Pitchers of the Week

For the week ending Sept. 7

Cody Reed was a second-round pick by the Royals in the 2013 Draft. (Barrett McClean Photography)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | September 8, 2015 6:37 PM

Here's a look at the top offensive performers in each league for the period Aug. 31-Sept. 7 (includes regular-season stats only; Texas League winners are for games played from Aug. 31-Sept. 6):

International League
Bradin Hagens, Durham (TB)
(2-0, 0.66 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 2/3 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 1 K)
If you're looking at Hagens' line from last week, the first thing that will likely stand out is his 0.66 ERA. That's what earned him this spot after all. What you may notice next is his one lone strikeout in 13 2/3 innings. As the usual thought process goes, if a pitcher can keep opposing batters from putting the ball in play, the more likely he is to be successful. That's never been Hagens' M.O., though, as he's averaged just 6.0 strikeouts per nine innings during his Minor League career. The 26-year-old right-hander instead relies on a heavy dose of cutters to force a ton of groundouts -- another effective strategy in keeping runs off the board. For instance in his Aug. 31 start against Gwinnett, Hagens forced 10 groundouts compared to only three flyouts and zero strikeouts. After being purchased from the D-backs back in April, Hagens finished his first season in the Rays system with a 9-10 record, 3.23 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 96 strikeouts in 133 2/3 innings between Durham and Double-A Montgomery.

Pacific Coast League
Clayton Blackburn, Sacramento (SF) 
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 1/3 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 14 K)
Blackburn saw his stock take a tumble this season -- he's dropped from No. 11 in the Giants' system, according to MLB.com, to No. 21 -- but he's certainly trending back upward with the way he ended the regular season. Blackburn went 7-1 with a 1.71 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in his last 10 starts (63 1/3 innings) of the season and did not allow more than three earned runs in any appearance since May 19. His 2.85 ERA was tops in the Pacific Coast League, beating out Carlos Pimentel's 2.95 mark for Iowa. The 22-year-old right-hander, who will play in the Arizona Fall League next month, isn't yet on the Giants' 40-man roster, but that'll likely come this offseason, meaning a 2016 Major League debut is very much in the cards.

Eastern League
Austin Voth, Harrisburg (WAS)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 11 K)
In a system filled with impressive right-handers in the Majors all the way through the lower levels of the Minors, it's been easy to look past Voth when it comes to Nationals pitching prospects. But the organization's No. 10 prospect is making that tougher and tougher with each passing year, and 2015 has been no exception. With his pair of gems last week, the 23-year-old right-hander finished the season with the third-best ERA in the system (2.92) and the most strikeouts (148) over a career-high 157 1/3 innings. After spending the entire season at Double-A this year, he'll automatically get a look at Triple-A Syracuse to start 2016. As crowded as the Nationals rotation may be, a fourth season with a sub-3.00 ERA would definitely put Voth into the Major League discussion.

Southern League
Cody Reed, Pensacola (CIN)
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 17 K)
There's not much else to say about the 22-year-old left-hander's performance since he joined the Reds system in the deadline deal for Johnny Cueto, but we will try. He did not allow more than one earned run in six of his eight starts at Double-A Pensacola and finished his time there with a 6-2 record, 2.17 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. His 60 strikeouts over 49 2/3 innings was tops among all Minor League pitchers since July 31, the day of his Blue Wahoos debut. Time will tell whether Reed will be the best left-hander the Reds acquired in that late-July deal (the others were Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb), but with a career-best 2.41 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 145 2/3 innings at three teams this season, he's increased his stock in a big way this summer.

Texas League
Sean Manaea, Midland (OAK)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 13 K)
Manaea's final start of the regular season was easily his best as he posted a career-high 13 strikeouts while issuing zero free passes in six scoreless innings. The 23-year-old left-hander seemed poised to break out during his second season in the Royals system, but an abdominal injury kept him from making his season debut until June 24. Kansas City dealt him to Oakland in a trade for Ben Zobrist near the trade deadline, and since that move, he's shown the potential that had him in many top-100 lists before the season began. Manaea finished the regular season 6-0 with a 1.90 ERA, 51 strikeouts and 15 walks in seven starts (42 2/3 innings) with Midland. He'll likely get at least one more start in the Texas League playoffs before moving on to the Arizona Fall League in October.

California League
Jason Forjet, San Jose (SF)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 10 K)
Forjet closed out his second season in the California League with a 21-inning scoreless streak, punctuated by a Sept. 1 start that produced the line above in a 2-0 win over Modesto. The 25-year-old right-hander began the season in the bullpen and didn't get his first start until June 4, but he thrived in both roles, producing a 2.77 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 78 innings as a starter and a 2.20 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 16 1/3 innings as a reliever. Taken in the 31st round of the 2012 Draft, Forjet hasn't gotten a chance to pitch above the Class A Advanced level yet -- and was actually moved back to Class A Short Season Salem-Keizer in 2014 -- but that elusive Double-A debut should come next year, if his 2015 results are any indication.

