AAA Toledo Mud Hens – LHP Matt Boyd
20.2 IP | 3.05 ERA | 1.50 WHIP | 20 K | 9 BB
Boyd wasn’t able to lock down a starting spot in the Detroit rotation, so instead went down to Toledo where he was excellent in his first month of the year, leading the Hens rotation. Boyd picked up a win in four starts, but never allowed more than three runs in each of those starts, giving the Hens a chance to win each time out. He also struck out 20, good for nearly a strikeout per inning.
Runner-up: RHP Warwick Saupold
AA Erie SeaWolves – RHP Kurt Spomer
15.0 IP | 0.00 ERA | 0.93 WHIP | 16 K | 3 BB
The SeaWolves pitching staff didn’t have its best month in April, but Spomer stood out among the group, not allowing a run in ten appearances, spanning 15 innings. Spomer, who the Tigers snagged in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft last winter, came to the club from the Angels, where he was a lightly-regarded prospect. Spomer spent much of the month of April working in middle relief for Erie, but slowly moved toward the back end of the bullpen as the season got ramped up. Spomer relies heavily on his sinker and it showed, with a 3.33 groundout/air-out ratio in the month.
Runner-up: LHP Joe Mantiply
A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – RHP A.J. Ladwig
23.0 IP | 0.78 ERA | 0.61 WHIP | 17 K | 1 BB
The lanky right-hander was excellent in four appearances for Lakeland, giving up just two earned runs in his work, en route to recording a perfect 4-0 record. Ladwig limited baserunners with just 13 hits allowed and only one walk, while dialing up plenty of strikeouts. The former Wichita State product, Ladwig has been a steady presence in the Flying Tigers rotation, throwing plenty of strikes, with 73% of his pitches going for strikes. With his fastball only around 90 MPH, a key element of success for him has been his ability to throw his changeup and curveball for strikes, as well.
Runner-up: RHP Joe Jimenez
A West Michigan Whitecaps – LHP Matt Hall
21.2 IP | 0.83 ERA | 0.92 WHIP | 23 K | 6 BB
Similar to Ladwig in Lakeland, Hall was excellent in West Michigan, leading the way in the Whitecaps rotation. Hall, who went 2-0 in the month, wasn’t quite as good at limiting baserunners, but his WHIP was still under one, and he struck out more than a batter per inning while keeping opposing hitters with an average under .200. Hall was good all month, but had one particularly impressive outing, tossing 6 2/3 innings of one-hit baseball on April 16, including striking out nine on 93 pitches. Outings like that help highlight the skill-set of the Missouri State product.
Runner-up: RHP Kyle Dowdy