Over the course of five days, Juan Paniagua lost the jitters and gained aggression. That tradeoff paid off Monday.Bouncing back from a rough Florida State League debut, the right-handed Cubs prospect gave up two hits over six innings in his second Class A Advanced start as Daytona blanked Bradenton, 7-0."I
Over the course of five days, Juan Paniagua lost the jitters and gained aggression. That tradeoff paid off Monday.
Bouncing back from a rough Florida State League debut, the right-handed Cubs prospect gave up two hits over six innings in his second Class A Advanced start as Daytona blanked Bradenton, 7-0.
"I saw he was really aggressive with his fastball. His changeup was pretty good too," D-Cubs pitching coach Ron Villone said. "He's developing really well. Even when he fell behind in counts, he was able to attack the zone."
Paniagua allowed singles to Jordan Steranka and Justin Maffei in the second and third innings respectively. The 24-year-old issued walks to Eric Wood and Jin-De Jhang in the fifth, and otherwise shut the Marauders down.
"I think he got to the fifth or sixth inning and he might have given more effort since he was cruising and he missed above the zone, but he was able to come back," Villone said.
With his sixth strikeout of the game, the right-hander pitched a perfect sixth to complete his fourth scoreless start of the season.
Before getting the call to Class A Advanced, the Dominican Republic native went 6-4 with a 3.36 ERA over 17 games -- 14 starts -- with Class A Kane County. Paniagua led the Cougars with 75 strikeouts during his time in the Midwest League.
In his first start with the D-Cubs on July 22 at Palm Beach, the 6-foot-1 hurler was tagged for five runs on seven hits over four frames. Since then, Villone said Paniagua (1-1) has been working hard to improve his fastball command and lessen his nerves.
"It was just jitters. Guys come from another team or another level and that comes into it, but tonight he was coming into it aggressive. He was establishing his fastball because he has such a live arm. He topped 97 [and was] using that to his advantage," the coach said. "He's made some adjustments in his game, he's starting to hold runners on and he's just maturing as a pitcher."
Willson Contreras, Marco Hernandez and No. 9 Cubs prospect Billy McKinney chipped in two RBIs apiece to back up Paniagua's strong outing on the mound.
"I think [seven runs] makes a difference for anyone, but tonight that makes it a lot easier for someone like Juan to establish their fastball," the coach said. "Those guys put up some quality swings. [Cubs' No. 8 Kyle] Schwarber, McKinney, [No. 12 Dan] Vogelbach are putting together some great at-bats this season."
Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.