Ross Ohlendorf, Pawtucket
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 3 K)
After making 50 Major League starts in 2009-10, shoulder woes limited Ohlendorf to 38 2/3 frames and an unsightly 8.15 ERA with the Pirates last year. The 29-year-old Princeton product is off to a strong start with his new organization, however, allowing two hits over six shutout innings Tuesday to hand first-place Lehigh Valley just its second loss in its first 11 games. Ohlendorf needed just 63 pitches and faced one over the minimum in the PawSox's 8-0 win.
Ohlendorf fans Podsednik to open game
Pacific Coast League
Dallas Keuchel, Oklahoma City
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 8 K)
The 24-year-old Keuchel isn't known for his strikeouts -- he has fanned 276 in 407 2/3 Minor League innings -- but he is expert at getting outs, specifically of the groundball variety. In his two starts this season, the left-hander has allowed six singles without walking a batter. Keuchel, who has faced 43 batters over his 13 surgical frames, has recorded 24 ground-ball outs and four flyouts. He leads all Triple-A pitchers with a 0.46 WHIP and only Durham's Alex Cobb has registered a higher groundout-to-flyout ratio.
Greg Peavey, Binghamton
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 2/3 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
Top Mets prospect Zack Wheeler was expected to be the ace of the B-Mets' staff, but the right-handed Peavey has gotten off to a stronger start, tossing 10 2/3 shutout innings in his first two Double-A outings. The 23-year-old Oregon State product, a sixth-round pick in 2010, went 11-6 with a 3.48 ERA at two levels last season and has been even better in Binghamton, with nine strikeouts and one walk while earning two of the B-Mets' four victories.
James Paxton, Jackson
(1-0, 0.87 ERA, 10 1/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 1 BB, 17 K)
The Jackson Generals may have the strongest starting rotation in the Minor Leagues, with three of MLB.com's Top 100 prospects on their staff in Danny Hultzen (No. 16), Taijuan Walker (No. 18) and Paxton (No. 77), not to mention Andrew Carraway, who is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA. Paxton, who chatted with MiLB.com's Robert Emrich last month, has shone the brightest thus far, having allowed one run on six hits and a walk while fanning 17 over 10 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old southpaw struck out 10 in his season debut and has helped Jackson take an early lead in what should be a K-filled Southern League campaign.
A.J. Griffin, Midland
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 16 K)
Griffin made six starts for the RockHounds last year, but it did not go well: he posted a 2-3 record and 6.47 ERA while allowing six home runs. In two outings this season, however, the 6-foot-5 right-hander has been virtually untouchable, allowing two hits and two walks while fanning 16 over 11 innings. Griffin struck out eight over six no-hit frames at Springfield on Tuesday but came away without a decision as the RockHounds fell, 5-2. The 24-year-old has not allowed a runner past first base in his 11 innings this spring.
Andrew Chafin, Visalia
(2-0, 0.82 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 18 K)
A first-round pick in the 2011 Draft, Chafin pitched a single inning in the Arizona Rookie League last summer. Having jumped straight to Class A Advanced to start the 2012 campaign, the 21-year-old left-hander has overwhelmed the California League in his first two full-season starts. Chafin has fanned nine batters in both of his outings while yielding one run on five hits and two walks over 11 frames. The Kent State product leads the league in strikeouts and ranks second with a 0.82 ERA.
Cody Buckel, Myrtle Beach
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 16 K)
Buckel's strong start should come as no surprise, as he finished seventh in the South Atlantic League in strikeouts last season despite pitching too few innings to qualify for its ERA crown (and only two pitchers who did posted a lower mark than his 2.61). The 2010 second-round pick has surpassed the high expectations, though, by allowing just four hits and striking out 16 over 10 innings in his first two starts. The handful of Carolina League batters who have managed to put the ball in play have had little success, with Buckel recording nine groundball outs against a pair of flyouts.
Florida State League
Sean Nolin, Dunedin
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 GS, 2 G, 11 2/3 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 13 K)
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Nolin was impressive in his first 2012 start, allowing four hits while fanning a pair over six scoreless innings at Clearwater on April 6. He was overwhelming in his second, racking up 11 strikeouts in 5 2/3 frames against Brevard County last Thursday (and he had to be, as Manatees starter Jed Bradley was perfect through his first five innings). Nolan has held hitters to a .175 batting average to earn two victories in as many Florida State League outings.
Austin Wood, Cedar Rapids
(2-0, 0.90 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 15 K)
A sixth-round pick out of Southern Cal in 2011, Wood made a pair of forgettable relief appearances for Short-Season Orem last summer. It seems that starting is more his thing, as the 21-year-old right-hander fanned 10 over five innings on Opening Day, then followed it up with five no-hit innings in his second pro start on Wednesday. To go along with all the strikeouts, Wood has induced 14 ground-ball outs versus just one flyout.
South Atlantic League
Matt Barnes, Greenville
(0-0, 3.27 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 16 K)
The 19th overall pick in last June's Draft, Barnes has more than lived up to his promise through two professional starts. The 21-year-old right-hander has allowed just three hits and a pair of walks while striking out 16 batters in his first 10 Minor League innings. After fanning nine in his debut, Barnes held West Virginia to one hit over five innings on Friday. All three hits he has given up -- two singles and a double -- came with the bases empty. Barnes has been particularly vicious to left-handed hitters, who are 0-for-15 with one walk and 12 strikeouts against him.