Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Troy Eugene Percival (born August 9, 1969 in Fontana, California) is a Major League Baseball closer who plays for the Detroit Tigers. Previously, he played with the California and Anaheim Angels (1995-2004).
Percival attended the University of California, Riverside and was drafted by the then California Angels in the 6th round of the 1990 amateur draft originally as a catcher. He batted .200 in his only season as a catcher and was converted to a pitcher when it was discovered that his return throws were actually faster than the pitches he was receiving. He made his major league debut as a reliever in 1995, and was mostly used as a setup man for Lee Smith. A year later, he was the regular closer for the Angels and had 36 saves with 100 strikeouts in 74 innings. He got a career-high 42 saves in 1998, and enjoyed his best season in 2002 with a 4-1 record, 40 saves, 68 strikeouts, and a 1.92 ERA.
A four-time All-Star, Percival has compiled a 29-38 record with a 2.99 ERA in 586.2 innings. His 316 saves put him at 12th on the all-time list in Major League Baseball. However, his strikeouts per nine innings have gone down considerably from when he was an elite closer. In 2001, his K/9 rate was 11.08. In 2002, 10.86. In 2003, 8.76. And last year, it dropped all the way to 5.98. His fastball, once clocked consistently at 96 -100 MPH, was down to about 92 - 93 MPH in 2004, due to a degenerative hip condition that first appeared in 2003, which forced him to alter his pitching delivery. This could be the reason why the Angels decided it was Francisco Rodríguez's time.
- Percival is one of five pitchers in the Angels' 44-year history to strike out at least 100 batters in a season without starting a game (100 in 1996). The others are Mark Clear (105, 1980), DeWayne Buice (109, 1987), Bryan Harvey (101, 1991) and Francisco Rodríguez (123, 2004).
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