Rather quietly, right-handed pitching prospect Rainy Lara, 22, was recently promoted from the Savannah Sand Gnats to the Port St. Lucie Mets. He made his first Florida State League start on May 30th, in which he overwhelmed the Jupiter Hammerheads for 8.1 innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits. He walked no batters and struck out four before exiting to a no-decision.
His second appearance for the PSL Mets came this evening at home against the Lakeland Flying Tigers. The Mets dropped a 4-2 decision, however Rainy Lara kept the Tigers scoreless through the first five innings. Spanning the second through fifth innings, he retired eleven batters in a row. Lara pitched 5.1 innings in all, allowed four runs, but only one earned. Otherwise, he surrendered five hits, one walk, and struck out five in suffering his first Florida State circuit loss. After two starts now, he has a 1.35 earned run average, and a 0.757 WHiP.
Prior to getting promoted, Rainy Lara made eight starts for the Savannah Sand Gnats, compiling a 4-2 record, with two no-decisions. In 50.2 innings, he pitched to a brilliant 1.42 ERA, limited batters to thirty-nine hits, and issued only six walks for an equally stellar 0.888 WHiP. He struck out fifty-one batters for a 9.1 K/9 average. This season, Rainy was twice named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week.
While pitching last season for the Brooklyn Cyclones, Lara led the New York-Penn League with eight wins. Former Mets GM Omar Minaya signed Rainy Lara on October 31, 2009 as a non-drafted free agent.
He now has 220.1 innings pitched in his minor league career with 201 strikeouts, which equates to an 8.4 K/9 average. Comparatively, Matt Harvey had 245 innings pitched in two seasons of minor league ball, with 268 strikeouts, for a 9.8 K/9 average. Zack Wheeler currently has 381 minor league innings with 406 strikeouts, good for a 9.6 K/9 average. Rainy Lara has been far more efficient however, in limiting his walks allowed. For their minor league careers, Harvey posted a 3.5 W/9 average, Wheeler currently has an even higher 4.3 W/9 mark, while Rainy Lara boasts a 1.6 W/9 average. If Harvey is already in Flushing, and Wheeler’s arrival is imminent, then surely, with such favorable statistics, a promotion to Binghamton can not be too far off for the Rain Man.