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MLB Pipeline names D-backs’ Duplantier Pitcher of the Year

Arizona Diamondbacks and the U.S. Team pitcher Jon Duplantier throws during the All-Star Futures baseball game, Sunday, July 9, 2017, in Miami. The U.S. Team won 7-6. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor league pitcher Jon Duplantier had quite the season in 2017, and MLB Pipeline has named him its Pitcher of the Year.

In only his first full season in the minor leagues, Duplantier posted the second-lowest ERA for a full season minor league starter in 25 years (1.39). Only 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander’s 1.29 ERA in 2005 is lower than Duplantier’s.

In order to be considered for the award, a pitcher had to have spent at least a half-season in the minors. MLB Pipeline staff voted on nominees.

The D-backs’ No. 2 prospect split the 2017 season with the Class-A Kane County Cougars and the Single-A Visalia Rawhide.

In addition to his outstanding ERA, the 23-year-old’s .192 batting average against (third) and 0.98 walks plus hits per innings pitched (12th) ranked among minor league leaders. In 136 combined innings, the right hander struck out 165 and walked 42 in 25 appearances (24 starts).

Drafted in the third round of the 2016 MLB First Year Player Draft out of Rice, Duplantier pitched in this season’s All-Star Futures Game in Miami in July. In addition, the Newark, Del. native was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Month for May and a mid-season All-Star while with the Cougars.

After pitching just one inning in his professional debut for the Hillsboro Hops in 2016, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Duplantier was shut down for the remainder of the season with right elbow soreness.

Despite missing the playoffs and finishing under .500 this season, Visalia’s pitching staff led the California League in ERA (3.79) and pitching coach Jeff Bajenaru was named the league’s coach of the year. 

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