Here's a look at the top pitching performers in each league for the week ending Aug. 10:
Dylan Axelrod, Louisville
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 5 K)
Axelrod was signed by the White Sox as a free agent back in 2009, and he spent each of the next five seasons in the Chicago system, culminating in a full season in the Majors in 2014 when he went 4-11 with a 5.68 ERA in 30 starts. But four starts after being traded to the Reds and Triple-A Louisville, the 29-year-old right-hander has already accomplished something he did only once in his time with the White Sox; he tossed a shutout. The nine-inning two-hitter was the first time Axelrod had notched a complete game since May 24, 2012, with Charlotte and his second shutout since he put zeros on Aug. 25, 2010, for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. In 22 IL appearances this season, he is 7-8 with a 4.05 ERA, but his numbers have vastly improved since he moved to the Bats, for whom he is 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA, 20 strikeouts and only five walks in 27 2/3 innings.
Pacific Coast League
Rafael Montero, Las Vegas
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 11 K)
It's been a bit of a roller-coaster season for the Mets' No. 6 prospect. At one point, he was being called up to the Majors for the first time in May after a strong start to the year at Las Vegas. After an inconsistent four-start showing (5.40 ERA), he was sent back to the 51s, and soon after, a left oblique strain kept him out for a month in June and July. Now healthy and fully back up to speed, he produced his most dominant outing of the season last Tuesday at Sacramento. News broke Monday that he'll be rewarded for the effort with another promotion to the Mets and a start in the Majors on Tuesday to replace the injured Jacob deGrom.
Montero gets 11th strikeout
Duke von Schamann, Akron
(2-0, 2.57 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 0 BB, 5 K)
The 6-foot-5 right-hander earned the first Player of the Week honor of his career for his consistency last week. von Schamann allowed two earned runs in two separate seven-inning outings last week, getting home wins against New Britain on Tuesday and New Hampshire on Sunday. The former Texas Tech hurler has now gone at least seven frames in each of his last six outings and has issued only two walks in 42 2/3 innings during that time. Since being acquired from the Dodgers in an April trade, von Schamann ranks fifth in the Eastern League with a 1.9 BB/9 and is 7-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 21 appearances (119 2/3 innings).
Chris Bassitt, Birmingham
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 11 K)
A broken pitching hand kept Bassitt from making his first pitch with the Barons until July 29, but it doesn't look like there's been a difficult transition back to the mound. His 11-strikeout effort Saturday against Huntsville gives him three solid starts to begin his 2014 Southern League campaign, one year after he led all White Sox farmhands with 138 strikeouts between Birmingham and Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. He's allowed only two runs on seven hits and eight walks to go with 18 strikeouts in 17 innings with the Barons so far. "My goals were to make it to the big leagues this year, but having the step back that I had, I'm going to take it one day at a time," Bassitt said on July 30. "Whatever happens, happens. I'm just going to go out every single day and give it my all. I feel like I owe it to this team to win pretty much every single time I step out on the mound."
Alex Gonzalez, Frisco
(2-0, 0.82 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 8 K)
The belief that the jump from Class A Advanced to Double-A is often the hardest hasn't applied to the Rangers' No. 5 prospect. Gonzalez, the Rangers' first-round pick in 2013, continues to put up zeros at Frisco after being promoted from Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach in the middle of June. He didn't allow a hit across five innings on Sunday against Tulsa and is now 6-3 with a 2.11 ERA and .225 batting average against in 12 appearances (55 1/3 innings) with the RoughRiders. In his last eight games, the right-hander is 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA and .142 average against.
Raymond Hanson, Inland Empire
(2-0, 0.55 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 16 1/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 5 BB, 13 K)
Hanson, a 6-foot-7 right-hander, was signed by the Angels back in June out of the independent Frontier League, and he's certainly hit the ground running in his pro career. The 24-year-old hurler took a no-hitter into the eighth Sunday against Rancho Cucamonga, and although his 11 strikeouts were by far his most in nine games with the 66ers, it was just the latest in a strong run. It also followed the first shutout of his nascent career Tuesday at Lake Elsinore. Hanson has allowed two runs or fewer and pitched into the eighth inning in each of his last three outings. His latest gem lowered his ERA to 3.11 through 55 innings in the Cal League.
Tyler Danish, Winston-Salem
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 5 K)
It was already an encouraging first full season for the 19-year-old right-hander, but his best effort yet came Saturday, when he cruised through six no-hit innings at Lynchburg. The 2013 White Sox second-rounder hasn't allowed more than one earned run in a start since June 22 (a stretch of eight starts) and is now 5-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 14 starts (70 innings) with the Dash.
