June 18, 2005
Notre Dame junior righthanded pitcher Ryan Doherty (Toms River, N.J.) has signed a free-agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and is scheduled to begin his professional career as a member of the rookie-league Yakima (Wash.) Bears of the Northwest League, a short-season league that begins play next week.
The signing of a non-senior to a free-agent contract is unusual but not unprecedented in recent Notre Dame baseball history, as former Irish pitcher Garret Carlson opted to sign as a free-agent with the Chicago White Sox following his junior season in 1995.
Doherty – who was not selected in the 50-round Major League Draft – is the 43rd Notre Dame player in the 11-year Paul Mainieri era (’95-’05) to be drafted or sign as a free-agent with a major-league team.
“Playing professional baseball always has been a dream of mine and I’m very happy to have this chance to go and make a team,” said Doherty. “I want to thank all my coaches and teammates back at Notre Dame for making my three years there a great experience. I hope to return in the future and finish my degree, because that’s something that is important to me. The last few weeks have been pretty hectic but now I’m just looking forward to getting out there and starting my pro career.”
Former Notre Dame infielder J.J. Brock signed a free-agent contract with the Diamondbacks in 1998 (following his fifth season with the Irish baseball program) while current sophomore righthander Jeff Manship was drafted by Arizona in 2003 before opting to start his career with Notre Dame. Manship had been projected as a possible 1st-round pick but nearly went undrafted due to his strong convictions to play for the Irish (Arizona selected him with a token 50th-round selection).
Doherty earned 2004 second team All-America honors as a sophomore, after going 5-1 with 12 saves (in 13 chances), a 2.38 ERA, 46 strikeouts, 11 walks and 19 hits allowed (.160 opponent batting avg.) in 34 innings pitched. He averaged 5.03 hits allowed and 12.18 strikeouts per nine innings pitched during that All-America season, with both those marks ranking 2nd in the Notre Dame record book (as do his 12 saves in a season).
The 7-foot-1, 255-pound righthander turned in a solid but inconsistent 2005 season that saw him convert 7-of-9 save chances while allowing 6-of-23 inherited baserunners to score (compared to ’04, when he allowed just 1-of-17 inherited runners to score). Doherty’s other 2005 stats included a 1-3 record and 3.79 ERA, with 44 Ks, 15 walks and 28 hits (.226 opp. avg., 1 HR, 6 2B) in 35.2 IP. He also hit 12 batters in the ’05 season, after combining for just 8 HBPs in his first two seasons with the Irish.
Doherty led the ’05 staff in saves (7) and low opponent batting average (.226) while ranking 2nd in strikeouts (44), 3rd in appearances (22) and 4th in ERA (3.79). He held opposing righthanded hitters to a staff-best .218 batting avg. (2nd on staff with .239 hitting by LH hitters) while also leading the staff in leadoff on-base pct. (.259) plus 3rd in opponent batting with runners on base (.246) and 5th in opponent 2-out batting (.265). Doherty’s 11.10 Ks and 7.07 hits per 9 IP were tops on the ’05 staff while his 2.9 K-to-walk ratio ranked 2nd.
Doherty shares the Notre Dame record for career saves (20) with 2000 graduate John Corbin while his career average of allowing just 6.22 hits per nine innings broke the 40-year-old Irish record set by Dan McGinn (6.27, ’64-’65). Doherty also checks in at 2nd place in the ND record book for career Ks per 9 IP (12.17; behind McGinn’s 12.66), plus 4th in K-to-walk ratio (3.62; after entering ’05 with share of the record at 4.09), 8th in appearances (68) and 9th in career ERA (2.84).
His seven saves in ’05 rank 7th in the Notre Dame single-season record book while his 11.11 Ks/9 IP in ’05 are 5th in Irish history.
Doherty’s 2005 season included saves in the 4-2 win at Central Florida on the first week of the season (1.2 IP, H, 3 Ks, HB), the BIG EAST winners-bracket game vs. Pittsburgh (also 4-2; 1.1 IP, 3 Ks) and the NCAA Gainesville Regional elimination game vs. North Carolina (3-0; IP, BB, 2 Ks). He did not allow a run or hit in his final five appearances of the 2005 season, with 11 strikeouts and just two walks in that seven-inning stretch.
His other career stats include an 8-4 record, 134 Ks, 37 walks, 28 hits allowed (.195 opp. avg., 7 HR, 12 2B), 20 HBP and 3 wild pitches (0 in ’05) in 98.1 IP.