Top Pitching Performances Of 2018

By Jack Ramsey

January 10, 2019 No comments

Justin Dunn/Photo by Ed Delany

As we embark on a New Year, we will have the opportunity to see many exciting plays and games from Mets minor leaguers. Judging from what we saw last year, Mets minor league starters racked up the strikeouts and set a fairly high bar set for top pitching performances. Here is a review of some of last year’s best:

Justin Dunn

June 4, 2018 (Box Score)

7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, BB, 10 K

A little over a week before this start, the Tampa Tarpons appeared to have Dunn’s number scoring five runs against him and knocking him out of the game with just one out in the fifth inning. With Dunn needing just seven pitches to retire the Tarpons in order in the top of the first, it was clear this game was going to be a much different story.l

Through the first two innings, Dunn retired all six batters he faced, but he only struck out one. That all changed in the third with Dunn striking out the side en route to a 10 strikeout performance. He would strike out the side two times in this game, and he would strike out nine of the final 17 batters he faced.

Dunn surrendered his first hit in the fourth inning to Ben Ruta, but he was quickly erased on a caught steeling. He would only face trouble in the sixth Dunn allowing the first two to reach, but he escaped the inning with no runs allowed after retiring the next three. In his seventh and final inning, Dunn struck out one, got a ground out and a fly out, ending his night with seven scoreless, ten strikeouts, and two hits.

After this incredible start, Dunn would quickly be promoted to Double-A. He ended his 2018 stint in St. Lucie with a 2-3 record and 2.36 ERA.

Luc Rennie

July 22, 2018 (Box Score)
7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 14 K

The Mets would sign Rennie from the Frontier League after he began to show a penchant for striking batters out. In fact, at the time he was signed by the Mets, he was striking out 10.1 batters per nine for the Evansville Otters. On July 22, Rennie would show the Mets organization just how many batters he could strike out.

While shutting out the August Green Jackets, a lineup which included MLB Pipeline‘s second best Giants prospect Heliot Ramos, Rennie would strike out 14 batters – FOURTEEN! Speaking of Ramos, Rennie would strike him out looking to start the game, which was the first Ramos’ two strikeouts in the game.

Rennie would allow no more than one base runner per inning, and the only batter to touch third base was the result of the stolen base. When that runner did steal third, Rennie was undaunted and responded by striking out his 14th and final strikeout of the game.

Overall, this 14 strikeout performance would rate as the most by any Mets minor leaguer during the 2018 season. It would also be a part of the 25.3 percent of batters he would strike out while toeing the rubber for Columbia.

David Peterson

June 9, 2018 (Box Score)

8.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K

In his last start before being promoted to St. Lucie, David Peterson phenomenal against the Augusta Green Jackets. After navigating through a difficult first inning with some assistance from a defensive assist from Raphael Gladu in right field to throw out Manuel Geraldo at second base ended the inning with only one run crossing, Peterson would settle in and put on a show.

You could tell Peterson was on when the groundball pitcher got five ground-outs and a strike out getting him through the next two frames. Peterson had appearaed to get stronger as the game wore on. In fact, Peterson would retire the final nine batters he faced, striking out four of them, and 21 of the final 24 batters he faced.

After this start, he had a sterling 1.82 ERA, and he would find himself being promoted to St. Lucie where he would have some more impressive performances showing why he was the 20th overall pick of the 2017 draft.

Drew Gagnon

August 28, 2018 (Box Score)
9.o IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, BB, 8 K

In Gagnon’s penultimate start of the season and with this being the start of the final homestand for Cashman Field and the Mets affiliation with the Las Vegas 51s, Gagnon would provide perhaps the best pitching performance during the Mets-Las Vegas affiliation.

The second batter of the game, Gordon Beckham, would hit a single up the middle, and the Tacoma Rainiers would not record another hit until there was one out in the fourth inning. That would be Tacoma’s final hit of the game, and only one other base runner would reach in the game.

Gagnone ended the night by retiring the final setting the side down in order in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, and he would retire the final retiring the final 13 batters he faced. Gagnon would cap off a dominant night striking out two of the three batters in the ninth inning including Andrew Aplin to end the game.

Gagnon would have one final strong start to end the season for Las Vegas before being promoted to the Mets as a September call-up. Between his performance in this game and his strong relief appearances at the Major League level, he has given the Mets reason to keep him on the 40 man roster to see what he could do next year.

Jaison Vilera

July 17, 2018 (Box Score)

7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, BB, 9 K

Jaison Vilera entered his July 17th start with a 1.37 ERA through five starts and was looking to keep that run of success going. He flew through the first inning with a ground ball out and two fly ball outs. He sat two down in the second on swinging strikes.

Jaison walked the leadoff hitter in the third, but a double play and then line out to left ended the third quietly. The fourth started with back-to-back fly outs. Alex McKenna singled for the Tri-City ValleyCats, but Vilera came back to sit down Trey Dawson swinging.

Vilera allowed a leadoff single in the fifth, but consecutive fly outs and a strike out looking ended the inning. Vilera came back out for the sixth and struck out the first two he saw and ended the inning with a comebacker that turned into a 1-3 putout. In his seventh and final inning, he struck out the side, two flailing and one looking, to retire the side. Viler lowered his ERA to an impressive 1.08 and continue his great start in the New York Pen League.

This start was indicative of just how dominant Vilera was in 2018. He would finish the season leading the league in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts while also finishing third in innings pitched.