Mahle Tosses Shutout
A lot of Mustangs had nice nights at the plate led by Pickens who when 4-5 with four RBI. Right behind him was Washington who connected on three hits while three others finished with two-hit games: Blandino, O’Grady, and Franklin.
Complete games are rare in the minor leagues and usually come in seven-inning double header contests. They are even rarer in the rookie leagues when young pitchers are often handled carefully with inning limits. Sunday Billings starter Tyler Mahle bucked that trend by with a complete game, three-hit shutout. He struck out six without a walk while finishing off the Raptors by facing two hitters over the minimum. The win brought his record up to 2-2 on the season.
Mahle’s ERA still isn’t impressive on the year as it sits near five, but it’s early in the short season and one bad outing can really inflate ernies. Thus far in 2014 he’s taken the hill six times for the Mustangs and allowed one run or few in half of those outings. He’s shown great control with a K/BB ratio of 25/6 over 28 innings and been able to keep the ball on the ground with a ground/air out ratio of 1.75.
Mahle came into the Cincinnati organization out of Westiminster (CA) High School from a seventh round selection in last year’s draft. When the Reds inked him with a $250,000 signing bonus, almost $90,000 over slot, they denied his services to Cal-Santa Barbara where he would have joined his older brother Greg playing for the Gauchos. After signing he split time between the rotation and the bullpen in the Arizona League and finished with a 2.36 ERA over 34 innings. He also had similar periphery stats for command and ground balls as he’s continued to put up this season.
Mahle went to work with a high-80’s fastball that he mixes with a curve and changeup that both have the potential to be above average pitches with some work. Though his velocity is a bit pedestrian for a professional pitcher he has great command for a young man who won’t turn 20 until later this season. Many also feel there’s potential to pick up a few ticks on his heater as he fills out his 6’2’/175# frame.
Right now Mahle is busy competing against older players in the Pioneer League. Low walk and high groundout rates make him a safe bet to ascend up the ladder. It’s nice to have a heater that can light up a radar gun, but many have proved they can make a living without it by relying on command and finesse. Tyler Mahle is a top candidate to see stats improve over the remainder of the season and qualify to start a full season at Dayton in 2015.
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