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Minor League Awards

OaklandClubhouse’s Oakland Athletics Minor League Pitcher of the Month: April

Who were the best pitchers in the Oakland A’s system in April?

Jesus Luzardo / Photo by Kimberly Contreras
Jesus Luzardo dominated in April. / Photo by Kimberly Contreras

OaklandClubhouse’s Minor League Pitcher of the Month: April

Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Stockton Ports/Midland RockHounds

24.2 IP, 2.19 ERA, 15 H, 1 HRA, 7 BB, 37 K, .169 BAA

The A’s haven’t been shy about challenging their 20-year-old phenom this year, and he’s risen to meet every challenge he’s been handed – whether it was two starting assignments in big league camp, a jump from short-season to the High-A California League, or an early season promotion to Double-A. Luzardo dominated in his three starts with the Ports, striking out 25 in 14.2 innings. In his last start for Stockton, Luzardo didn’t allow a hit in five innings pitched.

The A’s promoted him to Double-A on April 24. In his two starts for Midland, Luzardo has had to work his way out of trouble more frequently than he did in High-A, but he has shown remarkable poise while limiting the damage. In his first start, he allowed back-to-back doubles to start the game before settling into a strong five-inning performance after that. In his second outing, Luzardo faced a highly talented San Antonio lineup that collected six hits off of him, but he used seven strikeouts (including several with runners in scoring position) to keep the damage to two runs.

Runner’s Up

James Naile, RHP, Nashville Sounds: 29.2 IP, 1.21 ERA, 25 H, 1 HRA, 6 BB, 23 K, .231 BAA Naile was outstanding in April, bringing stability to a Sounds’ rotation that had plenty of moving parts throughout the month. He went at least five innings in all five of his starts and he didn’t allow a run until his fourth start of the year. Naile’s sinker was particularly effective, as he racked up a 56% groundball rate in April.

Parker Dunshee, RHP, Stockton Ports: 27.2 IP, 2.28 ERA, 24 H, 1 HRA, 7 BB, 38 K Dunshee’s scoreless inning streak came to an end just shy of 50 innings, but he still put together an impressive month of April. The right-hander racked up strikeouts at an impressive rate while also limiting his walks. Held to five innings in his first two outings due to pitch count restrictions, Dunshee has pitched at least 5.2 innings in his last three starts.

Brian Howard, RHP, Stockton Ports: 21 IP, 2.57 ERA, 13 H, 2 HRA, 7 BB, 29 K Howard has been as good as his rotation-mate Dunshee, filling up the strike zone and working at least five innings in all of his four starts. Howard had a 10-strikeout game and nine-strikeout game. He also had an outing in which he allowed just one hit. Righties have had no chance against him, batting .148 on the season.

Wyatt Marks, RHP, Beloit Snappers: 18.2 IP, 2.41 ERA, 17 H, 2 HRA, 4 BB, 26 K Marks led all NCAA pitchers in K/9 last year, so it’s perhaps no surprise that he has carried that strikeout stuff into pro ball. Working as part of a starter-tandem, Marks allowed one or no runs in three of his four outings in April. In his last outing, he finished off a win with 4.2 scoreless frames in which he struck out nine.

Also considered

Zack Erwin, LHP, Stockton Ports (22.2 IP, 2.38 ERA, 21:5 K:BB, .239 BAA); Angel Duno, RHP, Stockton Ports (17.1 IP, 1.56 ERA, 20:3 K:BB, .194 BAA); Miguel Romero, RHP, Stockton Ports (15 IP, 1.20 ERA, 12 K, 0 BB, .125 BAA, 6 SV); Bobby Wahl, RHP, Nashville Sounds (11.2 IP, 1.54 ERA, 19:2 K:BB, .190 BAA)

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