Pelicans lose ace Faulkner due to Double-A promotion

pel-faulknerThe Texas Rangers did what opposing hitters haven’t been able to do all season to Myrtle Beach Pelicans pitcher Andrew Faulkner – knock the lefthander off the mound.

The native of Aiken, SC, was promoted to the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders after dominating with the Pelicans as a 10-game winner. In a corresponding move, right-handed pitcher Sam Wolff has been reinstated off of the 7-day disabled list and will start Saturday’s game against the Salem Red Sox.

Faulkner, 21, earns his first promotion to Double-A of his career. The southpaw is in the midst of a breakout season and departs the Carolina League as the league leader in ERA (2.07) and co-leader in wins (10). Over 21 outings, including 18 starts, Faulkner posted a 10-1 record, with his only loss coming in a two-inning outing in the first half finale, just two days prior to his first professional All-Star game appearance.

Faulkner pitched a clean third inning at the California League / Carolina League All-Star Game in Wilmington with a pair of strikeouts and leaves the Carolina League with the second most strikeouts in the circuit (100), trailing only Frederick’s Parker Bridwell. In 104 1/3 innings, he has allowed 86 hits and walked 31 and allowed only one home run, which came in his final start. Prior to the long ball, he had posted the most innings in the minors without allowing a home run. He is currently fourth in the league in opponents’ batting average (.228) and fifth in WHIP (1.12), and with his 10-1 record, has the best winning percentage in the eight-team league as well (.909).

The lefty put together two separate stretches this season of more than 15 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest of which lasted 18 frames from July 1-July 16 and is the longest such stretch by a Pelicans pitcher this season. Of his 21 outings, eight were scoreless and he allowed three or fewer runs in 16 of his 18 starts. The Rangers drafted Faulkner in the 14th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft out of South Aiken High School.

Faulkner is 12th different Pelican to be promoted to Double-A this season and joins former 2014 Pelicans Keone Kela, Odubel Herrera, Joey Gallo, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Will Lamb, Alexander Claudio, Hanser Alberto, Chris Grayson, and Martire Garcia, who are all currently on the Frisco roster.

Wolff, 23, was placed on disabled list on July 8, retroactive to July 5, and missed 17 games. Over his first 15 outings and 14 starts, Wolff had allowed more than three earned runs in an appearance only one time but allowed five in his penultimate start and six to Lynchburg in his final outing before going on the 7-day disabled list for the first time this season.

Prior to the final two outings, Wolff was in the top 5 in the league in ERA and is currently seventh with a 3.38 ERA to go along with his 7-4 record. He is third in the league in opponents’ batting average (.225) and fourth among Carolina League starters in baserunners per nine innings (10.40). He took a perfect game into the fifth inning in his first professional start on April 6 vs. the Salem Red Sox.

In four of 16 starts, he has held the opposition scoreless. Wolff is in his second professional season and first as a starting pitcher. The Rangers selected the Rapid City, South Dakota native in the sixth round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur draft out of the University of New Mexico.

Wolff marked the fifth pitcher and ninth player to go on the disabled list this season for the Pelicans, which has featured ten different players this year and three currently: Cody Kendall, Jason Knapp, and Sam Stafford.

With the two moves, the Pelicans roster remains at 25 active players, which is the Carolina League limit.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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