Prospects of the Week: May 23 – May 29

Grayson Rodriguez, Bowie Baysox, June 2, 2021. Photo credit Scott Greene, @Scotty_Ballgame on Twitter

Each week during the Minor League Baseball season we pick the hitting and pitching prospects from each level (Triple-A, Double-A, High-A, and Single-A) who, in our opinion, had the best week. The team awards the Prospects of the Week hitters and pitchers for each level, while also presenting other names at each level that are just as deserving of POTW honors. Feel free to reply in the comments with any player who deserves to be mentioned that may not have made our cut.

Any issues with this week’s POTW? Did we miss anyone deserving? Hit us up and set us straight! As always, tweet us @Prospects1500 when you see a great performance that warrants consideration for Prospect of the Week. Enjoy, and make sure you’re keeping an eye out for these prospects in your dynasty leagues.

Triple-A

HITTER: Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B (Royals #6)
Omaha Storm Chasers (6 G, .478/.500/1.174/1.674, 11 H, 2 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB)
After being an Honorable Mention last week Vinnie decided to double down and do it again this week. The way he is swinging the bat this could become a regular thing. I can’t imagine that the Royals can keep him down much longer. All this guy does is hit!

Honorable Mentions:
Ronaldo Hernandez, C (Red Sox #25)
Worcester Red Sox (5 G, .591/.625/1.000/1.625, 13 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R, BB)
Corey Julks, OF (Astros NR)
Sugarland Space Cowboys (6 G, .400/.438/.833/1.271, 12 H, 2 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 8 R, 2 BB)
Bubba Thompson, OF (Rangers #19)
Round Rock Express (4 G, .421/.421/.947/1.368, 8 H, 3B, HR, 8 RBI, 10 R, 2 BB, 2 SB)

PITCHER: Grayson Rodriguez, RHP (Orioles #2)
Norfolk Tides (1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K)
Another week, another POTW honor for Rodriguez. Is there anything left to say about this guy? Over the last 2 weeks (18.1 IP) he has only given up 9 hits and has 30 K to 4 BB. It is time to see what he can do at the highest level.

Honorable Mentions:
Cade Cavalli, RHP (Nationals #2)
Rochester Red Wings (1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K)
Hunter Brown, RHP (Astros #4)
Sugarland Space Cowboys (1 GS, 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K)

Double-A

HITTER: Kerry Carpenter, OF (Tigers NR)
Erie SeaWolves (6 G, .400/.444/1.080/1.524, 10 H, 2 2B, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 2 BB)
Carpenter started the season left off most prospect big boards. Possibly feeling slighted, all the 2019 19th round draft pick out of Virginia Tech has done through 41 games is rake. In 2022, Carpenter has seen his average increase by 74 pts, his HR:PA has tripled, and his OPS is over 1.1. (@Det_Guru_Kurt)

Honorable Mentions:
Ezequiel Tovar, SS (Rockies #7)
Hartford Yard Goats (6 G, .417/.533/.792/1.325, 10 H, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB, 4 SB)


Michael Massey, 2B (Royals #13)
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (6 G, .481/.516/.704/1.220, 13 H, 3 2B, HR, 9 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 2 SB)
Hendrik Clementina, C (Braves NR)
Mississippi Braves (4 G, .688/.737/1.125/1.862, 11 H, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R, 3 BB, SB)
Enmanuel Valdez, 3B (Astros #24)
Corpus Christi Hooks (6 G, .444/.500/.704/1.204, 12 H, 4 2B, HR, 11 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, SB)

PITCHER: Connor Jones, RHP (Mariners NR)
Arkansas Travelers (1 GS, 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K)
Jones was an Honorable Mention last week so this week he goes out and throws a 7 inning no-hitter and claims our Pitcher of the Week honor. What a two-week stint it has been (2 GS, 15 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 16 K). In the offseason, Jones was released by the Cardinals after spending the previous 5 seasons in their organization. The Mariners gave him another chance signing him to a minor league contract and so far Jones is rewarding that decision.

Honorable Mentions:
Matt Frisbee, RHP (Giants #27)
Richmond Flying Squirrels (1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K)
Joey Cantillo, LHP (Guardians #28)
Akron RubberDucks (1 GS, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K)
Mike Burrows, RHP (Pirates #21)
Altoona Curve (1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K)
Brandon Walter, LHP (Red Sox #17)
Portland Sea Dogs (1 GS, 7 IP, H, R, 0 BB, 8 K)
In his start against Somerset last Thursday he only made one mistake, a 2nd-inning home run to Elijah Dunham.

High-A

HITTER: Landon Stephens, 1B (Braves #46)
Rome Braves (6 G, .455/.538/1.091/1.629, 10 H, 2 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 7 R, 4 BB)
“Longball Landon” as he has been dubbed, was a non-drafted free agent out of the University of Miami (Ohio) in the Covid-19 shortened 2020 draft. Stephens is really putting on a power display so far this season. This past week included a 3-day stretch in which he hit 4 home runs and drove in 11 runs, upping his season totals to 14 and 42 respectively, which both lead the team. He has also trimmed his strikeout rate down this season while still drawing walks at a 12.5% clip. This might be a guy to keep an eye on.

