Pitchers of the Week

For the week ending June 13

Mark Cohoon last allowed an earned run three starts ago, on May 22. (Savannah Sand Gnats)

By Josh Jackson / Special to MLB.com | June 14, 2010 8:59 AM ET

International League
Nelson Figueroa, Lehigh Valley
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 14 K
Nelson Figueroa, who ended up in the Phillies system after the Mets put him on the waiver before Opening Day, looked just fine in his first two Minor League outings of 2010. He pitched six innings of two-hit ball against Charlotte on Monday. Facing the Mets affiliate Bisons in Buffalo on Sunday, Figueroa exacted a bit of revenge. He struck out six, scattering five hits and a walk over six shutout innings to earn his second Triple-A win in as many chances. The 36-year-old righty was 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA over nine Major League appearances this season, but considering the way he's throwing the ball in the IL, he's likely to have an opportunity to improve upon those numbers by the end of the summer.

Pacific Coast League
Michael Kirkman, Oklahoma City
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO
Coming off his worst start since last July, Michael Kirkman worked a total turnaround. The Rangers prospect shut down the O-Royals over seven shutout innings in Omaha on Tuesday, allowing three hits and issuing just one walk while striking out nine to earn his sixth win of the season. His previous time out, pitching against Memphis at home on June 3, Kirkman surrendered seven runs -- six earned -- without getting out of the fifth inning. His ERA ballooned from 2.85 to 3.55 with that ugly outing, but this week's performance brought him back down to 3.17. Kirkman enters the new week third in the PCL with 64 punchouts -- even during the shortened June 3 start, he whiffed eight.

Eastern League
Chuck James, Harrisburg
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
In the first game of the Senators' Wednesday doubleheader in Altoona, Chuck James issued a leadoff walk in the first inning. The next guy hit into a double play, and James was perfect throughout the remainder of his five frames. He struck out the side in the third and did it again in the fourth. The Harrisburg bullpen worked a 1-2-3 sixth and a 1-2-3 seventh, notching a no-hitter for the Sens. James started his 2010 campaign in Syracuse, going 2-1 with a 3.92 ERA over five Triple-A starts, and the Nationals farmhand has yet to allow a run over five Eastern League appearances this season. Wednesday's start was his first at the Double-A level since he pitched in the Southern League in 2005.

Southern League
Christopher Carpenter, Tennessee
1-0, 1.46 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 11 SO
Cubs prospect Christopher Carpenter, who was a Midwest League All-Star during his first full season in 2009, is off to a decent start to his first year in Double-A ball, and he was especially strong over his two most recent starts. On Tuesday, he blanked the Huntsville Stars over 6 1/3 innings, giving up just three hits and a walk while sending six down on strikes. He was nearly as stingy in his next start -- he gave up a couple of runs on a third-inning homer on Sunday -- but he struck out five and allowed only two opposing hitters to reach second base after surrendering the roundtripper.

Texas League
Bruce Billings, Tulsa
1-0, 1.17 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO
When Drillers reliever Scott Rice pelted Springfield's Aaron Luna with the bases loaded in the eighth inning on Wednesday, it was probably Bruce Billings who felt the sting most acutely. Antonio DeJesus, who was on third when the pitch got away from Rice, had worked a two-out walk off of Billings and became the first runner to score off the Rockies prospect since May 3. The scoreless streak came to an end at 38 2/3 innings, but Billings still had to feel pretty good about the day. He'd kicked off the top of the eighth with a double and came around to score the first run of the game, and he picked up the "W" in the 2-1 victory.

California League
Tyler Chatwood, Rancho Cucamonga
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Tyler Chatwood, the Angels' first pick from the 2008 Draft, chucked eight shutout innings on Friday -- no small feat in the California League. Facing the 66ers in Inland Empire, Chatwood allowed three hits -- none during the same inning -- and refused to walk a batter while fanning six and beating rehabbing Dodgers starter Charlie Haeger to pick up his circuit-leading eighth win. Chatwood allowed just one run over seven innings in his previous start (against Lancaster on June 6), and his 1.62 ERA is second in the league. He's also fourth with 68 strikeouts.

Carolina League
Marty Popham, Kinston
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 10 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K
Tribe prospect Marty Popham, who earned a late-May promotion to the Carolina League after beginning his first full season with the Midwest League's Lake County Captains, posted two fine outings this week. He frustrated the Wilmington Blue Rocks through seven shutout innings on Tuesday -- they broke through against the Kinston bullpen with a run in the eighth and went on to take the game. Going up against Myrtle Beach on Sunday, Popham allowed four hits and walk while adding up seven strikeouts over six scoreless frames. The Indians had Popham's back this time out -- his impressive performance earned him his first Class A Advanced win.

Florida State League
Brad Hand, Jupiter
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Brad Hand sparkled against the Tampa Yankees on Tuesday, recording his first career complete-game shutout. The Marlins prospect came out of the 2008 Draft, and he's adjusting quite well to the Class A Advanced level. Over the course of his nine fine innings, Hand allowed a single in the second, two in the fourth and one in the eighth. He otherwise silenced the Tampa bats, and he fanned four along the way to the win. Hand pitched six scoreless innings of two-hit ball in his previous start, which came on June 3.

Midwest League
Garrett Richards, Cedar Rapids
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
The Angels' fourth-round pick in the 2009 Draft, Richards hasn't had much trouble with life in the pros. This week, he permitted just one hit -- a fourth-inning single -- over the course of six shutout innings. He whiffed four without allowing a walk, and he's now second in the Midwest League with with 74 strikeouts, and he also ranks second with 79 innings pitched. Richards has won four of his last five starts, and he may pitch his way into the California League by the end of the season.

South Atlantic League
Mark Cohoon, Savannah
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Mets prospect Mark Cohoon receives his second consecutive Sally League Pitcher of the Week award. The last guy to do that? Madison Bumgarner. Cohoon sealed the deal by tossing yet another nine-inning, complete-game shutout, his second in as many starts. The 2008 first-rounder perplexed the Grasshoppers in Greensboro, taking a perfect game into the fifth inning and allowing just three hits over the course of his day's work. He struck out five and walked one, and he improved to 6-1 with a league-best 1.44 ERA. His only loss came in mid-May, and the last time he allowed an earned run was on May 22.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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