Rawhide's Young leads week's best hurlers

D-backs' No. 5 prospect tossed 88-pitch complete game with Visalia

Alex Young has held opposing batters to a .237 average between two levels this season. (Ken Weisenberger/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | August 8, 2016 5:00 PM

To achieve a "Maddux," a hurler must toss a nine-inning shutout in fewer than 100 pitches. Greg Maddux, whom the feat is named after, had 13 such masterpieces during his 23-year Hall of Fame career in the Majors. Though Alex Young fell an unearned run shy of the achievement Friday for Class A Advanced Visalia, he now has an award to show for his gem.

The D-backs' No. 5 prospect was named California League Pitcher of the Week on Monday after he required only 88 pitches to complete nine innings in a 2-1 win over Inland Empire. It's the first Pitcher of the Week award for Young, who was taken in the second round of the 2015 Draft out of Texas Christian University.

The 22-year-old left-hander struck out six, allowed four hits and did not walk a batter in a game that lasted only two hours and four minutes. The unearned run came in the ninth inning when Michael Hermosillo singled, advanced to second on an error by left fielder Cody Regis and came around to score on a pair of groundouts. The outing was Young's first complete game in the California League and second of the year after tossing a seven-inning shutout for Class A Kane County on June 17.

"Tonight, there wasn't one point in the game where I said, 'He needs to throw this pitch or he should've done this different,'" Visalia pitching coach Jeff Bajenaru told MiLB.com after the game. "His highest pitch total was 15. In the middle innings, he went on a [pitch-count] stretch of seven, seven, six and nine. He just kept throwing strikes and they kept swinging. There wasn't one point where I saw anything [troublesome]. It was a rare game and one as a pitching coach that you dream of."

Young's gem marked his third quality start in a row for the Rawhide. He allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits in six frames July 26, then gave up only one hit while fanning eight over six scoreless innings five days later. Before that stretch, the 6-foot-2 southpaw, who has a plus grade from MLB.com for his slider, had a 6.95 ERA in his first four starts with Visalia -- a stark difference from the 2.16 ERA he put up in nine starts (50 innings) with Kane County before his promotion July 2.

Facing tougher hitters in a more offensive-friendly circuit made the statistical spike not much of a surprise, but both the hurler and the coaching staff recognized adjustments needed to be made early on.

"[When he first joined us], he was trying to blow his fastball by guys, but at 89-91 mph, there's a time for it," Bajenaru said. "He can blow it by guys at certain times, but you have to work your other pitches. His best pitches are his changeup and breaking ball, and he's been throwing it in any count at any time. His pitch selection freed him up. His fastball has gotten better as far as locating and using it in the right counts."

"The main thing was throwing certain pitches in certain counts," Young told MiLB.com after his July 31 gem. "If I had a guy 1-0, being able to throw a breaking ball and getting it back to 1-1 was key. I think what's really hurt me was throwing wrong pitches in wrong counts. I was making it easier for the hitters and making my job harder while putting a lot of pressure on myself."

A former college reliever, Young is 5-4 with a 2.90 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 70 strikeouts and 31 walks over 16 starts (93 innings) between Kane County and Visalia this season, numbers that should keep Young in a starting role for the foreseeable future.

Here is the complete list of Minor League Pitchers of the Week for Aug. 1-7:

International -- Adam Morgan, Lehigh Valley (PHI): 2-0, 1.23 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 14 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 17 K

Pacific Coast -- Rob Zastryzny, Iowa (CHC): 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 13 K

Eastern -- Teddy Stankiewicz, Portland (BOS): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 7 K

Southern -- Ryan Yarbrough, Jackson (SEA): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 6 K

Texas -- Daniel Stumpf, Northwest Arkansas (KC): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 0 GS, 1 SV, 6 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 7 K

California -- Alex Young, Visalia (ARI): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 6 K

Carolina -- Trevor Clifton, Myrtle Beach (CHI): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 HBP, 0 BB, 6 K

Florida State -- Josh Rogers, Tampa (NYY): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 8 K

Midwest -- Elieser Hernandez, Quad Cities (HOU): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 8 K

South Atlantic -- Michael Connolly, Augusta (SF): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 5 K

New York-Penn -- Noel Rodriguez, Hudson Valley (TB): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 3 K

Northwest -- Anfernee Benitez, Hillsboro (ARI): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 0 GS, 6 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 1 IBB, 5 K

Appalachian -- Osman Gutierrez, Bluefield (TOR): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 SHO, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 7 K

Pioneer -- Alec Hansen, Great Falls (CWS): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 11 K

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More