There's something about the second start of the season for Nick Neidert.
In his second outing for Class A Clinton in 2016, Neidert spun five innings of one-hit ball against Burlington, Eleven months later, the Seattle's third-ranked prospect upped the ante.
Neidert (1-0) was perfect through five frames in Class A Advanced Modesto's 6-0 win over Stockton on Tuesday. Iolana Akau broke up his bid with a two-out single to right field in the sixth. The 2015 second-rounder struck out eight without issuing a walk..
Neidert was locked in from the start, striking out five consecutive batters after Ports leadoff man Branden Cogswell grounded out to third. He whiffed one hitter in each of his final three innings and faced one batter over the minimum.
"[Nick] is a very advanced high-school signing who can really execute a pitch and command a fastball and competes as well as anybody," Mariners director of player development Andy McKay told MiLB.com last month. "When you get high school players who come in with college maturity, it's rare, and he definitely has that."
Seattle's top pitching prospect turned 20 in November and has walked 24 batters while striking out 102 in 137 innings. His arsenal -- which features a low-90s fastball, a plus changeup and a developing curveball and slider -- is far from overpowering, but his command allows him to be efficient with his pitch counts and effectively attack hitters.
Neidert has found success at every step since getting drafted, posting a 1.53 ERA in 11 starts in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2015 before going 7-3 with a 2.57 ERA and a 69-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the LumberKings in 2016. His 0.97 career WHIP entering the year has been buoyed by his early performance this season; he's allowed four hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts over 10 2/3 innings.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound right-hander was staked to an early 5-0 lead against right-hander Casey Meisner (0-2), Oakland's 29th-ranked prospect. No. 16 Mariners prospect Braden Bishop singled twice in the frame, scoring on Chris Mariscal's double and driving in Eric Filia with his second hit. Logan Taylor lofted a solo homer in the seventh.
Meisner was tagged with five runs on nine hits and one walk over two innings. Matt Walker and Lukas Schiraldi struck out four over three hitless innings in relief of Neidert.