John Axford, Relief Pitcher, Oakland Athletics, #61
Date of Birth: 4/1/1983
Birthplace: Simcoe, Ontario
College: University of Notre Dame
Current Salary: $6,500,000
John Axford, relief pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, was first drafted in 2001 by the Seattle Mariners but he chose instead to go to the University of Notre Dame on an athletic scholarship. While at Notre Dame, in 2003, he had Tommy John surgery. When he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2005, he again declined and this time continued his college career at Canisius College.
In August, 2006, Axford signed with the New York Yankees. He was only with them a short time before they released him in December, 2007. The following March, he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. He pitched in the Brewers' minor league system in 2008 and most of 2009.
Axford joined the Brewers for seven games in 2009. The following season, he became their closer, pitching 58.0 innings in 50 games. He finished the 2010 season with an 8-2 record, 24 saves, and a 2.48 ERA.
Axford had his best season in 2011. As the Brewers' closer that year, he had career highs in innings pitched (73.2) and saves (46) and a career low ERA of 1.95. He led the National League in saves and he was named the NL Rolaids Relief Man for 2011. He did not pitch as well in 2012, finishing with a career high 4.67 ERA and 35 saves in 75 games.
In January, 2013, Axford signed a one-year, five million dollar contract with the Brewers. However, he didn't finish the 2013 season with Milwaukee. On August 30, 2013, after 62 games with the Brewers, they traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched just 10.1 innings with the Cardinals.
Axford signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Cleveland Indians in December, 2013. He pitched in 49 games with the Indians before being claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 14, 2014.
On February 2, 2015, Axford signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies. As the Rockies' closer in 2015, he had 25 saves, 62 strikeouts to 32 walks, and a 4.20 ERA in 55.2 innings in 60 games.
Axford signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Athletics on December 11, 2015. He finished the 2016 season with a 3.97 ERA, 6 wins to 4 losses, 3 saves, and 60 strikeouts to 30 walks in 65.2 innings in 68 games.
Career pitching statistics for Axford through 2016 include:
- 471 games played
- 449.2 innings pitched
- 34-32 win-loss record
- 144 saves
- 514 strikeouts to 221 walks
- 3.58 ERA
Axford has a bachelors degree in film, TV, and theater.