Here's a look at the top pitching performers in each league for the week ending Sept. 1:
Zach Stewart, Gwinnett
(1-0, 2.08 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 4 BB, 12 K)
Stewart didn't have the greatest August -- he gave up 21 earned runs in 27 innings for a 7.00 ERA -- but he closed out the season with a pair of strong performances for Gwinnett. The right-hander, who turns 28 later this month, limited division champ Durham to three hits over seven frames last Tuesday and yielded just three more to host Charlotte on Monday. Stewart won three of his last four decisions with the G-Braves (and allowed only two unearned runs in the loss).
Pacific Coast League
Charles Brewer, Reno
(1-0, 1.29 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 12 K)
Brewer struck out 10 batters in a win over Omaha on Wednesday. Five days later, with Reno facing host Sacramento in a game that would decide the PCL Pacific Northern Division title, the 26-year-old right-hander tossed six scoreless frames for the Aces, who went on to win in extra innings. Though Brewer didn't have a brilliant season -- he was 8-10 with a 4.99 ERA in 22 PCL starts -- he came up big to help send the Aces to the playoffs.
Justin Haley, Portland
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 14 K)
Haley began the season with Class A Advanced Salem, where he went 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA with help from a mental coach who taught him to visualize successful pitches. The mental and physical work is paying off, as Haley's been even better since a promotion to Double-A Portland. He finished the campaign with three straight wins, including 13 scoreless innings in his final two starts last week. The 23-year-old Fresno State product heads into the playoffs with a 1.19 ERA in five Eastern League starts.
Andres Santiago, Chattanooga
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 12 K)
It all came together Thursday night for the 24-year-old Santiago, who faced the minimum in a nine-inning no-hitter for Chattanooga. The right-hander was perfect until the eighth, when he walked Cubs No. 20 prospect Christian Villanueva, but he got a double play before striking out the side in the ninth to preserve the 1-0 win. Santiago's 12 strikeouts were a career high, and the big game helped the Lookouts later clinch a division title.
Michael Roth, Arkansas
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 7 K)
A ninth-round pick out of South Carolina in 2012, Roth had a curious 2014 season after making 15 big league appearances for the Angels last year. This year his strikeouts were down (79 in 140 2/3 innings) and his walk rate was rather high (53), but he posted a 2.62 ERA that was second-best in the Texas League. His final start of the year for the Travelers -- he was subsequently recalled to Los Angeles -- was his finest; he pitched seven scoreless innings against Northwest Arkansas last Monday while fanning a season-high seven.
Matt Flemer, Modesto
(1-0, 1.69 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 16 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 16 K)
It's not easy being a workhorse for the worst team in the California League. Flemer ranks third on the circuit in inning pitched (165) and strikeouts (130) and is second with 13 wins (no other pitcher earned more than six for the Nuts, who finished the season with a 43-97 record). He wrapped up the campaign with two brilliant starts in his last three games. On Aug. 21, Flemer limited host San Jose to one hit over eight innings, and on Monday night he gave Modesto a win in its final game by tossing a four-hit shutout. In his final three outings, the 23-year-old righty allowed four earned runs, walked two and struck out 24 over 24 innings.
Flemer retires his 15th straight for the Nuts
Sean Manaea, Wilmington
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 0 BB, 12 K)
A first-round pick in 2013, Manaea suffered a hip injury that prevented him from making his pro debut until this spring. He did not get off to a good start, posting a 6.46 ERA in four April starts and a 4.84 mark in the first half of the season. The second half has been a very different story, with the 22-year-old lefty holding Carolina League hitters to a .180 batting average (the first-half mark was .288) and posting a 1.96 ERA. Those trends culminated in a brilliant final start on Friday in which Manaea fanned a career-high 12 batters over seven scoreless innings against Potomac.
Florida State League
Ethan Mildren, Fort Myers
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 2 K)
Mildren's introduction to the Florida State League did not go well, with the Pitt product posting a 7.91 ERA in his first four starts. He began to settle in with the Miracle in August, however, and had his finest FSL outing on Saturday, tossing seven scoreless frames at Jupiter. Mildren allowed just three hits and did not walk a batter while evening his Fort Myers record at 3-3 in 10 starts.
Luis Lugo, Lake County
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
Lugo had an absolutely dreadful July, going 0-3 in six starts with a 9.12 ERA and a .384 average against. August was a completely different story -- the 20-year-old right-hander went 5-0, posted a 2.14 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .207 average. The surge culminated in a pair of scoreless outings last week as Lugo finished his season with five straight wins. His 146 strikeouts on the season were third-most in the Midwest League.
South Atlantic League
Luis Niebla, Charleston
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 7 K)
Niebla made 18 appearances for Charleston in 2013, posting a 4.61 ERA, but did not return to the RiverDogs this year until late July. The right-hander, now 23, fared far better this season. A strong August -- he went 3-1 with a 1.44 ERA in six appearances, five of them starts -- ended Thursday with seven scoreless innings against Greenville in which Niebla allowed three hits, no walks and fanned seven. He needed only 79 pitches -- of which 57 were strikes -- to record the 21 outs.
New York-Penn League
Aaron Wilkerson, Lowell
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
At 25, Wilkerson is nearly four years older than the average NYPL pitcher. Undrafted out of Tennessee's Cumberland University in 2011, the right-hander spent several seasons in independent leagues before being acquired by the Red Sox earlier this summer. Wilkerson was dominant in eight starts for the Spinners, going 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA and finished the season by allowing one run in his last 28 innings. His final start was his very best, with Wilkerson striking out nine Aberdeen IronBirds over seven one-hit innings on Friday night.
Phil Kish, Vancouver
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 G, 5 SV, 5 SVO, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 4 K)
After spending most of the season -- and having good results -- with Class A Lansing, Kish joined the Canadians in mid-August and has been essentially perfect in 11 Northwest League appearances. In this 11 outings that covered 14 innings, the 25-year-old right-hander allowed one unearned run on six hits and recorded nine saves. His performance last week was even more unreal: five games, five saves, no runs and one hit in six innings, helping Vancouver lock up a playoff spot. He and the Canadians will be going for a fourth consecutive Northwest League title when the postseason begins Tuesday evening.
Brock Dykxhoorn, Greeneville
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 10 K)
More than simply a Moniker Madness champion-in-waiting, Dykxhoorn finished his first pro season with aplomb, fanning 10 batters over five innings in his finale last Monday. Dykxhoorn, a sixth-round pick out of Central Arizona, owned a 12.27 ERA after five pro outings, but settled down the rest of the way. After his strong game against Bluefield, he finished the Appy season with a 4.31 mark.
Zach Hirsch, Helena
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 11 K)
On Aug. 22, Hirsch had his worst outing of the season, allowing five runs on six hits -- two of them homers -- over 3 1/3 innings against visiting Great Falls. Six days later the University of Nebraska product held host Great Falls to three hits over six scoreless frames while striking out 11. (He had not fanned more than three batters in any of his first 13 appearances, though only three of them were starts.) It was a great, if unexpected, way to end his first pro campaign.