We won’t have to wait for the first no-hitter on the season. In fact, we almost had a perfect game between the same two teams on the front-end of a twin-bill. HiA Stockton and Rancho Cucamonga provided the stage yesterday and it began in game #1 with 2015 UTR-OAS Brett Graves retiring all batters faced through five innings. Joey Wagman came on in relief and remained perfect into the 7th inning until RC’s 2016 UTR-OAS DJ Peters slapped a two-out single. Rancho Cucamonga re-grouped and 19th ranked Mitchell White teamed with Alex Hermeling in game #2 in turning the tables to throw a 7-inning no-hitter. It was the first no-hitter in Rancho Cucamonga’s 25-years of existence. Back on the East Coast, Detroit Tigers prospects #5 Kyle Funkhouser (LoA) and 2-time UTR-OAS A.J. Ladwig (HiA) also had outstanding outings and appear below. TOP NL UTR PITCHING PERFORMANCE RHP Jordan Humphreys (LoA Columbia – New York Mets) 20 years old 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, Win 1-0
- An athletic righty that was taken in the 18th round in 2015, Humphrey also flirted with a no-hitter yesterday before allowing two base-hits in the 5th inning. Unsure if any projection remains unless he can fill-out his slender 6’1″ 180 lb. frame, and can increase velocity. Humphreys overall stuff isn’t overpowering, but he does display solid command. He throws a low 90’s fastball and his developing his secondaries. He began his pro career with the GCL Mets making seven appearances. His command came to the forefront last season with Appy League Kingsport, where he made 12 starts, striking out 76 over 69.1 innings. His 9 K’s yesterday bolstered his K/BB ratio to 9.00 (101 K / 18 BB) over his short career of 92.1 innings.
- D-Backs #9 ranked prospect
- Brewers #24 ranked prospect
- Curry makes his pro debut after being signed as a non-drafted free agent in July.
TOP AL UTR PITCHING PERFORMANCE RHP Kyle Funkhouser (LoA West Michigan – Detroit) 23 years old 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, Win 1-0
- Funkhouser was unable to sign with the Dodgers after they drafted him in the first round in 2015. They didn’t come calling last June, as the right-hander slid down to the 4th round where the Tigers grabbed him. Some say that was still a stretch, as Funkhouser struggled with command while at Louisville. He proved last season that he can throw for strikes racking up 34 K’s over 37.1 innings at short-season Connecticut. If he can remain that consistent, his ceiling could be that of a mid-rotation innings eater.
- Idrogo appeared on my radar in 2014 during his time in the Venezuelan Summer League. He was brought over to the states to begin the 2015 season and became my #1 TPS UTR-OAS, and tagged as a “Legit UTR.” He enjoyed his first full season in 2016 with LoA West Michigan. Though the lefty is starting the 2017 season repeating LoA, he’s still a solid and projectable 21 year-old arm, so keep him on your watch list.
- Pannone was drafted in the 9th round back in 2013 and has appeared as a UTR-OAS over the last three seasons. That is a rare occurrence during the short history of UTRMinors.com. The left-hander has posted a remarkably consistent TPS score over that time: .063 in 2014 and .083 in both 2015 & 2016; a very promising sign over three levels. He dominated LoA in 2015 and I was surprised how long he remained at Lake County before the mid-July promotion to Lynchburg. Still just 22 years-old, I’m ok with the Indians biding their time with Pannone’s development. I believe he’s on the same track as 2014 UTR-OAS Ryan Merritt.
- Another favorite arm among the UTR-OAS stable. Ludwig has made back-to-back OAS appearances in 2015 and 2016. He, however, saw his TPS raise dramatically from 2015 from .083 to .142 in 2016. A case study was intriguing in that his peripherals remained constant from LoA West Michigan to HiA Lakeland. He did see an increase in FIP and slight jump in HR/9, which were the only outliners that I could find. I will watch Ludwig very closely this season, to see if the increase equates why he’s repeating at Lakeland to start 2017.
- 29th ranked prospect for the Tigers returns to the UTR spotlight, as a relief pitcher. Labourt was a 2014 UTR-OAS as a starter with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was traded to Detroit in the Daniel Norris/Matt Boyd deal in 2015.