What an introduction the Greeneville Astros fans received to Jandel Gustave last night. The 20 year old from Pimentel, Dominican Republic pitched six no hit innings. He finished the night with a line of: 6 innings pitched, no hits, no runs, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 7 strike outs. That makes two solid outings for the year for Gustave. Let's look a little deeper into his outing and then get into his back ground.
Getting the lead off batter out wasn't Gustave's strong suit last night. He issued a walk to lead off batter Champ Stuart but despite Stuart stealing second, Gustave got out of the inning with no damage thanks to two strike outs and a fly out to center.
In the second, he hit the lead off batter but responded by striking out the next three batters.
In the third, the leadoff batter reached on a fielding error. Gustave got the next three out with a fly out, a ground out back to the pitcher, and a strike out.
In the fourth, he got the lead off batter out on a strike out but walked the next batter. He then induced a ground out and a fly out to end the inning.
The fifth was his only one, two, three inning and the first inning with no strike outs.
In the sixth, he again walked the lead off batter but one fly out and two ground balls later, the inning and Gustave's night were over. He finished the night with a game score of 76! Six of his seven strike outs were of the swinging variety.
We learned from the game story that Gustave was effective in locating two primary pitches. A fastball and a slider. Mike Elias, scouting director of the Astros, was at the game and tweeted that Gustave was hitting 99 MPH.
Gustave signed as a international free agent on May 25, 2010 as a 17 year old. He spent the next two season in the DSL where his strike out numbers were encouraging (27 in 26 1/3 IP and 19 in 19 1/3 IP), but his control issues were very troubling. In 2011, in 19 1/3 innings, he walked 34 batters and had 21 wild pitches.
In 2012, he was promoted to the GCL. There he showed improved control. His BB per nine innings dropped from 15.8 in 2011 to 8.7 in 2012. His wild pitches dropped to seven while pitching 28 innings. His strike outs dipped slightly to 22.
Early indications (small sample size alert) are that he has turned a corner in 2013. After walking more batters than he struck out for three straight years, this year, he has four strike outs for each walk he has issued. What a turn around! Here are some things I will be looking for as the season progresses.
In his first three seasons, he appeared in 38 games but only started 10. This year in two starts, he has already thrown 11 innings. He has never thrown more than 28 in a season. So how he handles an increased workload is one of the things I will be watching.
The development of a third pitch. Pitchers with two pitches often wind up in the bullpen. To stay a starter, he really needs a third pitch. Not that there would be anything wrong in having a home grown late innings guy.
How he handles seeing a team for the second time. How does he adjust as they adjust.
He has just moved to the top of the list of players I am excited about this season.