MadFriars May Pitcher of the Month

Each month, MadFriars takes a look at the best performances across the Padres minor league system and honor the hitter and pitcher of the month. While several notable pitchers limped through May, from Robbie Erlin at the highest level to Zach Eflin in Low-A, there were also plenty of bright spots on the mound.

Tucson Padres

Brandon Kloess really turned it on after moving from the bullpen to the rotation midway through the month. The 28-year-old had a 2.66 ERA overall in eight appearances, but dropped it to 2.30 in his three starts. The righty struck out 20 with only four walks in 15.2 innings as a starter and only surrendered 20 hits in 23.2 total frames.

Robbie Erlin's strong May was capped by a brief cameo in the San Diego rotation to start June. The 22-year-old was stellar in his last outing of the month, striking out 11 across seven shutout innings, helping to bounce back from a pair of rough outings on the road. Strangely, he was at his best in Tucson and Salt Lake, two of the more challenging parks to pitch in anywhere in the minors.

Sean O'Sullivan posted a 3.06 ERA to further stabilize the rotation in May, striking out 35 in 35.1 innings of work. The 1.39 WHIP means he had a high degree of difficulty, but with a strong groundball ratio, he was able to control any potential damage well.

May Pitcher of the month: Brandon Kloess

San Antonio

With Burch Smith getting the call to the big leagues and Matt Wisler taking a few starts to settle in on his way up from the Cal League, Matt Andriese anchored the Missions' rotation nicely. The big righty from Riverside posted a 2.01 ERA across five starts. Though he struck out just 17 in his 26 innings, he issued only two free passes. With a better than 2-to-1 groundball rate, he absolutely stifled opponents' efforts.

Keyvius Sampson finally stabilized a bit, recording a 3.12 ERA with 23 strikeouts across 26 innings in five starts. Definitely a step in the right direction for the righty, who is still only 22 years old. The back of the bullpen remained a force. Jeremy McBryde worked 11 innings in 12 appearances, racking up 17 strikeouts on his way to a 1.64 ERA. Kevin Quackenbush outdid him, tossing 13.1 scoreless innings to shave his career ERA to 0.72.

May Pitcher of the Month: Matt Andriese

Lake Elsinore

The Storm staff amassed a 5.41 team ERA in May, a lack of quality that was pretty evenly distributed. Frank Garces was the only starter to come in under 4.00, posting a 3.71 ERA across six starts. The lefty struck out a team-high 31 hitters, holding opponents to a .238 average.

Johnny Barbato settled into his closer role nicely, striking out 20 in 14 innings, though five walks and a pair of homers skewed his ERA upward to 3.86. Big Matt Lollis had a 3.18 ERA in his 13 appearances, though he was nearly unhittable for the first half of the month.

May Pitcher of the Month: Frank Garces

Fort Wayne

You may have heard already, but Fort Wayne has some pretty decent pitchers on the staff! Zach Eflin, Justin Hancock and Max Fried all turned in strong months for the TinCaps.

Eflin, a supplemental pick last year, put up a 2.25 ERA across 28 innings, whiffing 25 hitters along the way. He capped the month with seven shutout innings in his final start as he continued to build stamina working deeper into games. Fried, taken 26 picks before Eflin last June, struggled a bit with command, walking nine in 21.2 innings. But the lefty with nasty stuff also struck out 20 while posting a 2.91 ERA. Hancock, the one member of the rotation without a massive pedigree, was as effective as anyone once again, pitching his way to a 2.20 ERA with only three walks in 28.2 innings.

In the bullpen, Leonel Campos worked on redefining the phrase effectively wild in May. The hard-throwing Venezuelan struck out an eye-popping 24 of the 53 total batters he faced, but also walked eight in his 12.2 innings of work. Fellow righty Roman Madrid surrendered only one earned run across 14.1 innings, but walked a tight rope to do it. The former Central Florida closer gave up 10 hits, walked seven and hit a pair, making it an adventure all month.

May Player of the Month: Zach Eflin

May MadFriars Player of the Month

Eflin gets the nod here as he really found his footing for the first time as a professional, slightly edging out Matt Andriese because of the strong peripherals.

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