Top Performers: Zack Dodson’s Seven No Hit Innings Lead the System

Below are the pitching Game Scores* in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the last week. The top ten and the bottom five starts are broken down below the chart. The top five short season pitchers are also highlighted in a separate group, since most of those guys only go 4-5 innings max, and don’t have a good chance of being highlighted in the top ten. The rankings include every pitcher who made a start for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, with no limitations on whether the starting pitcher has prospect eligibility.

*Game Score is a stat created by Bill James used to determine how good a pitcher’s outing really was. The formula for game score is simple: Start with 50 points, add one point for every out recorded, add two for each inning completed after the fourth, add one point for each strikeout. Subtract two points for each hit, four points for each earned run, two points for each unearned run and one point for each walk. There tends to be an advantage for pitchers who can go longer in the game, as they have more time to pile up strikeouts, while getting bonus points for extra innings beyond the fourth frame.

Zack Dodson threw seven no hit innings in his second start of the week.
Zack Dodson threw seven no hit innings in his second start of the week.

The Top Ten

Zack Dodson had a busy week last week. He was promoted to Altoona for one start, pitching game two of a double header. The results in that outing ended up being one of the worst starts in the system this week. He was then sent back to Bradenton where he put up the best start in the system. Dodson threw seven no-hit innings, allowing three walks and striking out five. Bradenton carried the no hitter into the ninth inning, but couldn’t close it out. The outing for Dodson was impressive, and now gives him four quality starts in his last five outings, with only one of those starts being the 6 IP/3 ER variety.

David Bromberg returned to Altoona last week after spending time with Indianapolis, and he picked up where he left off. Bromberg gave up one earned run in seven innings, with three hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts. He has been excellent in the Altoona rotation this year, although he profiles more as an upper level organizational pitcher.

Indianapolis has been cruising to an eventual division championship, and a big reason for that has been their pitching. Three Indianapolis pitchers finished in the top ten this week. The top starter was Kris Johnson, who tied for the third best score. Johnson went eight innings, giving up one run and striking out six. Johnson has been the best starter in the minor league system this year, although in his first start this week he went down with an arm injury.

Graham Godfrey also stepped up for Indianapolis, with six shutout innings, tying for the third best score this week. Brandon Cumpton had the seventh best score this week with two runs on two hits in six innings.

West Virginia is also in a playoff race, and largely because of their starting pitching. The Power had three starters in the top ten this week, and John Dreker had recaps of all three starts. Luis Heredia had the sixth best start with five shutout innings. (RECAP) Clay Holmes was ninth with six shutout innings where he allowed seven hits. (RECAP) Kyle Haynes rounded off the list with 6.2 innings where he gave up two earned runs. (RECAP) Check out John’s Prospect Notebook from this morning on the West Virginia pitching staff.

Joining Kris Johnson and Graham Godfrey in a three way tie for the third best score was Chad Kuhl. The 2013 9th round pick threw five shutout innings this week, giving up one hit, no walks, and striking out three. Kuhl gave up six earned runs in 3.1 innings in a start last week, but every other start has been great, with two earned runs in 27 innings over seven starts.

Casey Sadler was the only other starter in the top ten, ranking eighth this week. Sadler gave up two runs on three hits in six innings, with a 6:2 K/BB ratio. He has a 3.46 ERA in 117 innings this year, along with a 63:32 K/BB ratio and a 1.71 GO/AO ratio. That includes his poor start last night, which was his worst outing since the first week of June.

Short-Season Top Five

Chad Kuhl was the only short-season starter in the top ten this week.

Neil Kozikowski is off to a great start in his career. The eighth rounder has a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings over his first four starts, with a 7:0 K/BB ratio. He had the second best short-season performance this week, throwing four shutout innings.

Shane Carle has been working in a piggyback role in the Jamestown rotation, and threw four shutout innings last week for the fourth best score. He had a run of 14 innings without an earned run over his previous four starts before giving up two earned runs in 3.2 innings on Sunday.

Melvin Del Rosario has been working three inning outings in the GCL this year. He had one of the better short-season results this week with three shutout innings, but also had one of the worst overall outings in another appearance.

Cody Dickson was a fourth round pick in this year’s draft, and has been on a roll lately. He had the fifth best score with five innings where he allowed one unearned run. In his last four starts he hasn’t allowed an earned run in 19 innings, and on the season he has a 2.16 ERA in 33.1 innings, with a 36:14 K/BB ratio.

The Bottom Five

Dovydas Neverauskas had the worst start of the week, giving up six runs in one inning of work. He had a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings in July, and gave up two runs in four innings in his first start in August. This was the second time in his 11 starts that he has been removed with one inning or less. Eight of his starts have seen him going 4-5 innings.

Zack Dodson had the best score this week for his return start to Bradenton. He did go up to Altoona at the start of the week to pitch in a double header, and gave up six runs in four innings for the second worst score.

Ethan Hollingsworth gave up seven runs, five earned, in five innings for the third worst score. He also went on the disabled list with an arm injury after the start.

Melvin Del Rosario had a good outing later in the week, but earlier in the week he gave up five runs in three innings. Jackson Lodge gave up four runs in three innings this week, tying Del Rosario for the fourth worst score.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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