On Saturday’s edition of the prospect podcast Halp and I discussed our updated first year player draft rankings. Each of us agreed that the number 1 pick in this June’s draft had slipped ahead of Hunter Greene and into the top spot on our respective ranks. Yesterday afternoon, the Twins did us a great service. They affirmed our decision with the promotion of Royce Lewis to full season Cedar Rapids of the Midwest league. So far the top pick has been an exciting take, and surprisingly polished. The numbers are more good than great, but then again, he was playing high school baseball three months ago. Still .271/.390/.414 with 3 homers and 15 steals, ain’t too shabby in 36 games. The young shortstop has the ability to be an impact fantasy player in multiple categories at peak. Meaning his ability to stick in the middle infield doesn’t dictate his value. He was in the lineup hitting leadoff last night for Cedar Rapids, and went 4 for 5 in his debut, with 2 runs scored, an RBI, and a steal. As for my updated first player draft rankings, you can hear my thoughts on this week’s podcast, but the actual updated list we’ll save for October… Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB
- Okay, I’m going to open this post with a dedication to the dude who was mad I didn’t mention Isaac Paredes on Thursday. He’s the player the Tigers received in the Justin Wilson deal, and he’s a very intriguing low minors bat. Paredes has a highly regarded hit tool, and a little pop in his bat. If he progresses to the majors he’ll make his bones on his approach, as its highly advanced for an 18 year old.
- The Twins other first rounder (well kinda supplemental first), Brett Rooker connected for his third homer in his last five games Saturday. The former Mississippi State standout was the top power bat in the NCAA last year, and that’s held true. He’s shown no problems transitioning to hitting with wood bats, consistently channeling his power the last few months. He’s going to struggle to hit for average, but looks like a solid source of power in the future.
- Just one night after becoming the second 20/20 player in pro-ball this season, Fernando Tatis Jr. hit his 21st homer of the season. The shortstop set the Fort Wayne TinCaps single season home run record with the shot. He’s comfortably within my top 25 right now.
- Another excellent start from the White Sox Michael Kopech last night. The right-handed flamethrower continued his run of electric (10 K’s) but efficient pitching. He threw 66 of his 99 pitches for strikes, allowing 5 base runners (3 hits, 2 Bb) over 7 scoreless innings. I’d love to see Kopech get a couple of starts in September. Seems like a long shot, as the White Sox really have no reason to promote him.
- The Royals first rounder Nick Pratto homered last night, extending his hitting streak to 8 games. He’s been a little inconsistent since entering pro-ball, but has an advanced bat for his age, with a fairly high offensive ceiling.
- Enyel De Los Santos of the Padres pitched a gem for AA San Antonio yesterday. The righty went 8 strong, allowing 1 run, on 1 hit, 2 walks, and 7 k’s. He took a no hitter into the 8th before relinquishing it. Enyel has a nasty high 90’s heater, an above average change, and he tosses an average curveball too. Most of his success however, is off his offspeed-fastball combo.
- Excellent start from the Tigers top pitching prospect Beau Burrows. He went 6 hitless innings, but didn’t come back out for the 7th after 83 pitches. He struck out 8 in the process walking 2. Despite a rough patch early in his AA assignment, Burrows has shown moments of brilliance as well. He got a ton of swings and misses on his fastball-slider combo, and located well all night.
- The rather heavily hyped Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hasn’t done much in his 44 game stateside stint. He’s batting a paltry .231/.259/.338 with 2 homers, and 2 steals. Maybe the Cuban import needs time to get acclimated to the American game, but it’s not an ideal start.
- After struggling in July upon returning from the DL with a hamate bone injury, the Blue Jays Anthony Alford has been on fire in August. He’s slashing .343/.351/.514 with a homer and a steal in his last 10 for AA New Hampshire. I still love Alford long term, just wish he’d stay healthy.
- Another big night for Eloy Jimenez who hit two bombs last night. One in the 4th, followed by this shot in the 6th.
- I haven’t spoken enough about my love for 19 year old Dodgers catching prospect Keibert Ruiz. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite, if not my favorite backstop spec behind Francisco Mejia. Across two levels of A ball Ruiz is hitting .316/.365/.456 with 29 extra base hits. He’s got something in common with the aforementioned Mejia as well, they’re both switch hitters.
- The Astros promoted two promising young arms to AA yesterday in 19 year old Forest Whitley, and 20 year old Cionel Perez. The younger Whitley is one of my favorite pitching prospects in the minors. He’s 6’7 throws with some wicked downhill plane, helping him miss bats in bunches. This is easy to spot all you really have to do is check the numbers (117 K’s in 77.2 IP). He’s the rare young big man with repeatable mechanics and strong control, walking just 30 over those nearly 80 innings. Perez on the other hand possesses elite control, pounding the strike zone and rarely allowing free passes. In 5 starts with Buies Creek his ERA sits at 2.84.
- It seems like I’m going to be writing a lot about Austin Hays the next 6 months. The breakout prospect of 2017 had another big night Friday, going 3 for 3 with a homer and a pair of singles. Over his first 143 professional games since being drafted in June of 2016, Hays is hitting .335/.374/.593 with 32 homers and 102 RBI.
- After an awful first four months we’re finally seeing signs of life from Rowdy Tellez in August. The rotund slugger is hitting .395/.458/.465 for the month. He won’t see Toronto this season, but at just 22, and without Rule 5 protection this offseason, Tellez should be added to the 40 man. This paves the way for his MLB debut in 2018.
- A great start from the Braves Kolby Allard on Thursday night, he went 6, striking out 10, while allowing 1 run on 5 hits, and 2 walks. Allard has now thrown 123.1 innings at AA this year in his age 19 season, while maintaining a a respectable K rate (19.3%) and ERA 3.50. Allard is still the most promising of Atlanta’s arms.
- I’m getting the feeling that we see Nick Senzel for a September cup of coffee. He went 2 for 4 last night, only a couple of nights after for going 3 for 4 with 2 homers. He’s hitting .345 in 46 AA games with 7 homers, and a .552 slugging percentage. I’ve likened Senzel to Alex Bregman, with more power and less speed.
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