After missing all of 2020 because of the canceled Minor League season, Shane Baz appears to have shaken off any rust that may have plagued the early going of this season.
MLB Pipeline's No. 71 overall prospect turned in his fifth straight outing of allowing one run or fewer as he worked around a pair of hits -- without issuing a walk -- and tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts over five scoreless frames, but Triple-A Durham could not hold off a late Jacksonville rally and fell 3-2 in 10 innings at 121 Financial Ballpark on Sunday.
It's Baz's fourth shutout performance of the year -- first since he tossed five perfect frames with Double-A Montgomery on June 9 -- and second start this season with 10 punchouts. The right-hander faced just two above the minimum and retired the final 12 batters he faced.
The fifth-ranked Rays prospect responded to a leadoff single by Brian Miller in the first by whiffing the side on 12 pitches. It was a similar situation in the second after Isan Diaz opened the frame with a double to right, but was left stranded there after Baz induced a groundout to third and back-to-back strikeouts to escape the inning unscathed.
No Jumbo Shrimp batter reached again while Baz was on the bump, as the 22-year-old coasted through the reminder of his outing. Baz needed just 11 pitches to navigate through the third, fanned the side in order in the fourth and completed his start with 12 pitches in the fifth -- punching out Justin Twine for his final out. He was pulled after throwing 71 pitches -- 48 were strikes.
Sunday marked Baz's third appearance with the Bulls, and he has yielded one run or fewer in each of his Triple-A starts. The 2017 No. 12 overall Draft pick has allowed two runs on nine hits and three walks while whiffing 20 over 14 frames with Durham, good for a 1.29 ERA. On the year, Baz is sporting a 2.12 ERA and 0.77 WHIP with 69 strikeouts over 46 2/3 innings.