Minor League Baseball

Thursday’s top prospect performers

zwb68jaj4d2sfyreyhwnHere’s a look at Thursday’s top Minor League performers from each team’s Top 30 Prospects list:

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Griffin Conine, OF (No. 16) — 4-for-5, 2 HR (2), 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R (Class A Lansing)

Conine, Toronto’s second-round pick in the 2018 Draft and son of two-time World Series champion Jeff, erupted for four extra-base hits, hitting a pair of doubles as well as two home runs, in his second game of the season. With the two doubles already under his belt, Conine, a left-handed hitter, went deep to the opposite field in his final two trips to the plate. The Duke product got a late start to what was supposed to be his first full pro campaign as the result of the 50-game suspension he received during the offseason for testing positive for Ritalin. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI in his 2019 debut on Wednesday. He hit seven homers while slashing .238/.309/.430 last summer in 55 games with Class A Short Season Vancouver.

Orioles: JC Encarnacion, 3B (No. 13) — 3-for-5, 2 HR (4), 3 RBI, 3 R (Class A Delmarva)

Encarnacion hit a solo shot in the third inning and added a two-run blast in the seventh as he helped power the Shorebirds to their 41st win in 52 games with his first career multi-homer game. The 21-year-old doubled his season home run total in the process and finished the game with three hits, matching his season high. Acquired from the Braves in last summer’s Kevin Gausman trade, Encarnacion is a high-ceiling prospect who’s generally raw but has impact potential at the plate. He’s batting .224/.285/.345 through 45 games in the South Atlantic League after posting a .273/.293/.439 line with 12 homers and 27 doubles in the circuit in 2018.

Rays: Brendan McKay, LHP/DH (No. 3, MLB No. 29) — 1-for-4, HR (1) (Triple-A Durham)

McKay’s first hit at the Triple-A level left the ballpark, as the two-way standout homered to the opposite field in the fourth inning of Thursday’s contest. It was the first homer of 2019 for the 2017 first-rounder (No. 4 overall), who produced a .167/.256/.192 line in 78 at-bats at Double-A Montgomery ahead of his promotion to Triple-A. The 23-year-old lefty made his Bulls pitching debut on Tuesday, tossing five innings of three-hit ball with four strikeouts to earn the win. In general, McKay has had far more success as a pitcher than hitter this season, posting a 1.16 ERA with a 0.79 WHIP, .173 BAA and 66/9 K/BB in 46 2/3 innings across two levels.

Red Sox: Triston Casas, 1B/3B (No. 18) — 1-for-3, solo HR (10), BB (Class A Greenville)

Make it three straight games with a home run for Casas, who’s now gone deep eight times in 26 games this month while slashing .326/.402/.674. The 2018 first-rounder got off to a slow start to begin the season, posting a .648 OPS in April during in his first game action since he suffered a season-ending thumb injury just two games into his pro debut. Overall, the 19-year-old slugger owns a .271/.349/.530 line with 42 RBIs through 48 games in his first full season.

Yankees: Tanner Myatt, RHP (No. 29) — 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K (Class A Charleston)

Myatt notched his second straight save as a long reliever by working the final three innings in Charleston’s win over Lexington. The former 11th-round pick (2018) out of Florence-Darlington Tech (South Carolina) recorded five of his nine outs via the strikeout while throwing 30 of 46 pitches for strikes. A 6-foot-7 righty, Myatt pitches with a mid-90s fastball that can reach 99 mph. He also throws an above-average curveball with a power and has feel for executing a changeup.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Indians: Will Benson, OF (No. 25) — 1-for-3, HR (14), 2 RBI (Class A Lake County)

Benson extended his team’s lead with a solo homer in the fourth inning and then added a sacrifice fly in the following frame. The homer, Benson’s 14th of the year fourth in his last six games, gives him the outright lead in that department in the Midwest League, where he’s produced a .269/.367/.579 line and a circuit-best 43 RBIs in 47 games. More than just a slugger, the 19-year-old ranks second with 17 steals (in 18 attempts).

