Another day, another promotion for a pitcher in the South Atlantic League.
New York Mets right-hander Rainy Lara has been assigned to Class-A Advanced St. Lucie, a move bound to happen after Lara's impressive start.
In 50.2 innings for the Savannah Sand Gnats, Lara had a 1.42 ERA and 1.80 FIP with a 26 percent strikeout rate and 3.1 percent walk rate, totaling 51 strikeouts and six walks.
Lara's best outing came against the Augusta GreenJackets on May 16, throwing eight shutout innings on two hits, walking one and striking out nine. He was still matched by Augusta starter Kendry Flores, who threw 8.1 scoreless innings.
Although I didn't ask GreenJackets manager Mike Goff about Lara, he went out of his way to compliment his outing that night while boosting his own pitcher, saying that he looked really good.
My report on Lara following the game in Augusta:
Sand Gnats starter Rainy Lara was a mirror of his reports, completely shutting down the GreenJackets, like every other South Atlantic League team so far, and showing enough stuff for a possible major league role. But the stuff probably doesn't have enough depth to last as a starter.
Lara recorded 15 swinging strikes over eight scoreless innings (most among starts at Lake Olmstead this year), allowing just two hits with nine strikeouts. He featured a tailing fastball in the low-90s with some sink, and a sweeping slider that is no more than average. Lara has good arm action on his changeup, but he needs to continue working on it if he wants a three-pitch mix.
This isn't meant to take away from Lara. He's an excellent starter with stuff that overmatches hitters at this level. But it will be interesting to see how it plays in the upper levels.