Jason Hammel, Durham
1-0, 0.54 ERA, 3 G, 3 GS, 16.2 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 18 SO
Hammel, who earned IL Player of the Week honors in July of 2006 after combining with Juan Salas on a no-hitter, started off 2007 in grand fashion. The 24-year-old pitched five no-hit innings on Opening Night and allowed one run over five innings against Pawtucket on April 10. Both of those fine efforts resulted in a no-decision, however, but Sunday afternoon was a different story. Hammel struck out nine over 6 2/3 shutout innings as Durham coasted to a 8-0 win over Toledo.
Pacific Coast League
After a dominating performance in the Giants' big-league camp this spring, it became clear that Linceum was on the fast track to the Majors. His start to the 2007 season has only solidified this view. The 2006 first-round draft pick has picked up a win in each of his first two starts, striking out 17 over 12 shutout innings. Opponents are hitting a measly .146 against him.
Carl Pavano and Mike Mussina are out of the Yankees' rotation due to injuries, and the club has just promoted Chase Wright to the big club to fill the void. The 24-year-old lefty earned this honor on the strength of two phenomenal Eastern League starts, in which he surrendered four hits over 14 scoreless innings while striking out 19. Opponents hit a meager .085 against him over this time. Good luck in the Big Apple, kid.
Egbert pitched exceptionally well in each of his first two starts this season, but it was on April 7 that he was truly outstanding. The 23-year-old righty yielded two hits over six scoreless innings while striking out 12 as the Barons rolled to a 10-0 victory over Carolina. Egbert has allowed just nine baserunners over 12 innings pitched.
Thompson pitched well in San Antonio's Opening Night win over Tulsa, allowing a run over five innings of work. He faced the Drillers once again on Thursday and was even better, yielding just two hits over seven scoreless innings while striking out six. The 24-year-old has held opponents (Tulsa, more specifically) to a .146 average against him thus far.
Finally, a reliever gets some respect. O'Day has been lights out in the role of Quakes closer, as the 24-year-old right-hander has picked up a save in five of his first six appearances this season. What's more, he's allowed just one hit over 5 2/3 scoreless innings during this time, striking out seven while walking one.
Lannan made each of his first two starts against the Lynchburg Hillcats, and they were both phenomenal. The 6-foot-5 New Yorker picked up a win in both appearances, combining to allow one run on nine hits over 13 innings of work. Lannan fanned eight batters over this span, while walking just one.
Florida State League
Like a professional bowler, Fisher has been setting 'em up and knocking 'em down with alarming alacrity over his first two starts this season. The 24-year-old has scattered just two hits and two walks over 13 shutout innings, and opponents are batting a meager .196 against him.
Hernandez's first appearance of the season was in relief, as the Dominican native hurled three hitless innings against Clinton on April 7 and nabbed the victory. He made his first start against Peoria five days later, allowing just one hit over five scoreless innings while striking out seven. Opponents are 1-for-24 against him thus far.
South Atlantic League
Cowart has started the season on a tear: three starts against three opponents has resulted in three victories. On Sunday, the 23-year-old Texan hurled six scoreless innings against Charleston to lower his ERA to 1.06 on the season. This is nothing new for Cowart, however, as he went 10-1 with a 1.08 ERA over 15 starts for Class A Short-Season Salem-Keizer in 2006.
Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.