Presented here are the top 10 pitcher game scores from weekend series.
|TOP 10 GAME SCORES BY PROSPECTS IN THE MINORS • JULY 13-15
|Dan Straily||OAK||Sacramento||Pacific Coast||AAA||7||1||1||1||13||2||82|
|Tyler Skaggs*||ARI||Reno||Pacific Coast||AAA||7||3||0||0||6||1||76|
|Alex Meyer||WAS||Hagerstown||South Atlantic||LoA||6||4||0||0||9||0||73|
• While an Indians minor leaguer threw a no-hitter at the Double-A level (see below), righthander Cody Martin's start for high Class A Lynchburg on Friday was arguably more masterful. He allowed the same number of baserunners (three) but struck out more than twice as many batters and didn't allow a run. In fact, Martin's 14-strikeout, two-hit shutout—which he won 1-0 for an added degree of difficulty—was so dominant that he registered the highest game score of the minor league season, a 96.
So what kind of prospect is Martin, a 22-year-old whom the Braves drafted out of Gonzaga in the seventh round last year? In short: a modest one, though his overall command and above-average curveball make him a prospect with a real chance to pitch in the big leagues as middle reliever or back-of-the-rotation starter. Martin sits at a modest 89-90 mph, but he works his fastball effectively in and out, up and down, and he expertly mixes in an average changeup and an out-pitch curve. With 101 strikeouts, he trails only Hillcats teammate Aaron Northcraft for the Carolina League lead.
• Athletics righty Dan Straily allowed two runs in six innings during a June 26 start in Las Vegas, but that's the closest he's come to stumbling following his promotion to Triple-A Sacramento. He's gone 3-2, 1.09 in five starts for the River Cats, and with an average game score of 73, which is incredible. The 23-year-old Straily continued to build his case as Oakland's biggest breakout, this side of A.J. Griffin, with his start Friday in which he struck out 13 in seven innings while allowing only one hit to Las Vegas, a solo homer to Eric Thames. With 141 strikeouts, Straily leads the minors by 20 whiffs.
• Mets Double-A righthander Zack Wheeler recorded his first career complete game and shutout on Saturday, blanking Erie on six hits over nine innings. The 22-year-old has turned in two of his finest starts of the season his last two times out, sandwiched around a relief appearance in the Futures Game, and following on the heels of his two worst starts of the season. In his most recent work Wheeler has allowed allowed one run on 12 hits in 16 1/3 innings, striking out 13, walking one and hitting a batter. He leads the Eastern League with 95 strikeouts and a 1.06 WHIP and ranks second in ERA (2.39) and opponent average (.206).
• It took a half-season for the pieces to come together for Angels righty Johnny Hellweg last year, and the same may be true of his 2012 season with Double-A Arkansas. In his last six starts, Hellweg has posted a 1.93 ERA over 42 innings, allowing 27 hits (only one homer) and recording ratios of 7.1 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per nine innings.
Top Performance By A Prospect-Eligible Pitcher Outside His Team's Top 30
Double-A Akron lefty Giovanni Soto no-hit Altoona on Sunday, allowing three walks and an unearned run in nine innings, while striking out six and facing 28 batters. The Indians acquired Soto two years ago in the trade that sent Jhonny Peralta to the Tigers. The 21-year-old Puerto Rican lefty has gone 6-6, 3.73 in 18 starts for the Aeros this season, notching 87 strikeouts and 39 walks in 101 innings.
Noteworthy Performance In Short-Season League Play
The Giants and Padres ripped up contracts they had signed with Dominican righthander Luis Mateo based on injury and then identity concerns. The Mets assessed the risk and signed Mateo last March, and while gaps in his backstory might exist, none have surfaced in his performance in the short-season New York-Penn League this summer. Mateo, now listed as 22—equivalent to a college senior—tossed seven shutout, one-hit innings for Brooklyn on Saturday, a start in which he struck out eight, walked one and hit a batter. He now leads the Penn League with 38 strikeouts, a .143 opponent average and a 0.59 WHIP.
Worst Game Score By A Prospect
Dodgers 2010 top pick Zach Lee advanced to Double-A Chattanooga this season at age 20, but half of his four starts at that level have been disastrous, and his 8.82 ERA is proof. Case in point: The righthander lasted just 2 1/3 innings Sunday, allowing eight runs on seven hits, including a three-run homer to Mississippi's Phil Gosselin. Lee walked three batters, making the final tally seven outs and 10 baserunners. (Game score: 10.)
Bill James' game score calculation (Wikipedia entry) rewards pitchers who work deep into games without allowing many runs or hits while providing extra credit for dominance (strikeouts) and control (few walks).