Toledo has the best record in the International League, and one of the best records in all of minor league baseball. That is thanks in no small part to Kenny Baugh, who has been one of the most consistent pitchers all season for the ‘Hens. When Sean Douglass was promoted to Detroit over him, Baugh just kept pitching and doing his job, and he did that throughout August as well. Baugh posted a 4-2 record in his 34 2/3 innings of work. Baugh carried a 2.86 ERA, including a 1.30 WHIP. While Baugh still hopes to eventually get the call in Detroit, he's certainly showing that he's going to get the job done, no matter where he's pitching.
In Erie, it wasn't quite as easy to find that standout player. In fact, the entire Erie team had a very down month in August. But that won't make a difference to Corey Hamman, who stepped up and had a solid month for the ‘Wolves. In 34 innings, Hamman sported a 2.65 ERA, with a WHIP of just 1.21. Despite Hamman's impressive statistics, he wasn't able to garner a win all month, losing all three of his decisions. Nevertheless, Hamman's workhorse attitude earns him pitcher of the month honors for Erie.
Down in Lakeland, Jordan Tata has been one of the most over-shadowed players in the organization this season. The lack of attention hasn't gotten to Tata though, as he simply continues to plow right through the Florida State League. For August, Tata was 3-0 with an ERA of just 1.95. His WHIP was even more impressive, standing at a miniscule 0.99, well below league average. Tata also struck out 32 batters over the month, proving while he can't dial it up to the upper 90's like Justin Verlander can, he can still be equally as dominant.
At West Michigan, the award this time around goes to a newcomer; reliever Kevin Whelan. Whelan, a recent draftee back in June, started his career off in Oneonta before being promoted to where West Michigan, where he continued to blow away hitters. Whelan pitched 10 2/3 innings, and was virtually unhittable in that span. His 0.84 ERA means he allowed all of one run for the entire month. And as impressive as that is, his WHIP was even more spectacular, as he had a WHIP of just 0.56, largely aided by the all of two walks he gave up over the month (compared with 20 strikeouts). The Tigers have plenty of impressive young relievers, but if you haven't yet, it's time to add Whelan's name to that list.
Oneonta has been largely carried by its offense in 2005, but that doesn't mean the pitchers haven't done anything, especially Burke Badenhop. Badenhop takes the award for Oneonta, as in 38 innings, he carried a 2.61 ERA. Besides pitching a complete game shutout, Badenhop also impressed with a 3-2 record, and a WHIP of just 1.21. Badenhop may not be a stud prospect just yet, but if he keeps pitching like he did in August, he will certainly start to turn some heads and make people take notice of him.
The final monthly award of the 2005 season goes to the top GCL Tigers pitcher, who came out to be none other than Orlando Perdomo. Perdomo, the team's closer didn't allow a single earned run in 11 1/3 innings of work in August. Perdomo also carried a WHIP of just 0.35, with 17 strikeouts to top that off. All that put together gives you one impressive closer, giving a manager the confidence of going into the 9th inning, believing the game is well in hand. In August, Perdomo was that guy.
All in all, it was a good year for the Tigers' minor league clubs and their pitching staffs, as quite a good number of players emerged at one time or another to snag the pitcher of the month award. One can only hope that in the coming months and years, the Tigers will continue to have such impressive young arms coming up and making their case for the pitcher of the month award.