Unhittable Luis De Avila strikes again

No. 28 Braves prospect spins second no-hit outing in a row for Double-A Mississippi

July 23rd, 2023

was unhittable on Sunday and has been for some time now; in fact, you have to go back to July 7 to find the last time he allowed a hit.

The No. 28 Braves prospect spun his second consecutive no-hit start for Double-A Mississippi, going six innings without allowing a knock and leading the Braves to a 3-1 win over the Tennessee Smokies.

As the game progressed, De Avila got increasingly dominant, fanning a pair of batters in both the fifth and sixth innings, totaling eight punch-outs on the day.

"He makes really good adjustments," said Bo Henning, Mississippi's pitching coach. "That's what makes him so good, not giving up and getting back in the count and getting ground balls."

The start isn’t just a one-time deal. The Colombia native hasn’t allowed a hit in a whopping 11 consecutive innings. The streak is a nice bounce back after he allowed six runs in just four innings of work on July 7.

De Avila’s arsenal includes a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, sinker, curveball and changeup. On Sunday, his off-speed pitches were working to perfection, as he fanned seven of eight batters with either the curveball or changeup.

"He's not a guy that will have a high strike percentage, but what he does so well is his ball, his two-seamer and changeup and curveball and then adding a slider just makes him even more unpredictable," Henning said. "His groundball rate is so high, that when he just puts the ball on the plate, he'll get high chase."

The left-hander's first no-hit start of the streak came on July 16, against the Chattanooga Lookouts. De Avila went five innings, tallied six whiffs and, of course, surrendered zero hits in Mississippi‘s 8-0 win.

The two starts combined produce an impressive stat line of zero hits, zero runs, five walks and 14 strikeouts over 11 innings pitched. The recent success is a credit to his unflappable presence on the mound.

"His carefree, no-panic attitude is definitely unique where he cares about the game, but he never gets too panicked, too nervous, too rushed, too big of a moment for any situation," Henning said. "It's pretty cool to watch."

In 17 starts this season, De Avila has a 3.04 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, which was no doubt improved thanks to his past two outings.

The 22-year-old, who was originally employed as a relief pitcher by the Kansas City Royals, has found success as a starter. In 2021, De Avila was selected as a Minor League Rule 5 Draft pick by Atlanta. Since then, he has shown flashes of what he could be, even delivering seven no-hit frames and nine strikeouts just over a year ago for High-A Rome. That game was actually part of a doubleheader between Rome and Greenville, making it a complete-game no-hitter, the first for Rome since 2005.

While it’s certainly unlikely that De Avila will spin another no-hit outing in his next start, it’s something to keep an eye out for.