CHARLESTON, S.C. - Two of the league's most dominant starting pitchers that have buoyed the RiverDogs' talented starting rotation this year are on their way to the next level. Right-hander Luis Gil and Alexander Vizcaino were each promoted to the High-A Tampa Tarpons as announced by the Yankees on Thursday.
Gil, 21, has shined among the RiverDogs' lauded rotation this year, considered one of the most talented in the minor leagues to start the season, finishing his RiverDogs tenure after 17 in starts before a promotion to Tampa. Gil left the South Atlantic League ranking third in ERA (2.39) while striking out 112 batters over 83.0 innings, a K per nine-inning mark of 12.3 that was the second-highest in the league at the time of his promotion. The Azua, Dominican Republic native flashed a dominant fastball that flirted with 100 mph in each start along with an improved breaking ball that led to a swing-and-miss on nearly 17 percent of his pitches, a league-best rate. The wiry hurler was named the Southern Division All-Star starter in the mid-summer classic and the league's "Pitcher of the Week" after turning in seven shutout frames and a career-high-tying 10 punchouts in a matchup with Dallas Kuechel on Major League rehab assignment on June 10 in Rome.
Vizcaino, 22, also showcased some of the most electric stuff in the SAL circuit this year, opening the season with Charleston and going 5-5, 4.41 ERA while whiffing 101 in 87 2/3 frames this season before his call up. The fellow product out of the D.R. induced a swing-and-miss rate surpassed only by Gil among qualifying arms in the league this season and was also a mid-season All-Star pick. Vizcaino flashed a fastball that touched as high as 99 mph this year, paired with an outstanding changeup, considered one of the best in the system along with a developing slider.
Gil and Vizcaino become the fourth and fifth pitchers from Charleston's Opening Day staff to garner promotion to Tampa this year, joining fellow righties Shawn Semple, Jio Orozco, and Daniel Bies.
In a pair of corresponding moves, the Yankees promoted right-hander Josh Maciejewski and Yoendrys Gomez, who checked in at No. 24 on the Yankees' pre-season top-30 list by Baseball America, to fill out the rest of Charleston's staff. Maciejewski, 23, was the Yankees' 10th round selection of UNC-Charlotte last season. After making a spot start with Tampa in late-May, the Tarheel State product reopened his season with Staten Island in June and went 2-2 with a 2.01 ERA that ranked second in the league across six appearances (five starts) with the SI Yanks; he struck out 23 to seven walks in 31 1/3 innings. Gomez, 19, joins Roansy Contreras as the second teenage member of Charleston's rotation. The Venezuela native made six starts with rookie-level Pulaski to open the season, going 4-2 with a 2.12 ERA while punching out 28 in 29 2/3 innings.
Charleston and their retooled pitching staff try to avoid a series sweep at the hands of the BlueClaws to close the first top of their Northern road trip on Thursday night. Right-hander Roansy Contreras (6-5, 4.33) will get the ball in the final meeting of the season between the two clubs. The 19-year-old Dominican has gone at least five innings in four straight starts, permitting no more than one earned run in each. Contreras, graded the Yankees' No. 7 overall prospect in the pre-season by Baseball America, will match up with fellow teenage prospect Victor Santos (4-7, 3.36). The BlueClaws righty has given up seven runs over his previous two appearances, spanning 8 2/3 innings. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.
Catch the game on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area and online streaming on the TuneIn Radio app. Fans can "Make Fun" with the RiverDogs all season long down at The Joe. Single-game tickets, including options to the Riley Park Club, are now available at riverdogs.com/tickets or by contacting the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS). A full schedule and list of game times for the 2019 season are available at riverdogs.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.