With Class AAA Tacoma getting the day off and Class AA Jackson rained out, the focus was on Class A Clinton, where James Paxton, the Mariners’ fourth-round pick last year, made his professional debut. Paxton, a left-hander, took the loss in the LumberKings’ 7-2 defeat to Peoria, but there were some encouraging signs. In six innings, Paxton gave up five hits and three runs, striking out six and walking four. Paxton, you might recall, was a highly touted pitcher at Kentucky who was a supplemental first-round pick two years ago, failed to sign, and subseqently lost his college eligibility. More than anything, he needs to pitch regularly, and now he’ll get that chance.
I got curious today how Moises Hernandez, Felix’s big brother, was doing. Hernandez, signed during the offseason, has appeared in five games for Jackson, all in relief. In 8 1/3 innings, he’s given up nine hits and eight earned runs for an 8.64 ERA, walking four and striking out six. He’s given up two homers.
I’ve kept an eye on Erasmo Ramirez ever since his staggering 2009 season in the Venezuelan Summer League (11-1, 0.51 ERA, 80 strikeouts, five, yes, five walks in 88 innings). Still a few days away from his 21st birthday (May 2), Ramirez is progressing nicely. After a 10-4, 2.97 season with Clinton last year, he’s 1-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three starts (19 innings) for Jackson. Ramirez doesn’t blow people away (just eight strikeouts) but his control is amazing. He has just one walk in those 19 innings. Last year, he walked 21 in 151 2/3 innings. Put it all together, and over the past three years Ramirez has pitched 258 2/3 innings and walked 27. Yes, that’s good.