Pitchers of the Postseason

Top playoff performers from 14 Minor League circuits

By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com | September 19, 2012 12:43 PM ET

International League
Phil Irwin, Indianapolis
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 11 K)
Irwin went 3-0 and fashioned a 2.57 ERA in the first four Triple-A starts of his career, then carried his success past the regular season. His gem of a game on Sept. 7 gave the Indians their lone playoff win. The 11 strikeouts represented a career high -- after the game, he credited his curveball -- for the 25-year-old right-hander.

Pacific Coast League
Jesse Chavez, Sacramento
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 10 K)
Like Irwin, Chavez's stay in September was short and sweet. A recent acquisition of the A's -- he was traded from the Blue Jays for cash considerations on Aug. 24 and had spent much of the year at Triple-A Las Vegas -- Chavez took a perfect game into the sixth against eventual PCL champion (and offensive juggernaut) Reno on Sept. 6. The 29-year-old righty retired the first 12 Aces batters he faced on just 34 pitches.

Eastern League
Toru Murata, Akron
(1-0, 1.46 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 1/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 11 K)
Murata helped the Aeros overcome a 2-0 deficit in their best-of-5 semifinal matchup against the Bowie Bay Sox. His six innings of one-run ball on on Sept. 8 followed an impressive final month of the season, during which he gave up just two runs over 26 1/3 innings spanning five starts. Then, on Saturday, the 27-year-old native of Japan completed a season-high 6 1/3 frames to give Akron its second league title in four years.

Southern League
James Paxton, Jackson
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 1/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 19 K)
Paxton, the Mariners' fifth-ranked prospect, did all he could for the Generals, winning both Game 1 of the SL semifinals on Sept. 6 and the opener of the Finals on Sept. 11. The heralded lefty regarded the latter outing "as the biggest start of my professional career, for sure." He had struck out 110 batters in 106 1/3 regular-season frames before fanning 19 more in the playoffs.

Texas League
Nick Tepesch, Frisco
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 1/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 5 BB, 9 K)
If Paxton's September was about beginnings, Tepesch's was about closings. His first postseason outing -- seven one-hit, scoreless innings on Sept. 7 -- sealed the RoughRiders' 3-0, semifinals sweep of the Corpus Christi Hooks. Frisco would fall 3-1 in the TL Championship Series, but not because of its 23-year-old right-hander. Tepesch pitched 6 1/3 more scoreless innings in Game 2, but his bullpen yielded six eighth-inning runs.

California League
Christian Bergman, Modesto
(1-1, 1.50 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 12 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 14 K)
Bergman went 8-0 over his final 13 starts of the regular season but lost his playoff debut. He struck out nine over seven innings of one-run ball in a round-one loss before rebounding with five innings of scoreless relief -- and a victory -- in the semifinals. And though his Nuts were swept in the Cal Finals, this 24-year-old righty has to be happy with a 16-5 record in his first year at the Class A Advanced level.

Carolina League
Gus Schlosser, Lynchburg
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 15 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 13 K)
Schlosser got all the bad out of the way in August, preceding his very, very good September. The Braves farmhand gave up a combined 12 runs (nine earned) in his final two regular-season appearances -- then held both of his postseason opponents scoreless. Facing a familiar Wilmington lineup on Sept. 5 he pitched eight sterling innings. Then, in Game 3 of the Finals on Sept. 11, completed seven more to put the Hillcats one win from their second Mills Cup in four years. Add his two personal postseason victories to his 13 during the season, and Schlosser racked up an even 15 in his first full pro season.

Florida State League
Drew VerHagen, Lakeland
(1-0, 1.50 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 8 K)
VerHagen was in his first pro season, period. With just 10 games under his belt, the Tigers' fourth-round draftee in June was awesome in two meaningful September starts. He started off with six scoreless frames that resulted in Lakeland's two-game, semifinals sweep of Dunedin on Sept. 5. His outing in Game 4 of the FSL Champiponship Series -- six innings of two-run ball -- wasn't as spectacular, but it set up the Tigers to eventually land their first league title since 1992.

Midwest League
David Goforth, Wisconsin
(2-0, 2.40 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 15 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 5 BB, 19 K)
Goforth, the Brewers' No. 17 prospect, lands on this list for one of his starts, not the other. The 23-year-old right-hander pitched a four-hit shutout -- the first complete game of his career -- on Sept. 7, sending the Timber Rattlers to the MWL semifinals. He struck out nine and threw 113 pitches, both career highs. Was he taxed eight days later when he gave up four runs and walked three over six innings in Game 3 of the Finals? No matter -- Wisconsin would wrap up its first circuit crown in Game 4.

South Atlantic League
Tyler Anderson, Asheville
(2-0, 0.69 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 12 K)
Anderson, a first-round pick in 2011 and currently the Rockies' sixth-ranked prospect, lived up to both denominations this month. After striking out a career-high nine over six strong innings in his playoff debut in the semis, the 22-year-old lefty completed seven scoreless frames on an ever bigger stage: Game 3 of the Sally Finals on Sept. 13. All told in his first pro season, Anderson won 14 of his 22 outings.

New York-Penn League
Brandon Henderson, Hudson Valley
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 6 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 10 K)
Henderson, the first and final full-time reliever on our list, achieved shut-down-reliever status this postseason. The 20-year-old lefty struck out six over 4 1/3 perfect innings in the Renegades' combined one-hit shutout on Sept. 10. That performance punched a ticket to the NYPL Championship Series where, in Game 3 on Sept. 13, Henderson struck out four and walked a batter over two more scoreless frames. Thanks to him and his fellow 'pen mates -- the club averaged four pitchers per game in the playoffs -- Hudson Valley earned its first league crown since 1999.

Northwest League
Felix Pena, Boise
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 2 K)
Pena was one-and-done in the postseason. The Cubs prospect recorded 13 groundouts over seven scoreless innings to clinch the Hawks' Finals berth on Sept. 5. Boise could have used his arm in the Championship Series, which it dropped, 2-1, to Vancouver. Pena, a 22-year-old who has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen, showed, if only in a short burst, his ability as a starter.

Appalachian League
Jose Berrios, Elizabethton
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 5 BB, 14 K)
Berrios, the 32nd overall pick in the 2012 Draft, took the ball for the Twins' first and last playoff games, both ending in victories. The 18-year-old Puerto Rican pitched six one-hit innings on Aug. 29. Five days later, he gave up four runs (all unearned) over four innings but showed the explosiveness of his repertoire with seven more strikeouts. Elizabethton went on to wear its fifth crown in 10 years and may have seen the last of Berrios, who sported a 49-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio 30 2/3 regular-season frames and is sure to advance a level or two in 2013.

Pioneer League
Yoimer Camacho, Missoula
(2-0, 0.90 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 6 BB, 10 K)
Camacho, a 22-year-old hailing from Venezuela, gave up 26 runs over his final 25 1/3 innings of the regular season before flipping a switch. That started with five strong innings that clinched the Osprey's spot in the PL Finals and ended with fiver stronger innings five days later in his club's title-finishing tilt with Ogden on Sept. 14. "He was outstanding," Missoula manager Andy Green said following the latter performance. "He really stepped up late in the season." He wasn't the only one.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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