Pitchers of the Week07/22/2013 12:55 PM ET
By John Parker / MiLB.com
Here's a look at the top pitching performers in each league for the week ending July 21:
Greg Smith, Lehigh Valley
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 2 K)
A 29-year-old left-hander, Smith doesn't strike many hitters out, but nor does he allow many homers or walks. The Louisiana State product improved to 5-1 with the IronPigs with an eight-inning gem against Columbus on Sunday, allowing an unearned run on four hits and one walk while fanning two. In six starts for Lehigh Valley, Smith is 4-0 with a 0.26 ERA and a .182 average against over 34 1/3 innings.
Pacific Coast League
Evan Meek, Round Rock
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 4 K)
Meek last served as a full-time starter in 2006, so the Express' decision to move him from the bullpen to the rotation in mid June was mildly curious. Still, the 30-year-old right-hander has flourished in his new role, going 5-1 with a 3.06 ERA in eight starts. On Sunday, Meek had his longest and strongest outing yet, allowing four hits and two walks over eight scoreless frames to earn his third consecutive victory.
Ryan Tepera, New Hampshire
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 7 K)
After going winless in five starts between mid June and mid July, Tepera has won both of his last two outings, capped by eight scoreless frames against Portland on Wednesday during which he gave up four hits while fanning seven. In 21 outings last season, Tepera allowed Florida State League and Eastern League hitters to bat .287 against him; this year, that mark is .238 overall and .194 in four July appearances.
Spencer Arroyo, Birmingham
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 5 K)
Arroyo made his Triple-A debut in a spot start for Charlotte on July 12, allowing four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings in a 4-1 loss to Norfolk. If he was disappointed to be back in the Southern League, it didn't show against Chattanooga on Thursday night, as the 24-year-old left-hander fired seven scoreless innings, fanning five, to improve to 7-4 with the Barons. Arroyo's 3.45 overall ERA is his best since 2010, and he's allowed just one home run over his last 35 innings.
Keyvius Sampson, San Antonio
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 12 K)
Sampson began the season with Triple-A Tucson but posted an 8.03 ERA in four starts before returning to San Antonio, where he promptly lost his first three starts. The 22-year-old right-hander has gone 7-1 since May 16, however, and begun piling up strikeouts at a prodigious rate. On Saturday he hit double-digit K's for the third time in five starts, fanning 12 over seven scoreless one-hit frames. Sampson struck out the first seven Midland RockHounds he faced and walked two. In his last 32 innings covering five starts, Sampson has struck out 46 while allowing 14 hits.
Brandon Sinnery, Visalia
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 9 K)
An undrafted free agent out of the University of Michigan, Sinnery spent 2012 pitching in the independent leagues. After signing on with the D-backs, the 23-year-old right-hander went 7-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 17 appearances for Class A South Bend before earning a promotion to Visalia. Unfazed by the legendarily difficult conditions at High Desert's Stater Bros. Stadium -- a venue that has led pro baseball in runs and home runs per game over the past five seasons -- Sinnery tossed six scoreless frames in his debut Sunday, allowing two hits and two walks while fanning a season-high nine batters.
Henry Owens, Salem
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 10 K)
Owens demonstrated why he's the top left-handed prospect in the Red Sox system last week, firing the first six innings of Salem's first-ever no-hitter. Owens, who turned 21 on Sunday, matched a season-high with 10 strikeouts before giving way to Matty Ott and Matt Price, who closed out the gem. The 6-foot-7 Californian ranks second on the circuit with 107 strikeouts this season and is holding Carolina League hitters to a .190 average. He has not allowed a home run in 47 innings dating back to May 26.
Florida State League
Taylor Rogers, Fort Myers
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 2 BB, 8 K)
After being ripped for six runs over two innings in his previous start, Rogers rebounded at Dunedin on Thursday, allowing one hit -- a two-out double in the sixth -- in his first career shutout. The left-hander improved to 8-3 with a 2.61 ERA in 14 outings with the Miracle. Rogers seems to have a particular affinity for the Blue Jays: in two starts against Dunedin this season, he's allowed no runs and six hits while fanning 16 over 16 innings.
Victor Sanchez, Clinton
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 0 BB, 8 K)
Where Owens only pitched six innings and Rogers gave up one hit, Sanchez put it all together in a brilliant, nine-inning no-hitter against Lansing on Wednesday. The 18-year-old, whose mother had just flown in from Venezuela, retired 20 straight batters after plunking the second batter of the game. Sanchez's eight strikeouts matched a career high and he faced just three over the minimum.
South Atlantic League
Joan Gregorio, Augusta
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 10 K)
Gregorio also flirted with perfection last week, pitching seven no-hit frames against Lakewood on Wednesday that were marred only by a walk and an error. The lanky 6-foot-7, 180-pound right-hander struck out 10 batters to improve to 6-2 in 11 starts with the GreenJackets. Though hit hard in the Northwest League last summer -- he went 7-7 with a 5.54 ERA -- Gregorio has been brilliant for Augusta and is holding Sally League hitters to a .223 average.
New York-Penn League
Miller Diaz, Brooklyn
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
Diaz's first three outings with the Cyclones saw him allow 14 runs -- seven earned over 14 1/3 innings. In his last three, he's allowed one run on six hits while fanning 24 over 16 innings. The stretch culminated with Saturday's win against visiting Batavia, in which the 21-year-old right-hander struck out nine over five scoreless frames. Diaz ranks third in the NYPL with 39 strikeouts and he's holding league hitters to a .186 average.
James Pugliese, Boise
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 9 K)
Pugliese's second campaign with the Hawks has been dramatically better than the first. Last year the New Jersey native posted a 5.37 ERA with a .307 average against; this season those numbers are 2.41 and .217. The 20-year-old right-hander had a pair of scoreless outings last week, firing six frames at Hillsboro on Tuesday before authoring five more against Everett on Sunday. Pugliese ranks third in the league with 34 strikeouts and sixth with a 2.41 ERA.
Chris Flexen, Kingsport
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 14 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 20 K)
Flexen is another young hurler enjoying significantly better results after rejoining his 2012 club. The 19-year-old pitched a pair of scoreless, seven-inning outings last week, fanning nine Burlington Royals in a shutout Monday and a career-high 11 Princeton Rays on Sunday. The latter effort earned Flexen his third straight win and propelled him into fourth place in the Appy League strikeout race.
Felipe Perez, Missoula
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 9 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 4 K)
19-year-old Felipe Perez has appeared in six games as a pro. After another sterling effort Thursday, he's now tossed nine-inning complete games in two of them. Following up on his three-hit shutout July 1, Perez held visiting Ogden to an unearned run on two hits in the Osprey's 10-1 victory. Having allowed a leadoff double in the sixth, the right-hander surrendered a second hit in the ninth before closing out the victory.