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Published On: January 24th, 2014

Looking at the past two seasons, former Express pitcher Shane Dyer has experienced quite the up and down ride. Early in the 2012 season, Dyer found himself one step away from the Major Leagues. The journey from there would include a demotion, being released twice and I’m sure wondering if he would ever get back to affiliated baseball. He now finds himself in the Cincinnati Reds organization, although the path there was hardly direct.

As a member of the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2012, his future appeared to be bright as he pitched for their Double-A Affiliate Montgomery Biscuits. On May 18 of that season he was promoted to the Triple-A Affiliate for the Rays, the Durham Bulls. The move brought Shane one step away from every kid’s dream of reaching Major League Baseball. The dream quickly turned into a nightmare, however, as Dyer struggled pitching at the highest level of the Minors. In nine appearances (eight starts), he gave up 66 hits in 41 2/3 innings pitched with only 25 strikeouts to go with 13 walks. This stat line led to a 7.34 earned run average and 1-3 record. By July 2, Dyer was on his way back to Montgomery. Despite finishing the year with solid numbers at Double-A, Dyer was released by the Tampa Bay Rays on October 27, 2012. So in a timeframe of five months, the right-hander went from one step away from the big show to being out of baseball. Sadly, this happens to many athletes across Minor League Baseball each year.

Fortunately, Dyer was not out of baseball long as the Detroit Tigers signed him about a month after he was released by the Rays. Reports from the Rays were that while Dyer had an above average cutter, he didn’t have secondary pitches impressive enough to consistently avoid giving up hits. The Tigers goal in signing the former 6th round pick was to develop movement on Dyer’s fastball and develop his arsenal. However, Dyer didn’t make it out of Spring Training and was released by the Tigers on March 27, 2013.

After being released twice in five months, it appeared Shane Dyer might be through playing professional baseball. His next destination is common of many players that have been released from the affiliated baseball. Dyer signed with the Laredo Lemurs of the independent American Association on April 2. While the Lemurs are not affiliated with any Major League team, Dyer would still be paid to play baseball and the hope is that he would be noticed by a Major League team and get back into the organization of a big league club. It turns out Dyer would not even have to pitch a game to get another shot. He was placed on the Inactive List by the Lemurs on May 7, 2013 and it was announced he would be signing with the Cincinnati Reds on May 11. While the American Association season had not yet begun, affiliated baseball had been playing for about a month.

It was announced by the Reds that Dyer had signed on June 3, 2013 and he was assigned to Class A Advanced Bakersfield. While this was a step down from his last stop in Minor League Baseball, Dyer found himself back in affiliated ball. In 18 games with the Blaze, Dyer appeared in 18 games (all starts) and compiled a 6-5 record and 3.45 ERA. His strikeout numbers were improved, as he fanned 84 batters. The season also saw Dyer give up less hits than in the past, with 108 surrendered in 107 innings. Also improving were Dyer’s walk numbers, as he only gave out 20 free passes the entire season. The highlight of Dyer’s 2013 campaign came on June 24 when he was named California League Pitcher of the Week after holding the High Desert Mavericks to four hits in seven shutout innings. The progress Dyer made in 2013 could be attributed either to the lower level of the Reds’ system that he was pitching or to adjustments made to his arsenal that the Tigers had hoped to make less than a year earlier. Either way, his numbers in 2013 likely have given him the chance to earn a spot somewhere in the Reds’ system in 2014.

Despite having six seasons of Minor League Baseball under his belt, Shane Dyer will only be 26 as the 2014 season begins. After having his career threatened twice in the past 15 months, he is in the somewhat rare category of players to be released twice and live to see another season in the Minor Leagues. There’s no sure thing that Shane Dyer will ever reach the Major Leagues, but if one thing is for sure it’s that he has maintained great persistence in pursuing every kid’s dream.