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PCL notes: Dwyer learns the hard way
No. 12 Royals prospect feels stronger for experiencing lows
07/29/2013 10:00 AM ET
Chris Dwyer won't blame injuries for his struggles.
Chris Dwyer won't blame injuries for his struggles. (Mark Kuhlmann/Omaha Storm Chasers)

Chris Dwyer would probably like to forget the previous two seasons ever happened.

The Royals' No. 12 prospect went 16-22 with an unsightly 5.74 ERA in 2011-12, mostly at Double-A Northwest Arkansas but also including an ugly line of 3-4, 6.97 in nine starts at Omaha last year.

This season, however, Dwyer has put those bad numbers firmly in the past, earning a spot in the Triple-A All-Star Game.

Following a standout performance -- one run on three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts over seven innings -- in a 6-1 win over Nashville on Saturday night, Dwyer is 7-8 with a 3.46 ERA in 21 starts and one relief appearance for the Storm Chasers.

Dwyer said his improvement can largely be chalked up to "just [better] command, getting ahead with my fastball."

Omaha manager Mike Jirschele agreed.

"It's mainly his command," Jirschele said. "Last year, he had some health issues [too]. He lost his fastball, the velocity on his fastball. He's gotten that taken care of. Strength is back.

"His command is definitely 100 percent better. His breaking ball [and] changeup have improved. He's just maturing into a solid starting pitcher."

Dwyer shrugged off any notion that the injuries were responsible for his 2011-12 performances.

"That might have had a little bit to do with it," he said. "[But] I don't really want to get into that. I feel good now and everything's going well."

Dwyer said, if nothing else, his recent struggles have made him a tougher pitcher as far as the mental aspect of the game.

"They were a little bit of a grind," he said. "That's also a part of baseball. Obviously, I'm always going to keep working to try and improve my game. It's part of the game and you have to go with the ups and downs."

Jirschele noted that not every player matures at the exact same rate.

"Development is touchy sometimes," he said. "You want to push them, but yet you don't want to put them in that situation where they're overmatched and you have to send them back [down]. Some kids move up quick and some kids it takes a year or two at each level."

With a strong performance in a hitters' league, Dwyer may be positioning himself for a callup to Kansas City in the near future.

"That's up to the front office, whatever they decide to do," Dwyer said. "My job is to go out there and perform and try to help my team win. That's all I can control."

In brief

Last prospect standing: Following the recent trade of third baseman Mike Olt, the only ranked prospect left with Round Rock is right-handed reliever Wilmer Font. The Rangers' No. 3 prospect has lived up to his ranking so far, going 1-0 with two saves and only one unearned run allowed in eight innings of work.

Paxton them in: While a number of prospects have vaulted from Tacoma to Seattle already this season, lefty James Paxton is still in a Rainiers uniform. If the Mariners' No. 7 prospect keeps pitching the way he has lately, it won't be for much longer. Paxton has gone 3-2 with a 1.80 ERA in his last five starts, striking out 27 batters and walking just six in 35 innings, including zero walks in his last three starts.

Pegged for a comeback: Fresno outfielder Francisco Peguero returned to the lineup last Tuesday after missing two weeks due to a concussion. The Giants' No. 10 prospect went 2-for-4 with an RBI in a 5-4 loss at Salt Lake. For the season, Peguero has hit .310 (52-for-168) with three home runs and 20 RBIs in 43 games with the Grizzlies.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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