Braves' De Avila fans 9 en route to no-no
Luis De Avila's professional career has been the opposite of straight and narrow, but he rewrote his own script in Saturday's performance. The 21-year-old put together the best performance of his young career, a seven-inning no-hitter to lead High-A Rome to a 5-0 win over Greenville. He allowed three walks,
Luis De Avila's professional career has been the opposite of straight and narrow, but he rewrote his own script in Saturday's performance.
The 21-year-old put together the best performance of his young career, a seven-inning no-hitter to lead High-A Rome to a 5-0 win over Greenville. He allowed three walks, but fanned a career-high nine, including the last two batters of the game.
"I was really focused on just going pitch-by-pitch, hitter-by-hitter," De Avila said through interpreter Jesus Aviles, who is also the team's athletic trainer. "Since it was a seven-inning game, I was just trying to go the entire way. I didn't figure out I had a no-hitter until the last inning, so [I was more relaxed]."
De Avila's 2022 season has been filled with ups and downs. He has given up five or more runs four times, but this most recent outing was his fifth scoreless performance of the year. That might be a testament to the adversity that De Avila has had to face in his time in pro ball.
"I had a pretty rough couple weeks in the past outings, but I started figuring it out in the bullpens," De Avila said. "I'm gonna change nothing after today because I feel like the work I've been putting together is helping me, so I'll keep with the same routine and just continue trying to improve.
"The biggest thing that I can take from the past outings is to keep my mind in the game, keep my focus in the game, no matter what is going on."
Since being signed by Colorado in 2017, the left-hander has been through a lot. In his second season, he was suspended for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced that De Avila was banned for 72 games without pay after testing positive for Boldenone. The 5-foot-9 hurler was released by the Rockies and picked up by the Royals in 2019, but De Avila never pitched for the team, being placed on the 60-day injured list in August 2021 before being claimed off waivers by the Braves in December.
"All the things that happened to me in the past years, they're preparing me to be a better person, a better baseball player," he said. "[I'm] just taking advantage of the situation I'm in, learning from all the setbacks and using them as motivation. The result has been my success this year."
De Avila didn't start a game in 27 appearances with Single-A Columbia in 2021, garnering a 5-4 record with a 4.99 ERA and 64 strikeouts over 57 2/3 innings. Through 14 starts in 2022 with Rome, he's logged a 2-5 record with a 4.24 ERA and 68 punchouts across 70 frames.
"It's the first time in my life that I'm striking out that amount of people," De Avila said.
But the best part of his improvements has been what it means for his country and his family back home in Colombia.
"I feel super happy because I'm representing my family and my flag," De Avila said. "This is probably the best moment in my career up until now, so I will keep going, keep representing my family, putting my name and my family on top and working hard for my country."
This is Rome's first no-hitter since 2005 when James Parr and Angelo Burrows combined for the first nine-inning no-hitter in club history.