Former Youngstown State University pitcher Phil Klein has been called up to the Major League roster for the first time in his career for the start of the Texas Rangers' series at Cleveland on Friday evening.
Klein, who pitched at YSU from 2008-11, in his fourth year of professional baseball after a standout career as a Penguin.
Klein has been dominant in the professional ranks, especially in 2014. The Columbus-area native has allowed three runs in 51.2 innings across Double-A and Triple-A this season. At Triple-A Round Rock in the Pacific Coast League, Klein has thrown 18.1 scoreless innings while striking out 28 batters. He allowed just seven hits while walking six. Prior to that, Klein earned 10 saves while striking out 42 batters in 33.1 innings for Frisco at Double-A. He has not allowed an extra-base hit all season.
In his professional career, Klein has tallied a 16-3 record with a 1.87 ERA over 121 appearances.
Klein was selected in the 30th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft by the Rangers as the 924th overall pick. The 6-foot-7 right-hander started his career in the Arizona League and has improved at every level. He reached Double-A for the first time in 2013.
Klein finished his Youngstown State career ranking second in career strikeouts with 258 and sixth in innings pitched with 252. He set YSU's single-season record with 15 starts and recorded a Horizon-League leading 105 strikeouts, the second-highest total for a season in school history, as a senior in 2011. Only Brad Hennessey, a former first-round draft pick and eventual Major League pitcher, struck out more batters in one season as a Penguin.
Klein was a First-Team All-Horizon League pitcher as a sophomore in 2009, and he was a second-team selection in 2011. He led conference starters in strikeouts per nine innings in both of those seasons.
If Klein makes his Rangers debut, he'll be the first Penguin to appear in the majors since Justin Thomas in 2008. Thomas last pitched in Major League Baseball in 2012 for the Yankees, and he is currently pitching in South Korea.