Fleming, Whitlock continue strong starts

April 20th, 2021

With chilly and wet conditions across most of the country the last few days, it’s felt like pitching weather. Some of baseball’s young stars capitalized on that feeling on Monday.

Helping his team reach the .500 mark, 20th-ranked Rays prospect Josh Fleming continued his impressive young big league career as his team downed the Royals, 4-1, in Kansas City. Making his second start of the season, Fleming allowed just two hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out three without issuing a walk.

The left-hander started his evening in trouble, giving up a one-out double to right by Carlos Santana in the bottom of the first, but locked in immediately. After stranding Santana, Fleming faced the minimum in the second and retired the side in order in the third. Santana got Kansas City’s only other hit against the southpaw when he led off the fourth with a single up the middle before Fleming retired the final seven batters he faced to close his night.

Fleming needed just 65 pitches, 46 for strikes, to cruise through Monday's outing. The 24-year-old, who allowed one run on four hits over five innings against Texas in his season debut on April 14, dropped his ERA to 0.87 with his second win of the year.

Fleming pitched in seven Major League games last season, making five starts, and going 5-0 with a 2.78 ERA, striking out 25, walking just seven and limiting opponents to a .230 average over 32 1/3 innings.

In daytime action in Boston, it was reliever Garrett Whitlock who continued to dazzle in an 11-4 Red Sox win over the White Sox. After a strong start by Nathan Eovaldi, Whitlock was perfect through 2 2/3 innings, retiring all eight batters he faced, two via strikeouts. In four relief outings this year, Boston’s No. 29 prospect has not allowed a run while scattering three hits and has struck out 11 without walking a batter.

Pitchers weren’t the only ones getting into the act on the mound. White Sox No. 20 prospect Yermín Mercedes, who went 1-for-4 at the plate against the Red Sox, pitched an inning in relief for his team, allowing a run on three hits with two walks for Chicago.

More notable performances from rookies on Monday:

Taylor Trammell, OF, SEA (MLB No. 90)
Trammell homered, doubled and drove in two runs for his first RBIs in more than a week. The 23-year-old increased Seattle's early 2-0 lead with a 405-foot blast to center, his third long ball of the season. After Los Angeles cut the deficit to one, Trammell whistled a 105.7 mph double to right that scored what proved to be the winning run. The former Red and Padre has four hits in his last 11 at-bats after going hitless in his previous 11. Gameday»

Justin Williams, OF, STL
A 1-for-17 start to the season didn’t deter Williams, who has lifted his average nearly 200 points after Monday’s multi-hit performance, his second of 2021. The 25-year-old slugged his second homer in four games, singled, walked and scored twice in the Cardinals’ win over the Nationals. The former second-round Draft pick has brought his average up to .231 on the strength of an 8-for-22 stretch over his last eight games, which includes a pair of home runs and six RBIs. Gameday»

Adolis García, OF, TEX
García opened the scoring with a solo homer leading off the third, his second round-tripper in seven games since his recall from the Rangers’ alternate training site. The blast to right-center field had an exit velocity of 103.1 mph, which turned out to be the lesser of his triple-digit readings. García added a ground-rule double to left that registered 104.7 mph off the bat in his second plate appearance. The 28-year-old is batting .241 with a .793 OPS, three extra-base hits and five RBIs in 29 at-bats. Gameday»

Camilo Doval, RHP, SF
Doval earned his second hold in as many appearances since making his Major League debut Sunday afternoon. The 23-year-old fanned a pair in a perfect frame against the Marlins and worked around a leadoff single in the eighth inning to help lead the Giants past the Phillies. Using a fastball that averaged 96 mph and topped out at 97, Doval needed just nine pitches to complete his inning of relief. Gameday»

JoJo Romero, LHP, PHI
Romero rebounded from a pair of rough outings to strike out two over a scoreless inning out of the Phillies’ bullpen. The 24-year-old began 2021 with a clean frame on April 13 but was tagged for five runs, including three homers, in two appearances spanning one inning. Romero fanned Austin Slater and Brandon Crawford to begin the ninth. He yielded a double to Curt Casali but retired Donovan Solano for the third out. Gameday»