August Pitchers of the Month

With the season winding to a close for all but one team, John Conniff found gold in August with several pitchers, including some players who aren't recognized nearly enough – the middle relievers.

Portland Beavers
Cory Luebke
3-0, 2.27 ERA

Luebke cemented his status as the Padres' best pitcher in the minors with a blazing performance in August. In his last three starts, he allowed one earned run over his last 20 innings. His K/BB ratio of 22/11 isn't going to blow anyone away, but the former Ohio State Buckeye keeps everything down and hard and gave up only eight earned runs in five starts. It's hard to not see him in San Diego's rotation next year.

Prospect Watch: Ryan Webb pitched well in relief with a 1.69 ERA, striking out 13 in 10.2 IP against only 3 walks. Adam Russell was 9-for-9 in save opportunities but a backward 14/9 K/BB ratio is a little strange, although PCL batters could only manage a .220 batting average against him. Radhames Liz had a good K/BB ratio of 32/9 and led the Beavers in innings pitched with 37.2 for a 2-2 record and 4.54 ERA.

Disappointments: A tough month for former 2005 number one pick Cesar Carrillo who went 1-4 with a 8.16 ERA. In 32 IP he gave up 29 earned runs. He was taken off the 40-man roster and claimed by Philadelphia.

San Antonio Missions
Evan Scribner
0-0-8, 2.13 ERA

With former closer Craig Italiano not all the way back from injuries, Scribner assumed the closer role, and in August he was 8-for-9 in save opportunities. He struck out 18 batters in 12.2 innings against only six hits and five walks, as he held batters to a .140 batting average.

Prospect Watch: Before being promoted to Portland, Simon Castro put together another solid month going 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA. Castro averaged nearly six innings a start with a 23/5 K/BB ratio. Erik Davis was 3-0 with a 3.30 ERA and in his last start of the year in September just missed a no-hitter. Brandon Gomes may be the most underrated pitcher in the organization, as he struck out 19 in 13.1 innings against only eight hits and six walks.

Disappointments: Aaron Breit struggled with his command, walking 18 batters in 13.2 innings for a 10.54 ERA.

Lake Elsinore Storm
Gary Poynter
2-0, 0.89 ERA

It's tough to get love when you pitch in middle relief, but Poynter put together some numbers in August. In 20.2 IP he gave up only two earned runs, one of them was a home run, and held batters to a .197 batting average. A 38th-round pick in the 2008 draft he's always had a big fastball, but now his slider and change are starting to come around.

Prospect Watch: Jeremy McBryde had a good month, going 3-0 with a 3.50 ERA. He had a K/BB ratio of 29/9 as he held Cal League batters to a .217 batting average. Closer Brad Brach was 6-for-6 in save opportunities and again held batters to a sub-.200 batting average at .162. Rob Musgrave had a great K/BB ratio of 30/4 but caught a little too much of the plate at times, giving up 32 hits in 29.1 innings for a 3.99 ERA.

Disappointments: Eric Gonzalez had his worst month of the season with a 11.74 ERA giving up 27 hits in 15.2 innings.

Fort Wayne TinCaps
Matt Lollis
4-1, 1.15 ERA

The giant Lollis has come as far as anyone in the organization this year after beginning the year in extended spring training. After putting up very good numbers in Eugene, he continued his success in the Midwest League, leading the team in innings pitched, wins and strikeouts. The big man from Riverside had a K/BB ratio of 32/7 and only gave up five earned runs in six starts. With as well as Lollis has pitched, you have to wonder how aggressive the team will be with him next season.

Prospect Watch: Australian/ASU pitcher Josh Spence joined the TinCaps after the draft and a brief stop in the Cape Cod League. He went 2-1 with 3.00 ERA striking out 28 against five walks. Big right-hander Miles Mikolas has settled into the closer's role going 11-of-12 in save opportunities with a 15/2 K/BB ratio in 15.2 IP. Jose DePaula had a ridiculous 17/1 K/BB ratio in 23 innings pitched for a 2.35 ERA and a 2-1 record. Stiven Osuna also pitched well in relief with a 1.37 ERA with a 19/8 K/BB ratio in 19.2 innings.

Disappointments: None, the TinCaps had a team ERA of 3.39.

Eugene Emeralds
Deiber Sanchez
0-1, 1.77 ERA

As with Poynter, Sanchez thrived in the role of middle relief, giving up only four earned runs in 20.1 IP with a 16/8 K/BB ratio. Northwest League batters could only manage a .209 batting average against him, as he led the team in ERA for August.

Prospect Watch: Canadian lefty Mark Hardy put up some solid numbers after being promoted from the AZL, going 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts. Hardy had a 28/10 K/BB ratio in 27 IP. Adys Portillo's command still isn't there, but there is some promise with 25 strikeouts in 23 IP for a 3.13 ERA. Matt Branham was selected in the 28th round and went 4-0 for the Ems with a 2.64 ERA. Branham struck out 32 in 30.2 IP against only 28 hits.

Disappointments: Ryan Hinson had a 14.29 ERA in 5.2 IP giving up 16 hits and nine earned runs.

Arizona Rookie League Padres
Rob Gariano
3-1, 2.59 ERA

Fairfield University's Rob Gariano had his best month since being drafted in the 36th-round of this year's draft. The small right-hander (5'10", 180 lbs.) tied for the lead on the AZL Padres in strikeouts with 18 and only allowed seven earned runs in 24.1 innings pitched. Gariano left Fairfield as the school's all time leader in strikeouts.

Prospect Watch: Adam Schrader, another player from a small school (Southwest Minnesota) although at 6'3" 210 lbs. a little bigger, finished off a 4-0 year with the AZL Padres going 2-0 this month with 10 strikeouts in two starts where he went six innings. His K/BB ratio was 10/5 and he had an ERA of 2.25.

Disappointments: Big right-hander Charles Nading struggled in August with a 14.29 ERA giving up nine earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched.

Dominican Summer League Padres
Uber Paz
1-1, 0.40 ERA

Paz was moved into the starter's role and performed admirably, giving up just a single earned run in his 22.1 innings pitched. He yielded just 12 hits, holding the opposition to a .158 average against and posted a 22/5 K/BB ratio.

Prospect Watch: Tayron Guerrero was nearly as good, also after moving into a starting role. He posted a 1.61 ERA across 22.1 innings but did walk 11 while fanning 22. Marlon Claveria handled middle relief well, going 1-1 with a 1.37 ERA. He notched a 15/3 K/BB ratio. Freddys Henrique posted a 1.46 ERA and struck out 18 in 12.1 innings. Vladimir De La Cruaz also had a 0.53 ERA and yielded just eight hits but walked 12 in 17 innings.

Disappointments: Ivan Marcano and Andres Cornelio each walked 21 batters during the month, despite pitching less than 15 innings apiece. Pitcher of the Month: Matt Lollis
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