Prospects of the Week: May 30 – June 5

Bryan Green, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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: Luis Liberato, OF (Padres NR)
El Paso Chihuahuas (6 G, .409/.500/1.000/1.500, 9 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB)

The 26-year-old left handed hitting outfielder was signed to a minor league contract by the Padres in the off-season. He was originally signed by the Mariners as an international free agent in 2012 out of the Dominican Republic. His stats so far on the season won’t grab your attention but he had himself a heck of a week nonetheless. His tools and career trajectory point towards a ceiling of a 4th outfielder but more likely organizational depth.

Honorable Mentions:

Khalil Lee, OF (Mets #12)
Syracuse Mets (6 G, .346/.452/.846/1.298, 9 H, 4 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 8 R, 3 BB)

Jordan Qsar, OF (Rays NR)
Durham Bulls (4 G, .533/.563/1.333/1.896, 8 H, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R, BB, SB)

Conner Capel, OF (Cardinals #49)
Memphis Redbirds (5 G, .368/.538/1.000/1.538, 7 H, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R, 6 BB, 2 SB)

PITCHER: Connor Thomas, LHP (Cardinals NR)
Memphis Redbirds (1 GS, 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K)

Last Wednesday Thomas put together his best outing of the year against Charlotte. He did a good job of keeping the ball on the ground and continued to display his excellent control by not allowing a free pass. On the season he is 3-2 with a 3.64 ERA with 43 K and only 9 BB in 49.1 innings. Thomas looks like he has a future as a solid middle to long relief pitcher who could make the occasional start for a big league club due to his top notch control and high groundball rate.

Honorable Mentions:

Tommy Henry, LHP (Diamondbacks #14)
Reno Aces (2 GS, 13.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, BB, 16 K)

Cade Cavalli, RHP (Nationals #2)
Rochester Red Wings (1 GS, 7 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 10 K)

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP (Orioles #2)
Norfolk Tides (1 GS, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K)
His outing was unfortunately cut short due to a Grade 2 lat strain. As a result, Rodriguez isn’t expected to return until September at the earliest, if he pitches again this season at all.  This is a reminder of the volatility of pitching prospects.

Double-A

HITTER: Troy Johnston, 1B/OF (Marlins #29)
Pensacola Blue Wahoos (6 G, .625/.633/1.292/1.925, 15 H, 2 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 9 R, 3 BB)
Southern League Player of the Week!

Johnston was a 2019 17th round draft pick out of Gonzaga. He is a solid hitter with a career average over .300 while showing the ability to drive in runs. He has played OF and 1B as a professional, however this season he has spent all of his time at either 1B or DH. If he remains a 1B/DH going forward, there will be a lot of pressure on the bat to carry his profile. Johnston is starting to heat up as the calendar has turned to June with 4 of his 5 HR’s and 10 of his 26 RBI coming this past week.

Honorable Mentions:

Gunnar Henderson, SS (Orioles #4)
Bowie Baysox (5 G, .476/.500/.857/1.357, 10 H, 3 2B, 3B, HR, 7 RBI, 3 R, BB)

Jordan Walker, 3B (Cardinals #3)
Springfield Cardinals (6 G, .435/.480/.870/1.350, 10 H, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, BB)

Francisco Alvarez, C (Mets #1)
Binghamton Rumble Ponies (6 G, .348/.360/.826/1.186, 8 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 8 R, BB)

Gage Workman, SS/3B (Tigers #13)
Erie SeaWolves (6 G, .381/.435/.714/1.149, 8 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 8 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, SB)

PITCHER: Stephen Kolek, RHP (Mariners NR)
Arkansas Travelers (1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 9 K)
Texas League Pitcher of the Week!

In his start last Friday, Kolek threw 6 scoreless innings and did not allow a runner past first base while punching out a season high nine hitters including six in a row at one point. He did all of this against a really good Springfield Cardinals line-up. Kolek does not have an overpowering fastball so he has to use all of his pitches to help keep hitters off balance and he had them working in this one.

Honorable Mentions:

Noah Denoyer, RHP (Orioles NR)
Bowie Baysox (2 G, 9 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 11 K, SV)
Relief pitchers get love here too, especially when they have a week like Denover did.
Logan Allen, LHP (Guardians #11)
Akron RubberDucks (1 GS, 6.2 IP, 2 H, R, BB, 8 K)

Alek Troop, LHP (Nationals NR)
Harrisburg Senators (1 GS, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 9 K)

Ky Bush, LHP (Angels #7)
Rocket City Trash Pandas (1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, BB, 6 K)

High-A

HITTER: Colin Barber, OF (Astros #20)
Asheville Tourists (6 G, .524/.583/1.286/1.869, 11 H, 2B, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 3 BB)
South Atlantic League Player of the Week!