Royals: Scott Blewett, RHP (No. 15) — 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 5 K (Triple-A Omaha)

Blewett, 23, permitted two runs (one earned) over 5 2/3 innings as he earned the win for Omaha while simultaneously snapping a five-start losing streak. It was the first outing in which Blewett had allowed three runs or fewer since April 20. But while the performance was a step in the right direction for the former second-rounder (2014), he’s struggled overall so far at the Triple-A level, posting a 7.07 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 22 walks in 47 1/3 innings (nine starts).

Tigers: Dustin Pederson, OF (No. 29) — 1-for-3, 2B (Triple-A Toledo)

Peterson’s double in the eighth inning was the Mudhens’ only extra-base hit and one of three total hits in their loss against Gwinnett. The 24-year-old opened the season in the Major Leagues, where he batted .227 with six RBIs in 17 games before being optioned to Triple-A in late April. Since joining Toledo, he’s compiled a .247/.275/.340 line with 12 homers in 25 games.

Twins: Ben Rortvedt, C (No. 24) — 3-for-3, 2 HR (5), 2 RBI, 2 R, BB (Double-A Pensacola)

Rortvedt was perfect at the plate for the Blue Wahoos as he hit two home runs and a single and also reached via a walk in a loss against Mississippi. The 21-year-old backstop, a second-round pick in 2016, has been on fire since his promotion to the Double-A level, hitting .383 with three homers and more walks than strikeouts in his first 10 games. And with his first career multi-homer performance, Rortvedt has now matched his career-high home run total from 2018, when he went deep five times in 90 games across two levels. This season, he’s reached the mark in only 33 games. He’s also a standout defensive catcher, one who’s thrown out better than 58 percent (14 of 24) of attempted basestealers this season and 37.3 percent for his career.

White Sox: Nick Madrigal, 2B (No. 5, MLB No. 44) — 2-for-4, 2 R, BB, 2 SB (Class A Adv Winston-Salem)

The No. 4 overall pick from last year’s Draft scored two runs and swiped two bags as part of his third multihit performance in the last four games. He also reached base once via a walk, giving him 16 free passes compared to just six strikeouts so far this season in 45 games. Overall, the 22-year-old is hitting .279/.351/.391 with 14 extra-base hits and 17 steals (in 21 attempts) in his first full season.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

A’s: Austin Beck, OF (No. 5) — 3-for-4, HR (6), 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R (Class A Adv Stockton)

Beck connected on his first homer since May 8 in the Ports’ 8-5 win over Lancaster. Batting third in the Stockton lineup, the 2017 first-round Draft pick out of the North Carolina prep ranks collected three RBIs, his eighth multi-RBI game this season. Beck is hitting for more power than in previous seasons, as his six homers are more than his first two seasons combined (four). However, that has come at the expense of some batting average, as he’s 43 points shy of last year’s impressive .296 mark.

Angels: Brandon Marsh, OF (No. 3) — 2-for-4 (Double-A Mobile)

Marsh had a solid day batting out of the second spot in the BayBears’ lineup, reaching base on a pair of singles. However, both base hits came with two outs, and his teammates couldn’t move him around before ending the inning. The 2016 Draft pick is making his first trip through the Double-A level and is handling it fairly well, batting .273 thanks to a strong May (.333 average, nine of his 10 extra-base hits).

Astros: Freudis Nova, SS (No. 6) – 2-for-4, HR (2), 2 R (Class A Quad Cities)

The 19-year-old had what was easily his best game since joining the River Bandits on May 25, swatting his second homer of his short season and collecting multiple hits for the first time. He batted .308 in the Gulf Coast League last year, connecting on six homers in 41 games, and Nova is faring well in his first test of full-season ball.

Mariners: Jarred Kelenic, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 42) — 1-for-4, HR (11), 2 RBI (Class A Adv Modesto)

Kelenic made his debut with the Nuts after a deserved promotion from West Virginia, where he batted .303 with 10 homers in 49 games. He made his arrival known with a fifth-inning solo homer, but also chipped in with a productive out in the third inning, driving in a run on a groundout. Kelenic was a first-round Draft choice last summer and is still only 19 years old, making his quick promotion to the Class A Advanced level that much more impressive.

