Pitching Staff Leads The Way For Salt Lake Bees In 2022
SALT LAKE CITY – Not since 2008 have the Salt Lake Bees put together a month of pitching success like they did in April of 2022.
A Pacific Coast League best 3.28 earned run average posted in April is the best single month Bees ERA going back to 2005 when online record keeping began. It marks the just the second time Salt Lake led the league in ERA (April 2008). Since 2005, Salt Lake has had just three other months with a sub-4.00 team ERA; April 2006 (3.63), June 2006 (3.91) & August 2017 (3.80)
Jhonathan Diaz and Cesar Valdez won consecutive Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week honors, the first Bees to take home the award in back to back weeks since Ben Rowan & Tyler Danish, both out of the bullpen, accomplished the feat in September of 2021.
The last pair of Bees starters to win the award in consecutive weeks was way back in 2011 when Eric Junge (May 16-22) and Matt Palmer (May 23-29) won it. Tyler Skaggs and Troy Scribner each won the award in 2016, but not in consecutive weeks.
Diaz’s 1.96 ERA is the second best in the PCL while Valdez and his 3.71 ERA is good for eighth best in the league.
“What Cesar Valdez is able to do on the mound is impressive. You know that changeup is coming but you don’t know if it’s going to be in the strike zone and or if it’s going to expand. Just feel that he has to cut or sink a changeup, to the feel at has to throw a small or big slider is unbelievable,” Cuevas commented. “Then just him on the mound as a competitor is incredible. there’s no situation that would get him out of his comfort zone.”
Salt Lake’s starting staff has combined for a 3.43 ERA while striking out more batters (103) than hits allowed (102) and their six home runs allowed is the fewest by a starting staff in all of Triple-A baseball.
Starting pitcher cited his teammates for a portion of the pitching success. “First and foremost, the biggest thing is to stay in the zone. Attack the strike zone and make them hit the ball because we’ve got some pretty good athletes in the field that makes a lot of plays for us. So just continue to make them put the ball in play, but try and stay at work at least two strikes.”
Out of the pen, the Bees have had a variety of options in spite of the ever-present treadmill running players between Salt Lake and the parent squad Los Angeles Angels.
Elvis Peguero, Andrew Wantz, Brian Moran and Kenny Rosenberg have all spent a fair amount of time shuttling between the two levels.
Peguero leads the bullpen with 10.1 innings thrown and his 1.74 ERA has earned him two different major league call-ups in the past week. He has yet to appear in a game with the Angels.
Five Bees relievers had sub-4.00 ERA’s in April with Wander Suero (1.17 ERA) and Zack Weiss (2.89 ERA) throwing the most innings of that group.
Putting it all together
Salt Lake added reinforcements to the staff recently with the additions of Angels No. 10 prospect starter Janson Junk and reliever Kyle Barraclough. The pair have been on the developmental roster since early April and look to join the fun with their returns.
“I think part of the success that we have with the staff is because we have a mix of veteran guys that have done it,” Bees pitching coach Jairo Cuevas said, “And we have a group of younger guys who have a lot of talent and they’re gonna speed up to the Show, that’s what we have.”
You can listen to all Salt Lake Bees games on The Zone Sports Network or purchase tickets at slbees.com. The Bees are hosting the Tacoma Rainiers at Smith’s Ballpark through Sunday, May 8. First pitch Thursday, Friday and Saturday is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. (MST) with a 1:05 p.m (MST) first pitch scheduled for Sunday.