Carolina League
Brad Markey, Myrtle Beach (CHC)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 6 K)
Markey was a pretty good reliever at Class A South Bend, where he produced a 2.48 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with only four walks in 29 innings, to start the season, but he was an excellent starter at Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach. With his seven-inning gem last Friday at Wilmington, the 23-year-old right-hander finished his first season in the Carolina League with a 7-0 record, 1.15 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 40 strikeouts and six walks in nine games (55 innings). Four of his nine appearances were scoreless affairs. Since he made his Carolina League debut July 7, no full-season Minor League pitcher has a lower WHIP than Markey and only three (Dietrich Enns, 0.76; Luke Weaver, 0.90; Chaz Hebert, 1.04) have lower ERAs. As a 23-year-old, Markey was indeed a little old for the Class A Advanced level, but the Cubs have to be happy with the way their 2014 19th-rounder performed in his first full season.

Florida State League
Seth Varner, Daytona (CIN)
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 13 K)
Everybody on this list saved their best for last, but that's especially the case for Varner, who took a perfect game into the seventh inning Sunday against Brevard County and struck out a career-high 10 along the way. The sparkling gem gave the 23-year-old southpaw 19 straight scoreless innings to end the season and helped him drop his FSL ERA to a season-low 2.97. The 2014 10th-rounder out of Miami University in Ohio walked only 11 batters in 138 2/3 innings during his first full season and finished wih a 2.92 ERA and 134 strikeouts.

Midwest League
Dean Deetz, Quad Cities (HOU)
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 3 K)
The Astros chose to start their 2014 11th-rounder at Class A Short Season Tri-City in his first full season. Given the way he's performed following a promotion to Class A Quad Cities, either the handling has worked perfectly or maybe he should have been with the River Bandits from the jump. Deetz followed up a seven-inning, no-hit start on Aug. 24 (which earned him last week's MWL Pitcher of the Week award) with two more scoreless starts last week. The 21-year-old right-hander is 5-1 with a 0.27 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in his last six starts (33 innings) to close out the season and finished 9-3 with a 1.70 ERA and 0.97 WHIP between his two stops in the Astros system.

South Atlantic League
Justin Kamplain, Charleston (NYY)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 1/3 IP, 9 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 11 K)
It's time for the constant reminder that a pitcher's win-loss record doesn't mean much. Kamplain's 14 losses for the RiverDogs are tied for the most in the South Atlantic League even though his 4.29 ERA is lower than that of Thaddius Lowry (4.48) who is tied for second in the circuit with 12 wins. So with that in mind, it was good to see the 22-year-old left-hander earn a win for Charleston on Aug. 31 and throw 12 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in total last week. (It's also worth noting he earned a no-decision on Sept. 5 against Augusta, despite throwing six scoreless innings.) That helped drop his season ERA from 4.72 at the start of the week to 4.29 by its end.

New York-Penn League
Kolton Mahoney, Staten Island (NYY)
(1-0, 0.64 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 0 BB, 15 K)
Mahoney was taken in the 23rd round of the 2014 Draft by the Brewers but didn't sign and became an intriguing name after a solid stint in the Cape Cod League that summer. He struggled upon his return to BYU this spring, posting a 5.25 ERA in his junior year, but the Yankees took him seven rounds earlier in the 16th round in June and signed him soon after. He's been more impressive in the New York-Penn League and was even moreso last week, when he tossed the first two seven-inning outings of his young career. The 23-year-old right-hander finished the regular season with a 2.29 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 50 strikeouts and 11 walks in 55 innings for playoff-bound Staten Island.

Northwest League
Tyler Davis, Spokane (TEX)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 4 BB, 7 K)
Before last week, Davis, a 23rd-round pick out of Washington, had made only one start in his previous 15 appearances at Spokane and hadn't lasted longer than five innings. Then, he let loose on Everett on Thursday to produce six no-hit innings while striking out a season-high seven. Davis was a two-time Pac-12 selection with the Huskies and posted a 3.20 ERA in 15 starts (112 2/3 innings) this past season, so the starting potential is certainly there despite his 5.09 ERA in 35 1/3 frames during his first taste of pro ball this summer.

Appalachian League
Jonathan Padilla, Pulaski (NYY)
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 3 K)
It was a good week to be a Yankees pitcher in the lower levels as Padilla gives New York three Pitcher of the Week honorees at Class A or below. The 22-year-old right-hander, who spent most of the 2014 season in the Gulf Coast League, started the season in the Dominican Summer League, where he had a 1.64 ERA with 25 strikeouts and zero walks in 22 innings before being promoted to the Appy League in the middle of June. He's held his own as both a starter and reliever with Pulaski, although it's as the latter that he tossed his five one-hit innings last week. In 30 innings with the Rookie-level club, he is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA, 25 strikeouts and eight free passes.

Pioneer League
Tanner Banks, Great Falls
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 5 K)
The White Sox tried their 2014 18th-rounder out of the bullpen at Class A Kannapolis to start the season, but when that didn't quite take (4.09 ERA and just five strikeouts in 11 innings), they moved him back to Great Falls and made him a starter again. It's in that role that he's thrived with the Voyagers as he did Sunday in a start against Missoula. Thanks to a heavy reliance on ground balls, Banks finished his Great Falls season with a 2.51 ERA, by far the best in the Pioneer League, beating out Franderlyn Romero's 3.34 for Billings.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to 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.

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