Posted by Thomas Brennan at 11:00 AM
Tom Brennan – A TALE OF TWO FIREFLIES
The Columbia Fireflies have not hit all that well. So pitching well is the key to their winning. Tim Tebow (.242) would agree, I'm sure.
And the pitching divide is stark. Those with ERAs under 3.00, and those 3.00 or higher.
Those below 3.00 are 11-2 on the season. Pitch well and prosper.
Among them are the twin thoroughbreds in the starting rotation, Jordan Humphreys and Merandy Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was 4-0 in April and did not allow an earned run, but allowed 7 (including 3 HRs) in his first May start. He still sits at 4-1, 1.89 ERA, 0.75 WHIP. I’ll take that every 5 starts, I’m not picky.
Humphreys has been sensational, simply sensational.
After another brilliant performance in his 6th start on Monday night (7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 9 K) he sits at a stellar 6-0, 1.69, with a 0.70 WHIP and 49 Ks in 38.2 IP. I’d promote him before he turns 21 on June 11 as a birthday present. Heck, why'd the Mets sign Tommy Milone when they have Humphreys (I know, calm down, Brennan).
In the pen, there are 3 with ERAs under 3 pitching exceptionally well, and another who was promoted.
Righty 24 year old fireballer Matt Blackham in 15 IP has 23 Ks and is 1-0, 1.20.
Righty 22 year old Max Kuhns is 0-0, 1.69 with 21 Ks in 16 IP.
Righty 22 year old Austin McGeorge was 0-0, 1.42 before his promo to St Lucie recently. He now is sitting on an overall 1.93 ERA with 23 Ks in 18.2 IP.
Lefty 20 year old Jake Simon just now pitching; 0-1, 0.00 in 3 IP.
Those at 3.00 ERA of above are just 4-14 combined (former Met Jay Hook, now 80 years old, was 4-14 in 1963, coincidentally) – thus the tale of the second Firefly:
Pitch poorly and losses will follow.
Blake Taylor is 0-4, but the lefty former 2nd rounder, coming off Tommy John, had a great last start, with 6 shutout innngs, so the pivot point for Taylor may have been reached. His ERA is a decent 4.50 and he has 25 Ks in 26 IP.
A Cyclones pitching star in 2016, Harol Gonzalez, has had a rude comeuppance in Columbia, with a 1-2, 7.27 record after 5 starts. Count me as puzzled as to his drop off.
Fellow starter Gabe Llanes is 0-2 but like Blake Taylor, has pitched in hard luck, as his 3.03 ERA attests.
The two biggest strugglers in the over 3.00 category are Darwin Ramos and Joel Huertas, who combined are 0-2 and have allowed 14 runs in 11.2 IP.
Joe Zanghi has thrown in 10 games, mostly good, but has allowed 4 earned runs and 5 unearned in 12 IP, leading to an 0-2 record. He continues to strike guys out, with 16 in 12 IP and 61 in 41 career innings.
You want to succeed as a Fireflies pitcher? ERA below 3 is the key.