Pitchers don’t always have to be considered top pitching prospects in an organization in order to pitch like one. You may not know much about Indians minor league starting pitcher Julian Merryweather, but with the way he is pitching in 2016, you may start hearing his name more and more.
This week, his league recognized his strong start to this year’s campaign by naming him the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week.
Merryweather made starts on Monday and Saturday last week, posting wins in each game. He went seven innings in a win at home against Potomac on Monday, allowing one earned run on five hits with two walks and a season-high eight strikeouts.
In his outing in Carolina on Saturday, he notched another win with five and two-thirds scoreless innings. He allowed four hits, walked two, and matched his professional career-high with nine strikeouts (last done August 19, 2015, with Lake County) in a shorter start. In total, he allowed just one run on nine hits and four walks in 12 2/3 innings while striking out 17 hitters.
On the year, Merryweather is 6-1 with a 0.63 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, doubling his previous win total from each of his first two seasons in the Indians organization. His ERA is the top mark in the Carolina League and the fourth best in all of minor league baseball. His WHIP is also tops in the league and his batting average against ranks third.
He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 draft by the Indians out of Oklahoma Baptist University. The right-hander appeared in 13 games (12 starts) in a partial season with the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 2014, going 1-2 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Last season, he worked primarily in relief with the Single-A Lake County Captains, where he went 2-3 with a 4.08 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 21 games. He made four starts and had one save in five save opportunities.
The 24-year-old utilizes four pitches in his arsenal, including a fastball, curveball, changeup, and a slider.
Merryweather becomes the third Indians’ minor leaguer to win an award through the first five weeks of the regular season. His teammate, Mike Papi, won the Player of the Week Award to open the season, and third baseman Giovanny Urshela (Triple-A Columbus) received the award in the International League two weeks ago.
Photo: Lathan Goumas/The News and Advance