Pitchers of the Week06/24/2013 4:31 PM ET
By John Parker / MLB.com
Here's a look at the top pitching performers in each league for the week ending June 23:
Vance Worley, Rochester
(2-0, 0.56 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 2 CG, 16 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 7 K)
Only 16 Minor League pitchers have completed more than one game this season; Worley had two last week. The first was a little sketchy -- the 25-year-old scattered nine hits over seven innings in the first game of a doubleheader at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday. The second was the real deal, as Worley held host Louisville to an unearned run on two hits over nine frames. That makes three complete games for Worley in six starts with the Red Wings since being optioned from Minnesota in late May.
Pacific Coast League
James Paxton, Tacoma
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 16 K)
After allowing 15 earned runs in 13 2/3 innings over a three-start stretch between May 24 and June 7, almost anything would be better for Paxton, the Mariners' No. 5 prospect. His performance last week went well beyond adequate -- he held Sacramento to an unearned run in six innings Monday, then fanned a season-high 11 batters over six scoreless frames Saturday night. The left-handed Paxton dropped his ERA from 5.70 to 4.75 with the two strong outings.
Logan Darnell, New Britain
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
Darnell won 11 games for the Rock Cats last year, but he lost 12 and posted a 5.08 ERA. His record is much the same this season (6-6), but the left-hander has been much stronger overall -- he's allowed just four home runs in 15 starts (he gave up 22 in 28 starts last year) and owns a 2.61 ERA. The University of Kentucky product notched his first pro shutout at Erie on Thursday, fanning a season-high nine and needing just 99 pitches to get through nine innings.
Andrew Chafin, Mobile
(1-0, 1.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 9 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 8 K)
A first-round pick out of Kent State in 2011, Chafin made the jump to Double-A in early May after going 3-1 in six starts for Class A Advanced Visalia. The results have been solid all around -- the left-hander owns a 2.56 ERA in nine Southern League outings -- but none so sharp as Friday's complete-game win at Jackson. It was the first time Chafin had gone the distance as a pro. The 23-year-old has gone at least six innings in each of his nine starts for the BayBears and has allowed just two home runs in 90 2/3 innings overall this season.
Neil Ramirez, Frisco
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 6 K)
Ramirez began the 2013 campaign back in the Texas League after posting a 7.66 ERA in 15 outings with Triple-A Round Rock last year. He may not be there much longer, however, after winning four consecutive starts in which he's allowed three runs on 14 hits while fanning 26 over 23 innings. Ramirez held Corpus Christi to two hits over six scoreless innings Thursday for the second time in five days, improving to 9-2 and lowering his ERA to 2.89. He's holding Texas League hitters to a .176 average and leads the league with 97 strikeouts in 81 innings.
Shane Dyer, Bakersfield
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 0 BB, 5 K)
After five seasons in the Rays organization, the 25-year-old Dyer signed with the Reds at the beginning of June. The 25-year-old has given the Blaze, which finished last in the North Division in the first half, a boost already, going at least six innings in each of his four starts and allowing four earned runs altogether. Dyer held High Desert to four hits over seven shutout frames Thursday for his first home win with the Blaze.
Bryan Blough, Winston-Salem
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 5 K)
Blough began the month with a 2-4 record and a 5.43 ERA but has won all four of his June starts, allowing four earned runs. The hot streak culminated in the right-hander's eight-inning, three-hit performance at Lynchburg on Saturday, lowering his ERA to 4.13 overall. The gem marked the longest pro outing for Blough, who served primarily as a reliever in his first two seasons in the White Sox organization.
Florida State League
Matt Loosen, Daytona
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 8 K)
The 24-year-old Loosen won 11 games for Daytona in 2012 but was 1-2 with a 7.46 ERA in nine outings with Double-A Tennessee before returning to the Florida State League earlier this month. After being roughed up in his first start with the D-Cubs -- six runs on seven hits over five innings against Brevard County on June 7 -- Loosen has settled in and earned his first victory with Daytona on Thursday, fanning eight batters over six shutout frames to beat Dunedin.
Seth Streich, Beloit
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 6 K)
Streich has had an up-and-down season in which he's performed brilliantly on the road (4-0, 2.45) and struggled at home (3-4, 7.34). On Thursday, he put together his longest and strongest outing of the year in front of the home fans, going seven scoreless innings as the Snappers topped Peoria, 5-1. Though the 22-year-old righty has had issues with his command -- he leads the Snappers with 32 walks and is second in the league with eight hit batsmen -- Streich has surrendered just two home runs in 67 1/3 innings this season.
South Atlantic League
Austin Brice, Greensboro
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 7 K)
Though he's the Marlins' No. 14 prospect, Brice is in his second full season with the Grasshoppers, and it hasn't gone as well as the 2012 campaign. The main culprit has been the 21-year-old's command -- his 51 walks (in 57 1/3 innings) are fourth-most in the Minor Leagues. An eight-day break surrounding the All-Star Game seems to have rejuvenated Brice, however, as he tossed five no-hit frames at Hickory on Saturday. Not only did he fan a season-high seven batters, but he walked only two -- his lowest total since May 12.
New York-Penn League
Jordan Harrison, Hudson Valley
(2-0, 1.50 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 13 K)
After appearing in a handful of games for both Class A Bowling Green and Class A Advanced Charlotte earlier this season, Harrison has settled in quickly since joining the Renegades. Harrison has won his first two starts, tossing six scoreless frames at Aberdeen on Monday and holding Staten Island to two runs while fanning eight in six innings Saturday. The week saw him double his career win total to four as Hudson Valley opened its season 6-1.
Paul Blackburn, Boise
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 12 K)
A first-round pick (56th overall) in 2012, Blackburn appeared in nine games with the AZL Cubs last summer, going 2-0. Though he's winless in his first two Northwest League outings, they've been impressive nonetheless. The 19-year-old right-hander fanned eight over five one-hit frames in his debut June 15 before allowing one unearned run in five innings at Spokane on Friday night. Along with his 12 strikeouts and .118 average against, Blackburn has an extraordinarily high groundball-to-flyball ratio.