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The 2015 season got out to a so-so start for Tejay Antone. In his season debut with the Dayton Dragons he allowed three earned runs in 5.0 innings with three walks and six strikeouts against the South Bend Cubs. His next start would be much better as he allowed a run in 5.2 innings with no walks and added in three strikeouts. On the 23rd Antone would make his first road start and allow three runs against Bowling Green in 5.0 innings with a walk and two strikeouts. He would finish out the month with his best start, tossing 7.0 shutout innings with six strikeouts. In four starts he would post a 2.78 ERA over 22.2 innings with four walks and 17 strikeouts.
Building on that final start of April, Antone put together 13.0 innings of 1-earned-run baseball with 13 strikeouts in his first two outings of May. He would have a slight hiccup in his third start of the month, allowing two runs in 4.1 innings with more walk (3) than strikeouts (2). Over the next two starts he was charged with four unearned runs, but no earned runs in 12.0 innings with just one walk and seven strikeouts. In the final start of the month the right hander would struggle some, allowing four earned runs in 5.2 innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. Overall the month was quite strong as Antone posted a 1.80 ERA in 35.0 innings with five walks and with 30 strikeouts.
The rough final start of May carried forward into June. Over his first two starts he would allow seven earned runs in 11.0 innings with three walks and five strikeouts to go along with 19 hits. He would rebound well in his third start of the month, giving up just one run in 8.2 innings. That would be his final start of the month, missing the final two weeks. In the three starts he would post a 3.66 ERA in 19.2 innings with four walks and seven strikeouts.
After missing two weeks, Antone returned to the mound on July 2nd and pitched a gem, allowing just one run in 7.0 innings with five strikeouts. Things were a bit more rough over the next two starts where he allowed 11 earned runs on 19 hits in 10.0 innings. He would finish strongly, allowing just four earned runs over 21.2 innings with three walks and 14 strikeouts in three starts. July would see him post a 3.72 ERA in 38.2 innings with six walks and 25 strikeouts.
The first start of August was a bit of a struggle as Antone allowed four runs in 6.0 innings on 12 hits and two walks, but he rebounded well from that start. In the next two starts the righty would allow just one earned run in 14.0 innings. The following three starts would be solid, but unspectacular as he allowed seven runs in 16.0 innings (3.94 ERA) with seven walks and 10 strikeouts. He would finish the season with a 6.0 inning start against Lansing, allowing just one run with two walks and three strikeouts. Over the final seven starts of the season he would post a 2.79 ERA in 42.0 innings with 14 walks and 22 strikeouts.
The season was about as successful as could be expected for Tejay Antone. He allowed just two home runs all season and had huge groundball rates (62% on the season). There were a few hiccups along the way, but he would always rebound and turn things around.
Fastball | The pitch works in the 90-93 MPH range and touches a little higher on occasion. The pitch has some sinking action to it at times.
Slider | This is the best of his pitches, working in the 79-81 MPH range. It’s an average offering that flashes itself as above-average at times.
Change Up | The change up works in the 83-85 MPH range and has some sinking action to it, but can be a little bit firm at times. It’s inconsistent, but shows good action when it’s at its best.
Curveball | Antone will mix in a curveball every so often, but tends to lean more on the slider. The curve will work in the 75-77 MPH range and is a below-average offering that is more loopy than a biting curve.
Groundballs and control is the name of the game for Tejay Antone. He’s been a high groundball rate pitcher in each of his two professional seasons. While he would occasionally have a game where he struggled with his control, for the most part he was able to throw all of his pitches for strikes. His strikeout rate in the first half of the season was much better than in the second half, something that he will need to work on in the 2016 season. Antone is a quick worker and mixes his pitches well while showing an advanced feel for setting hitters up. The upside isn’t huge, but the righty knows how to pitch, throws plenty of strikes and has enough stuff that he could be a back end of the rotation kind of starter. A fallback plan to the bullpen isn’t out of the question where his fastball and slider combination could play up quite well.