Here's a look at the top pitching performers in each league for the week ending Aug. 24:
Mike Wright, Norfolk
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 2/3 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 11 K)
It's been a bit of an uneven first season in Triple-A ball for Wright, but he's certainly been on a mission to end 2014 on a high note. Last Thursday, he came oh-so-close to giving his season a major exclamation point. The Orioles' No. 7 prospect needed only one more out -- one more strike even -- to close out his first career no-hitter. Instead, Durham's Mikie Mahtook doubled to end the potential feat. (Unfortunately, shortstop Alexi Casilla had committed a throwing error one batter beforehand on a ground ball that would have completed the no-no.) Wright was taken out immediately afterwards, having thrown a career-best 8 2/3 innings. Following the gem, the 24-year-old had improved to 4-2 with a 1.11 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in his last six starts. He is 5-11 with a 4.83 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 25 starts (136 innings) with the Tides this season.
Pacific Coast League
Chris Heston, Fresno
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 1 BB, 4 K)
Heston, a 12th-round pick by the Giants back in 2009, jumped onto the prospect scene with impressive back-to-back seasons in which he notched a 3.16 ERA for Class A Advanced San Jose in 2011 and 2.24 ERA for Double-A Richmond in 2012. He couldn't quite handle the jump to Triple-A, however, as his ERA ballooned to 5.80 in 19 starts with Fresno. His shutout Friday at Nashville is just another indication that he's settled in at the PCL as he's improved to 11-8 with a 3.30 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and .234 opponents average in 26 starts this season.
Michael Lee, New Hampshire
(1-0, 0.64 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 4 BB, 11 K)
Lee has done a lot of moving around in the last year, and it's because of weeks like this past one that he's been in demand. The D-backs took the 6-foot-7 right-hander from the Braves in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft last December. He spent most of the season at Double-A Mobile, where he posted a 4.49 ERA in 19 starts and was a Southern League midseason All-Star before the Blue Jays purchased him from Arizona on Aug. 6. He's been dominant since joining Toronto's Double-A affiliate New Hampshire, where he tossed a pair of seven-inning gems last week. The lanky Las Vegas native has a 1.80 ERA with 22 strikeouts and seven walks in four starts (25 innings) since joining the Jays system.
Williams Perez, Mississippi
(2-0, 0.64 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 12 K)
It's been kind of a circular season for Perez at Mississippi. The following are his ERAs by month from April to August: 1.32, 2.38, 6.32, 5.74, 1.13. The last number represents just how strong he's finished this past month, as he exhibited last week. His Sunday outing at home against Birmingham represented the first time he's thrown eight innings in a start since signing with the Braves out of Venezuela back in 2009. Despite the up-and-down nature of his 2014 season, the right-hander leads qualified Southern League hurlers with a 2.91 ERA this season and sits third with a 1.18 WHIP.
Ryan Arrowood, Tulsa
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 6 K)
With Tyler Anderson getting rest before the Texas League playoffs, a spot opened up in the Tulsa rotation for Sunday's game at Springfield. The Drillers decided to fill it with the guy who tossed four innings of one-hit relief on Wednesday, and the move worked wonders. Making his first start since July 27, 2013, for Class A Asheville, Arrowood tossed five no-hit innings, walking one and fanning four, en route to a 5-0 win. "I just took it as another day, honestly," Arrowood told MiLB.com. "Even just warming up from the beginning, I did my normal reliever throwing a couple hours before the game, stretching then, and I came out a little time before the game and got my bullpen in. I treated it just like every other day, didn't try to change a thing. I have my routine down, so I didn't want to change that up any." The 24-year-old right-hander owns a 3.92 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 82 2/3 innings in the Texas League this season.
Brandon Sinnery, Visalia
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 4 K)
Sinnery has been exactly what you want in terms of longevity from a starting pitcher of late. Entering last week, the 24-year-old right-hander had gone six innings or more in 12 of his last 13 outings. Then on Friday at San Jose, he went as far as he could possibly go, notching his third complete game and second shutout of the season. After posting a 5.51 ERA in 14 starts in the first half, Sinnery is ending the season in much better form with a 2.77 mark in 13 starts since the All-Star break.
