Having just been awarded the honor of South Atlantic League "Pitcher of the Week" for his six one-hit innings last week, right-hander Michael Connolly tried to one up his own performance and pretty much nailed it. Two batters reached base in Connolly's seven scoreless innings on Monday night, with one coming by way of John Polonius's error and the other a harmless single. Otherwise, Connolly was lights out, striking out five and walking none to lower his season ERA to 2.35.
Connolly's last six starts show a pitcher who has been on a roll for quite some time. He has surrendered just 20 hits and two walks over his last 40.1 innings, striking out 35 in the process. Going back even further, Connolly has 52 hits and nine walks against him in his last 75 frames with 62 strikeouts and a 2.05 ERA.
Connolly is now essentially the ace of the Augusta GreenJackets rotation with Cory Taylor's assignment to Double-A Richmond, where he made his debut Monday night (more on that below). Seeing as that the GreenJackets are 3.5 games up in the South Atlantic League Southern Division and will be vying for a playoff spot at the beginning of next month, I can't imagine a promotion for Connolly this year. Though at age 24, he could certainly find himself in Richmond by the middle of next year if he keeps this up. His 3.10 FIP is fifth lowest among qualifying Giants' minor league starting pitchers, while his 1.081 WHIP is third best, and his ERA second best.
— Steven Duggar's impressive 19-game hit streak came to an end Monday as the centerfielder went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. During the streak, Duggar raised his batting average since joining the Flying Squirrels up to .331, and had a slash line of .430/.477/.519 with a 13.6 percent strikeout rate during the 20 games.
— Making his Double-A debut in Richmond on Monday was right-hander Cory Taylor, who came up from Augusta after 18 games of stellar pitching. Taylor, who was averaging 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings with a 2.58 ERA with the GreenJackets, was a little shaky in 5.2 innings in his debut, walking more than two hitters in an outing for just the third time in 19 starts in 2016, and striking out less than three for just the fifth time. He was around the plate for the majority of the start, though, throwing 62.8 percent of his 93 pitches for strikes.
— 17-year-old Luis Amaya made his U.S. professional debut with the AZL Giants, pitching one inning of relief and striking out one in a scoreless frame. The small Venezuelan left-hander was just 16 in his Dominican Summer League debut a year ago, and struck out almost 10 batters per nine innings and kept opposing hitters to a .296 slugging percentage.
TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP
- Christian Arroyo: 1-for-4, R
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Chris Shaw: 1-for-5, 2 SO
- Bryan Reynolds: DNP
- Sam Coonrod: DNP
- Aramis Garcia: DNP
- Joan Gregorio: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
- Andrew Suarez: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Steven Duggar: 0-for-5, R, 3 SO
- Steven Okert: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
- Rodolfo Martinez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- C.J. Hinojosa: 2-for-5, SO
- Clayton Blackburn: DNP
- Jalen Miller: DNP
- Ray Black: DNP
- Dylan Davis: DNP
- Chase Johnson: DNP
- Heath Quinn: 0-for-4, R, BB, 2 SO
- Matt Krook: DNP
- Hunter Cole: 2-for-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SO
- Austin Slater: 0-for-4, 2 SO
- Ty Blach: DNP
- Reyes Moronta: DNP
- Kyle Crick: DNP
- Chris Stratton: DNP
- Cory Taylor: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
- Ian Gardeck: DNP
- Ronnie Jebavy: DNP
- Gio Brusa: 1-for-5, R, HR, RBI, SO