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Pitchers of the Week

For the week ending May 31
June 1, 2015

Here's a look at the top pitchers in each league for the week ending May 31:

International League
Matt Wisler, Gwinnett
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 1/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 8 K)
"Wisler has waited to find sustained results at the Triple-A level, and it looks like they've finally come." That's what we wrote back on May 11 when the Braves' No. 2 prospect won his first Pitcher of the Week award of the season, and three weeks later, it's only been fortified. Following a scoreless week that included a rain-shortened two-inning affair Monday and a career-long, 8 1/3-inning gem Saturday, the right-hander went 3-0 with a sparkling 1.78 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in six starts last month. The 22-year-old isn't on the Braves' 40-man roster so a promotion might not be imminent -- No. 10 prospect Manny Banuelos (2.39 ERA at Gwinnett) is and is the more likely call-up if Atlanta needs rotation help -- but if he can muster a June nearly as good as his May, he could force Atlanta's hand at some point this summer.

Pacific Coast League
Barry Zito, Nashville
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 5 BB, 11 K)
It's not often that we see a former Cy Young winner in this space, but then again, it's not often that we see a former Cy Young winner take the route that Zito has taken this season. After taking a year off, the 37-year-old southpaw signed a Minor League deal with the A's back in February and is just starting to find success in the PCL. Two of his three scoreless starts this season came last week, causing his ERA to drop to 4.12 -- its lowest level of the season. His peripherals (4.90 FIP, 6.5 K/9, 4.4 BB/9) aren't that enticing, but for any A's fans hoping to see their former ace back in Oakland, last week should at least provide some cause for optimism.

Eastern League
Eric Ruth, Trenton
(2-0, 2.08 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 13 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 7 K)
Before a Yankees-Red Sox marathon back in April caused some roster issues in the New York farm system, Ruth wasn't even supposed to be a full-time starter this season, but after six starts in the Eastern League, he's inarguably been the most effective pitcher in the Trenton rotation so far this season. The 24-year-old right-hander, who made 31 of his 36 appearances out of the bullpen last season, is 3-0 with a 2.04 ERA and 1.13 WHIP through 35 1/3 innings for the Thunder thus far. He matched a career-high with seven innings, during which he gave one run on four hits, on Saturday and hit triple-digits (104) in pitch count for the first time this season, indicating Trenton aims to get as much out of Ruth as it can.

Southern League
Jake Brigham, Mississippi
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 5 K)
Friday presented an interesting pitching matchup in Mississippi with Brigham, a 27-year-old veteran in his fourth organization, squaring off against top Reds prospect Robert Stephenson for Pensacola. Stephenson struck out 10 and allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings, but thanks to Brigham's above line and a run in the eighth, the Braves came out on top, 1-0. The stellar start marked the first time Brigham had pitched at least eight innings since he threw a nine-inning complete game on Aug. 10, 2010, for Class A Hickory in the Rangers system. After signing a Minor League deal with the Braves this past offseason, the 2006 sixth-rounder is 4-2 with a 3.95 ERA in nine starts (41 innings).

Texas League
Justin Hancock, San Antonio
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 14 K)
Hancock, the Padres' No. 16 prospect, struck out a career-high eight in six scoreless innings Saturday at Northwest Arkansas, and if there was ever an exclamation point put on an excellent month, that was it. The 24-year-old right-hander didn't allow more than two earned runs in any of his six starts in May and owned a 1.00 ERA in that span, lowest in the Texas League. His 2.02 season ERA ranks third in the circuit through the first two months. Hancock should be tested up at Triple-A El Paso before long. 

California League
John Richy, Rancho Cucamonga
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 0 BB, 5 K)
Nine-inning shutouts are a rare occurrence in the Cal League, so when one comes across the radar, it tends to make our ears perk up. Richy's CGSHO on Thursday for the Quakes did just that. A 2014 third-round pick out of UNLV, the 22-year-old right-hander has been thrown into the fire at Rancho Cucamonga and, thanks to good fastball command, is holding his own for the most part, going 6-2 with a 3.99 ERA in 58 2/3 innings so far.

Carolina League
Teddy Stankiewicz, Salem
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 4 K)
The No. 20 Red Sox prospect isn't a big strikeout pitcher (career 6.0 K/9), so when he dominates on the mound, it's because he's forcing a lot of weak contact and groundballs with a two-seam fastball. That was the case last Monday when the 21-year-old right-hander got 13 groundouts en route to his first Carolina League win of the season after going 0-5 through his first eight starts. Stankiewicz (3.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) has been more impressive than his record would indicate, however, and if a mechanical adjustment continues to work wonders as it did Monday, those rate stats could drop even further.

Florida State League
Chris Kirsch, Charlotte
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 9 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 11 K)
It's tough to say which is more impressive from Kirsch's pair of road starts last week for the Stone Crabs -- the fact he didn't allow a run in either outing or his 11-to-1 K-to-BB ratio in 13 innings. Either way, it's undeniable that Charlotte, which has now had three of the FSL's seven Pitchers of the Week, have another good one on their hands. The 2012 14th-round pick has a 2.44 ERA through 51 2/3 innings this season, and even that is only good for third among Charlotte qualifiers -- a big reason why the Stone Crabs' 2.18 ERA leads the circuit by a wide margin (Fort Myer is second at 2.71).

Midwest League
Luis Perdomo, Peoria
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 9 K)
Life in the Midwest League has been much better the second time around for the 22-year-old right-hander, as he showed over a career-high eight innings Friday against Kane County. Perdomo had a 5.05 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 11 starts for Peoria in 2014 and has those numbers down to 1.48 and 1.17 through eight outings for the Chiefs so far this campaign. His strikeouts are also up in a big way. His 9.6 K/9 -- up from 6.5 -- is seventh in the Midwest League.

South Atlantic League
Ariel Jurado, Hickory
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 9 K)
Jurado has ridden impeccable control to what's been an impressive full-season debut with Hickory. The 19-year-old right-hander, who relies on a sinker, has walked only six in 51 frames, a BB/9 rate of 1.06 that ranks second in the Sally League. The Panama native is 7-0 with a 2.29 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 43 strikeouts through nine starts.

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