MiLB Game Scores from Week 1

By Ashley Marshall / MiLB.com

The first week of the Minor League season (the first 11 days, really, if you consolidate opening weekend) is over, so let’s look at some of the top starting pitcher performances.

Stat guru Bill James devised a metric called “game score,” a number arrived at by adding or subtracting points based on in-game performance. It does not take into account prospect status or level, making it easy to compare outings across different leagues, affiliations and classes.

Here’s how to calculate a pitcher’s game score:

  • Start with 50 points
  • Add one point for each out recorded
  • Add two points for each inning completed after the fourth
  • Add one point for each strikeout
  • Subtract two points for each hit allowed
  • Subtract four points for each earned run allowed
  • Subtract two points for each unearned run allowed
  • Subtract one point for each walk.

Here’s a look at the top five pitching performances from April 3-13.

Name Team IP H R ER BB SO Game Score
Christian Binford Wilmington 7 2 0 0 0 10 83
Jonathan Martinez Great Lakes 6 2 0 0 0 11 79
Henry Owens Portland 6 0 0 0 2 9 79
Tyler Cloyd Columbus 8 4 1 0 0 7 79
Daisuke Matsuzaka Las Vegas 7 2 0 0 2 8 79

Christian Binford, 83

Binford piled up 10 strikeouts without issuing a walk and allowed two hits over seven innings as Class A Advanced Wilmington blanked visiting Winston-Salem, 4-0, on April 12.

“I don’t light up the radar gun. I live by keeping the ball down, and I did that a lot in a way that set up good pitches later in at-bats,” the 21-year-old right-hander told MiLB.com’s Josh Jackson after notching his first Carolina League win.

The 10 strikeouts represent the second-highest total during Binford’s three-year pro career. He fanned 12 for Class A Lexington last July 28.

Read the full story

* * *

Jonathan Martinez, 79

Beginning his second tour through the Midwest League, Martinez looked like a seasoned veteran on April 3.

The 19-year-old Dodgers prospect recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts over six innings as Class A Great Lakes opened the season with a 9-0 whitewash of Fort Wayne at Parkview Field.

Martinez (1-0) established season highs with five and six strikeouts, respectively, in his final two starts for the Loons last year. He continued trending upward in that category on Opening Night, notching multiple strikeouts in four separate innings and fanning the side in the third.

Read the full story

* * *

Henry Owens, 79

Opening Day gives every game a ready-made storyline. The Portland Sea Dogs came up with several more.

Boston’s top pitching prospect Henry Owens fired a rain-shortened no-hitter and manager Billy McMillon picked up his 300th win as Double-A Portland beat the host Reading Fightin Phils, 5-0.

Owens retired the final 16 batters he faced before the game was called after six innings because of rain to give him his first shutout. It was the third no-hitter in franchise history (the first as a Red Sox affiliate) and the first single-pitcher no-no.

Read the full story

* * *

Tyler Cloyd, 79

Bouncing back from a rough first start in which he allowed seven runs — six earned — on 11 hits and a walk over 3 2/3 innings, Cloyd responded with a gem against the Louisville Bats.

Cloyd surrendered just one unearned run over eight frames. He scattered four hits, fanned seven batters and threw 58 of 86 pitches for strikes.

See the Gameday box score

* * *

Daisuke Matsuzaka, 79

Pitch after pitch, inning after inning, it became a question of who would blink first: Chris Heston or Daisuke Matsuzaka. Neither did.

Heston allowed one hit over six scoreless innings and Matsuzaka did him one better before Triple-A Las Vegas posted a 1-0, 10-inning triumph over Fresno at Chukchansi Park on April 12.

The veteran of 123 Major League starts took a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth before surrendering consecutive one-out singles to pinch-hitter Javier Herrera and Gary Brown.

“Daisuke got stronger and stronger as the game went on,” 51s manager Wally Backman told MiLB.com’s Tyler Maun. “He was 89-91 [mph] and then, from about the third or fourth inning on, he was like 92-96. He just got stronger.”

Read the full story

***

While Binford has the top score so far in the 2014 season, he trails 2013 leader Luis Cruz by 13 points. Cruz fanned 14 batters in a two-hit shutout for Corpus Christi last Aug. 26.

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