BOWIE – Bowie Baysox Manager Buck Britton knew pitcher Michael Baumann had special stuff going for his July 16 start against the Harrisburg Senators early in the game. But he wasn’t sure how special.
By the sixth inning, Britton and everyone at Prince George’s Stadium knew. The 6-foot-4 right hander was dominant, striking out 10 and walking just two in a 94 pitch no-hitter. It was the first no-hitter by a Baysox pitcher since Eddie Gamboa in 2013, and the first nine inning no-hitter since Radhames Liz in 2007. All three threw no-hitters against the Senators.
“(I) start(ed) to realize it was no hit stuff,” Britton said. “But once we got to the sixth and continue to carry his velocity and the swings he gets on his breaking stuff you realize he had something special going on.”
Baumann allowed a full-count walk to Senators leadoff hitter and former Washington National Michael A. Taylor to start the game, but settled in from there. He got Luis Garcia to ground into a double play and Drew Ward to ground out to second, the first of 17 straight batters he retired.
Baumann faced the minimum through six innings, not allowing another base runner after the first inning until a full count walk to Ward with two outs in the seventh inning. He finished off his no-hitter in style, striking out Taylor with a 97 mph fastball to end the game with Bowie winning 6-0.
Baumann’s no-hitter was the seventh in the Eastern League this year, but just the second no-hitter by just one pitcher. The Erie SeaWolves’ Casey Mize tossed the other on April 29 against the Altoona Curve. The seven no-hitters are as many in the previous five seasons combined, and the most in a season since 1967. Bowie was also no hit in two games, with Harrisburg throwing one on April 11 and Erie did the same 13 days later.
Baumann’s no-hitter was just the latest highlight in what has been a jaw-dropping start to his Double-A career. In six games with Bowie, he is 2-1 with a 1.10 ERA. After coming out of the bullpen in his first two games, he’s pitched the last four as part of the Baysox’s excellent starting rotation, allowing just 10 hits and walking six compared to 28 strikeouts in 26 and 2/3 innings pitched.
While some players can struggle initially when called up to Double-A, Baumann’s confidence has allowed him to have early success, Britton said.
“They brought him up at the right time and he was able to carry the same mindset he had up here,” Baumann said. “Confidence is a big thing for guys when they first get promoted to this level.”
Baumann also has a very good pitch mix for him which will be critical for continuing his growth as a pitcher going forward. He’s already developed a slider, and is continuing the development of his curveball and changeup. The command of those pitches, Britton said, is the biggest difference since he managed him last year in low single-A Delmarva.
“He’s been a lot better at getting swings and misses in the strike zone,” Britton said. “The slider has also been a big pitch for him. The breaking balls were a work in progress but those pitches have come along quite nice.”
For Baumann’s success to continue, he’ll have to keep adjusting as teams become more familiar with his repertoire. Still, having this much success early on is a good sign, Britton said.
“When teams start to see him more than once that’s when the real adjustments will be made,” Britton said. “But with his stuff, I think Mike has a bright future.”