By Jerry Del Priore
The South Atlantic League (SAL) named Columbia Fireflies’ righty Merandy Gonzalez as its Player of the Month for April, the league announced Monday.
In Gonzalez’s first four starts, spanning 28.1 innings, the 21-year-old didn’t allow a run while winning all of those games.
“He’s a great competitor on the mound,” Fireflies manager Jose Leger said in a press release. “You can see his focus on the mound every time he goes out there. The fact that he attacks hitters and gets ahead is the key for him.”
During April, Gonzalez, a former Brooklyn Cyclone and current New York Mets’ prospect, was the only starting pitcher in all of professional baseball (MLB and MiLB) not to allow a run.
Leger sang the praises of his hurler for his ability to hold runners on base, affords Colombia with the solid opportunity to bring home the victory while starting.
“When runners get on base, they don’t have a chance of stealing on him,” Leger explained. “Every time he goes out there on the mound we have a good chance to win.”
The Cotui, Dominican Republic, native, who Baseball America named as New York’s 2017 breakout prospect, lasted a career-long 7.2 innings in two of his first four starts with the Fireflies. The Columbia right-hander also registered 23 strikeouts and had walked just three batters during the first month of the 2017 campaign.
For the season, Gonzalez is 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA with 28 whiffs and five bases-on-balls in 33.1 innings of work in five tilts.