Kirk Craig Saarloos (born May 23, 1979 in Long Beach, California) is a right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher for the Cleveland Indians organization. He has been used both in starting and relief situations.
Saarloos graduated from Valley Christian High School in Cerritos, California, a three-sport (baseball, football and soccer) athlete. He attended California State University, Fullerton where he established himself as one of the best closers in college baseball during his sophomore and junior seasons. In 2001, his senior year, he became a starter (the new closer was current Washington Nationals closer Chad Cordero) and established himself as the ace of the staff, winning 15 games with a 2.18 ERA. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft in the third round as the 86th overall pick.
Saarloos quickly rose in the Astros organization, making brief stops at Double-A Round Rock and Triple-A New Orleans before being called up to the major leagues in his second year as a professional. In 2002 he went 6-7 with a 6.01 ERA with Houston and was sent down to New Orleans for the next season. In 2003 he again pitched very well in the minors, but posted a 4.93 ERA in 36 games for the big club. He also contributed to the Astros' six-pitcher no-hitter of the New York Yankees on June 11, throwing the last out of the third inning and all of the fourth. It was around this time he caught the eye of Oakland Athletics assistant general manager Paul DePodesta. A few weeks into the 2004 season, after appearing in only two games for New Orleans, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Chad Harville. They sent him to Triple-A Sacramento, where he pitched well enough to receive a call-up and start 5 games for Oakland.