Rangers: Sherten Apostel, 3B (No. 27) — 2-for-4, 2 2B (Class A Hickory)

Apostel connected on a pair of doubles for the Crawdads on Thursday, the second time he’s accomplished the feat this month. Apostel is playing full-season ball for the first time and is showing obvious signs of making adjustments. After batting .181 in April, he’s hitting .280 in May with three of his four homers.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Jasseel De La Cruz, RHP (No. 23) — 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K (Double-A Mississippi)

De La Cruz earned his first win at the Double-A level, his second game with the Braves since his well-earned promotion following a no-hitter on May 18 for the Class A Advanced Florida Fire Frogs. He allowed a pair of homers and a single while issuing a pair of walks, but was inefficient (only 59 of 94 pitches thrown for strikes), so he couldn’t pitch any deeper into the contest.

Marlins: Victor Victor Mesa, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 85) — 2-for-4, 3B, RBI, R, SB (Class A Adv Jupiter)

Mesa, a 22-year-old from Cuba signed by the Marlins last October for $5.25 million, remains perfect on the basepaths as a pro with his eighth straight successful steal attempt. He showed off his 65-grade speed to leg out a triple, as well, his second of the season for the Hammerheads. Mesa is a defensive phenom, known for his great arm and athleticism, but his bat remains the question. The Marlins will want to see an uptick in his .215 batting average before he moves up in their Minor League system.

Mets: Patrick Mazeika, C (No. 25) — 3-for-3, 2B, RBI, R (Double-A Binghamton)

Mazeika came on as a sub following the ejection of right fielder Barrett Barnes, and he made the most of the opportunity. He played first base, a position he’s played more often than catcher this season, and collected three hits, including an RBI double in the seventh inning. It seems like Mazeika is benefiting from spending less time behind the plate, as he’s improved his batting average 30 points compared to last season’s .231 rate posted with the Rumble Ponies. He’s also matched his 2018 doubles total with 12 in 47 fewer games.

Phillies: Jhailyn Ortiz, OF (No. 11) — 3-for-4, HR (7), 3 RBI, 2 R (Class A Adv Clearwater)

Ortiz is definitely known for his power, and he’s showing that off with six homers so far in May. He opened the scoring for the Threshers with a second-inning blast, and helped pile on the runs in a seven-run fourth with an RBI single. He drove in Clearwater’s ninth of 10 runs in the sixth inning, his final contribution in his seventh multi-RBI game of the season.

Nationals: Luis Garcia, INF (No. 2, MLB No. 67) — 2-for-4, RBI, 2 R (Double-A Harrisburg)

The youngest player in Double-A — he celebrated his 19th birthday on May 16 — Garcia had two singles as well an RBI groundout off of New Hampshire flamethrower Nate Pearson. It was his third multihit performance during his last 10 games. Given his age and experience, the fact that Garcia is hitting .217/.251/.254 in the Eastern League is an impressive feat.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Brewers: Trey Supak, RHP (No. 11) — 8 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (Double-A Biloxi)

Carrying a no-hit bid deep into a start this season has been a regular thing for Supak. On Thursday, however, the 23-year-old came especially close, going 8 2/3 frames before giving up a hit. Supak retired the first nine batters of the game before an infield error to open the fourth inning netted Tennessee its first baserunner of the game. After that, the he retired 17 straight batters before Clayton Daniel’s two-out double in the ninth. With the performance, Supak put the final touches on an outstanding month of May, during which he went 4-1 with a 1.34 ERA and 0.77 WHIP over 40 1/3 frames (six starts). Overall, he’s 6-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 11 starts (68 innings).

Cubs: Brennen Davis, OF (No. 7) — 2-for-3, R, BB (Class A South Bend)

The Cubs’ 2018 second-rounder has hit safely in all six games this season since he made his South Bend debut on May 25. Half of those games have seen the 19-year-old record multiple hits, and overall, he’s raked at a .429 clip over his first 21 at-bats. He’s make the jump to full-season ball this year from the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he produced a .298/.341/.333 line over 18 games last summer during his pro debut.

