January 23, 2020, Bridgewater, NJ - The Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of right-handed pitcher James Pugliese for the 2020 season.
“From day one, the entire organization made me feel like I was already a part of the family,” said Pugliese. “I can’t wait to play in front of the greatest fans in baseball and help bring a championship back to Somerset.”
Pugliese enters his second season with the Somerset Patriots and third in the Atlantic League. The righty finished second on the Patriots in appearances (45) last year after he was acquired in an offseason trade with the York Revolution. Pugliese finished his first season in Somerset 4-1 with a 3.62 ERA, one save and 59 strikeouts against just 17 walks over 59.2 innings of work and was named a Mid-Season All-Star.
His strong season was highlighted by a notable month of July in which the New Jersey native allowed just one earned run across 13.1 innings pitched that spanned 12 appearances, good for a 0.68 ERA. Pugliese was also often used in a long-relief role, with 18 multi-inning appearances and 14 appearances in which he worked at least two innings.
The Trenton native arrived in York in late June, 2018 and posted a 5-1 record with a 2.29 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 35.1 innings pitched as a reliever. This came after he began the year with Double-A Tennessee in the Chicago Cubs organization, where he struck out five batters over six relief appearances.
Pugliese truly excelled in the second half of the 2018 season. He only allowed four runs over 28.2 innings of work after the All-Star Break, good for a 1.26 ERA. That included a stretch from August 6th through September 5th where he made 12 consecutive scoreless relief appearances with 17 strikeouts against just three walks. Additionally, the 27 year-old boasted the second-lowest ERA among all Atlantic League pitchers in the month of August (min. 10 appearances) and allowed just one run over his final 16 appearances of the season.
“We are proud to announce the return of James Pugliese,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “James is a very unselfish player that just wants to help the team win. ‘Pug’ will pitch and can pitch in virtually any role and is effective doing so. Pugliese takes pride in working fast, pounding the zone with strikes and keeping the hitters off balance. He locates his fastball well and his change up can be a difference-maker type of pitch. Pug is a great guy in the clubhouse and very important piece of our 2020 pitching staff.”
Pugliese spent the first seven seasons of his professional career in the Cubs organization, including four separate stints at the Double-A level. He was twice named a Mid-Season All-Star in his time as a Cubs farmhand; once with Low-A Boise in 2013 and a second time with Double-A Tennessee in 2017. That 2017 marked arguably his best in professional baseball, posting a 7-2 record with a 1.84 ERA with one save over 40 appearances (seven starts).
The Steinert High School standout played one year of college baseball at Mercer County College. He went 6-1 with a 1.27 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 56.2 innings at MCC before the Cubs selected him in the 18th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur draft.
Pugliese owns a 38-26 record with a 3.36 ERA over his nine-year professional career.
The Somerset Patriots will be back in action on Friday, May 1st for Opening Day at TD Bank Ballpark. Stay up to date on all the team news throughout the offseason online; on all of our social media platforms, and on our mobile app. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.
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