The 19-year-old right-hander didn’t allow a run over two starts, spanning 12 innings. He surrendered just nine hits and a walk while striking out 15 and holding opponents to a .191 average.
Lizarraga’s performances came under pressure, too. He started the final home game of the regular season against the South Bend Cubs on the eve of Labor Day. That night’s win in front of a sellout crowd, as he set a career high for strikeouts in a game with nine, moved the ’Caps into first place in the East Division. With a playoff spot on the line, he started again a week later, in the regular season finale, on the road against the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds affiliate). The TinCaps went on to clinch a postseason berth for the first time in six years.
Lizarraga (MLB.com’s No. 15 Padres prospect) claimed the Midwest League’s Pitcher of the Week award on Sept. 3, as well as two weeks prior on Aug. 20. He became the first TinCap to earn multiple Pitcher of the Week accolades since Joey Cantillo in 2019. The last TinCap to win the Midwest League’s Pitcher of the Month honor was Ethan Elliott in May of 2021. (Cantillo is now a top prospect for the Cleveland Guardians, while an injury caused Elliott to retire last year.)
“I faced some adversity this season and got through it,” Lizarraga said. “I was happy to finish the season healthy and strong. It was a great learning year, and I loved pitching in those high-pressure games. I feel like I’m made for those moments.”
For the season, Lizarraga, who was the youngest player on the team and the youngest in the league to begin the year, led the TinCaps in games started (21), innings (94 2/3), and strikeouts (78). He was signed by San Diego as an international free agent out of Mexico in 2021.
“Victor may have had the most progress of anyone on our team from Opening Day until the end,” said manager Jonathan Mathews. “The results speak for themselves, but he really showed a lot of growth in how he took care of his work between outings, putting in time in the weight room, and the other little things it takes to truly succeed as a pro. We’re proud to see his hard work pay off and be recognized.”