Fireflies starting pitcher P.J. Conlon was named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week for the week of May 30-June 5, the league announced Monday.
In his start on June 4, Conlon did what no other pitcher in Minor League Baseball has done in nearly 11 years: the lefty hurled 10 innings. He scattered just four hits on Saturday against Hagerstown and allowed one unearned run. Most impressive, the native of Placentia, California, used only 98 pitches over those 10 frames. According to Minor League Baseball, the last time a minor leaguer tossed 10 innings in a game was September 4, 2005. Conlon also carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning on Saturday.
“For the most part, I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes,” Conlon told MiLB.com after his outing Saturday night. “And seeing Hagerstown play the last two days in a row, they have a lot of free swingers, and I took that into account. I was cautious and I was making sure I was getting the ball down and they were swinging.”
The 22-year-old has been nearly unhittable all season. From April 14-May 23, Conlon won seven straight starts; he’s the only pitcher in Minor League Baseball to do that this year.
“He has been outstanding since day one,” Fireflies manager Jose Leger said. “You can always see his focus and concentration on the mound pitch after pitch. He’s done a great job of commanding all of his pitches. His changeup has been fantastic, and he’s very deceptive with it.”
The lefty leads the South Atlantic League in wins (7) and ERA (1.21) and has achieved that by also throwing the third-most innings (67.0) in the league. His 0.94 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) is second in the South Atlantic League. Only four other pitchers in all of Minor League Baseball have more wins than Conlon.
The New York Mets drafted Conlon in the 13th round of the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the University of San Diego. He made his professional baseball debut for the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League in 2015.
Conlon and the Fireflies head to Lake Olmstead Stadium to take on the Augusta GreenJackets Monday at 7:05 p.m. You can listen to the action on WGCV 620 AM, 105.1 and 96.3 FM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app starting at 7:00 p.m.