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Pitchers of the Week

For the week ending July 12
Darin Gorski made his first relief appearance since June 14, 2014 last week for Las Vegas. Steve Spatafore
July 13, 2015

Here's a look at the top offensive performers in each league for the week ending July 12:

International League
Kyle Drabek, Charlotte (CWS)
(2-0, 0.75 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 3 BB, 9 K)
A former top-20 prospect who was traded with Travis d'Arnaud and Michael Taylor for Roy Halladay back in 2009, Drabek fell off the hype train because of injuries, including 2012 Tommy John surgery, and poor results in the Majors. The White Sox picked him up off waivers from the Blue Jays in March and sent him to the bullpen to start the season. After being designated for assignment/outrighted to Triple-A, he moved into a starter's role in late April at Charlotte and has been solid for the Knights ever since. After a pair of six-inning gems last week, the 27-year-old right-hander is 5-5 with a 2.56 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 84 1/3 innings in the IL. 

Pacific Coast League
Darin Gorski, Las Vegas (NYM)

(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 0 HBP, 1 BB, 11 K)
With talks of six-man rotations and tons of young pitching already with the Mets, Gorski hasn't looked like more than just a depth option in New York's plans this season, but he's been doing his best to force his way into becoming a late-season option lately. The 27-year-old left-hander struck out 10 and allowed just an unearned run on three hits over six frames last Tuesday against Albuquerque. Interestingly, his next outing came out of the bullpen -- a scoreless frame against Salt Lake on Saturday -- in perhaps a sign that the Mets are considering him for a relief role going forward. After entering July with a 5.35 ERA, Gorski is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 14 innings this month.

Eastern League
Ryan Merritt, Akron (CLE)
(1-1, 3.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 12 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 11 K)
You might look at Merritt's 3.00 ERA last week and note that it's a touch high for someone to win a Pitcher of the Week award. The fact that Merritt threw a seven-inning no-hitter Saturday should do plenty to sway you though. The gem -- Akron's first no-no since July 15, 2012 -- marked the second time in four starts that Merritt blanked Reading for seven innings. He's 6-7 with a 3.49 ERA and has shown impressive control, walking only 13 in 108 1/3 innings in his first season at Double-A. 

Southern League
Austin Pruitt, Montgomery (TB)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 5 K)
Austin Pruitt, meet a Greg Maddux. The 25-year-old right-hander needed only 90 pitches (67 strikes) to complete his nine-inning shutout Wednesday at home against Biloxi. He helped achieve that, of course, thanks to his zero in the walks column, something he said was a personal challenge before the outing. The 2013 ninth-rounder, who was named Class A Advanced Charlotte's Pitcher of the Year in 2014, is 5-4 with a 2.99 ERA with 79 strikeouts and 23 walks in 99 1/3 innings so far with the Biscuits. 

Texas League
Jonathan Joseph, Midland
(2-0, 0.64 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 12 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 11 K)
Joseph hasn't been primarily a starter since 2011 with Class A Burlington but has thrived in the role over the last month with the RockHounds. In six Double-A starts, the 27-year-old right-hander has a 2.45 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with 25 strikeouts and seven walks in 33 frames. Those are promising numbers for a hurler who has spent parts of the last four seasons at Class A Advanced Stockton before finally breaking through to the Texas League back in April.

California League
Chase Johnson, San Jose (SF)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 8 K)
Johnson gave up a leadoff single to Modesto second baseman Wilson Soriano in the first inning, and that was it in the hits department for the Nuts on Saturday evening. The 23-year-old right-hander and No. 21 Giants prospect ranks fifth in the California League with a 3.01 ERA and sits fourth with a 3.51 FIP. That latter stat is helped by the fact he's allowed only three homers in 80 2/3 innings, good for a 0.33 HR/9 that sits second in the circuit.

Carolina League
Robinson Leyer, Winston-Salem (CWS)
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 5 K)
After a rough first three months in the Carolina League, Leyer finally has some momentum going with a pair of scoreless seven-inning outings to start July. The 22-year-old right-hander was 2-6 with a 5.17 ERA through June but has that latter stat down to 4.30 thanks to his recent string of zeros. "Since the beginning of the year, he's worked to be taller in the stretch, to create an angle on his fastball, and that's been his biggest key," said Dash pitching coach J.R. Perdew after Leyer's outing Wednesday. "He's starting to get it, he's starting to understand what he needs to do. Even two starts ago, when he went 4 2/3 [at Lynchburg], I thought he had a really good start. That game he was doing a lot of good things. Each time out, he's starting to really understand what he needs to do, and he's getting better."

