posted 5/16/12 1:10 PM PST
by Jim Brown
*MLBDepthCharts.com considers any player not on a team's 40-man roster, in AAA, or ranked as a top 10 prospect by Baseball America or top 11 prospect by Baseball Prospectus before the 2012 season as an 'under the radar' player.
Under the Radar Minor League NL Pitching Performance of the Week
RHP Justice French, Hi-A Bakersfield (CIN)
season stats: 2.47 ERA, 43.2 IP, 37 H, 13 BB, 40 K in 8 starts (2 in Hi-A, 6 in Lo-A)
May 9-May 15: 5 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K in 1 start
It was a strange week in tracking the minor league pitchers, as there were many weird stat lines amongst the starters. Though it was pleasing to see a few pitchers achieving double digits in strikeouts, it was peculiar in that numerous lines had four or more walks issued to go along with quality starts. Finishing with lines like those will never earn a pitcher the opportunity to climb from under the radar. But no matter that Justice French has 11 scoreless innings since a promotion to the Cal League, coming from beneath the radar wont be the most important accomplishment for the 22 year-old. After losing his best friend and high school teammate to skin cancer, the right-hander fell victim to the same form of melanoma at the age of 20. French underwent surgery and aggressive treatments to beat the disease and returned to the mound to have a successful final year at Mercer College (GA).
The 25th round selection in 2011 continued his success with the AZL Reds by going 3-3 with a 3.99 ERA in 8 starts, striking out 31 batters over 32.2 innings. Baseball America took notice of the 6’4’ 215 lb French by naming him the pitcher with the best control in the Reds system. After starting the 2012 season with Lo-A Dayton (3-2, 3.31 ERA, 33 H, 12 ER, 9 BB, 31 K), he earned an early season promotion to Hi-A Bakersfield and showed continued success with his two starts this past week. French, who received comps to Jake Peavy coming out of the showcase circuit because of his high ¾ slot and live loose arm action, likes to work fast on the mound and gets ahead of hitters with his lively sinker. While he has mentioned the concern that his fight with cancer would define his career, what he has done since his diagnoses has been an incredible story.
Relief Pitcher of the Week
LHP Donnie Joseph, Double-A Pensacola (CIN): 0.45 ERA, 20 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 30 K, 7 Sv in 17 appearances (AA); 4 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 2 Sv in last week
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UTR Minor League NL Hitting Performance of the Week
Under the Radar 2012 Archive