Updated September 05 2012

Former River Rats Ace, Tom Koehler, Debuts for Miami


Former New Bern River Rats ace Tom Koehler (courtesy of the New Bern River Rats) saw his ultimate dream come true Wednesday night (September 5) as he debuted for the Miami Marlins.

The 6-2, 225-pound right-hander entered to start the sixth inning for the Marlins. He retired the side immediately, including a recording a strikeout, but then ran into trouble in the seventh. There, he gave up a pair of two-run homers before getting out of the inning.

Koehler becomes the ninth Coastal Plain League alum to make his major league debut during the 2012 season alone and the 57th overall. The CPL has now had 17 alums reach the majors in the last two years alone.

Furthermore, Koehler is the second former New Bern pitcher – joining the New York Yankees’ Adam Warren – to reach the big leagues. The New Bern River Rats franchise relocated to Morehead City – and were renamed the Marlins – in 2010.

During the summer of 2006, Koehler made three starts on the mound for the River Rats and finished with a 1-0 record and 0.50 ERA. In 18 innings of work, he allowed just three runs – one earned – on nine hits to go with nine walks and 19 strikeouts.

The next summer, the righty clocked more time toeing the rubber, quickly becoming the ace for New Bern. Koehler was 5-1 with an impressive 1.44 ERA through 50 complete innings of work. He had one combined shutout and surrendered just 15 runs – eight earned – on 34 hits. Further, he struck out 55 compared to just 22 walks.

The 18th-round pick of the Florida Marlins in 2008, Koehler began his professional career in Low-A Jamestown, where he went 5-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 66 innings on the mound.  In 2009, he split time in Single-A Greensboro and Advanced-A Jupiter – combining for a 9-6 record before getting promoted to Double-A Jacksonville to start the 2010 season.

While with the Suns, Koehler’s stuff shown brightly, compiling a 16-2 record, 2.61 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 158 2/3 innings of work. Numbers like those earned him a trip to Triple-A New Orleans the next season, where he was 12-7 with a 4.97 ERA through 150 1/3 innings. In 2012, Koehler was 12-11 with a 4.17 ERA and featured 138 strikeouts in 151 innings on the mound before getting the ultimate call to join the Marlins.

The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 16th season in 2012, the CPL features 14 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. Further more,the CPL has had over 1,000 alumni drafted and 57 alums – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut thus far. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com, and be sure to friend us on Facebook (at www.facebook.com/coastalplainleague) and follow us via Twitter (as cpleague).


Justin Sellers


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