136 1/3 innings. Tankersley, who was shut down for the season in the middle of the month with a tired arm, proved this season what kind of pitcher he is and has the potential to become. He will enter spring training of 2002 with a shot at the big league rotation and a chance to show a certain organization in the Northeast that it made one very big mistake last summer. Q: You started the year with Class A Lake Elsinore and pitched your way up to Class AAA. This must have been the ride of your life this season? A: Yeah. It's been amazing. Every time I get somewhere, its seems like I'm only there about a month, and then I go somewhere else. Every time you go out (to the mound), you want to do your job and make sure that you keep the team in the game. Every time out, I would do something, and it would be like, "Man, what am I going to do next game?" And I would do the same thing, maybe a little bit better. It seemed like every time out, I would do better. If they hit the ball, it would be right at people. It was an amazing ride for awhile. Q: What was one thing in particular that was working? Can you even explain it? A: I think the mechanics were good when I was in A- Ball. Then, when I got to Mobile, I started throwing a little harder, and I don't know why. I don't know if my arm was getting stronger, but my velocity picked up a little bit, and I started throwing everything for strikes. Last year, I was basically fastball, slider and working on a changeup. After about 10-11 starts (this season), I was able to get a good feel for my changeup. I could throw it in any count, anytime. When you have a guy who's looking for three pitches, it's pretty tough to hit, and that's one of the reasons that I've had success. Q: When you got to Class AA Mobile, did you figure that was kind of your resting point for the season? A: Yeah, I did. Out of spring training, I kind of thought that I would make the (Mobile) team, but they told me to go to (Lake) Elsinore. When I got to Mobile, I thought for sure I was going to finish the season there, and then who knows what would happen next year. Then, they told me I was going to Portland, and I was pretty excited. Q: We see different scouting reports, and they all say that your fastball is around the mid-90s. But now, you've added a little more juice. Is that increased arm strength, or is that you added some weight or some muscle? A: I think it's a little bit of both. I think it's maturing and getting older. I lifted pretty hard, and I take care of my arm. I really do a lot of drill stuff with the cords. I run and lift little weights. It just started clicking (in Mobile) for about three or four starts, and it progressively got harder. Q: You mention that you've worked on your arm strength. I guess there are different schools of thought on this. You have the Roger Clemens philosophy of slamming your pitching hand into the barrel of grain, and then you have other guys who aren't that big, who don't throw and don't do anything during the offseason. Where would you fit into the offseason program? A: I'd say somewhere in the middle. I like to rest my arm, but I like to lift. I don't lift heavy stuff. I do a lot of repetitions. I lift my legs pretty hard. I think you have to throw, in my opinion. I'm not going to pick up a ball, because I'm not playing winter ball. So, I know that I'm not going to pick up a ball all of September and all of October, and then I'll just get into it in November, like I did last year. Q: Someone has made the analogy that you are like Pedro Martinez. What would you say to that? A: As flattering as it is, I would never, ever think that. He's arguably the best pitcher in baseball, and arguably the best ever. I've got a long way to go and a lot of things to do to even be mentioned in the same sentence as him. Q: What was your reaction to the trade last season? A: I was disappointed at first. I thought it was a bad thing. I knew they (San Diego) wanted a shortstop, and they wanted a pitcher. I thought that I was going to be a fill-in, just so I made the deal a little better for the Padres, because I knew they wanted Cesar (Saba) (who was also part of the deal). But when I got (to the Padres organization), they welcomed me. After about a week or so, I started to realize that they did want me, and it was up to me to make a good first impression, because I can really put myself on the map here with this organization. So far, I think I've done that. Q: Where you disappointed in the fact that not only did the Red Sox let you go, but they got nothing for you? A: Yeah. I think Dan Duquette knew what he needed on the big league side, and I don't know if he knows his minor leagues well or not. I can't say if he does or doesn't. I can see where they didn't really have anything invested in me. I had a good first year, but it was only rookie ball, and that's how they probably looked at it. I wasn't throwing well for the first part when I was at Augusta. But, my last six starts, I threw the ball really well. So that's why I was kind of surprised. I think he did what he felt was best for his big league team. Q: Do you ever pitch with a vengeance against the Red Sox for letting you go? A: There have been times that I have. At the beginning of the season, I started to get a little more credit for what I was doing, but at the same time, people were saying, "He's only in A-ball. He's 22." Kind of hinting that