Barber flat out raked last week, adding 5 more HR’s in the process to bring his season total to 6. Entering this season, not many in the industry really knew what the Astros had in Barber with only 172 plate appearances in two and a half years. He was drafted out of high school in 2019 and got into 28 games in Rookie ball. Then came the lost MiLB season of 2020, followed by a 2021 season that was cut short after only 16 games due to a shoulder injury that resulted in surgery. The organization is hopeful that a full season in 2022 can get him back on track. So far so good! Through 149 plate appearances this season he is hitting .328 with a .956 OPS and a very nice 17.4% strikeout rate. Wise dynasty owners will keep an eye on Barber as the season progresses as this might be the time to get in on him before his stock goes up.

Honorable Mentions:

Ceddanne Rafaela, 3B (Red Sox #29)
Greenville Drive (6 G, .423/.444/.692/1.136, 11 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, 6 RBI, 2 R, BB, 3 SB)

Thomas Saggese, SS/3B (Rangers #46)
Hickory Crawdads (5 G, .455/.500/.773/1.873, 10 H, 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R, BB, 4 SB)

Mike Antico, OF (Cardinals NR)
Peoria Chiefs (6 G, .348/.483/.652/1.135, 8 H, 4 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 6 R, 6 BB, 6 SB)

PITCHER: Juan Mercedes, RHP (Mariners #27)
Everett AquaSox (2 GS, 12 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 14 K)

Northwest League Pitcher of the Week!
Mercedes had a 2-start week last week and boy was the first one memorable. Last Tuesday against Eugene, Mercedes struck out a career high 10 during his seven-inning no hit performance. Mercedes has had an up and down season so far but a 2 win week might help him right the ship.

Honorable Mentions:

DJ Herz, LHP (Cubs #8)
South Bend Cubs (1 GS, 5 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 12 K)
Midwest League Pitcher of the Week!

Roddery Munoz, RHP (Braves NR)
Rome Braves (1 GS, 6 IP, H, R, 0 BB, 7 K)

Matt Sauer, RHP (Yankees NR)
Hudson Valley Renegades (1 GS, 7 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 6 K)
South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week!

Joe Rock, LHP (Rockies #17)
Spokane Indians (1 GS, 7 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K)

Single-A

HITTER: Jackson Chourio, OF (Brewers #17)
Carolina Mudcats (6 G, .440/.462/.920/1.382, 11 H, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, BB)

Carolina League Player of the Week!
They don’t get much hotter than Chourio. When the week came to a close he was hitting .371 with an OPS of 1.012 on the season. He has 17 extra base hits, has scored 23 runs, and driven in 25. Keep in mind that he is doing all of this as an 18-year-old in his first season state side. Baseball America has him rocketing all the way up to #43 in their most recent top prospect rankings that came out June 2nd. He has all the tools to be a top-10 prospect in the future. If he is somehow available in your dynasty league, fix that. Immediately!

Honorable Mentions:

Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF (Twins #26)
Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (5 G, .583/.700/1.500/2.200, 7 H, 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R, 7 BB, SB)
Florida State League Player of the Week!

Edgar Quero, C (Angels #11)
Inland Empire 66ers (5 G, .409/.435/.909/1.304, 9 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R, BB)
California League Player of the Week!

Mason Auer, OF (Rays NR)
Charleston RiverDogs (6 G, .407/.429/.704/1.133, 11 H, 3 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, 8 R, BB, 4 SB)

PITCHER: Mike Paredes, RHP (Twins NR)
Fort Myers Might Mussels (1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K)

Florida State League Pitcher of the Week!
In just his 5th career start, Paredes tossed six no-hit innings last Tuesday against Tampa. He set new career-highs in innings and total pitches (69). So far on the year (11 games/4 starts) he has thrown 31.1 innings, striking out 31, walking only 5, with a .83 WHIP. There is still a lot of development left here, but the start to his career is highly encouraging.

Honorable Mentions:

Tyler Uberstine, RHP (Red Sox NR)
Salem Red Sox (1 GS, 5 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K)

Andrew Painter, RHP (Phillies #4)
Clearwater Threshers (1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, R, BB, 9 K)

Juan Daniel Encarnacion, RHP (Red Sox NR)
Salem Red Sox (2 GS, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K)
Carolina League Pitcher of the Week!

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




2 Comments

    • Brandon Pfaadt did have a strong week and received strong consideration as an Honorable mention.
      Thanks Trevor!

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