Supak leads the way in Shuckers' shutout

Brewers No. 11 prospect allows four hits, K's six in 6 2/3 innings

Trey Supak has not allowed an earned run in six of his 10 starts this season for Biloxi. (Michael Krebs/Biloxi Shuckers)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | May 25, 2019 12:52 AM

Trey Supak is not one who often makes mistakes -- or excuses. On Friday, there weren't enough mistakes to warrant excuses. 

The Brewers' 11th-ranked prospect gave up four hits and a walk while striking out six over 6 2/3 innings as Double-A Biloxi blanked Mobile, 2-0, at Hank Aaron Stadium.

"He's a smart kid. He knows how to make adjustments," Shuckers pitching coach Bob Milacki said. "He doesn't make excuses. He knows when he makes a mistake. When you know when you make mistakes and you learn from them, you just continue to get better. And if you make excuses, you don't learn."

Video: Shucker's Supak strikes out sixth

Supak (5-2) hasn't allowed an earned run in his last two starts -- he gave up an unearned run over seven innings his last time out against Chattanooga -- and lowered his ERA to 2.12, which ranks seventh in the Southern League. Through five starts in May, he owns a 1.71 ERA. 

The right-hander's toughest test Friday came in the fifth, when Bo Way and Erick Salcedo opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Supak buckled down to whiff Connor Justus and fourth-ranked Angels prospect Jahmai Jones.


Gameday box score


A passed ball by catcher Max McDowell allowed Way to advance to third. With runners on the corners, Supak coaxed a groundout to first base from Angels No. 3 prospect Brandon Marsh, then retired the side in order in the sixth and got the first two outs in the seventh to make it eight straight BayBears retired.

"That was really nice," Milacki said. "He did a nice job of getting himself out of that little jam he put himself into. Because he made a mistake with an 0-2 fastball up in the zone and left a changeup up, so it looked like he was laboring. He made some pitches and got through that inning unscathed." 

The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder threw 58 of 92 pitches for strikes and recorded eighth ground-ball outs. Brewers No. 17 prospect Marcos Diplan got the only batter he faced to end the seventh, Luke Barker struck out two in a perfect eighth and Nate Griep worked around a walk in the ninth for his league-leading ninth save. 

Supak's recent run of succes, Milacki believes, can be attributed to the sharpness of his changeup. 

"The big thing is commanding all of his pitches, especially his fastball to both sides of the plate, being able to elevate when he needs to, pitching in well," the eight-year Major League veteran said. "His changeup really complements his fastball. The usage of his changeup, keeping hitters off-balance, is huge. He attacks the zone. He goes deep into games. It's almost like every time out he's going six or seven innings." 

He and Supak also have a strong rapport that allows them to use mental apects of the game to gain an advantage.  

"He's always prepared when he goes out there. He's a student of the game, so he understands how to attack hitters," Milacki said. "It's fun to watch him and [Max] McDowell, the battery, face these opposing teams. They really talk a lot in the dugout."

Milacki said Supak executes the game plan he takes the mound by consistently throwing strikes -- he's issued more than one walk only twice this season -- and commands an arsenal that also includes a slider and curveball. But the changeup, a 55-grade pitch per MLB Pipeline, is what sets him apart. 

"It has a little bit downward action, but more than anything it looks like his fastball and has good separation from his fastball [in velocity]," Milacki said. "So when it comes out of his hand it looks like his four-seam fastball. It has a little arm-side fade, depending on where his hand is. ... Hitters are either way out front or they don't see it until it's too late." 

Last year, Supak -- drafted 73rd overall by the Pirates in 2014 -- impressed following a midseason promotion to Double-A. He posted a 2.91 ERA in 16 starts, and the Brewers rewarded his efforts by adding him to the 40-man roster during the offseason. The Southern League experience from a year ago has been a key cog in the 22-year-old's strong start this season. 

2019 MiLB include

"I think it really helped him. He pitched really well in A-ball last year, then he came up here and kind of struggled early," Milacki said. But he finished strong -- the last four or five starts were really good going into the end of the season, and he picked up where he left off. So that experience and being able to come back to the same league [helped him] feel comfortable right away." 

Over the first half of 2018, the La Grange, Texas, native allowed 10 earned runs over 51 innings for a 1.76 ERA for Class A Advanced Carolina, where opponents batted .208 against him.  

The success on the hill has carried over. Through 10 starts, Supak leads the league with 59 1/3 innings pitched and is third with a 0.96 WHIP. He also owns a .211 opponents' batting average. 

The Shuckers scored twice in the second for all the offense Supak needed. Bruce Caldwell plated a run with an infield single and C.J. Hinojosa doubled home the other.

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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