Pitchers of the Week

For the week ending April 13

Thomas Hanson/Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Joy R. Absalon/MLB.com)

By Bryan Smith / MLB.com | April 14, 2008 12:00 PM

International League
Justin Lehr, Louisville
2-0, 0.60 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 15.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO
The 30-year-old must be wishing he'd gotten to the International League sooner. Lehr entered this season with 159 games at the Triple-A level, but his April 7 debut with the Bats was his first IL appearance. Lehr started his IL career in style, throwing seven perfect innings before a home run spoiled things in the eighth. Lehr got the win, though, and would again five days later, throwing seven shutout innings against Pawtucket.

Pacific Coast League
Max Scherzer, Tucson
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 18 SO
Scherzer's electric arm drew much attention in Spring Training, but the Diamondbacks opted to keep Scherzer in Tucson for further seasoning. The right-hander has been fantastic in his first two starts for the Sidewinders, though he has yet to figure in a decision. The team has lost both starts as the Tucson offense has scored just two runs in his two outings. The Sidewinders' bullpen couldn't lock down the game Saturday after Scherzer struck out 11 with no earned runs in seven innings.

Eastern League
Justin Masterson, Portland
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO
One of Boston's most prized prospects, Masterson has been on a strict pitch count this season, but it has done little to hinder his dominance. On Opening Day, Masterson was the driving force in the team's 3-0 victory, throwing four scoreless innings. He was even better in his next start, allowing just one ball to reach the outfield in five innings. Lauded for his sinker, Masterson has registered 15 groundouts against just one flyout this season.

Southern League
Daryl Thompson, Chattanooga
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO
Through 10 games, Thompson has been the stingiest pitcher in the minors. Thompson has allowed just five singles and one walk in his two starts, good for a 0.50 WHIP. Batters are slugging just .122 against the right-hander, who picked up his first Double-A victory in the Lookouts' season opener before the bullpen blew a save in his second outing.

Texas League
Will Inman, San Antonio
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 9 SO
Starting the season with two scoreless starts, Inman's return trip to San Antonio has started wonderfully. Both five-inning outings have come against the Texas League's newest franchise, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, who managed just four hits against Inman in 10 innings. Right-handed hitters are having an especially hard time against Inman, batting just .107 on the season.

California League
Clayton Tanner, San Jose
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 3 GS, 17.0 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 14 SO
The Australian southpaw has been a revelation in California to start the season, as Sunday's five-inning outing was his third start without allowing an earned run this season. Both of Tanner's victories have come against Bakersfield: a six-inning gem on Opening Day and Sunday's victory in his debut in San Jose's Municipal Stadium. Oddly enough, Tanner's best start was a no-decision against Modesto in which he struck out nine and allowed just two hits in six innings. Tanner has a 2.80 groundout-to-flyout ratio this season, and left-handed hitters are batting just .120 against him.

Carolina League
Thomas Hanson, Myrtle Beach
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 20 SO
The most dominant pitcher in the Minor Leagues to start the season, Hanson has yet to win a game despite two scoreless starts and 20 strikeouts. As the Pelicans' Opening Day starter, Hanson did not yield a hit in five innings, allowing just two hitters to put balls in play while fanning 13. The Myrtle Beach offense failed to support him, however, as would the bullpen in his next outing, a six-inning, one-hit gem at Potomac that ended in a Pelicans' 4-3 loss.

Florida State League
Eric Hacker, Tampa
0-1, 1.35 ERA, 3 G, 3 GS, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 20.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 16 SO
Proponents of win-loss records would have a hard time arguing with Hacker's start to the season, back in Tampa after compiling a 6.10 ERA in 2007. Hacker has looked much better in 2008, with an impressive 16/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. After dropping his Opening Day start to Rick Porcello and Lakeland, Hacker has recorded no-decisions in a pair of 1-0 Yankee victories. On April 8, Hacker threw seven perfect innings but the Yankees offense didn't score until the 10th inning. Hacker extended his scoreless streak to 14 innings with a two-hit, seven-inning outing Sunday -- but Tampa didn't score until the eighth.

Midwest League
Daniel Guttierez, Burlington
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 13 SO
Returning to Burlington in 2008, Gutierrez has been fantastic in two scoreless starts but has yet to earn a win. Gutierrez set the tone for the Bees on Opening Day, striking out eight in five scoreless innings. The offense didn't wake up until the seventh, however, so Gutierrez earned a no-decision in Burlington's 2-0 win. On Wednesday the offense never showed up as the Bees lost to Kane County, 1-0, in 10 innings, in the Midwest League's best pitching duel this season.

South Atlantic League
Jason Ragan, Columbus
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO
Signed as an non-drafted free agent in 2006 after a good career at the University of Mobile, Ragan is looking like a steal after a fantastic start in full-season ball. Ragan has earned victories in both his starts, including a seven-inning masterpiece against Savannah on Saturday. Ragan garnered 13 groundouts in the victory, making life easy on the Catfish outfielders. Ragan will now have to look elsewhere for a victory, though, because after beating the Sand Gnats twice, Columbus won't play Savannah again until June.

Bryan Smith is an associate reporter for 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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