RiverDogs' Contreras throws one-hit gem

Yankees No. 13 prospect fans eight over six shutout innings

Roansy Contreras is 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 53 strikeouts over 59 innings in his last 10 starts. (Ken Inness/MiLB.com)

By Dan Stokes / MiLB.com | September 1, 2019 8:55 PM

It's been a tale of two halves for Roansy Contreras, who concluded a dominant stretch on Sunday.

The Yankees' No. 13 prospect gave up one hit and struck out eight over six innings as Class A Charleston cruised past Greenville, 8-0, at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Ballpark.

Video: Contreras fans eighth

Contreras (12-5) opened the game by striking out Everlouis Lozada. Two batters later, Brandon Howlett singled to center field on a 2-1 pitch that turned out to be the Drive's only hit off the right-hander.

"He used his pitches pretty well tonight," RiverDogs manager Julio Mosquera said. "It's stuff that he's been doing throughout the year, and I believe he's a young kid with a lot of upside. He's got great stuff ... a hard fastball, and his breaking pitches are getting better."

After walking Cole Brannen in the second, the 19-year-old registered three straight strikeouts on his way to retiring the last 14 batters he faced. He fanned Brannen and Korby Batesole in the fifth and Samuel Miranda and Lozada in the sixth.

Gameday box score

Contreras threw 56 of 87 pitches for strikes in winning his fifth straight start to close out his first full Minor League season.

"He was on a mission today. He knew he wanted to win his 12th game of the season," Mosquera said. "He went out there to compete. I know it's late in the season and some guys want to go out there and get it over with, but he went out there and competed and gave his team a chance to win. We [coaches] saw his poise out there because he's been really focused on accomplishing that goal."

On June 23, Contreras was 5-4 mark with a 4.81 ERA in 13 starts. Since then, the native of the Dominican Republic is 7-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 11 starts. In August, he pitched to a 1.16 ERA over 31 innings.

"He's been more aggressive in the strike zone and attacking hitters a lot better and started throwing better pitches," Mosquera said of the turnaround. "His mentality has changed. He said he wanted to attack hitters, and it's shown.

"We know he has the fastball, but he's been throwing his breaking ball and changeup more consistently. He was more of a fastball guy trying to get his breaking stuff going until he found out he was more comfortable utilizing those pitches in different counts." 

Contreras leads the South Atlantic League with 12 wins, ranks second in WHIP (1.07) and opponents' batting average (.215) and fifth in ERA (3.33).

Daniel Ramos and Carlos Espinal scattered four hits over the final three frames in what turned out to be the RiverDogs' season finale. Monday's game was canceled after South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a mandatory evacuation order for Charleston County in advance of Hurricane Dorian. 

2019 MiLB include

Yankees No. 22 prospect Josh Breaux staked Contreras to an early lead with a two-run homer in the first. It was his 13th long ball of the season and third in six games. 

"He's been impressive since he's come back," Mosquera said of Breaux. "He's a tremendous young kid with a lot of talent. He has a tremendous bat. He showed up tonight. He went out there and hit a big home run to give us an early lead.

"He's a strong young man. His future is going to be really good. He's going to be ahead of the game pretty soon because his talent is going to take him where he needs to be."

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

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