Florida State League
Mat Batts, Fort Myers (MIN)
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 10 K)
That irony of a player named Batts won Pitcher of the Week is just so great we're going to let you breathe it in for a moment.

Now that that's happened, we'll note just how good the 2014 17th-rounder has been this season. After posting a 2.21 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings at Class A Cedar Rapids, Batts has been even better for Fort Myers, posting a 1.71 ERA with 44 punchouts in 47 1/3 frames in the FSL. His control has been near impeccable with only 19 walks to his name in 88 inniings between the two levels. (His 1.5 BB/9 would rank fifth in the Florida State League if he had enough innings to qualify to be among the circuit's leaders.) Pretty good for someone with such an offensive name.

Midwest League
David Paulino, Quad Cities (HOU)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 8 K)
Paulino has been in the Astros organization since September 2013, when he was acquired as the player to be named later in a trade with the Tigers for reliever Jose Veras, but because he had undergone Tommy John surgery earlier that year, he's just now making his formal introduction to the system. And what an introduction it's been. The Astros started the 21-year-old right-hander out at Class A Short Season Tri-City and, after a pair of scoreless starts in the New York-Penn League, moved hiim up to Quad Cities on June 30. He's allowed three runs (two earned) on 12 hits and a walk while fanning 12 in 10 innings so far with the River Bandits.

South Atlantic League
Matt Gage, Augusta (SF)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
Talk about a guy who is happy to see June gone. Gage went 0-2 with an 8.35 ERA, .358 average-against and 1.75 WHIP in four starts (18 1/3 innings) last month. (However, he did better on other peripherals, with 25 strikeouts and only three walks in that tim.) July has been a completely different story. After tossing 7 2/3 innings of scoreless ball July 4, the 22-year-old left-hander put up the above line last Friday at home against Rome. He's fanned 15 and issued only one free pass in 14 2/3 innings this month and is 4-4 with a 4.07 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 13 walks in 77 1/3 innings on the season.

New York-Penn League
Jefry Rodriguez, Auburn (WAS)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 8 K)
The Nationals' No. 13 prospect has the stuff, notably a 98 mph fastball, but hasn't put together the consistent results to back up the promise. The Nats sent 6-foot-5 right-hander to Class A Hagerstown to start the season, but he went 1-5 with a 7.45 ERA and a 23-to-22 K-to-BB ratio in nine starts (38 2/3 innings) there, forcinig the organization to move him back to Auburn in late June. He gave up 11 earned runs in 14 innings (7.07 ERA) over his first three starts this season with the Doubledays before bouncing back Friday at Batavia. The outing marked the first time since May 19 that Rodriguez had allowed fewer than three earned runs. His eight strikeouts also set a season high, beating the five he achieved in his first Auburn start.

Northwest League
Cody Reed, Hillsboro (ARI)
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 4 BB, 18 K)
Reed, whose birthday is June 7, was still only 17 when the D-backs took him in the second round out of an Alabama high school last year, so Arizona has been able to take its time with the young southpaw in his first two Minor League seasons. The D-backs' No. 17 prospect can touch the mid-90s with his fastball and is pitching beyond his years in the Northwest League so far, going 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 33 strikeouts in 27 1/3 frames with the Hops.

Appalachian League
Nestor Cortes, Pulaski (NYY)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 10 K)
Cortes, a 36th-round pick out of a Florida high school back in 2013, spent his first two seasons of pro ball in the Gulf Coast League but already has a way to remember his short time in the Appalachian League. Beyond his two scoreless starts last week, the 20-year-old left-hander started a 1-5-3 triple play last Monday and got a little hurt in the celebration. He's given up only three earned runs while striking out 24 and walking one in 23 innings so far.

Pioneer League
Cameron Smith, Missoula (ARI)
(2-0, 1.17 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 7 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 13 K)
Smith makes it two 36th-round picks to win Pitchers of the Week in our Rookie-level circuits this week. The D-backs took the Texas Tech product with their pick that round last month and sent him to Missoula, where he's dominated thus far. The Osprey left-hander scattered two hits and struck out eight over five innings in his first pro start Sunday and is 4-0 with a 0.96 ERA, 26 strikeouts and one walks in 18 2/3 frames across five pro outings thus far.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.