Nate Pearson enjoyed a successful debut at the Double-A level Tuesday.
They are separated by one level and about 10 miles per hour on their fastballs but former Vancouver Canadians pitchers Nate Pearson and Joey Murray dominated in their next-level debuts Tuesday.
Pearson sat down the first 10 hitters he faced before former major leaguer Cody Asche singled. Pearson would strike out a pair of batters in each of his first three innings, adding one more whiff in the fourth and fifth. The 22 year-old allowed just two singles over five shutout innings. Unfortunately, the Toronto Blue Jays first round pick of 2017 had to settle for a no-decision as New Hampshire lost in Portland.
As noted in this story by Chris Bumbaca of MiLB.com, Pearson’s Double-A debut comes one year to the day he was sidelined by a line drive breaking his forearm in his Florida State League debut with Dunedin. The story indicates Pearson did clock in at 100-miles per hour on the radar gun and had his three-pitch mix—which includes a changeup and slide—working to great effect.
Tuesday’s game was delayed by more than an hour and there was a school of thought that Pearson would remain in Dunedin until the weather warmed up. However, the big righthander and his 2017 C’s batterymate Riley Adams were promoted from the Sunshine State to join the Fisher Cats last week. At Dunedin, Pearson went 3-0 with a 0.68 earned run average and struck out 35 batters in 21 innings while walking only three. Cold weather or not, that line earned the Junior College of Central Florida product a well-deserved promotion to the Eastern League.
Joey Murray had a fine debut with the Dunedin Blue Jays Tuesday.
Also getting a richly-deserved opportunity to prove himself at the next level, 2018 C’s righthander Joey Murray delivered five shutout innings and like Pearson, limited the opposition to two hits. The former Kent State Golden Flash walked just one batter and struck out six but the Dunedin Blue Jays fell to Tampa Tuesday.
The 22 year-old Murray compiled 40 strikeouts and walked 12 over 30-2/3 innings with the Lansing Lugnuts, winning three of four decisions with a 3.82 ERA. Among the highlights were a career-long seven inning performance April 16 and a 10-strikeout game six days later.
Murray’s strikeout rate per nine innings is a healthy 11.7 percent in 2019 thanks to a four-pitch mix which features a fastball that tops out in the low 90’s but its high spin rate along with a deceptive delivery makes it tough for hitters to pick up the ball. The K rate may pale in comparison to Pearson’s rate of 15 whiffs per nine but the hitters are letting Murray know that he has the stuff to succeed by batting a composite .222 against him.
2011 C’s infielder Andy Burns hit a game-tying double in the eighth inning to help the Buffalo Bisons win an extra-innings affair in Gwinnett Tuesday. Conor Fisk (2015) got the win by striking out two to offset a walk over 1-1/3 scoreless innings for the win. Justin Shafer (2014) struck out one in a shutout 10th for the save.
Norberto Obeso (2017) extended his on-base streak to 12 games in Dunedin’s loss to Tampa with a hit and a walk. The pride of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico also enjoyed a seven-game hit streak that featured a trio of three-hit performances. Obeso is slashing .317/.397/.433 over 60 at-bats to go along with six extra-base hits and six runs batted in. Cullen Large (2017) also had a hit Tuesday to extend his hit-streak to seven and is batting .307/.405/.495 with 15 extra-base hits and 16 RBI so far in 101 at-bats.
Nash Knight (2016) had a single, a walk and a stolen base in a losing cause for New Hampshire Tuesday. Also, 2018 C’s Otto Lopez had a two-hit game and Tanner Kirwer collected his first Midwest League hit and drew a walk but Lansing was blanked by Quad Cities. Marcus Reyes struck out three over three innings of one-run ball in relief of Josh Winckowski, who was roughed up for four runs over four innings on his return from the injured list.
A day late on this one but congratulations to 2011 C’s second baseman Jon Berti for clubbing his first major league home run for the Miami Marlins as they rallied for a 6-5 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field Monday. He greeted Cole Hamels by homering on the first pitch to left-center field in the sixth inning. Berti has gotten on base at a .357 clip in his first 37 at-bats with Miami.
2014 C’s second baseman Tim Locastro finds himself on the Arizona-Reno shuttle. He was called up by the Diamondbacks five days ago but was sent back down to Reno Tuesday. He has a .435 on-base percentage over his 17 at-bat stint to go along with two stolen bases for the snakes. For now, the 26 year-old Auburn, New York native will go back to mashing the ball with the Aces as he is hitting .395 with an OPS of 1.365.