Steven Brault, Frederick
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 1 K)
Brault ranked sixth with a 1.9 BB/9 rate in the South Atlantic League when the Orioles decided to promote him to Class A Advanced Frederick last week. He brought that quality control with him to the Carolina League, where he limited Carolina to only one hit and one walk in six innings in his Keys debut Thursday. The 2013 11th-rounder is now 10-8 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.01 WHIP across 136 innings in the two levels during his first full season.
Florida State League
Matt Boyd, Dunedin
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 8 K)
There have been few pitchers better than Boyd in the Florida State League this season. This is now his third Pitcher of the Week honor in the circuit, albeit his first since the end of April. With his strong start Friday at Tampa, he has now allowed one earned run or none in four straight starts and has improved to 5-2 with a 1.04 ERA -- yes, 1.04 ERA -- with 98 strikeouts and only 19 walks in 86 2/3 innings. Unfortunately, the 23-year-old right-hander hasn't been able to carry that success over to Double-A New Hampshire, where is 1-4 with a 6.96 ERA in 10 starts.
Jonathan Maciel, West Michigan
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 10 K)
With an average rate of 6.1 K/9 entering Thursday and without a start of more than five punchouts since June 30, Maciel wasn't exactly a strong candidate to rack up the K's when he took the mound at home against Dayton. Seven innings later, the 2013 18th-rounder out of Long Beach State had reached double digits in the category for the first time in his career. The gem also represented a bounceback effort for the 21-year-old right-hander, who had given up 16 earned runs over 16 2/3 innings in his previous three outings entering the day, and that was apparently weighing on his mind. "Ten strikeouts is nice and all ... but I just wanted to give the team a chance to win and break that slide, give us a chance to win the way I didn't do the last couple times," Maciel told MiLB.com.
South Atlantic League
Paul Paez, Savannah
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 1 SV, 1 SVO, 6 1/3, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
Sometimes a demotion really can do a player some good. Paez had a 5.87 ERA at Savannah on July 17 when the Mets moved him back to Class A Short Season Brooklyn. The 5-foot-9 southpaw didn't allow a run in six appearances (5 1/3 innings) with the Cyclones and rejoined the Sand Gnats two weeks ago. He has allowed one earned run in 11 1/3 innings since and was particularly impressive in both of his outings last week, which included 3 1/3 no-hit innings Tuesday and six strikeouts and only one hit over three innings Sunday. His Sally League ERA is now down to 4.19.
New York-Penn League
Joe Musgrove, Tri-City
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 BP, 0 BB, 5 K)
The 46th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, Musgrove was traded from the Blue Jays to the Astros the following season. After spending the 2013 season back in the GCL, the 21-year-old hard-throwing right-hander finally broke above Rookie-level this season and is finding success with the ValleyCats, who are on the verge of clinching the New York-Penn League Stedler Division title. His seven-inning outing Saturday was the longest of his four-year Minor League career and made him 7-1 with a 2.63 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 14 appearances (72 innings) this season.
Nick Gardewine, Spokane
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 0 BB, 8 K)
If Gardewine's name looks familiar in this spot, it's because he also captured the same award two weeks ago. At the time, we wrote that "a good end to the season can give a potentially bad year a much rosier tinge," and that has continued to hold true for the 21-year-old right-hander. Gardewine tied his career high with eight strikeouts -- the second time in three starts he has hit that mark -- and lowered his ERA to 4.92, the first time it has sat below 5.00 in a month.
Harold Arauz, Greeneville
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 9 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 11 K)
One week into his Appalachian League career, Arauz has already been a big gift to Greeneville. After posting a 3.76 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings in the GCL, the 19-year-old right-hander didn't allow a run in either of his first two appearances with the Astros' higher Rookie-level affiliate. He flashed plenty of potential with five strikeouts and only two hits allowed over six scoreless innings in his first start with the club Sunday.
Tyler Mahle, Billings
(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, 2 BB, 7 K)
You don't want to see nines in your pitching line unless they're under the IP or "K" categories. So when Mahle gave up nine hits and nine runs (five earned) in 3 2/3 innings on Aug. 15, he needed a strong start next time out if he was going to rid himself of the bad taste that one left him. A shutout should do the trick. It was the second blanking the 19-year-old right-hander had completed this season with the other coming July 13. He is 4-4 with a 4.43 ERA in 13 starts (65 innings).