New Hillcat Pannone Named Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Week
Bob Toth | On 26, Jul 2016
Welcome to the next level, kid.
Thomas Pannone became the third different Lynchburg pitcher to take home the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Week honor on Monday afternoon. The 22-year-old southpaw, with just two appearances under his belt as a member of the Hillcats’ roster, joined Julian Merryweather and Sean Brady before him.
The award for Pannone gives the Lynchburg club six different players who have received a weekly honor this season. Position players Mike Papi and Yu-Cheng Chang won earlier this season, and Anthony Santander won the Player of the Week award last week.
Since his promotion from Class-A Lake County on July 14, Pannone has been impressive. In his first outing, he “started” the continuation of a game against the Carolina Mudcats that had been suspended the night before by rain. He worked five and one-third innings, giving up one run on five hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts in the win.
This week, he made his first official start for the Hillcats on Thursday, July 21, again against the Mudcats. He went seven innings, allowing just one walk in the first inning and one hit in the fifth. After the walk, he retired 13 straight hitters until the two-out single by Carolina’s Tanner Murphy. He followed the base knock by retiring the final seven batters of the game in order as the Hillcats won, 3-0.
“The butterflies kinda went away after that first start I had, and it wasn’t a start, I picked it up in the third inning in Carolina of that rain delay,” Pannone said after his one-hit effort on Thursday. “I was calm. I went out there and just wanted to execute what my plan was and that was to be efficient with my pitches. That’s what I did.”
Pannone has now won a pair of games with the Hillcats with a 0.73 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP in 12 1/3 innings pitched. Just nine of the 47 batters that he has faced in his brief time at the High-A level have reached base and only one has scored.
His outing on Thursday was a near carbon copy of his previous best start this season while with Lake County, when he threw seven innings of one-hit ball in a win at Classic Park over the Bowling Green Hot Rods. In that game, just as his performance on Thursday, he walked one and struck out three.
Prior to his promotion, Pannone had spent his season with the Captains, where he was 5-5 with a 3.02 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 17 starts. He was named to the Midwest League’s All-Star team, the first time in his career that he has made a midseason All-Star appearance.
Pannone was a ninth round pick by the Indians in the 2013 draft out of the College of Southern Nevada. The Cranston, Rhode Island, native made 14 relief appearances for the Indians’ Arizona League team that season and was 5-0 in eleven games (seven starts) in Arizona the following season. He was advanced to Lake County for the 2015 season. There, he went 7-6 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 27 games (20 starts).
Photo: Lynchburg Hillcats