Stingy Suarez dominates for Threshers

Phillies No. 16 prospect allows one hit over six scoreless innings

Ranger Suarez has a 1.63 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 30 walks in 110 1/3 innings across two levels this season. (Clearwater Threshers)

By Kelsie Heneghan / | August 6, 2017 6:45 PM ET

Thresher pitching coach Aaron Fultz enjoys watching Ranger Suarez pitch, as long it's from the dugout.

"I don't want to play catch with him, because [his sinker] hits a little harder than some others," Fultz joked.

Philadelphia's No. 16 prospect utilized that pitch to allow one hit over six innings as Class A Advanced Clearwater blanked Palm Beach, 3-0, on Sunday. He didn't issue a walk and struck out two.

Gameday box score

"They were a fairly aggressive team, but they swung at some pitches and got a lot of weak ground balls and we made the plays. He was just making them hit his pitch early in the count and got a lot of easy outs," Fultz said. "He just does what he does. He's a lot of fun to watch when he's on like he was."

After hitting Thomas Spitz with a pitch in the first inning, Suarez (2-2) did not allow a hit in the first 3 2/3 frames, retiring nine straight batters at one point. And following Casey Grayson's single in the fourth, the 21-year-old was perfect.

"He never panics, which is one of my favorite things about him. He just locates his fastball to both sides of the plate. His changeup is a very good out pitch and he mixes in a curveball and a slider, just to get some strikes," the coach said. "His sinker was working. He was making them hit his pitchers' pitch because he was ahead in the count and they just beat it in the ground, which was prototypical Ranger."

MiLB include

Suarez induced 12 groundouts, marking the second straight start he gave up a lone hit without a base on balls. The southpaw lowered his Class A Advanced ERA to 1.78 with 26 punchouts and six walks in 25 1/3 innings over five starts.

"Before [Sunday], he's gotten a lot of strikeouts. They were aggressive and he was making good pitches early, so he was just making them hit his pitch," Fultz said. "He doesn't walk people, I don't know how many he's walked since he's been here, but it hasn't been many. He just makes you beat him and they haven't been able to do that. I guess his record's 2-2, but he's pitched really well."

After dominating the South Atlantic League, Suarez was promoted on July 4, joining what has developed into the best rotation in the system. The Threshers staff features Phillies No. 9 prospect Franklyn Kilome and 18th-ranked JoJo Romero, plus newcomer Sixto Sanchez -- the organization's top pitching prospect -- who allowed five runs over six frames in his debut Saturday.

"I think JoJo has probably more weapons, more pitches and Sixto's pure stuff is better," the pitching coach said. "But I love what Ranger brings to the table as far as his command with a pretty good fastball. His changeup is definitely an out pitch, so I think he stacks [up] on any given day."

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Designated hitter Jose Pujols slugged a two-run blast in the second and third baseman Derek Campbell added a solo shot in the ninth.

Palm Beach's Sam Tewes (4-4) allowed two runs on seven hits without a walk in seven frames. He struck out three.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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