Until recently, Lexington’s pitching was a true strength. Thing is, the numbers don’t always tell the whole story.
While the team’s pitching overall has recorded a second-to-last 4.11 ERA in the South Atlantic League, there have been quite a few strong performances from both starters and relievers. Here’s just a little info on a few of those who have stood out to me the most:
RHP Evan Beal (2.05 ERA in 26 1/3 IP) has acquitted himself well after his 21st round selection in 2014. Despite obvious struggles with control (16 BB thus far in 2015), he has also averaged a strikeout per inning and is mitigating the damage in preventing those base-runners from crossing the plate.
Lefty Matthew Strahm (2.08 ERA in 26 IP, 38 K, 12 BB) earned every bit of his recent promotion to High-A Wilmington. Rangy and almost whip-like in his delivery, Strahm showed good sink and tail on his fastball and solid command over his off-speed selections. A 21st round selection in 2012, Strahm is likely to greatly surpass his draft position. Most impressive, this season: his 3 shutout innings in relief at Kannapolis on May 27th in which he struck out 9 of a possible ten batters faced. Keep an eye on his progress.
Another youngster on this significantly talented team, Scott Blewett was KC’s 2nd round pick last year. He’s had only 4 starts in pro ball, all this year, but he’s allowed only a total of 4 runs in those starts (17 IP, 4 BB, 20 K). It’s a little early to project what he’s going to show us this season, but he’s another one to keep an eye on. Guys like Blewett will keep Lexington in many a game.
LHP Emilio Ogando (2.70 ERA in 46 2/3 IP, 17 BB, 38 K) was a 12th rounder in 2014, and has done nothing but put up strong numbers since he debuted in Rookie-League Idaho Falls last year. Appearing in 13 games so far in 2015 (3 starts), Ogando has shown an ability to perform well in both roles. He also has a solid tailing fastball and consistently keeps the ball low. I would expect his groundout rate to increase as the season progresses.
RHP Pedro Fernandez (3.25 ERA in 44 1/3 IP, 46 K) has been an important swingman for the Legends in 2015. In 11 games he’s made 6 starts for the team, recording a fantastic 0.95 WHIP as well as a K/BB ratio slightly over 3/1. In addition, batters are hitting only .183 against him. While he’s allowed a meager 2 homers in those 11 games, he’s shown himself to be a fly-ball pitcher throughout his career. As he climbs the ladder, this might end up hurting him significantly.
2012 sixth rounder Zach Lovvorn (3.56 ERA in 65 2/3 IP, 11 BB, 47 K) has been a stalwart in the Legends’ rotation. He’s allowed slightly more than a hit per inning, but has limited the damage by keeping his walks down and keeping his head with runners on. He’s also 6 innings or more in 5 of his last 10 starts, giving relief to the relief corps. Lovvorn has a bit of projectability left, and could end up sitting 93-94 on his velocity, and already shows a solid-plus changeup to go with easy arm action and good movement on his fastball (seems like a recurring trend with Legends pitchers).
That’s a quick view at some of our Legends staff, and there’s more to come soon as the season moves on.