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Berroa fans 11 in Travelers' second no-no of '22

Former Major Leaguers Kaminsky, Shipley toss scoreless frames
@Jacob_Resnick
August 13, 2022

Double-A Arkansas’ second no-hitter of the 2022 season was started by a young arm on his way to the Major Leagues. It was finished off by a pair of veterans working their way back up to The Show. No. 24 Mariners prospect Prelander Berroa struck out a career-high 11 over

Double-A Arkansas’ second no-hitter of the 2022 season was started by a young arm on his way to the Major Leagues. It was finished off by a pair of veterans working their way back up to The Show.

No. 24 Mariners prospect Prelander Berroa struck out a career-high 11 over five brilliant innings on Friday against Northwest Arkansas before giving way to Blake Weiman, Jake Haberer and former Major Leaguers Rob Kaminsky and Braden Shipley for one-inning stints each to seal a 6-0 victory.

It was the second time the Travelers held their opponent hitless this year, following Connor Jonesseven-inning effort on May 26.

“Berroa set the tone in a big way,” Travelers pitching coach Sean McGrath said. “We’ve worked the bullpen pretty well all year, so most of those guys are in good spots. The nerves were building as the outs counted down, but it was really exciting.”

The 22-year-old struck out nine of 10 batters in an untouchable stretch from the second through fifth innings -- the one exception being a walk that was quickly erased on a caught stealing. Acquired from the Giants in May, Berroa posted a 2.41 ERA in 13 starts with High-A Everett before his promotion to the Travelers.

“He just attacked the zone relentlessly,” McGrath said. “Obviously he has an incredible fastball and a tremendous slider. When that guy has a really good game plan and is going one pitch at a time, you see dominant outings like that.”

Berroa’s path has uniquely converged with those of Kaminsky and Shipley, a pair of 2013 first-round Draft picks who briefly saw time with their original organizations -- St. Louis and Arizona, respectively -- in the Majors before bouncing around and landing with Seattle. As they work their way back up, the pair have also served as de facto mentors for Arkansas’ much younger arms.

“Those guys are selfless,” McGrath said. “They’re leaders, both by example and in the things they teach the younger guys. It’s been a thrill to have them around.”

The last time Shipley was in Double-A, in 2015, he ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 39 prospect in all of baseball and found himself in the Arizona rotation the following summer. He has not yet been able to translate his first-round pedigree to the Majors, recording a 5.79 ERA in 100 innings over three seasons, and bounced around to the Royals and Reds organizations -- as well as a stint in Mexico -- before the Mariners gave him a call this past March.

Working exclusively out of the Travelers bullpen, Shipley, now 30 years old, has a 3.45 ERA in 47 innings, including the ninth on Friday.

“I was telling the guys that this year has been interesting for me,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve been back in Double-A and I’ve just embraced it. But it was the first time in a while I’ve been nervous coming into a game. It felt good.”

If anything, the nerves signaled the gravity of the moment. After navigating through the exit of the only organization he had known for seven years, the pandemic season and three games with the Acereros de Monclova in Mexico, Shipley contemplated retirement. But there was more to be done, and to find.

“The last few years have been really rough for me,” he said. “Mainly it’s been trying to figure out ‘Who am I? Who is Braden Shipley?’ I think with the help of a lot of people -- way too many to name -- they’ve gotten me to where I am today, just comfortable with who I am now.”

Shipley jokes that he and Kaminsky, throwing partners all season, don’t require nearly as many tosses to get their arms loose before games. But after their own work is finished, they’ll transition into their other roles.

“Having a lot of failures the last few years has kind of set me up to go out there and pitch with a little bit of freedom and have success, but more importantly share my experiences with some of these younger guys. I’ve just been so fortunate to help them, advise them, whatever I can do. It’s really rewarding and I couldn’t be happier to spend this night with them.”

Jacob Resnick is an contributor for MiLB.com.