2016 Ninth Round Selection, RHP Lucas Humpal Impressive in First Start of 2017

The 2017 minor league regular season got underway on Thursday, well for those where weather wasn't a factor, and Baltimore Orioles' 2016 ninth round draft choice, right-handed pitcher Lucas Humpal was impressive in his first start of the season.

Photo: Patrick Cavey




Humpal, 23, got the Opening Day nod for the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds and despite the fact that Delmarva ended up losing the game in the ninth inning, Humpal was impressive.

The 6'3'', 180 pound right-hander worked six terrific innings against Greenville. He allowed just one run, which was unearned, and allowed five hits. He did not walk a single batter and he struck out four.

Humpal worked the strike zone pretty effectively throwing 54 of his 83 pitches for strikes and faced just five batters over the minimum.

Something that I took note of in the performance was how he handled left-handed hitters. Last season with the Short-season A Aberdeen Ironbirds, lefties hit .292 against him, but Thursday night Humpal retired all seven left-handed hitters he faced and struck out two of them.

Obviously it's just one start, and a very small sample size, but it's encouraging to see him fare better against lefties right from the start.

Last season, Humpal appeared in 11 games (10 starts) for the Ironbirds and went 1-2 with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP over 29.2 innings pitched. Over those 11 appearances, Humpal allowed 30 hits, walked nine and hit two batters. He also struck out 27 and did not allow a single home run the entire season.

Humpal is one of those guys I consider "under-the-radar", but I will be keeping a close eye on him as the season progresses, especially to see how he handles the lefties.

                                                                                                                                                       
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