Pitching for high Class A Brevard County, Brewers righthander Evan Anundsen has thrown the 2009 season’s first true no-hitter. That is, Anundsen—and Anundsen alone—held Daytona hitless for nine innings. The low Class A Hickory Crawdads, led by four innings from Martin Perez, threw a combined seven-inning no-hitter against Bowling Green on April 11.
The Florida State League contest’s 10:35 a.m. start time may have contributed to the sluggishness of the Cubs’ bats, but it did little to slow Anundsen, Milwaukee’s fourth-round pick in 2006 from Columbine High in Littleton, Colo. The 20-year-old struck out 10 Daytona batters, while walking one and hitting another in improving his season line to 2-2, 1.44 through four starts. He has struck out 25, walked eight and allowed no home runs in 25 innings.
Anundsen went a modest 12-8, 4.28 in 28 starts for low Class A West Virginia last season, his first year in full-season ball. He never struck out more than eight batters in any one start in ’08, but he now has registered a nine- and a 10-strikeout game this season.
A groundball pitcher, Anundsen throws his fastball in the mid-80s but with good sink. Last year he compiled a 2.71 groundout-to-airout ratio; this year, it’s a healthy 1.82. He’ll mix in a curveball and a changeup, but he relies on inducing opponents to put the ball in play, usually on the ground, early in counts. This morning, he recorded 11 outs via the ground, and just six in the air.
Diamondbacks righthander Jarrod Parker, the ninth overall pick in ’07, apparently has aced his test in the high Class A California League. Arizona announced last night that the Ossian, Ind., native will take his next turn, Saturday, for Double-A Mobile as they visit Jacksonville.
The 20-year-old Parker went 1-0, 0.95 in four starts for Visalia, striking out 21, walking four and not allowing a home run in 19 innings. In his start Sunday, he struck out eight Modesto batters on his way to giving up one run on three hits in five innings of work.
With a pair of double-digit strikeout games on his résumé already this season—with totals of 10 and 14 whiffs—Phillies righthander Jason Knapp’s seven-strikeout showing yesterday seems almost mundane by comparison. But that’s only until you realize that the 18-year-old now leads the minors with 37 strikeouts on the year, and his strikeout rate of 13.7 per nine innings ranks fourth.
The low Class A Lakewood righty improved to 1-2, 1.85 through four starts after notching his first win of the season with a six-inning, three-hit, one-run effort at Delmarva. The Phillies selected Knapp from an Annandale, N.J., high school in the second round of last June’s draft.
Darnell Goes Deep
While he’s a 22-year-old in low Class A who also happens to be an ’08 second-round pick from South Carolina, Padres third baseman James Darnell’s recent showing in the Midwest League is impressive, nonetheless. He clubbed a pair of home runs yesterday in the TinCaps’ 15-8 win at Great Lakes, going 2-for-5 with three RBIs and extending his hitting streak to four games.
Because the MWL is such a pitcher-friendly environment, Darnell’s three home runs actually rank him second in the league. He’s batting .265/.439/.571 through 49 at-bats, and if it weren’t for the presence of Logan Forsythe, a fellow college third baseman, in high Class A, then Darnell might be in line for a quick promotion. Forsythe was taken 23 picks ahead of Darnell last June, but the latter’s 16-to-10 walk-to-strikeout ratio suggests he’s too good to remain in low Class A for long.
For the Loons, Dodgers shortstop Devaris Gordon had a big game, going 3-for-5 with a triple, a steal and two RBIs. However, the 21-year-old also committed three errors in the game, one of which was credited as a fielding miscue while the other two came while making throws.
While he’s batting just .194/.244/.472 through his first 18 games, Mariners center fielder Greg Halman’s six home runs rank him fifth in the minors. He’s faring much better in one other category, though: strikeouts. His 32 whiffs tie him with Triple-A Toledo’s Mike Hessman and high Class A Dunedin’s Justin Jackson for the overall lead.
In collecting two hits—including three home runs—in three of his last four games for Double-A West Tenn, Halman has gone 6-for-14—with seven of those eight outs coming via the strikeout. Astonishingly, the 21-year-old Netherlands native has driven in 17 runs in 18 games, the product of batting .324 with runners on base.
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