Here's a look at the top pitching performers in each league for the week ending May 4:
Josh Tomlin, Columbus
(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, 10 K)
An IL All-Star with the Clippers in 2010, Tomlin was limited to 27 1/3 innings last season after undergoing elbow reconstruction surgery in August 2012. The 29-year-old right-hander is fully recovered and has dominated hitters in his first five outings of the season, capped by a three-hit shutout of first-place Durham on Sunday. With the win -- the second shutout of his career and first since 2008 -- Tomlin improved to 2-1 this spring, lowered his ERA to 2.06 and extended his scoreless streak to 17 innings. He's holding IL hitters to a .185 batting average.
Pacific Coast League
Mike Fiers, Nashville
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 11 K
In 2011, Fiers went 8-0 with a 1.11 ERA for Nashville in his first 12 Triple-A appearances. He's been even better in his first five outings of 2014, culminating in a seven-inning two-hit shutout -- with 11 strikeouts -- on Wednesday. With the win, the 28-year-old righty is 5-0 with a 0.80 ERA, posting 47 strikeouts and three walks in 33 2/3 innings this season. Those are video-game numbers.
Fiers starts his great outing with a K
Mike McCarthy, Portland
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 8 K)
It's a fluke of scheduling, but you're more likely to win a weekly award with two quality starts in a week rather than one. McCarthy took advantage of the opportunity last week by notching a pair of victories while allowing one unearned run over 12 frames. The 26-year-old Red Sox farmhand got off to a horrendous start this year, allowing seven runs in four innings to Trenton back on April 8 but has steadily improved since then. Despite being a right-hander, McCarthy has proved far more effective against lefty hitters, posting a 0.71 ERA and .233 BAA vs. southpaws and 8.36 and .355 marks versus righties.
Cam Hobson, Jackson
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 9 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 4 K)
He only got one victory, but Hobson was the right choice for the Generals last week, stringing together 13 scoreless innings. On Saturday the left-hander, an 11th-round pick out of the University of Dayton in 2011, went a season-high seven frames, allowing just four hits. Despite his success, there are causes for concern in Hobson's peripheral numbers. His strikeouts are way down -- he has just 12 punchouts in 35 2/3 innings this year -- and he's benefitted from a .227 BABIP that is unlikely to be sustainable. Nevertheless, Hobson was the Southern League's top hurler last week.
Jerad Eickhoff, Frisco
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 7 K)
Eickhoff needed to rebound after a pair of rough starts in which he'd given up 11 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings. He did more than bounce back Friday night, holding host San Antonio to two hits and an unearned run over 7 1/3 strong frames. The 23-year-old right-hander did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and lowered his season ERA nearly two runs to 4.56. Despite that still-high mark, Eickhoff has held Texas League batters to a .194 average and is striking out more than a batter per inning, his highest rate since 2011.
Frisco's Jerad Eickhoff strikes out Hagerty
Joe Ross, Lake Elsinore
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 9 K)
Most stories involving Joe Ross lead with the fact that he's the younger brother of Padres starter Tyson Ross. But 20-year-old Joe is establishing his own name with a series of excellent outings in the unfriendly environment of the California League. Ross fanned a season-high nine batters over six scoreless innings last Monday, and after giving up four runs on Opening Day has surrendered just three more over his last 27 1/3 frames. Ross has held Cal League right-handed hitters to a .178 average and his 1.95 ERA is third-best on the circuit.
Christian Binford, Wilmington
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 8 K)
Last season Binford was twice named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week while posting a 2.67 ERA for Lexington. He's now twice captured the Carolina League prize in the first month of the 2014 season, thanks to his almost preternatural control. Not only is the 21-year-old right-hander holding league hitters to a .213 average, but he's walked just five batters (while fanning 34) in 28 1/3 innings. Saturday's win at Carolina marked Binford's second outing this year of at least seven scoreless innings without issuing a walk.
Florida State League
Edgar De La Rosa, Lakeland
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 8 K)
Despite holding FSL hitters to a .204 average, De La Rosa went into Tuesday's game against Daytona with an 0-3 record. He finally earned his first victory of the season with seven one-hit frames in the Flying Tigers' 7-0 win. The right-handed De La Rosa has been particularly deadly on left-handed hitters, who are 3-for-38 (.079) against him.
Austin Kubitza, West Michigan
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 12 K)
Like Binford, Kubitza is another two-time winner. The Whitecaps right-hander, a fourth-round pick out of Rice last summer, was the Midwest League's top pitcher during the first week of the season. Kubitza eclipsed that effort with seven innings of scoreless two-hit ball at Lake County on Thursday, fanning a career-high 12. The 22-year-old hurler, who has given up just one homer in his five starts, recorded seven groundouts without a single flyout against the Captains. He ranks third in the Minor Leagues with a 3.80 groundout-to-flyout ratio.
South Atlantic League
Tyler Danish, Kannapolis
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 9 K)
A second-round pick last June, Danish has done nothing but impress in the White Sox system. The 19-year-old was unscored upon in two starts last week and has been all but spotless at home this season: he's 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three games in Kannapolis covering 17 innings. Danish ranks second in the Sally League with a 0.84 ERA overall and has yet to allow a homer or hit a batter in 2014.