Akron’s Merryweather Claims Eastern League Pitcher of the Week Honor

The Eastern League announced on Monday that Akron starting pitcher Julian Merryweather had been selected as the league’s Pitcher of the Week for games played between April 24th and April 30th.

The 25-year-old right-hander was joined by Binghamton outfielder Champ Stuart in receiving the league’s weekly player of the week honors.

Merryweather made a pair of starts for the RubberDucks last week and took home a pair of victories for Akron, his first two wins of the season.

He made his third home start of the year last Monday as Akron hosted the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. He went six and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs (one earned) in a quality start. He allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out six over 92 pitches.

He had one rough inning in the start when the Rumble Ponies scored in the third inning after a one-out triple from fellow award winner Stuart started the scoring threat. A single and a stolen base put two on before an RBI-groundout tied the game at one. Binghamton would get a second run on a fielding error by Eric Stamets to take a 2-1 lead, but Merryweather bounced back to strand two on base with a strikeout to end the inning. The K started a string of 12 straight batters retired into the seventh inning, when he handed the game over to David Speer and the Akron bullpen with a 5-2 lead, a score that would remain unchanged in the RubberDucks’ eighth win of the season.

He made his second start of the week on Sunday as Akron played in Bowie against the Baysox. He made his third straight quality start, allowing a run on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts while making 88 pitches.

The third inning again proved to be his only challenge on the day. Bowie’s leadoff man in the inning reached on a single, moved to second on a balk, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a one-out single. A walk put two men on, but Merryweather struck out the next two batters to escape with just one run of damage while maintaining a 2-1 lead. He would retire nine straight, including the two strikeouts, before a one-out double in the sixth, but he again bounced back to set down the next two batters before Akron erupted for an eight-run, four-homer seventh in the 11-2 victory.

Through five starts, Merryweather is 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP with 27 strikeouts and five walks over 26 2/3 innings worked.

The 6’4” right-hander was a fifth round pick by the Indians in the 2014 draft out of Oklahoma Baptist University. He debuted in 13 games that season with the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers and spent 2015 at Class-A Lake County, making 21 appearances (just four starts) while posting a 2-3 record with a 4.08 ERA.

Last season, Merryweather started off his season on an impressive run with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, earning his first minor league All-Star nomination and starting the Carolina League contest. After going 8-2 with a 1.03 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in eleven starts, he was promoted to Akron. He finished his season there with a 5-4 record in 13 starts with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. His fastball was rated the top heater in the Indians farm system by Baseball America this past offseason.

It is the second time in Merryweather’s career that he has been named a minor league pitcher of the week. He previously received the honor on May 15 of last season while a member of the Hillcats.

Photo: MiLB.com

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