Waldichuk nets career-high 12 K's over 5 hitless

May 8th, 2022

Ken Waldichuk’s spectacular start to the 2022 season keeps on getting better.

The Yankees’ No. 6 prospect struck out a career-high 12 across five no-hit innings in Double-A Somerset’s seven-inning 3-2 win over New Hampshire Sunday afternoon. Of the 17 batters he faced, seven went down swinging and four were caught looking.

In just about every no-hit bid, everything has to go perfectly, both on the mound and in the field. With today’s game, Waldichuk said, that was exactly the case.

“I felt like my fastball and slider were working pretty well,” Walidchuk said. “I felt like I was getting ahead [in the count]. We had some great plays in the field, and some great plays behind the plate from [catcher Mickey Gasper] too, so I felt like a lot of things just went right.”

It was Waldichuk’s longest no-hit bid of his career, having most recently tossed three hitless innings back in his debut season of 2019. He tossed 49 of his 83 pitches for strikes and worked around three walks, including two to lead off the fourth inning. 

In that fourth frame, the southpaw shook off a throwing error on a pickoff attempt and a steal of third to strike out the next three batters to escape the jam.

“I’m just trying to stay in the zone,” Waldichuk said. “That was kind of my problem the past couple of years, so I think as long as my stuff is playing well and I’m in the zone a lot, usually I feel like I’m pretty happy with those performances. I just try to make them beat me instead of me beating myself.”

The 24-year-old was certainly in the zone from the very start, striking out the first six batters he faced and retiring the first seven. He got it done with his defense as well, picking off John Aiello at first after issuing a one-out walk to him in the third.

The Yankees’ top prospect, Anthony Volpe, broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of that frame with a solo shot to left, his fourth dinger of the year.

“I felt like it was going to be a really tight pitchers’ duel, especially early on,” Waldichuk said. “When Volpe hit that home run, it was a great relief.”

Waldichuk, a 2019 fifth-rounder, is putting together a strong third professional season. In addition to his minuscule 1.14 ERA, he’s holding opponents to a .127 average and has a 40-9 K/BB ratio in 23 2/3 innings.