John Lannan, Syracuse
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 2 K)
It's been a disappointing season for Lannan, who was the Nationals' Opening Day starter in 2010 but failed to make the Major League squad out of Spring Training this year. Though pitching well in two spot starts for Washington, the 27-year-old Lannan's season with Syracuse has been a mixed bag. Not so his start at Gwinnett on Saturday, in which he outdueled reigning IL Pitcher of the Year Julio Teheran in a three-hit shutout, his first since 2009. Lannan has 76 strikeouts and 50 walks in 139 2/3 Triple-A innings this season.
Pacific Coast League
Shelby Miller, Memphis
(1-1, 2.13 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 19 K)
After a rough start, Miller's season has turned around in a big way since the All-Star break -- he was 4-8 with a 6.17 ERA in the first half and is 6-2 with a 3.04 mark since, and has cut his walk rate dramatically. Though he suffered his first loss in five starts on Tuesday, the No. 2 prospect allowed only two runs while striking out 12 Iowa Cubs over seven innings. Miller returned to the win column, evening his record at 10-10, on Sunday, yielding one run on two hits in 5 2/3 frames. The PCL has hit .202 off Miller in his five August outings.
Jameson Taillon, Altoona
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 13 K)
Taillon's first taste of Double-A could hardly have been better, as the No. 5 prospect tossed five shutout innings in his Eastern League debut at Trenton on Tuesday. He topped it five days later, holding visiting Richmond to one hit and facing one over the minimum in six scoreless frames. Taillon has fanned 13 without walking a batter in his first 11 Double-A innings -- and faced just three batters with runners in scoring position.
J.R. Graham, Mississippi
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 13 K)
After posting a 1.72 ERA in the Appy League last summer, Graham jumped straight to Class A Advanced Lynchburg this year, going 9-1 with a 2.63 mark in 17 Carolina League starts. He's been even better since his promotion to Mississippi in late July -- in 40 1/3 innings, the 2011 fourth-round pick has fanned 38 and held Southern League hitters to a .199 average. The 22-year-old right-hander delivered a pair of scoreless outings this week, holding Huntsville to one hit over six innings on Tuesday before yielding three hits to Pensacola on Sunday. In Graham's four home starts for the M-Braves, his opponents have managed 11 hits in 22 1/3 innings.
Joe Gardner, Tulsa
(2-0, 2.03 EA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 15 K)
Gardner, a 24-year-old UC Santa Barbara product whom the Rockies acquired from Cleveland in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal last summer, is another hurler having a much improved second half. After posting a 4.68 ERA and .280 average against in the first half, the right-hander has 3.66 and .202 marks since. This week he held Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas to just four hits over 13 1/3 innings in a pair of home starts. Gardner, who had not collected more than six strikeouts in any of his first 25 outings, fanned eight on Tuesday and seven more on Sunday.
Christian Bergman, Modesto
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 8 K)
Though the Cal League is a notoriously harsh climate for pitchers, Bergman has found a way to record 15 victories, tied for most in the Minor Leagues. After going four games without a win -- and allowing 17 runs in his previous two starts -- the 24-year-old right-hander held Bakersfield to a pair of second-inning singles over eight innings on Friday, retiring the final 21 batters he faced in order. Bergman ranks fifth in the league in ERA, fourth in WHIP and has earned 21 percent of Modesto's 70 wins.
Jordan Cooper, Carolina
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 11 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
Having begun the season as a reliever, Cooper shifted to the rotation earlier this month and performed admirably. The righty scattered five hits over five scoreless frames on Tuesday, then returned on short rest to go a season-high seven innings on Saturday night. Though his gem was somewhat overshadowed by Toole Time, in which teammate Justin Toole spent one inning at each position, Cooper fanned a season-best six batters and extended his scoreless streak to 13 innings in the strong outing.
Florida State League
Jesse Biddle, Clearwater
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 9 K)
A 20-year-old left-hander playing for his hometown organization, Biddle is concluding his third pro season on a very high note, earning his second consecutive FSL Player of the Week award and third of the campaign. Biddle fanned 12 over seven no-hit innings on Aug. 17 and was nearly as dominant against Daytona on Thursday, allowing two hits and fanning nine in seven scoreless frames. He leads the league with 146 strikeouts in 136 2/3 innings and ranks second with a 3.10 ERA.
Boone Whiting, Quad Cities
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 6 K)
Whiting helped Quad Cities to its first Midwest League title in 21 years last season but has been sidelined most of 2012 by a shoulder injury. After a handful of rehab appearances in the Gulf Coast League, the 23-year-old right-hander returned to the Bandits two weeks ago and has been sterling in his three starts. On Thursday Whiting tossed seven two-hit innings against Kane County, striking out six without issuing a walk. In his three outings with Quad Cities, Whiting owns a 0.56 ERA and is holding Midwest League hitters to a .130 average.
South Atlantic League
Edwin Escobar, Augusta
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
A week after falling one out shy of a no-hitter, Escobar continued his late-season dominance on Saturday by holding first-half Northern Division champion Greensboro to four hits while striking out nine in eight scoreless innings. The 20-year-old left-hander is 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA in four August starts and ranks sixth in the Sally League with a 3.02 overall ERA and third with a 1.17 WHIP.
New York-Penn League
Jesse Hahn, Hudson Valley
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 13 K)
A sixth-round pick out of Virginia Tech in 2010, Hahn missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and did not make his pro debut until joining Hudson Valley in June. The big right-hander has settled into a groove for the first-place Renegades, who have won nine in a row. In each of his last three starts, including a pair this week, Hahn has allowed one hit and no runs. He says his fastball is back to full strength, and it shows: NYPL hitters are batting .191 against him.
Jose Valdespina, Spokane
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 10 K)
Though he still owns a 5.60 ERA and ranks fifth in the league with 31 walks, Valdespina has settled in to win his last two starts with 12 consecutive scoreless innings. On Thursday the 6-foot-6 right-hander held visiting Salem-Keizer to one hit while fanning a career-high 10 batters over six innings. Valdespina has walked only two batters in his last two outings and shows promise as a collector of groundball outs -- he's allowed two home runs all season, both against Boise on Aug. 3.
Alonzo Gonzalez, Bluefield
(2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 9 K)
It's unfortunate for Bluefield, which has been eliminated from postseason play, that Gonzalez did not arrive until this week. An 18th-round pick in June's Draft, Gonzalez appeared in 10 games for the GCL Blue Jays, with disappointing results. The 6-foot-5 southpaw has been dominant in two Appy League starts, however, holding Pulaski to two hits over six innings on Monday and tossing six one-hit frames against Kingsport on Saturday. At 3-for-39, the Appy League is hitting .077 against Gonzalez in 12 innings.
Keegan Linza, Great Falls
(1-0, 1.50 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
Linza has given up his share of hits this season -- 86 in 71 innings for a .299 average against -- but he does not give anything away, having walked just five batters. After allowing two runs on nine hits over five innings against Orem on Tuesday, the 6-foot-6 Liberty product held Grand Junction to a pair of singles over a career-high seven innings on Sunday afternoon. Linza seems to thrive in day games: he's allowed one unearned run over 13 innings this year and pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings last year in afternoon outings.