Kevin Pucetas was never supposed to sniff the big leagues. Truthfully, it wasn’t likely that he’d
even sniff college baseball.
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“I was 5’ 10” when I graduated from high school, and I threw about 82 miles per hour,” said
Pucetas. “But I had a little tenacity about me, I always thought I threw harder than that.”
Pucetas had one single collegiate offer, to Division 2 Limestone College. As a freshman, he
wasn’t even pitching on the school’s varsity squad, but by the time he left Limestone, he was a
school Hall of Famer and 2006 17 th round draft pick of the Giants. He’d grown into his body,
picked up his velocity to the 88-90 range, topping out at 94, and was able to throw multiple
pitches for strikes.
Despite his stellar college career and aptitude for his craft, 17 th round small school draftees aren’t
expected to amount to much. Pucetas quickly proved that might not be the case. His professional
debut (a 2.17 ERA in 70.2 innings at short-season Salem-Keizer) was eye-opening, but his full-
season debut put him on the organizational map. The Giants sent Pucetas to Low-A Augusta, and
the righthander responded by leading all minor leaguers in ERA.
“What really made the difference for me in that first Low-A year was I was in the South Atlantic
League, I grew up in the South,” said Pucetas. “Every town that we played in, I had friends,
family, people that I knew coming to watch. It helped me stay focused, because I didn’t want to
let anybody down—I didn’t want to be an embarrassment to my friend, my family.”
Pucetas provided more of the same during his 2008 promotion to High-A San Jose, going 10-2
with a 3.02 ERA in the notoriously hitter-friendly California League. A little over two years after
being a draft afterthought, Pucetas found himself pitching in the 2008 Futures Game at old
“I’m warming up in Monument Park and trying to focus and get in the game, lock in, but I’m
also reflecting,” said Pucetas. “I’m from Limestone College and I’m standing in the most
hallowed ground of baseball immortality, trying to get ready for a game where I’m pitching
against the best prospects in all of baseball (…) I came to that realization, like man, I’m close.”
He skipped Double-A entirely, beginning the 2009 season with Triple-A Fresno, knocking on the
door of the big leagues. Pucetas began the season with more of the same as in his previous stops,
but hit a roadblock midway through the season.
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