Pitchers of the Postseason09/26/2011 4:30 PM ET
By John Parker / Special to MLB.com
Joe Martinez, Columbus
3-0, 2.45 ERA, 3 G, 3 GS, 22 IP, 18 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 5 BB, 20 K
Martinez provided versatility for the Clippers during the regular season, making 16 starts to go along with 19 relief appearances. In the postseason, he provided wins. A 28-year-old right-hander in his first season with the Indians organization, Martinez was the winner in each of his playoff starts. He held Durham to a pair of runs over eight innings in the third game of Columbus' three-game semifinals sweep, fanned a career-high 13 batters over seven frames in Game 3 of the IL Finals and overcame a shaky first inning to beat Omaha in the Triple-A Championship. After yielding three runs in seven innings against the Storm Chasers, Martinez was named the game's MVP.
Pacific Coast League
Luis Mendoza, Omaha
2-0, 1.29 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 6 BB, 12 K
It's been an incredible season for the 27-year-old Mendoza, who went 12-5 with a 2.18 ERA to earn the PCL's Pitcher of the Year award. He was even better in the playoffs. As the Game 1 starter in the Storm Chasers' semifinal series with Round Rock, the right-hander allowed five hits over seven scoreless innings. He opened the PCL Finals by limiting Sacramento to a pair of runs on three hits while fanning eight over seven frames. Having helped Omaha win its first PCL title, Mendoza was summoned to Kansas City, where he won both his starts and posted a 1.23 ERA over 14 2/3 innings.
Shairon Martis, Harrisburg
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 4 BB, 9 K
Martis capped an outstanding season with a sterling performance in Game 2 of Harrisburg's semifinal series against Richmond, but it was not enough to prevent the Senators from being swept out of the playoffs in three games. The 24-year-old right-hander, who tossed a seven-inning no-hitter on Aug. 26, limited the Flying Squirrels to a single hit while fanning nine over seven scoreless frames on Sept. 10. Though the contest was ostensibly a home game for Harrisburg, heavy rains forced the series to shift to Richmond. Martis left the game with a 2-0 lead having thrown 111 pitches, but the Harrisburg bullpen surrendered two runs in the eighth and Richmond prevailed, 4-2, in 11 innings.
Tyler Skaggs, Mobile
0-0, 1.38 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 16 K
Though Skaggs did not earn the win in either of his playoff starts, the BayBears rolled to their first Southern League championship since 2004. The 20-year-old southpaw, a first-round pick in the 2009 Draft, ranked fourth in the Minor Leagues with 198 strikeouts in 158 1/3 regular-season innings. He maintained that dominance in the playoffs with 16 punchouts in 13 frames -- both league highs. Skaggs allowed one run while fanning nine over seven innings in Game 3 of Mobile's semifinal series against Birmingham, which the 'Bears ultimately won in 11 innings. Against Tennessee in the third game of the Finals, he yielded one run over six frames and departed with a 2-1 lead, but the Smokies plated three in the eighth to stay alive.
Matt Shoemaker, Arkansas
0-0, 1.20 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 15 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 17 K
Shoemaker capped a dominant season with a pair of brilliant playoff performances but did not register a win as Arkansas was swept by San Antonio in the Texas League Finals. The Game 1 starter in both of the Travelers' series, the 24-year-old right-hander allowed one run on two hits over seven frames against Northwest Arkansas in the semifinals and one run on four hits in eight strong innings at San Antonio in the Finals. He led all Texas League pitchers with 17 strikeouts and 15 innings and led all starters by posting a 0.60 WHIP in the postseason.
Nick Schmidt, Lake Elsinore
2-0, 1.29 ERA, 3 G, 3 GS, 21 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 HR, 3 HBP, 6 BB, 25 K
Schmidt, the 23rd overall pick in the 2007 Draft, has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. He missed the entire 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and began 2011 on the disabled list before joining the Storm in early July. The 25-year-old southpaw was sharp the rest of the way and tossed eight shutout frames at Bakersfield on Aug. 3. With the Storm facing elimination in Game 2 of their quarterfinal series against Inland Empire, Schmidt allowed one run on five hits while fanning nine over seven innings. The Arkansas product tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing two hits, as Lake Elsinore eliminated Rancho Cucamonga in Game 4 of the semifinals. And he notched the win as the Storm captured its first outright Cal League title since 1996 with a 10-3 victory over Stockton in Game 4 of the Finals.
Ryan Berry, Frederick
0-0, 0.0 ERA, 3 G, 0 GS, 6 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 4 K
Berry made 17 appearances for the Keys in 2010 but was a late addition to the Frederick roster this year. Very late. He pitched four scoreless innings at Kinston on Aug. 31 in his lone outing of the regular season. The 23-year-old right-hander out of Rice, a ninth-round pick in 2009, proved similarly unbeatable in the postseason. Berry allowed a single hit in three playoff appearances. He finished off a combined three-hitter with two perfect frames in Game 3 of the semifinals against Potomac, walked one over two innings in the decisive fifth game, and surrendered one hit over 2 1/3 innings in Game 3 of the Finals. He preserved the win for Frederick's starters in each of the three games as the Keys claimed the Mills Cup for the first time since 2007.
