Mitch Gueller's athleticism made him an attractive pick in the 2012 Draft -- the three-sport high school star could have easily been drafted for his talent at the plate rather than on the mound.
He left the decision up to the Phillies, who nabbed him as an 18-year-old supplemental first-round pick that summer. Philadelphia put a ball in his hand and sent him to the mound on a journey that, up until Friday, wasn't panning out the way the team and the right-hander probably expected.
Gueller, now 20, saw some results Friday afternoon, holding Auburn to four hits over seven dominant innings in a complete-game shutout in Williamsport's 2-0 victory in the first game of a July 4th doubleheader. The Phillies' No. 17 prospect took a no-hitter into the fifth, struck out five of the 24 batters he faced and allowed just two fly balls all game en route to his second win of the year.
A baseball, football and basketball star at M.F West High School in Chehalis, Washington, Gueller joined the Phillies as the No. 54 overall pick of the 2012 Draft -- a compensation pick the Phils received when they lost Raul Ibanez to free agency -- and was quickly ranked among the organization's top prospects. The results, however, have been spotty. He went 1-5 with a 5.27 ERA in eight games in 2012 with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast Phillies before finishing 3-8 with a 5.86 ERA in 14 starts last year with Williamsport, the Phils' Class A Short Season affiliate in the New York-Penn League.
Ranked as the Phillies' No. 18 prospect entering 2013, Gueller found himself back with the 'Cutters to start this season, a destination usually reserved for rookies.
But Gueller, a 6-foot-3 right-hander known for his 94-mph fastball and raw stuff, has been making progress this summer. He held Jamestown to a pair of hits over four scoreless innings in his season debut June 17 and earned his first win on June 28 when he limited State College to a run on three hits over five innings. Friday marked the best outing of his career since last August, when he allowed a pair of hits over five frames in a no-decision against Vermont.
The Independence Day gem was the longest outing of Gueller's career and the second complete game he's tossed, his first coming against Auburn last June 27.
Williamsport scored the game's only runs in the bottom of the fourth when Aaron Brown reached on a bunt single and scored on Jan Hernandez's base hit to left. Robinson Torres followed with a line drive to left to knock home Hernandez for an insurance run.
Gueller was unhittable for the first 4 1/3 innings until Matt Page singled up the middle for the Doubledays' first hit. Garrett Gordon and Bryan Mejia began the sixth with consecutive hits off Gueller, but the right-hander got Austin Davidson to line into a double play before retiring Dave Masters to end the inning. He stranded Raudy Read in the seventh, striking out Page and popping up D.K. Carey for the final out to seal the shutout.
The win was the fourth straight for the 'Cutters, who swept Jamestown to begin the month. Auburn rebounded to take the nightcap, 6-4, in eight innings.