Biloxi Shuckers right-hander Brandon Woodruff was next to unhittable in July. The Southern League took notice, naming the Milwaukee Brewers’ prospect the league’s Pitcher of the Month.
The honor is a first for the new SL franchise.
During July, Woodruff, 23, posted a 3-1 record with a 0.29 ERA. He allowed just one earned run in 30 2/3 innings while striking out 42 batters and only walking five.
The on-field performance also helped drop his ERA from 5.68 to 3.28.
“What we’re really trying to do is get him to plug into his athleticism, trust his athleticism and then go out there and compete like crazy,” Shuckers pitching coach Chris Hook told the Sun Herald late last month. “That’s probably his biggest strength. Obviously his fastball is a plus-plus fastball. It’s a Big League fastball, but to me I’m most excited about his competitiveness.”
Woodruff has shown incredible resiliency and personal fortitude. His older brother, Blake, was killed as a result of an ATV accident and less than 10 days later Brandon led the Shuckers to a 1-0 win at Pensacola. Adding to the achievement, he hit a solo home run to right field, accounting for the game’s lone run.
“That’s an amazing thing for me that he was pitching with a heavy heart. It was a really incredible feat,” Pensacola manager Pat Kelly told MiLB.com. “... “He has got great stuff - a 97-mile-per-hour fastball, a really good slider and a changeup.
“I want to know what he’s doing in this league.”
Woodruff, a 2014 11th round selection by Milwaukee out of Mississippi State, is 9-7 on the year with a 2.71 ERA. Prior to being promoted to Double-A, the Wheeler native started eight games with High-A Brevard County. He leads all Brewers minor leaguers with 127 strikeouts on the season.
Biloxi will conclude its five-game road trip to Jacksonville on Thursday with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. The Shuckers will then host Pensacola for a five-game set beginning Friday.