Here's a look at the top pitchers in each league for the week ending May 18:
Mike Montgomery, Durham
(2-0, 2.51 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 1/3 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 5 BB, 11 K)
Although at times inconsistent, Montgomery looks like he is having his best Triple-A season yet. The 24-year-old left-hander allowed two earned runs on two hits and a walk while striking out seven in eight innings against Charlotte on Tuesday and followed it up with another strong effort (6 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) against Louisville five days later. The Rays' No. 18 prospect is 5-1 with a 3.96 ERA in nine starts (50 innings) so far for Durham.
Pacific Coast League
Kyle Hendricks, Iowa
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 11 K)
The Cubs' No. 15 prospect, who captured the Southern League ERA title with a 1.85 mark last season, seems to be taking to his second trip to Triple-A well. Following his 11-strikeout performance Thursday, the Dartmouth-educated right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.06 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 11 walks in 50 innings. Only Mike Fiers (72) and Jimmy Nelson (58), both of Nashville, have more strikeouts than Hendricks in the PCL this season.
A.J. Cole, Harrisburg
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 8 K)
Cole has enjoyed success at Double-A -- he owns a 2.21 ERA in 15 starts at the level -- but there was still something he hadn't achieved there or at any other stop in the Minors, a shutout. He achieved that -- and his first career complete game -- Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader against New Britain. His eight strikeouts and seven innings pitched were both season highs. The Nationals' No. 2 prospect is 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA, 34 strikeouts and just seven walks in eight starts (40 innings).
Drew Gagnon, Huntsville
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 5 K)
The Brewers' No. 17 prospect went from very hittable on May 11 (seven hits in five innings) to virtually untouchable in his following outing last Friday against Birmingham. The 7 2/3 frames accounted for Gagnon's longest outing of the season, besting the seven innings he pitched on both April 21 and May 6. After sporting a 5.57 ERA in 16 starts last season with the Stars, the 6-foot-4 right-hander has that figure down to 2.36 in nine outings this time around.
Mike Hauschild, Corpus Christi
(0-0, 0.75 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 11 K)
Nobody told the 23-year-old right-hander that Double-A ball was supposed to be harder than Class A Advanced, or if someone did, Hauschild certainly hasn't listened. After posting a 4.41 ERA in eight appearances with Lancaster, Hauschild was moved up to Corpus Christi last week and starred in his first two Texas League starts, tossing five one-hit innings in his debut Monday and fanning eight while allowing one run in seven innings Sunday. It's only been two starts so far, but San Antonio and Midland hitters combined to hit only .103 off the 2012 33rd-rounder.
Bryan Rodriguez, Lake Elsinore
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 10 K)
With an average of only 6.4 K/9 in his four-year Minor League career, Rodriguez has never been a big strikeout pitcher, but that's exactly what he was Friday against Modesto. The 10 strikeouts represented the first time in his career that he he has reached double digits. The 22-year-old right-hander's previous career high was eight, established on July 15, 2010, with the Padres' Dominican Summer League affiliate.
Parker Bridwell, Frederick
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 8 K)
The Orioles' No. 15 prospect struggled out of the gate, going 0-3 with a 7.56 ERA in his first five Carolina League starts and still lacked a trademark outing before last Tuesday. Then, he changed that script by taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning for the Keys. (Interestingly, he did the same thing for Class A Delmarva last June.) He improved to 1-5 with a 5.61 ERA in eight starts following the near no-no. "It was just kind of a focus thing. Last outing, it wasn't a bad outing, but the pitches I left up did get hit hard. I didn't want that to happen again," he told MiLB.com. "I just wanted to keep the ball down and most of my pitches were."
Florida State League
Scott Lyman, Jupiter
(1-0, 1.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 6 K)
In a system loaded with arms, Lyman hasn't stuck out from the pack quite yet, but he's beginning to do so in the FSL. The 24-year-old right-hander tossed his first career complete game Wednesday, tying his season high with six strikeouts in the process. Following another solid outing Monday, he has posted a 3-3 record, 1.61 ERA (fourth-lowest in the circuit) and 1.02 WHIP (fifth) through his first nine starts of the season.
Robbie Aviles, Lake County
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 0 BB, 3 K)
You can't ask for much better than what Aviles did Friday, when a lone hit-by-pitch in his final inning kept him from tossing six perfect frames for the Captains. The 22-year-old right-hander started the season coming out of the bullpen, where he allowed two earned runs, struck out 14 and walked none in 17 2/3 innings, before transitioning to the rotation at the start of May. He's been nearly as good as a starter, giving up three earned runs in 19 innings (1.42 ERA) so far.
South Atlantic League
Dario Alvarez, Savannah
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 12 K)
Like Aviles, Alvarez started the season coming out of the bullpen. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out 19 and didn't allow a run in 13 1/3 innings as a reliever, and after lasting just 2 2/3 innings in his first start, he broke out with a big effort against Greenville on Wednesday. His 12 punchouts tied a career high, matching the dozen he collected July 24, 2013, with Class A Short Season Brooklyn.