Pat Neshek, Norfolk
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 3 SV, 4 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 8 K)
The 31-year-old veteran made 11 appearances in June, pitching 12 2/3 innings during which he allowed five hits and one walk while striking out 18 -- without giving up a run. This week Neshek converted three saves in as many opportunities and fanned eight of the 13 batters he faced. Indeed, the right-hander was slightly better than perfect -- apart from setting down everyone he faced, he erased an inherited runner with a double play to get 14 outs with his 13 batters.
Pacific Coast League
Will Smith, Omaha
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 2/3 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 16 K)
Smith made his Major League debut at Yankee Stadium on May 23, allowing three home runs in 3 1/3 innings, and was back in Triple-A after giving up 14 runs over as many frames in three starts. The 22-year-old lefty's first two starts back in the PCL were little better, but Smith put on a pitching clinic at Oklahoma City on Tuesday, giving up an unearned run on five hits over 7 2/3 innings and throwing 80 of his 103 pitches for strikes. He was even better against Albuquerque on Sunday, fanning a season-high nine over six three-hit, scoreless innings.
Vidal Nuno, Trenton
(1-0, 1.46 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 12 K)
The Indians' 48th-round pick in the 2009 Draft, Nuno has thrived since joining the Yankees for the 2011 campaign. After posting a 1.38 ERA at Staten Island and Charleston last year and a 2.96 mark in 11 appearances with Tampa earlier this season, Nuno is 3-1 with a 1.18 ERA in his first eight Double-A games. The 24-year-old southpaw won his third consecutive decision on Monday while holding Portland to a pair of singles over seven scoreless frames. The Sea Dogs managed two runs off Nuno in Sunday's rematch but ultimately fell to the Thunder, 6-3, in 11 innings.
Tony Cingrani, Pensacola
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 15 K)
After utterly dominating the California League in the first two months of the season -- 5-1, 1.11 ERA, 71 strikeouts and 13 walks in 56 2/3 innings -- Cingrani faced some resistance in Double-A. The lefty's ERA was 5.40 after he surrendered three home runs to the Mobile BayBears in his third outing with the Blue Wahoos. Two starts later, Cingrani service has been restored to its optimum level, with the 22-year-old Rice product fanning 15 batters over eight scoreless innings Wednesday in his finest outing as a pro. Despite all the strikeouts -- he now ranks third in the Minors with 109 in 86 innings this season -- Cingrani needed just 100 pitches to get through the eight three-hit frames.
Josh Geer, San Antonio
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 4 K)
Geer went 17-6 to earn Texas League Pitcher of the Year honors in 2007 but did not return to the circuit until May of this year after struggling to a 7.81 ERA in eight outings with Triple-A Tucson. (He missed nearly the entire 2011 season while undergoing surgery and chemotherapy treatment for melanoma in his lymph nodes.) After enduring a few rough outings -- he allowed 10 runs over three innings at Corpus Christi on June 10 -- the 29-year-old right-hander has been sharp in his last three starts, culminating in seven scoreless, two-hit innings against first-half North Division champion Tulsa on Friday. Geer has given up just 12 hits and two walks in his last 21 innings.
Nicholas Tropeano, Lancaster
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 9 K)
Having already won South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week twice this year, it's only fitting that Tropeano claimed his first Cal League prize after a sterling debut at Modesto on Sunday. The 6-foot-4 right-hander, a fifth-round pick out of Stony Brook last year, allowed an unearned run on five hits while fanning nine in the JetHawks' 3-1 win. Tropeano is tied for fourth in the Minor Leagues with 106 strikeouts in 95 1/3 innings.
Matthew Heidenreich, Winston-Salem
(2-0, 0.56 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 16 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 7 K)
Heidenreich is not a big strikeout pitcher and is tied for the league lead with 12 homers allowed in 15 starts -- but he's also tied for the league lead with eight victories and has issued just 13 walks in 93 1/3 innings. On Monday he tossed his first career shutout, a nine-inning four-hitter against Salem that saw him extend his walkless streak to 24 innings. The 21-year-old right-hander did walk three batters on Saturday, but held Frederick to one run on three hits over seven frames to win his fourth consecutive start.
Florida State League
Robert Morey, Jupiter
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 9 K)
Morey didn't join the Hammerheads until May 18, but he's made up for lost time by winning five of his first seven starts while holding FSL hitters to a .193 batting average. After tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings at Palm Beach on June 23, Morey had his finest outing of the season against first-half champion St. Lucie on Saturday night. The 23-year-old right-hander held the Mets to one hit while fanning a season-high nine batters over six innings.
Aaron Sanchez, Lansing
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 9 K)
The Blue Jays have been very careful with the right arm of Sanchez, a first-round pick in 2010. Alternating between starting and relieving, Sanchez has been superb all season while pitching no more than four innings in each of his first 14 outings. The training wheels began to come off this week as the California native tossed a pair of scoreless five-inning starts. Sanchez improved to 7-0 on Sunday -- his 20th birthday -- by holding South Bend to three hits while fanning six. In 57 innings, Midwest League batters have managed just 29 hits -- none of them home runs -- off Sanchez for a .157 average.
South Atlantic League
Ben Alsup, Asheville
(1-0, 1.08 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 7 K)
Alsup had gone without a win since beating Augusta at home on May 31, so he was due as the Tourists visited the GreenJackets on Tuesday. The 23-year-old Louisiana State product didn't disappoint, holding Augusta to one run on two hits over a career-high 8 1/3 innings in Asheville's 8-1 win. Alsup's seven strikeouts were one shy of a season best, and only two Sally League hurlers have more wins than the right-hander's eight.
New York-Penn League
Luis Mateo, Brooklyn
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 13 K)
The 22-year-old Mateo has been all but perfect in his first three games in the States, allowing one run on seven hits and two walks while striking out 22 in 17 2/3 innings and notching three victories. He bookended the week with a pair of scoreless outings against the Hudson Valley Renegades, following six two-hit frames at home on Monday with six three-hit innings at Hudson Valley on Sunday. In neither game did a Renegades runner reach third base against the Dominican right-hander.
Brook Hart, Tri-City
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 6 K)
Speaking of perfection, 6-foot-5 southpaw reliever Brook Hart has yet to allow a run or walk a batter in nine outings covering 11 innings this season. A 23rd-round pick out of Yale in 2011, Hart earned victories against Yakima on Tuesday and Friday before striking out four in two frames against Boise on Sunday. With three wins already, Hart shares the Northwest League lead with Yakima starter Alexander Carreras and has converted his only save opportunity.
Mauricio Cabrera, Danville
(0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 6 K)
The 18-year-old Cabrera has yielded just seven hits in his first 14 stateside innings after holding Greeneville to a single in six innings Friday night. He struck out six, did not walk a batterAlsup, and has now held Appy League hitters to a .143 average with one extra-base hit. Cabrera has been particularly vicious against right-handed batters, who are just 2-for-25 against him thus far.
Andrew Barbosa, Missoula
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 4 BB, 18 K)
Barbosa, a 36th-round pick in last month's Draft, is elderly for a first-year pro at age 24. If age is just a number, the 6-foot-8 left-hander has a bunch of other numbers that attest to his impressiveness after three pro starts: 16 innings, zero runs, four hits and 24 strikeouts. Barbosa pitched four no-hit frames in his debut on June 20, followed with six innings of one-hit ball on Monday and allowed three hits while fanning 13 over six innings on Saturday night for his first win. He relied on a wicked changeup to strike out eight straight Billings Mustangs in Saturday's game.