Oakland A's MLN: Pitchers Off To Hot Starts

The Oakland A's major league starting rotation is currently leading the American League in ERA. However, the A's big league starters aren't the only pitchers in the system off to good starts. We detail a number of A's minor league starters who have found early season success.

Dallas Braden
2 GS, 1-0, 2.25 ERA, 12 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 13 K, 2 HR

Braden was the A's Organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2005, but he missed most of the 2006 season. The 23 year old left-hander has dominated in his first two starts, allowing only a .128 BAA. He is striking out more than one batter an inning and he has shown good control. The only blip on his season is that he has allowed two homeruns. Jason Windsor got off to a hot start in Midland last season and was moved up to Triple-A Sacramento after only five starts. Braden could follow in Windsor's path if he continues to throw well in his next few starts.

Brad Halsey
2 GS, 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 10.2 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 13 K, 0 HR

After spending most of the 2006 season in Oakland, Halsey was sent back to Triple-A after a poor showing in spring training. The left-hander has been impressive in his two starts with Sacramento. He has been especially good against left-handed hitters, allowing only a walk and striking out six of the 15 left-handed hitters he has faced. With Chad Gaudin and Joe Kennedy pitching well in the A's rotation, Halsey may not get a shot as a starter in Oakland any time soon. However, if the A's have a bullpen spot open up, Halsey could be a candidate if he continues to throw well.

Shane Komine
2 GS, 1-1, 2.38 ERA, 11.1 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 1 HR

Komine was only average in his first start, when he allowed three runs and 10 hits in 5.1 innings pitched. However, he was nearly flawless in his next outing. He no-hit the Portland Beavers through five innings and finished his start with six innings pitched and only one hit and two walks allowed. Komine's big league future may be in the bullpen ultimately, but the A's will keep him stretched out as a starter as long as he continues to produce good results for the River Cats.

Jason Windsor
2 GS, 1-0, 3.29 ERA, 13.2 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 1 HR

Windsor was one of the final four pitchers considered for the A's last rotation spot this spring, but a poor final outing dropped him out of the race. Like Komine, Windsor had a rough first outing this season, allowing four runs in six innings. However, he recovered in a big way in his second appearance, carrying a shut-out into the eighth inning. He finished that start with one run allowed in 7.2 innings pitched. Windsor will compete with Halsey to be the first A's pitcher recalled to Oakland if the need arises.

Brad Knox
1 GS, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

Thanks to a cancelled game, Knox won't be making his second start until tonight. He was outstanding in his first appearance, however, shutting out the Springfield Cardinals over six innings. He scattered five hits and two walks and struck out five. Knox is coming off of a strong year with Midland where he had a 3.67 ERA in 161.2 innings.

Mike Madsen:
2 GS, 0-1, 4.50 ERA, 12 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 13 K, 1 HR

Madsen's ERA might not be pretty, but he has pitched much better than that stat would indicate. The right-hander has gotten off to slow starts in each of his first two outings, but he has settled down quickly and has pitched well in the later innings. In his second start, he allowed two runs in seven innings, with both runs coming early in the game. He has shown good control (although he has hit three batters) and has struck out more than a batter an inning. If he continues to throw like he has in his first two starts, his ERA should improve quickly.

Vince Mazzaro:
1 GS, 0-0, 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K

Mazzaro struggled at times last season to keep his hit total down, so it was a very good sign to see the right-hander allow only three hits in his first outing. He played the role of stopper for the Ports, putting them in position to win their first game of the season after they dropped the first four games. He'll go again on Saturday.

Ben Jukich:
1 GS, 0-0, 3.00 ERA, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

Jukich didn't receive any help from his defense in his first outing, but he still managed to have an impressive California League debut. The left-hander kept the hot-hitting San Jose Giants relatively in check and he was the first Ports pitcher to go six innings in a start.

John Herrera:
1 GS, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

Herrera was a reliever for Kane County last season, but he had a good showing as a starter to begin this season. He allowed only five baserunners in five innings and didn't give up a run to Beloit. The Cougars' early-season schedule has been rocked by bad weather, so the team has only played in four games. Herrera is the only starter for the Cougars to make it through five full innings thus far.

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