Here’s a dirty little secret about Rainiers reliever Brian Moran: Tacoma’s top strikeout artist rarely cracks 87 miles per hour.
A reliever out of the University of North Carolina, Moran was selected by the Mariners in the seventh round of the 2009 draft. Since joining the organization, he has excelled in a relief role.
Moran opened the 2012 season at Double-A Jackson, where he posted a 1.14 earned-run average with 29 strikeouts in 31 innings. He was promoted to Tacoma on June 22.
In the Pacific Coast League, Moran has been striking out batters at a rapid pace. He has 38 strikeouts in 24 innings, for an average 14.25 strikeouts per nine innings. That statistic would easily lead all PCL relievers if he had enough innings pitched to qualify.
How he does it is the interesting story: Moran often throws his fastball 83 to 85 mph, yet he gets a lot of swings-and-misses with it.
“Some of the guys that he has faced have told me that he throws ‘invisi-balls,’ ”said Rainiers catcher Guillermo Quiroz. “The way his mechanics are, the ball kind of gets lost in his uniform. He has such a short arm that your swing has to be perfect in order to square up a ball against him.”
With the recent promotions of Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps to Seattle, Rainiers manager Daren Brown will test Moran more frequently at the end of close games.
Moran has not allowed a run in his last five games, striking out 12 over seven innings.
SLUGGER CROSSES CHENEY OFF LIST
Active minor league home run leader Mike Hessman made his first visit to Cheney Stadium this week, ripping career home run number 358 in Oklahoma City’s 7-1 victory over the Rainiers on Thursday night.
Hessman, 34, leads the PCL with 29 home runs, and has a chance to chase some records. The all-time record for minor league home runs is held by Hector Espino, a Mexican League legend who hit 484 home runs before retiring after the 1984 season.
The U.S. record for career minor league home runs belongs to Buzz Arlett, who hit 432 between 1918 and 1937.
INTERN’S CHOICE OF MUSIC EARNS EJECTION
Derek Dye, a 21-year-old college student interning for the Class-A Daytona Cubs of the Florida State League, became the latest press box worker to be ejected from a game when he played an organ recording of “Three Blind Mice” on the stadium sound system.
Dye and the PA announcer were ejected by home plate umpire Mario Seneca, who had ruled against the home team on a close play at first base. Seneca ordered that there would be no sound on the system for the rest of the game.Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers.