Fleming Moves Up In Rays System

Fleming Moves Up In Rays System
Thanks to a 6-1 record, a 1.20 ERA, 42 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 60 innings at Low Single-A Bowling Green, former Webster University All-American pitcher Josh Fleming earned a promotion to High A Charlotte Stone Crabs in the Florida State League on Monday and made his debut and first start with the Stone Crabs Tuesday evening against the St. Lucie Mets here at Charlotte Sports Park. 

Fleming, who was a fifth-round selection and the 139th overall pick in last year's MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, tossed six innings in his debut with the Stone Crabs (43-43, 9-10 second half) on Tuesday and in those six innings, he allowed nine hits, two runs, while walking none and fanning three in his 79 pitch outing that featured 53 strikes. Fleming took the loss in his debut as St. Lucie posted a 5-1 win over the Stone Crabs in the second of a four-game series. 

In fact, Tuesday's game matched two pitchers that were making their High A debuts as along with Fleming with Charlotte, St. Lucie started the former University of South Florida hurler Joe Cavallaro, who was promoted last week to St. Lucie after pitching at both Columbia in the Low Class A South Atlantic League and one game with the Double A Binghamton Rumble Ponies of the Eastern League. Cavallaro was drafted in the 24th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the New York Mets.

Cavallaro (1-0) was just a little better than Fleming on Tuesday as he pitched six shutout innings and allowed just two hits while walking one and striking out six in his 72 pitch outing. He retired the final 12 batters he faced. 

Fleming, who is a left-handed pitcher, earned his promotion to the Charlotte Stone Crabs after his solid pitching on the mound for the Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Low Class A Midwest League. While with Bowling Green, Fleming made 10 starts and posted a 6-1 record and a 1.20 ERA. In those 60 innings of work, Fleming recorded 42 strikeouts, walked just 10 and had a 0.85 WHIP. He closed out his time in Bowling Green by winning his last four starts and compiled a 1.33 ERA as he allowed just 15 hits, four runs, three earned runs, while striking out 18 and walked just four in 27 innings of work.

As a rookie last summer playing with the Rays rookie league team in the Appalachian League, Princeton, Fleming went 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA as he appeared in 12 games and made nine starts. In 35 innings of work, Fleming allowed 42 hits, 23 runs (21 earned runs), while walking seven and striking 26 and posted a WHIP of 1.40. 

In fact, Fleming has made 23 appearances, 21 career professional starts and has recorded 71 strikeouts and walked just 17 opposing hitters in 101 innings of work and has a career WHIP of 1.08. In addition, he is 7-4 with a career 2.76 ERA. 

Fleming completed his third and final season with the Gorloks in 2017. As a junior in 2017, Fleming, who is a native of Columbia, Ill., recorded an NCAA Division III leading ERA of 0.68 and was second in Division III in strikeouts with 115 in 92.2 innings of work. In addition, he posted an 8-1 record in helping the Gorloks advance to the NCAA Division III Baseball Regional Tournament for the 11th time in school history. 
In 2017, Fleming racked up numerous honors, including being named the D3Baseball.com Pitcher of the Year and earning First-Team All-American honors from both D3Baseball.com and ABCA/Rawlings. In addition, he was named the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, the Central Region Pitcher of the Year and a First-Team All-Central Region selection by both D3Baseball.com and ABCA/Rawlings. 

Fleming set Webster single-season marks for ERA and strikeouts and allowed the second lowest batting average for opponents (.165). Additionally, Fleming recorded the lowest career ERA in school history (1.92) and finished second in career strikeouts (251) and fourth in wins (19).