Curtis Ross Ohlendorf (born August 8, 1982, in Austin, Texas) is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is known for his hard-biting sinker. He can hit 97 mph with a two-seam sinking fastball, and he's working to improve his developing changeup, slider, and breaking ball.[1]

High School and College CareerEdit

Ohlendorf was born in Austin, Texas. His family owns a Texas Longhorn ranch that Ohlendorf helps maintain.[1] He graduated from St. Stephen's Episcopal High School in Austin in 2001 where he was a two-sport athlete, playing basketball and baseball.[2][3]

Ohlendorf majored in Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University where in 2002, as a freshman pitcher, he was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Ohlendorf, a second-team All-Ivy selection, was 3rd in the League with a 3.02 ERA. He finished with a 6-2 record.[4] As a student, he penned a 140-page senior thesis entitled Investing in Prospects: A Look at the Financial Successes of Major League Baseball Rule IV Drafts from 1989 to 1993 [5] Ohlendorf was one of six Ivy Leaguers on major league rosters at the beginning of the 2009 season.[1]

Ohlendorf completed his degree at Princeton in 2006 while in the Arizona Diamondbacks' farm system.[6] He received the George Mueller Award from the university for combining "high scholarly achievement in the study of engineering with quality performance in intercollegiate athletics". In his senior thesis, Ohlendorf used sabermetrics to demonstrate the return on investment from the Major League Baseball Draft.[6][7]

Professional careerEdit

Ohlendorf was selected in the fourth round of 2004 Major League Baseball Draft by the Diamondbacks. In 2004, Ohlendorf was chosen by Baseball America as one of the Northwest League’s Top 20 prospects. In 2005, he was named to the Midwest League All-Star team. He finished the season tied for the team lead with 11 victories, and second in the league with 144 strikeouts.


In 2006, playing for the Diamondbacks AA affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies, Ohlendorf went 10-8 with a 3.29 ERA and led the Southern League with four complete games, earning a promotion to AAA Tucson for one playoff start.[8]

He was traded to the New York Yankees as the key prospect in the Randy Johnson deal.[9][10]

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said of Ohlendorf: "He's big, physical, eats innings and he's competitive. He's a workhorse."[11]


Ohlendorf pitched mostly for the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in 2007. Ohlendorf struggled with injuries and inconsistency as a starter with Scranton and was moved to the bullpen. Ohlendorf embraced his new role and pitched extremely effectively, able to maintain a higher velocity and precision on his pitches due to shorter outings. On September 9, when Scranton was eliminated from the playoffs, Ohlendorf was promoted to the Major Leagues.

On September 11, he pitched in his first Major League game against the Toronto Blue Jays for the Yankees. He pitched one inning without allowing a baserunner while striking out one. On September 15, he pitched 1 1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox, allowing a walk and a home run, but recording all four outs on strikeouts. Ohlendorf impressed the Yankees enough in September to earn a spot on the ALDS roster, but struggled in his lone appearance in the series, allowing three runs on four hits and one walk in one inning.


On July 26, he was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the New York Yankees in a deal with Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte.[12]

Ohlendorf spent the first month pitching for the AAA Indianapolis Indians and was called up to Pittsburgh on September 2 when the rosters expanded. He was added to the starting rotation and made his first appearance on September 3 against the Cincinnati Reds where he pitched 6 innings and allowed 3 earned runs in a 6-5 Pirates victory.


Ohlendorf would pitch his first full season in the majors for the Pirates. He would earn the status of being the only Pirates starter to have a winning record, going 11-10 out of his 29 pitched games with a 3.92 ERA.

Ohlendorf was a stamina pitcher, often lasting late into games. In all, he threw 176 2/3 innings, 45 more than his previous year total. The Pirates would shut him down for the remainer of the season following his September 19th start to rest him for next year. Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington would say, "We're looking forward to working with him to put him in position to where he can be a 200-plus inning starter for many, many years to come." [13]

On September 5th, 2009 Ohlendorf became the 40th pitcher to strike out three batters on nine pitches.

His final 2009 stats were a 11-10 record, a 3.92 ERA, 25 home runs given up, hit 7 batsmen, walked 53, struck out 109, had a .255 average against, a 1.23 walks and hits per inning pitched, in 176.2 innings.


Ohlendorf was hit in the head by a line drive off of Troy Tulowitzki's bat in a July 28th game against the Colorado Rockies. He left the game as a precaution. This was the 2nd time in 2010 a Pirates pitcher was hit in the head by a line drive, the first being Chris Jakubauskas. Unlike Jakubauskas, Ohlendorf did not miss any starts. Following the season and a 1–11 record with a 4.07 E.R.A., Ohlendorf won his arbitration hearing and a $439,000 raise to $2,025,000.[14]


His brother Chad is also attending Princeton and pitching for the school.[15]

After the 2006 season, he became an intern for the University of Texas System's Office of Finance.

Following the 2009 season, Ohlendorf began an 8 week internship for the Department of Agriculture.[16]

Ohlendorf loves to read, especially history books.

He was recently chosen as the third smartest professional athlete by the Sporting News.[17]

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