Remember, you heard it here first
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP, Indians (Double-A Akron)
Thursday’s stats: 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K
Five days ago, we tipped you off to Gomez, who fired eight shutout innings to lower his Eastern League ERA to 0.45. Thursday afternoon, he did one better, firing the first perfect game in the minors in nearly two years. In four starts for Akron, the 21-year-old Venezuelan has put up some PlayStation-worth numbers, giving up just nine hits and one walk over 29 innings for a minuscule WHIP of 0.34.
Literally twice as old as who he was facing
John Smoltz, RHP, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville)
Thursday’s stats: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
The largest age difference for Smoltz last night was when he faced Augusta shortstop Ehire Adrianza, who is 22 years and three months younger than the eight-time All-Star. Fun facts aside, Smoltz’ first rehab outing was a rousing success, as he threw free and easy, threw strikes, got up to 92 with his fastball and felt fine when the night was done.
Welcome to the win column
Andrew Brackman, RHP, Yankees (Low-A Charleston)
Thursday’s stats: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 B, 6 K
Maybe the ultimate high-risk, high-reward prospect, Brackman has no extended track record of success since high school, is coming off a Tommy John surgery, is just earning his first pro win last night at the age of 23, yet it’s hard to get away from a six-foot-ten righty with pure power stuff. Pitching every five days has takes a couple of ticks of his fastball, but it still looks like it’s coming from the top of a mountain and generating plenty of groundballs when contact is made at all.
Far too early to be written off
Brad Lincoln, RHP, Pirates (Double-A Altoona)
Thursday’s stats: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K
The fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft, Lincoln missed all of 2007 recovering from Tommy John surgery, and his 2008 season provided little room for optimism. But surgery such as that sometimes requires a full-year of recovery, and Lincoln has been outstanding of late, as his first professional shutout caps a four-start surge over which he’s allowed just three runs and 17 hits in 27.2 innings to lower his ERA to 2.31. Sitting at 91-93 mph with heavy sink, touching 96 and showing a very good breaking ball, Lincoln is suddenly firmly back on the prospect radar.
Anger as a motivating factor?
Tommy Hanson, RHP, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett)
Thursday’s stats: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K
When the Braves needed another starter this week, they called upon Kris Medlen, who struggled last night in the big leagues. It was a defendable move, as Medlen was actually outpitching Hanson at the time, but Hanson made his own statement on Thursday with another dominating start. Now sitting with a 1.51 ERA, 73 strikeouts in 53.2 innings and an opponent’s batting average of .160, Hanson’s big call can’t be much further away.
Steve Clevenger, C, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee)
Thursday’s stats: 2-for-4, K
A seventh-round pick in 2006 out of a Florida junior college, Clevenger has slowly converted to catcher over the course of his career, and scouts have slowly warmed up to his overall set of skills. His patient approach and line-drive bat have him hitting .328/.423/.493 in the Southern League, and his defense continues to improve, as he’s active and athletic behind the plate while gunning down seven of 12 attempted base stealers. Scouts often had him as a good sleeper, or possible backup, but one talent assessor who recently saw him graded him out as an everyday big league backstop.