Dylan Floro's two-seam fastball is keeping Charlotte third baseman Jonathan Quinonez busy.
Floro relied on the pitch to induce 10 groundouts -- six of which went to Quinonez -- and was credited with a six-inning shutout in his second Florida State League start on Sunday as the Stone Crabs posted a rain-shortened 2-0 victory over Palm Beach.
The Rays prospect struck out three and did not walk a batter in his first Minor League shutout as he improved to 2-0 since a promotion from Class A Bowling Green.
Floro was a Midwest League midseason All-Star with the Hot Rods, going 9-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 19 starts. He struck out 85 and walked 19 while allowing four homers over 109 1/3 innings.
Most notably, the 2012 13th-round Draft pick compiled a 2.83 groundout-to-flyout ratio, a credit to the two-seamer that he likes to run inside against right-handed hitters.
"I think I pitch to contact," he said. "I throw it in there and hope to get some movement on the ball, get a quick out."
Floro made his FSL debut on Aug. 13 at Jupiter and responded with a nine-inning, complete-game victory. He limited the Hammerheads to a run on eight hits, fanning five without issuing a walk and inducing 11 groundouts.
On Sunday, he continued to keep the ball down, giving Quinonez plenty of work early. The first four Cardinals grounded to third, with Quinonez picking up two more assists in the third inning.
Floro faced the minimum over three innings, getting a little help from catcher Jake DePew. After Nick Longmire singled with two outs in the second, he was caught stealing.
The 22-year-old right-hander retired the side in the third on three ground balls, then worked around Alex Mejia's single in the fourth by striking out David Popkins and Jonathan Rodriguez. He was perfect through the fifth and sixth before the game was halted.
Floro threw 67 pitches and said he would have returned to the mound for at least one more inning had the rain not intervened.
"I threw a lot of strikes, got ahead a lot with my two-seam fastball and worked it inside," he said. "I got a lot of ground balls and my infield was making plays tonight."
The outing continued a stellar full-season debut. The Cal State-Fullerton product signed last summer after Tampa Bay drafted him for the second time in four years. As a teenager, he was taken by the Rays in the 20th round of the 2009 Draft but passed to pitch in college. Despite going 10-4 with a 2.83 ERA in his final season with the Titans, he was taken in the 13th round last year.
Assigned to short-season Hudson Valley after signing for a reported $100,000, Floro compiled a 2.40 ERA and 21 strikeouts over 30 innings in 18 relief appearances. He followed that with his strong performance at Bowling Green and said that although he hasn't changed much in his approach since college, he thinks he's made strikes learning how to handle the grind of pitching in a professional rotation.
"Being my first full season, it's been fun," Floro said. "The main thing has just been staying healthy. Going out there, it's different from college because now I'm in a five-man rotation and have to be ready every five or six days when called on. You have to be prepared for that."
The Stone Crabs scored both runs in the fifth as Quinonez doubled with two outs, moved up on a wild pitch and came home on an error by second baseman Jacob Wilson. Rehabbing Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings stole second and scored on a base hit by Drew Vettleson.