Credit: Jesse Piecuch Milb.com

Indians' Prospect Ryan Merritt Continues Rolling

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On Wednesday night, Cleveland Indians’ farmhand and Carolina Mudcat left-hander Ryan Merritt pitched another gem, dominating the Lynchburg Hillcats in Class A Advanced Carolina League action:

The 2014 season has been full of these types of performances, as Merritt has piled up nine wins, a 1.65 ERA, and a 0.91 WHIP, all tops in the Carolina League. He has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last 10 starts, and the rest of the prospect world is beginning to take notice. MiLB.com featured the 22-year-old left-hander in a recent article, detailing his command, repertoire, and experiences in the minors. Some of the more interesting tidbits from the post include a quote from Merritt and a pitching approach:

“I’ve learned that I’m not a power guy,” Merritt said. “I’m not going to go out there and try to strike everyone out. I just found that I’m a ground-ball pitcher, and I want them to hit the pitches I want them to and in the least amount of pitches.”

Merritt’s stuck with that philosophy and said he aims at throwing first-pitch strikes and having batters hit one of the first three pitches. 

And…look at pitching coach, former Indian Steve Karsay, with this:

“He’s grown so much as a pitcher in many different aspects,” Karsay said. “Calmness, presence, [the] demeanor to compete in tight situations. You can’t teach it. He’s stuck with the process.”

The former 16th round pick has certainly improved upon his career numbers in his first full season in Carolina, but having embarrassed opposing batters over his first 15 starts, perhaps a bump to Double-A Akron should be in the cards, especially after earning the starting nod in the recent Carolina/California League All-Star game.

Having not ranked within the Top 20 prospects within the Indians system prior to the start of the season on MLB.com, Merritt has certainly earned the…merit…moving forward. You shouldn’t scout on numbers, but despite not having a fastball that can touch 90 miles per hour, Merritt could likely do a fine Mark Buehrle impression, and Tommy Milone has managed to post solid numbers without a devastating fastball in Oakland. Sure, he may not be an ace, but Merritt can keep batters off balance with his stuff, and throwing strikes can’t be stressed enough for young pitchers. Watch him soar in prospect rankings with enough helium on production alone to be one of the club’s top 10 prospects heading into the 2015 season.

Year Age AgeDif Tm W L ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H9 SO/W
2011 19 -1.9 Indians 0 0 1.08 0 0 0 8.1 10 3 1 0 2 10 1.440 10.8 5.00
2012 20 -1.2 Mahoning Valley 3 4 4.09 14 0 0 66.0 82 42 30 3 17 40 1.500 11.2 2.35
2013 21 -0.9 2 Teams 6 9 3.52 25 0 0 135.1 149 67 53 11 19 97 1.241 9.9 5.11
2013 21 -0.8 Lake County 6 9 3.42 23 0 0 126.1 142 62 48 10 18 91 1.266 10.1 5.06
2013 21 -1.8 Carolina 0 0 5.00 2 0 0 9.0 7 5 5 1 1 6 0.889 7.0 6.00
2014 22 -0.8 Carolina 9 2 1.65 15 1 0 98.1 71 24 18 4 18 74 0.905 6.5 4.11
4 Seasons 18 15 2.98 54 1 0 308.0 312 136 102 18 56 221 1.195 9.1 3.95
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/3/2014.
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Tags: Carolina Mudcats Cleveland Indians Ryan Merritt

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