Florida State League
Tyler Glasnow, Bradenton
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 11 K)
Not to equate real life with fiction, but in terms of Glasnow the Pirates might want to take some advice from Amy Adams' character from a certain recent baseball movie and "show him the curve." Yes, that's a roundabout way of saying Glasnow is likely pitching his way to Double-A Altoona before the season is out. The Pirates' top prospect fanned 11 batters for the second time in four starts and hasn't allowed an earned run in five of his last six outings. Through 19 starts, he leads the FSL with a 1.53 ERA and ranks second with 122 strikeouts despite missing most of April with back issues. With either Double-A or the league playoffs lurking, Glasnow is excited about what's to come for the rest of August. "I've thought about the promotion, but our team is in playoff contention, so either way," he told MiLB.com. "I would like to see what it's like in Double-A by the end of the season, but it's not my call to make."
Michael Feliz, Quad Cities
(2-0, 0.69 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 14 K)
As MLB.com's No. 98 overall prospect and a Futures Game selection this season, Feliz's season has been filled with promise but hit a rough patch in his last two starts of July, when he gave up 13 earned runs in just five innings. The 21-year-old right-hander rebounded in a big way with eight innings of scoreless ball Tuesday against Burlington and then put in another solid five innings, during which he gave up one run and fanned five, Sunday against Beloit. Playing in his first full season, Feliz now owns a 3.70 ERA and has struck out 94 batters in 82 2/3 innings with the River Bandits.
South Atlantic League
Buddy Borden, West Virginia
(2-0, 0.69 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 14 K)
Between Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo, there's been a lot of hitting talent generated in Las Vegas recently. Borden, a Pirates seventh-round pick out of UNLV in 2013, is trying to show that Sin City can produce some pitching too. The 22-year-old right-hander lasted a career-long seven innings, allowing only one run on two hits and two walks, Monday against Hagerstown and followed that up with another career high with 10 strikeouts in six two-hit innings at Asheville five days later. After the pair of wins, Borden improved to 7-7 with a 3.16 ERA, 103 strikeouts and a .208 average against in 114 innings with the Power. This is his second Pitcher of the Week award after also capturing the award last month.
New York-Penn League
Martires Arias, Brooklyn
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 6 K)
At 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds, Arias has the build of a what could be a dominant pitcher but was unable to move above Rookie-level Kingsport in 2012 or 2013. He went 4-0, allowed only two earned runs and produced a 0.84 WHIP in 35 2/3 innings at Kingsport this season before finally being promoted to Brooklyn last week. As you can see, he shined in his Class A Short Season debut with a stellar start at Mahoning Valley on Thursday. "He threw a great game," Brooklyn pitching coach Dave LaRoche told MiLB.com. "He has good life on his fastball, and he mixed in his curveball and changeup well. He still has work to do on the offspeed stuff, but he threw some very good ones also."
Nick Gardewine, Spokane
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 8 K)
Sometimes a good end to the season can give a potentially bad year a much rosier tinge. Gardewine, a seventh-round pick by the Rangers in 2013, entered Saturday's start with a 6.59 ERA after his first 10 starts in the Northwest League, but the gem, during which he set a career high with eight strikeouts and matched another best with six scoreless frames, lowered that number to 5.77. Another couple starts with numbers close to that, as well as a deep playoff run by the North Division first-half champ Indians, could provide the 20-year-old right-hander with a boost of optimism entering the offseason.
Chase Wellbrock, Bluefield
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 0 BB, 10 K)
As a 33rd-round pick, you have to stand out in some way if you want to advance up the organizational chain, and that's exactly what Wellbrock has done since the Blue Jays selected him out of the University of Houston in June. He's allowed only one run in 20 1/3 innings out of the Bluefield bullpen to go with 29 strikeouts and only one walk. His most impressive outing may have come Sunday, when he lasted a season-long 2 2/3 innings and allowed only one batter to reach on a hit-by-pitch while matching his season best with four punchouts.
Jose De Leon, Ogden
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 11 K)
De Leon didn't need to hit double-digits for the second time this season to still lead the Pioneer League in strikeouts, but he did it anyways for good measure. His 11 punchouts Friday against Helena were his most since he racked up 12 on June 23 and gave him 77 in 54 1/3 innings this season. (Great Falls' Dane Stone ranks second in the circuit with 52.) De Leon also leads the Pioneer League in ERA (2.65) and WHIP (1.16) and looks like a lock for the league's Pitcher of the Year award this offseason, barring any late-season craziness.