Cardinals: Tommy Edman, INF (No. 11) — 0-for-2, 3 BB, 2 R (Triple-A Memphis)

The Redbirds’ leadoff man was held hitless on Thursday, but he still reached base three times via walks and scored a pair of runs. Defensively, the 24-year-old manned the hot corner in the contest after making his first career starts in the center field earlier in the week as the Cardinals continue to increase his versatility ahead of an inevitable promotion in 2019. A switch-hitter, Edman owns a .297/.349/.506 line with 20 extra-base hits and 31 runs this season in 43 games.

Pirates: Cody Bolton, RHP (No. 25) — 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K (Class A Adv Bradenton)

Bolton carried a no-hit bid into the fifth inning before he finally allowed a two-out single. It was the only hit permitted by the 20-year-old righty, who struck out 10, a new career-high, while throwing 52 of 84 pitches for strikes. One of the top pitchers in the Florida State League, Bolton ranks second in the circuit in ERA (1.81), WHIP (0.90) and strikeouts (tied-62).

 

Reds: Anthony Sugilio, OF (No. 22) — 3-for-4, 2B, SB (Class A Adv Daytona)

The lone Daytona player to record multiple hits on Thursday, Sugilio tallied three of his team’s seven hits, including a double, and also swiped a bag. The 22-year-old doesn’t offer much in the way of power — especially over-the-fence power — though he does have a solid feel to hit that’s enabled him to slash .292/.325/.348 in the Florida State League.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-backs: Domingo Leyba, 2B/SS (No. 24) — 1-for-4, solo HR (9) (Triple-A Reno)

Leyba’s solo shot in the sixth inning accounted for his only hit in four trips to the plate in Reno’s loss against the Isotopes. With five home runs in his last 10 games — a stretch during which he’s also hitting .395 with 15 RBIs and 13 runs scored — Leyba is one deep fly away from matching his career-high total in home runs. The 23-year-old switch-hitter is having an excellent first season in Triple-A, hitting .308/.358/.559 with 28 extra-base hits and 34 RBIs through 49 games in the Pacific Coast League.

Dodgers: Edwin Uceta, RHP (No. 20) — 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 9 K (Class A Adv Rancho Cucamonga)

Uceta allowed a two-run home run in the fifth inning and struggled with his control en route to a season-high four walks, but the 21-year-old also established a season high in strikeouts while notching his fourth win in his last five starts. He’s having a breakout campaign in the California League, where he’s racked up 65 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings and owns the circuit’s second-best ERA (2.15). The 2016 July 2 signee has good feel for a three-pitch mix of average-or-better offerings.

Giants: Heliot Ramos, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 75) — 1-for-3, HR (7) (Class A Adv San Jose)

Ramos spoiled MacKenzie Gore’s chances of throwing a shutout with his two-out home run in San Jose’s final at-bat. Ramos’ homer was his second in as many days and seventh this season in only 22 games in the California League. The former first-round pick (2017) has hit safely in all three games (going 5-for-11) since returning from a month-long stay on the injured list with knee injury.

Padres: MacKenzie Gore, LHP (No. 2, MLB No. 8) – 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 K (Class A Adv Lake Elsinore)

The No. 3 overall pick from the 2017 Draft came within one out of tossing his first career complete game in the opener of Lake Elsinore’s doubleheader against San Jose. The 19-year-old southpaw allowed one hit – a fourth-inning single – over the first 6 2/3 frames until he surrendered a solo homer to Giants No. 2 prospect Heliot Ramos while vying for the game’s final out. It was still another remarkable outing for Gore, who’s leading the hitter-friendly California League in ERA (1.17) and WHIP (0.67), and has the second-most strikeouts (73), through 10 starts. Much like 2018 No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize, Gore has separated himself from the field of pitching prospects with two dominant months to open the season.

Rockies: Sam Hilliard, OF (No. 9) — 2-for-4, 3B, 2 R, BB, SB (Triple-A Albuquerque)

Hilliard, 25, extended his hitting streak to seven games with a two-hit performance that was highlighted by his third triple of the season. The 6-foot-5 outfielder also has hit 17 homer and 13 doubles, giving him 33 extra-base hits.

Mike Rosenbaum / MLB.com

Categories: Minor League Baseball

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