The Rays' first-round Draft pick proved it again Thursday, allowing one hit while striking out a career-high nine batters over five innings in the Class A Short-Season Renegades' 1-0 shutout of Connecticut.
Drafted No. 42 overall in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Ames improved his record to 5-0 with a powerful 1.44 ERA through 12 appearances.
"My slider was working, my changeup was working, and for the most part, I was executing down in the zone," the Rays' No. 18 prospect said of his performance.
Hudson Valley held just a 1-0 lead from Richie Shaffer's RBI single in the first inning when Ames exited after the fifth. The Renegades bullpen did not relent, however, as Brandon Henderson, Marcus Jensen and Dylan Floro surrendered just two hits in three frames of relief to preserve the shutout.
A strong bullpen has been crucial to Ames' success this season.
"We have a really great pitching staff," the 21-year-old said. "They're a really good group of guys, so even coming out in a [one-run] game like that, you have nothing but confidence in them. I was really happy to see them go out and perform the way they did."
Dominant pitching on the Hudson Valley side was the theme of this series, as the Renegades did not allow a single run while outscoring the Tigers over three games, 16-0.
Thursday marked the fourth consecutive scoreless outing for Ames, who has allowed an earned run or fewer in all but two of his starts in 2012. The Hudson Valley coaching staff has been cautious with the second-year pro, choosing to rest his arm rather than allow him to pitch deeper into ballgames.
"It has to do with pitch count," said Ames, a midseason New York-Penn League All-Star. "Usually around five to six innings has been when my pitch count has run out."
The Lower Columbia College alum said he understands the development process of avoiding overuse, one of the many things he's learned this season.
"Last year was a big learning experience for me," Ames said. "[Now] I'm going out there with a little bit fresher arm and more confidence after Spring Training and extended [spring training]. I've definitely learned a lot. I just try to keep my ears open and listen to what the other guys have to say to me and just try to compete every time I go out there."