Pitchers of the Week09/04/2012 5:30 PM ET
By John Parker / MLB.com
Nelson Figueroa, Pawtucket
(2-0, 0.59 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 15 1/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 10 K)
At 38 years old, Figueroa no longer blows hitters away -- he has 69 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings this season -- but he still knows how to pitch. The veteran right-hander held Gwinnett to a run on three hits over 7 1/3 innings last Monday before tossing eight shutout frames against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre -- with whom he started the season -- Saturday night. After putting up a 12-5 record in the regular season, Figueroa heads into the IL playoffs having won four of his last five starts.
Pacific Coast League
Hiram Burgos, Nashville
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 9 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 10 K)
It was a remarkable season for Burgos, who began the year dominating the Class A Advanced Florida State League and has ended it with back-to-back scoreless starts in Triple-A. After limiting Iowa to four hits over six frames on Wednesday and Memphis to five hits on Monday, Burgos finishes the campaign with a 1.95 ERA -- third best among full-season Minor Leaguers. The 25-year-old right-hander held opposing hitters to a .210 average and allowed eight home runs in 171 innings.
Brett Brach, Akron
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 4 BB, 6 K)
Akron made the EL playoffs seven times in eight years between 2002 and 2009, winning three titles, but missed the postseason in both 2010 and 2011. Brach, a 24-year-old right-hander, helped put the Aeros back in the playoffs with a pair of impressive scoreless performances this week. Despite allowing no more than two runs in each of his previous three outings, Brach had lost all three. Neither Altoona on Tuesday nor Richmond on Labor Day was able to get going against Brach, who yielded just four hits over 13 innings. He and the Aeros face Bowie next in the EL semifinals.
Zach Lee, Chattanooga
(2-0, 0.75 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 12 K)
Lee's Double-A career began very badly. The 20-year-old Dodgers prospect posted a 9.45 ERA in his first five starts with the Lookouts and did not earn a victory until his ninth. Since then, thanks in part to a change in his mechanics, Lee has begun to dominate. He gave up one run on three hits against Jackson on Monday and tossed six scoreless frames at Birmingham on Sunday. Lee has surrendered just three runs over his last 24 innings -- good news for the Lookouts as they head into the Southern League playoffs.
Cody Buckel, Frisco
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 0 BB, 16 K)
Like Lee, Buckel initially struggled with the transition to Double-A, dropping five of his first six starts. And like Lee, the 20-year-old righty has found his way. Buckel has won his last four decisions to even his Texas League record at 5-5, pitching a pair of scoreless five-inning outings this week against Corpus Christi and Midland. Buckel fanned seven Hooks on Wednesday and nine RockHounds on Labor Day, a high since joining the RoughRiders in late June.
Andrew Smith, Inland Empire
(2-0, 0.64 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 14 K)
Coming off one of his worst performances of the season -- allowing six runs over 5 1/3 innings at Bakersfield on Aug. 22 -- Smith rebounded with a pair of strong outings this week. The right-hander limited High Desert to one run on five hits over seven frames on Monday before fanning a career-high eight batters at Lake Elsinore on Saturday. Both clubs are playoff teams, with High Desert posting the league's best record and best team batting average.
Tyler Wilson, Frederick
(0-1, 0.64 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 20 K)
Wilson has gone on a strikeout tear to end the regular season, with 32 punchouts -- and no walks -- over his last 22 innings. A 10th-round pick out of the University of Virginia in 2011, Wilson began the season with Class A Delmarva but has been more successful since stepping up to the Carolina League in May. After fanning 12 Wilmington Blue Rocks on Aug. 22, Wilson had two 10-K performances against Salem and Carolina this week, allowing one run on eight hits over 14 innings.
Florida State League
Chris Corrigan, Palm Beach
(1-0, 0.00 EA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 9 K)
Corrigan picked a perfect way to end his season. The 24-year-old right-hander retired all 27 Charlotte Stone Crabs he faced on Wednesday for the ninth perfect game in the 93-year history of the Florida State League and first since 2001. Corrigan had not pitched more than six innings this year and had never thrown a complete game, let alone a shutout in his four-year pro career. His nine strikeouts were also a personal best.
Marcelo Carreno, West Michigan
(2-0, 0.82 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 20 K)
Carreno had fanned eight batters in a game once earlier this season and struck out seven Dayton Dragons on Monday, Aug. 27. Five days later, Dayton fared considerably worse against the 21-year-old Venezuelan native, who punched out a career-high 13 batters over six scoreless innings. Carreno finished the season by winning his final four decisions and lowering his ERA to 3.23, good for eighth best in the Midwest League.
South Atlantic League
Chris Devenski, Lexington
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 16 K)
Devenski, who came over to the Astros organization on Aug. 3 in the trade that sent Brett Myers to the White Sox, needed only five starts to make Legends history. Despite having never previously pitched past the seventh inning, Devenski tossed a nine-inning no-hitter -- the first by one pitcher in club history -- while striking out 16. He faced one over the minimum, with the only flaw coming on a one-out walk in the fifth. Devenski's 16 strikeouts were both a career best and the highest single-game total in the Minors this season.
New York-Penn League
Andres Avila, Vermont
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 14 K)
For Andres Avila, there's no place like home. The 22-year-old right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.36 ERA on the road this season and 3-1 with a 1.56 mark in the friendly confines of Vermont's Centennial Field. Avila's two outings this week were at home, with Connecticut managing three hits over six scoreless innings on Tuesday before Stedler Division champion Tri-City eked out one unearned run in five frames Sunday. Avila fanned eight Tigers in the first of the two starts, one shy of his season-high nine, set against Connecticut on June 25.
Taylor Cole, Vancouver
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 6 K)
In 66 1/3 innings this season, Cole allowed six runs. Four of them came in a single outing at Tri-City on Aug. 10 (he still won). None of them came this week, as the Brigham Young product tossed 7 2/3 no-hit frames at Yakima on Thursday. Cole fanned six and did not walk a batter, though a pair of errors caused him to face one over the minimum. He led the league in ERA (0.81) and WHIP (0.80), did not allow a home run and gave up two hits over his final 19 1/3 innings of the regular season.
Robert Gsellman, Kingsport
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 5 K)
Gsellman's only victory of the season came in his debut on June 24. But his best outing was his final one. Returning to a starting role after making six relief appearances, the 19-year-old Californian fanned a season-best five batters over a season-high 6 2/3 scoreless innings against Pulaski on Monday, Aug. 27. Unfortunately for the young right-hander, the Kingsport bullpen surrendered five runs in a 5-4 loss.
Lindsey Caughel, Ogden
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 4 K)
A 23rd-round pick out of Stetson in the June Draft, Caughel joined the Raptors in late July after a stint in the Arizona Rookie League. The 22-year-old right-hander proved a solid contributor to the Ogden rotation, helping the Raptors to a first-half division title. This week he notched his first career complete game and shutout in the opening game of Sunday's doubleheader against Orem, holding the Owlz to four hits and a walk over seven frames. Caughel has held Pioneer League hitters to a .213 average while relying heavily on groundball outs.