After an erratic start to his first Triple-A season, Tacoma Rainiers pitcher Sam Gaviglio has become more than just a reliable member of the starting rotation.
Recent consecutive starts in which the former Oregon State All-American delivered at least eight shutout innings might indicate the right-hander is more than just Triple-A depth in the Mariners’ organization.
On June 3 against New Orleans, Gaviglio held the Miami Marlins’ affiliate to four hits over eight scoreless innings. He didn’t permit a runner to reach second base until the eighth inning.
In his previous outing on May 29 against Round Rock, he carried a shutout into the ninth inning before allowing one run. The 81/3 innings he pitched that day established a career high.
Add on a solid six-inning, two-run start at Sacramento on Tuesday, and Gaviglio is officially on a roll — 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA over his last three games going into Saturday night’s scheduled start against Albuquerque.
This is a big turnaround for Gaviglio, who was 2-4 with a 5.63 ERA after getting roughed up in Iowa on May 24.
“At the start of the year he wasn’t throwing well; his ball kept running back into the middle of the plate,” said Tacoma catcher John Hicks. “He’s got a lot of movement on his ball, and the last three starts he’s been putting it where he wants to.”
Seattle acquired Gaviglio in an offseason trade that sent Tacoma infielder Ty Kelly to the St. Louis Cardinals, who selected the Ashland, Oregon, native in the fifth round of the 2011 draft after his junior season at OSU.
This is Gaviglio’s first Triple-A season, so it’s worth following the 25-year-old’s progress to see if he develops into a major league option.
“He’s got so much movement that if he can get it to the corners of the plate, he’s going to be tough to hit well,” Hicks said. “His change-up has come a long way; it’s gotten a lot better since spring training.”
CAN FRESNO WIN WITHOUT CORREA?
The Houston Astros called up top prospect Carlos Correa from Triple-A Fresno last Sunday, giving him the news moments after he had a walk-off RBI against Reno.
Correa, 20, made a big impact on the Pacific Coast League pennant chase in the Pacific North division.
When he joined Fresno on May 12, the Grizzlies were lingering around .500 (16-15). In 25 games with Correa on the roster, Fresno went 18-7 and built a six-game lead in the standings.
Now the rest of the teams in the division — including the Rainiers — are left to wonder if Fresno can continue to win without the gifted shortstop.