At this rate, Ben Lively may not give up another run.
The right-handed pitching prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system is making a habit of putting up zeros in the usually hitting-friendly California League. The Reds' No. 13 prospect was at it again on Sunday, winning his fifth straight start (out of five on the year) by tossing six scoreless innings for Bakersfield at San Jose (Giants). He walked none and struck out seven.
The 2013 fourth-round Draft pick out of Central Florida last gave up a run in the fifth inning of his first start of the year, back on April 6. He has since strung together 24 consecutive scoreless frames. Lively has allowed just 13 hits in 29 innings so far this year, for a .134 batting average against. Having allowed just the one earned run, he has a 0.31 ERA.
He has also been very stingy with the free passes. Lively has allowed just one walk over his five starts, while striking out 40 for one of the more remarkable strikeout-to-walk ratios in recent memory.
This is nothing new for Lively in his nascent pro career. He made 13 starts during his summer debut, all but one of them in the rookie-level Pioneer League. In 41 career innings, Lively had a 0.88 ERA, a .161 BAA and 56 strikeouts to 13 walks.
He currently leads all Minor League pitchers in WHIP (0.48), is tied for the lead with five wins, is tied for second in strikeouts and stands fifth in ERA.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter.