It’s time for another update on the Italian players in the American minor leagues. The best Italian prospect is Alessandro Maestri in the Chicago Cubs organization. The young right-hander, who made the transition to starter this season, was recently promoted to the Double A team in Tennessee. However he had some mixed results in his first two starts there. He allowed eight runs on 14 hits and three walks over eleven innings, striking out ten. Things got worse, as he was placed on the disabled list following his last start on July 5th with an undisclosed shoulder injury. We’ll keep you updated on his status. Maestri has pitched 89 innings so far this year with an combined ERA of 4.04 and 76 strikeouts (30 walks) for Single A and Double A Teams of the Cubs.
The only Italian position player in the Minors is Alex Liddi. He is currently on the roster of the Seattle Mariners affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Single A) in the Midwest League. He is a regular starter for the team, switching between first and third base. He had hits in six of his last ten games, batting .226 (OBP .295/SLG .330) with 18 doubles, four triples and three homeruns this season. He also was successful in 14 of 17 stolen base attempts.
And there are the two youngest prospects in the pool of Italian minor leaguers. The pitchers Matteo Pizziconi and Luca Panerati are playing for the GCL Reds in the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) in Florida. Pizziconi appeared in seven games, allowing just seven hits, two runs (1 ER) and six walks in 8 2/3 innings for an ERA of 1.04. He struck out nine.
Panerati made his pro debut on July 26 against the GCL Twins with a perfect inning. Two days later he registered his first strikeout versus the GCL Pirates, giving up one hit and a walk in 1 1/3 innings. Until a few weeks ago he was playing for Montepaschi Grosseto in the Italian Baseball League. In nine games (four starts) he had a 3-1 record with an ERA of 6.76 and 26 strikeouts (20 walks) in 42.2 innings pitched.