I was better than these guys because I was older. I wanted to prove a point that it didn't matter where I was, that I could pitch and that Boston made a mistake. Q: Because you got traded, do you ever get the feeling of rejection or failure? A: A little bit. My name was never mentioned (by the Red Sox in the trade), so I just thought that Dan Duquette said, "This guy's not very good, so let's get rid of him. Maybe we can sneak him in there." To tell you the truth, I didn't know how to feel about it. I talked with my dad and I said, "I don't know how to go about this. Maybe I'm not that good." There's a lot of negative stuff that popped into my head. Q: What place have you liked better this season. Don't go by performance. Go by scenery, and where you've been able to spend time and make friends with your teammates. A: I'd have to say Lake Elsinore, because I did play with a large majority of those guys at the end of last year, and I was with the same coaching staff. I've never been on a team like that. In pro ball, you want to win as a team but you want to do well (individually). But there, it's like a college team. If a guy does bad and we win, he's generally happy. That team was amazing to be around, so I would have to say the Lake Elsinore team. Q: How tough is it to get acclimated to five teams in two years? A: It's pretty tough. The Padres guys, I can't say enough, because they welcomed me in. When you're the new guy, they'll say, "Hey, what's up," but they don't sit down and talk to you. When I got there (to Lake Elsinore), if I was sitting on the bench, I was never sitting alone. Someone would be coming to talk to me and making me feel welcome. When I got to Mobile, I knew those guys because I had worked out with most of them. But here (Portland), these are all older guys, anywhere from 25 or 26 to 30. We really don't have many things in common. They've done a good job of making me feel welcome. Q: Have you been surprised by your success this season? A: To have this much success...yeah. I've always been confident in my ability and stuff, but, like I was saying, anytime a guy would hit a ball hard, it would be right at someone. It's been that kind of year. To have good numbers, you've got to be lucky, too. You have to have good stuff, but you've got to pitch lucky. I'm not shocked by it, but it has been an unbelievable season. Q: What's the difference between the levels that you've been at this season? A: At Triple-A, any mistake you make, they hit hard. Maybe it's because I didn't have my good stuff my last couple of outings. But my second outing here (Portland), I gave up five hits in the first inning, and none of the balls were hit hard. If I made any little mistake, if I didn't get it out far enough or in far enough, they just fought it off and blooped it in somewhere, whereas down at Double-A or Single-A, they'd break their bat or swing and miss it. The guys are a lot smarter. They set the pitchers up. It's not just the pitchers setting them up. Q: What has been your favorite sports moment thus far? A: I would have to say going to the Futures Games (in Seattle in July). Going into the season, I never would have thought anything like that would have happened. To get invited and pitch pretty well in it was awesome. My wife and I got to stay out there a few extra days and go to the home run derby and the big league All-Star Game. That really put a stamp on it. I know where I want to be and I know what I want to do, and that's baseball. Q: What was it like being in there with all those other minor league players and then you have the major leaguers there as well. A: Just looking around, these are the same guys I read about in "Baseball America" and see in magazines. That was also a reality check for me because I've come a long way, and the hard work has finally paid off. It was a great honor, and I'm really happy they invited me. It's all new to me. That's why it's hard to take in. In high school, I had success like that. But in pro ball, it's pretty amazing. Q: Is that just your humble nature and the way that you are? A: Yeah. Prime example would be my last two starts (in Portland). If I start thinking that just my ability alone and my stuff is going to get me through those couple of games, it's not. I still have to make pitches. I still have to think about what I'm doing out there, and I can't make mistakes. Q: Last question, and we've been asking everyone this all season. Do you have a favorite baseball movie or a favorite sports movie? A: I guess I'd have to say "Bull Durham" or "Field of Dreams". I remember watching "Field of Dreams" all the time when I was younger, and then we played in a baseball tournament in Iowa, and I got to see the field, so that was pretty special. So, I think that's one of my all-time favorites. Q: As a baseball player, when you see a movie like "Major League", like "Bull Durham" or like "Field of Dreams", when you actually get to the higher level, do you learn to not only appreciate the movie a little more but also understand the nostalgia behind it? A: Yeah, I think so. I think you try so hard just to get there that you don't realize what you're doing and the history of your minor league team. Some of these teams have been around for 100 years. I know that Portland's a very old organization. Once you get there, and you're established and not nervous about getting sent down, it starts to set in.