Honorable Mentions:
Kyle Manzardo, 1B (Rays #26)
Bowling Green Hot Rods (5 G, .471/.524/1.294/1.818, 8 H, 3B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R, 3 BB)
Carlos Rodriguez, OF (Brewers #19)
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (6 G, .435/.435/.913/1.348, 10 H, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, SB)
Rece Hinds, IF (Reds #10)
Dayton Dragons (5 G, .500/.609/.833/1.442, 9 H, 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, 6 R, 5 BB, SB)
Anthony Prato, SS (Twins NR)
Cedar Rapids Kernels (6 G, .400/.483/.720/1.203, 10 H, 2B, 2 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 9 R, 4 BB, SB)

CO-PITCHER: Joe Boyle, RHP (Reds #22)
Dayton Dragons (1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K)
Boyle’s start last week was in a lot of ways a microcosm of his professional career to this point. Dominant at times but control/command can be spotty. The 6’7″ former Fighting Irish righthander possesses a potential 80-grade fastball and pretty nasty slider to go with it which has produced a strikeout rate near 40%. But the spotty command has produced a walk rate of near 20%. The profile points to more of a relief pitcher but with that FB/slider combo, he could potentially be a dominant force at the back end for Cincy.

CO-PITCHER: Cesar Gomez, RHP (Astros NR)
Asheville Tourists (1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K)
Last week saw Gomez turn in his best performance of the year. He was in command for six innings which tied his career-high. The righty struck out six of the first eight batters he faced and finished his evening with a career-high nine strikeouts. Gomez limited the Greensboro hitters to only two singles and did not let a runner reach second base.

Honorable Mentions:
Robinson Pina, RHP (Angels #36)
Tri-City Dust Devils (1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 14 K)
Blake Beers, RHP (Athletics NR)
Lansing Lugnuts (1 GS, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 11 K)
Dylan Smith, RHP (Tigers #11)
West Michigan Whitecaps (1 GS, 6 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 7 K)
Ben Brown, RHP (Phillies NR)
Jersey Shore BlueClaws (1 GS, 5 IP, H, R, BB, 11 K)
Wilfredo Pereira, RHP (Cardinals NR)
Peoria Chiefs (1 GS, 6 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K)
Bryce Bonnin, RHP (Reds #9)
Dayton Dragons (1 GS, 5.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K)

Single-A

HITTER: Vaun Brown, OF (Giants NR)
San Jose Giants (5 G, .579/.667/1.105/1.772, 11 H, 5 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 6 R, 4 BB, 4 SB)
Brown has hit and hit well to start this season. He leads his team average (.361), runs scored (37), HR (11), RBI (27), and stolen bases (17). Brown has proved everything he can in the California League and at 23-years-old he needs the challenge of more advanced pitching. If he can continue this level of balanced production as he climbs the organizational ladder he will be on the prospect radar for sure.

Honorable Mentions:
Gabriel Martinez, OF (Blue Jays NR)
Dunedin Blue Jays (6 G, .435/.480/.870/1.350, 10 H, 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 7 R, 2 BB)
Hedbert Perez, OF (Brewers #1)
Carolina Mudcats (5 G, .474/.500/.947/1.447, 9 H, 4 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, 6 R, BB, SB)
Blake Dunn, OF (Reds NR)
Daytona Tortugas (6 G, .421/.560/.789/1.349, 8 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, 8 R, 4 BB, 8 SB)
Pedro Pineda, OF (Athletics #4)
Stockton Ports (6 G, .320/.414/.720/1.134, 8 H, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R, 4 BB)

PITCHER: Will Dion, LHP (Guardians #41)
Lynchburg Hillcats (2 GS, 10 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 16 K)
Has the Cleveland organization done it again? Dion was a 9th round pick in the 2021 draft out of McNeese State and was not ranked in any major publications Pre-Draft Rankings but he fits the mold that Cleveland turns into major league pitchers. He does not possess an overpowering fastball but throws it from a high arm slot which adds deception and he mixes it with two different breaking balls and a developing change-up. He has plus control and commands all of his pitches very well. This season is his first full season as a professional and he currently owns a 34% K rate, 6% BB rate, and a 0.89 WHIP. Might not be a bad idea to begin to pay attention to this one!

Honorable Mentions:
Yorlin Calderon, RHP (Yankees NR)
Tampa Tarpons (1 GS, 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K)
Season debut is a 7-inning no hitter!


Ben Casparius, RHP (Dodgers #38)
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, BB, 7 K)
Yon Castro, RHP (Yankees NR)
Tampa Tarpons (1 GS, 6 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K)
Steve Hajjar, LHP (Twins #25)
Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (1 GS, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 10 K)

Jeremy covers the Oakland organization and contributes on Prospects of the Week for Prospects1500. Born and raised in the Midwest, as a lifelong baseball fan he is passionate about the game from Little League to the Big Leagues. You can follow him on Twitter @JMahyfam for more baseball content.

"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too." -Yogi Berra




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