Florida State League
Frank Del Valle, Dayton
1-0, 0.0 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 1 SV, 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 8 K
Another late arrival, the Cuban-born Del Valle did not join Daytona until Aug. 26 -- and was rocked for nine runs on nine hits over 2 1/3 innings in his first Florida State League start. Having produced an 0-2 record with a 15.63 ERA in his two regular-season starts, his dominating performance in the playoffs was a pleasant surprise for the Cubs. The 22-year-old left-hander closed out Game 2 of Daytona's semifinal series against Dunedin by getting the one batter he faced to hit into a double play. Three days later, Del Valle started Game 2 of the Finals and held visiting St. Lucie to a pair of singles while fanning eight over six shutout innings. Del Valle notched a win and a save as Daytona rolled to the FSL championship.
Trevor Rosenthal, Quad Cities
2-0, 1.80 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 15 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 10 K
Quad Cities' march to its first Midwest League title since 1990 may have lacked drama -- it won all seven of its games while outscoring its opponents, 42-21 -- but that's okay with Trevor Rosenthal. The 21-year-old right-hander tossed a four-hit shutout in the first game of the Bandits' semifinal series against Kane County, then notched the win in the clinching third game of the Finals after allowing three runs in six innings. It was the second straight season that Rosenthal helped his team sweep through the playoffs -- last year he allowed an unearned run in two relief appearances as Johnson City won all four of its games en route to the Appalachian League crown.
South Atlantic League
James Leverton, Greensboro
1-0, 1.38 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 18 K
Leverton was a late addition to the Grasshoppers staff, joining the club in early August after spending the first part of the season in the independent Can-Am League. The 25-year-old southpaw was worth the wait. After making four relief appearances and two starts for Greensboro in the regular season, Leverton allowed two hits over seven scoreless frames as the Grasshoppers closed out Hickory with a two-game semifinal sweep. He struck out 10 and walked one. The former eighth-round Draft pick yielded two runs over six innings in Game 3 of the Sally League Finals, earning a no-decision as the 'Hoppers fell to Savannah, 4-3, in 11 innings.
New York-Penn League
Matthew Tracy, Staten Island
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 8 K
The Yankees' 24th-round pick out of Mississippi in the June Draft, Tracy was overwhelming as a reliever for Staten Island early in the season. In 11 relief appearances, he posted an 0.40 ERA and allowed just eight hits in 22 1/3 frames. The left-hander was less effective as a starter, producing a 5.40 ERA in six games. Those struggles disappeared completely in the postseason, however. In Game 1 of the semifinals, Tracy allowed two singles and a walk while fanning four over six innings as Staten Island blanked host Brooklyn, 2-0. He also notched the victory in the second game of the Finals as the Baby Bombers swept Auburn for their sixth New York-Penn League title in 12 years. Tracy surrendered three hits in six scoreless frames to complete a nearly perfect playoff run.
Christian Bergman, Tri-City
2-0, 1.38 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 12 K
One of the most effective pitchers in the Northwest League during the regular season -- his 2.59 ERA ranked third -- Bergman was even sharper in the playoffs. The 23-year-old right-hander carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning as Tri-City blanked Boise, 6-0, in Game 1 of the teams' semifinal series. He ultimately allowed two hits while striking out a career-high eight over seven innings. With the Dust Devils on the road and facing elimination in Game 2 of the Finals, Bergman held Vancouver to two runs over six frames in a 5-3 Tri-City victory. His 13 innings and 12 strikeouts paced all Northwest League hurlers in the postseason.
Nicholas Gillung, Johnson City
1-0, 1.50 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 6 K
Gillung, the Cardinals' 19th-round pick in this year's Draft, had only two starts among his 12 outings for Johnson City in the regular season and did not appear until its fifth playoff game. The 22-year-old southpaw made the most of his lone postseason opportunity, allowing one run on one hit over six innings as Johnson City completed a two-game sweep of Bluefield for its second consecutive Appy League championship. Gillung fanned six and walked a pair and combined with reliever Logan Billbrough (who fired three perfect innings) on the one-hit clincher.
Blair Walters, Great Falls
2-0, 0.77 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 5 BB, 14 K
Walters capped a remarkable debut season -- he went 9-0 and was named the Pioneer League's Pitcher of the Year -- with a scintillating performance in a pair of playoff games. The left-hander, an 11th-round pick out of the University of Hawaii in the June Draft, held Missoula to one hit over 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 of the semifinals, then allowed just one run on four hits over six frames as the Voyagers completed a two-game sweep of Ogden to claim the league title. In 16 total professional games, Walters is 11-0.