Open main menu

Dennis Scott Sarfate (born April 9, 1981) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). He has also played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros, and Baltimore Orioles in Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and Saitama Seibu Lions of NPB. While an average reliever in the MLB, Sarfate became one of the greatest closers in NPB history after moving his career overseas. Sarfate holds several NPB records, including most saves in a season and most by a foreign-born pitcher.

Dennis Sarfate
HAWKS58-Dennis Scott Sarfate.jpg
Sarfate with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – No. 58
Born: (1981-04-09) April 9, 1981 (age 38)
Queens, New York
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Professional debut
MLB: September 3, 2006, for the Milwaukee Brewers
NPB: April 14, 2011, for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
MLB statistics
Win–loss record5–4
Earned run average4.53
NPB statistics
(through 2019 season)
Win–loss record27–20
Earned run average1.57
Career highlights and awards

Amateur careerEdit

Sarfate graduated from Gilbert High School in Gilbert, Arizona. He was an All-American and First Team All-State. He was the Scottsdale Tribune Pitcher of the Year in 1999.[1] The Texas Rangers selected Sarfate in the 15th round of the 1999 MLB draft.[1] He did not sign, enrolling in college. He attended Arizona State University in 2000 and Chandler-Gilbert Community College in 2001.

Professional careerEdit

Milwaukee BrewersEdit

The Milwaukee Brewers selected Sarfate in the ninth round of the 2001 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut on September 3, 2006. He pitched in eight games for the Brewers, with a 4.32 earned run average (ERA).[2]

Houston AstrosEdit

The Brewers traded Sarfate to the Houston Astros on September 11, 2007, for cash considerations.[2]

Baltimore OriolesEdit

Sarfate pitching for the Baltimore Orioles in 2009

On December 12, 2007, the Astros traded Sarfate along with Luke Scott, pitchers Matt Albers and Troy Patton, and third baseman Michael Costanzo to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for shortstop Miguel Tejada.[3]

After beginning his professional career as a starter, Sarfate spent 2007 and began 2008 as a relief pitcher. On July 28, 2008, he was moved to the Orioles starting rotation.[4] He returned to the bullpen after just four starts, in which he went 0-2 while allowing 18 runs in just 15​23 innings.

Sarfate began 2009 in the Orioles' bullpen, but was sent to the AAA Norfolk Tides in May after posting a 6.49 ERA in eight appearances. He was called up again in September, and pitched much better, posting a 3.48 ERA over 12 relief appearances.

In 2010, Sarfate began at AAA Norfolk, where he pitched three innings before getting injured.

Hiroshima Toyo CarpEdit

In 2011, Sarfate signed with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Japan's Central League.[5] Sarfate quickly became one of the top closers in Japanese baseball.[6]

Saitama Seibu LionsEdit

He spent one season with the Saitama Seibu Lions in 2013.[7]

Fukuoka SoftBank HawksEdit

In 2014, Sarfate joined the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, and got the final save of the 2014 Japan Series. In 2015, Sarfate closed out the 2015 Japan Series as well as the Hawks won their second championship in a row.[8] During the 2016 season, Sarfate recorded 43 saves, a new record for most single-season saves in the Pacific League.[9]

On April 2, 2017, Sarfate recorded his 178th save in Japan, setting a new record for most saves by a foreign pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball history. The record was previously held by Marc Kroon of the Yomiuri Giants (177).[10] On July 4, 2017, Sarfate recorded his 200th save, becoming the sixth pitcher in NPB history to reach that threshold and the first foreign pitcher. On September 5, 2017, Sarfate earned his 47th save of the season, breaking the record for most single-season saves in Japanese baseball history.[11] He finished the season with 54 saves.[12] Sarfate earned two saves and a win in the 2017 Japan Series, and won the Japan Series Most Valuable Player Award.[13]

Sarfate had season-ending surgery on his hip in April 2018. He missed the start of the 2019 season as well.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Player Bio: Dennis Sarfate". Arizona State Baseball. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Fitzpatrick, Mike (July 28, 2008). "Orioles move Sarfate into struggling rotation". USA Today. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
  5. ^ "Hiroshima Carp re-sign Bullington, Sarfate, Barden". Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  6. ^ Coskrey, Jason (June 8, 2015). "Sarfate continues to pitch at high level for Softbank". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  7. ^ Coskrey, Jason (May 5, 2015). "Hawks closer Sarfate savors 100th save in Japan". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  8. ^ Coskrey, Jason (October 29, 2015). "Hawks claim back-to-back Japan Series titles". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  9. ^ NEWS, KYODO. "Baseball: Senga feasts on Fighters again". Kyodo News+. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  10. ^ 好き, 僕は 野球 (April 2, 2017). "Dennis Sarfate is now Japan's foreign saves leader in league history". Fan Interference. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  11. ^ Shimbun, The Yomiuri. "Hawks' Sarfate notches record 47th save". The Japan News. Archived from the original on September 14, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  12. ^ Coskrey, Jason (October 23, 2017). "Hawks have look of budding dynasty after latest triumph". The Japan Times. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  13. ^ Allen, Jim (November 4, 2017). "Baseball: Hawks stave off BayStars to clinch Japan Series in 6 games". Kyodo News. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  14. ^ Baseball / Japanese Baseball (March 23, 2019). "Hawks pitcher Dennis Sarfate to miss start of season". The Japan Times. Retrieved April 8, 2019.

External linksEdit