Each week we pick the hitting prospect and pitching prospect from each level (AAA, AA, A+, A, and later in the season Short Season-A and Rookie league) who, in our opinion, had the best week. We are always on the lookout for candidates, so tweet us (@Prospects1500 or @PaulTheMartin) when you see a great performance.
Hitter: David Fletcher, 2B/SS/3B (Los Angeles Angels, #12)
Salt Lake Bees (4 G, 3 Positions Played, .333/.368/.611, 1 HR, 2 2B)
David Fletcher has been a busy bee over the past week. Tucked away in the Angels system lies a prospect with average tools all over who was able to amass 6 hits in 4 games this week with 3 of them going for extra bases. The stand-out feature for Fletcher this season has been the plate discipline skills. He had 2 K this week bringing his total to 3 on the season in 100 PA. These skills have always been part of Fletcher’s game, but this season he’s bringing them to a new level by improving his BB%, K%, and ISO at the same time. Once seen as a prospect without anything gaudy in the profile may soon be another hit tool darling that brings more pop to the table in the bigs. Fletcher is a player to keep an eye on as this week he was able to post these numbers while playing three different positions. A call-up may be imminent if he continues to put the bat on the ball in this fashion.
Pitcher: Ryan Helsley, SP (St. Louis Cardinals, #10)
Memphis Redbirds (2 GS, 13 IP, 17:2 K:BB, 2 ER, 8 H, 2 W)
As Austin Gomber gets called up to the Major League squad, Ryan Helsley is brought on to the Memphis Redbirds to take his rightful spot in the AAA rotation. The 27 IP before this week was the roughest stretch of Helsley’s minor league career. He posted an ERA above 2.69 for the first time in the two years after being drafted in 2016. This week he brought the goods, inducing 32 swinging strikes between one start in AA and one in AAA. The AAA start was truly impressive as 21 of those whiffs came in the Memphis debut. He struck out 17 total batters over 13 IP and left no doubt in the well-deserved promotion. Everything was on point this week, and it will be interesting to see him navigate the PCL as it is known as more of a hitters league. Helsley has the strikeout stuff to survive anywhere. As long as he continues to limit the walks while generating massive swing and miss numbers, he could see time in St. Louis very soon.
Hitter: Peter Alonso, 1B (New York Mets, #4)
Binghamton Rumble Ponies (5 G, .550/.640/1.150, 5:3 BB:K, 4 HR, 11 H)
Peter Alonso has been superb this season. The righthanded hitting, power/average 1B has gone overlooked because it is often an ignored profile. However, Alonso has added a serious number of walks this season and looks to be putting it all together. This week the numbers were obviously off the charts, 23 total bases in 5 games, hitting .550 with 4 HR is unreal. Alonso has almost halved his season total of 18 HR last season by accumulating 7 in his 88 PA this year. As I stated, the walk numbers are the real story as he had a 5:3 BB:K this week which is consistent with his 14 taken on the year. This number already surpasses 50% of his total in 393 PA from 2017. The big first baseman may see his time come in New York sooner rather than later as their corner depth is not exciting with health risks all over. Dominic Smith is falling out of the limelight just in time for Alonso to step in and rake. He is looking the part this season and should be put on everyone’s watchlist right now.
Pitcher: Logan Allen, SP (San Diego Padres, #10)
San Antonio Missions (2 GS, 13 IP, 12:4 K:BB, 2 ER, 7 H, 1 W)
Logan Allen, listed at 6’3″, 200 lbs., can be added to the list of stud-looking San Diego Padres prospects. This week he played the role exceptionally well by posting 21 whiffs while catching 29 batters watching strikes get called. Command has been an issue for Allen, but gathering all of those backward Ks is impressive. It has been an excellent AA debut for the 20-year-old who is young for his level like many other Padres prospects. Allen is known for a changeup which can play up in the lower levels but has a fastball/curve combination to fall back on as long as the command is there. So far this season has had lumps, but this week was special. I’m interested in watching some of his starts in AA this season to see how all of these “looking strikes” affect his game.
Hitter: Nathaniel Lowe, 1B (Tampa Bay Rays, #N/A)
Charlotte Stone Crabs (6 G, .417/.462/.833, 3 HR, 10 H, 2:5 BB:K)
Nathaniel Lowe sneaks around in the Tampa Bay Rays system. He is a tall, athletic, unranked prospect, drafted in the 13th round who is currently raking. The strikeouts have never been very bad, the walks always impressive, power is there, and I can’t seem to figure out why he hasn’t ranked anywhere. Listed at 6’4″, 235 lbs., Lowe flexed some muscle this week by hitting 3 HR and a double in 6 games. I am very intrigued by his start this season, particularly the power shown alongside his 10:16 BB:K. Combining plate discipline with an increased ISO is all Lowe has done this season. Last week was a showcase for him, and I will have my eye on this unknown prospect throughout the season.
Pitcher: Bailey Falter, SP (Philadelphia Phillies, #49)
Clearwater Threshers (2 GS, 14 IP, 13:1 K:BB, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 W)
Bailey Falter is another young, off-the-radar prospect that popped with a tremendous performance this week. 14 IP and only 1 BB to 13 K is a standard performance for this 21-year-old deep in the Phillies system. Without any outstanding pitches or tools, Falter has cruised on elite command and decent K%. At this point, the numbers are similar to those of Nick Pivetta, currently starting on the Philadelphia ML roster. Pivetta is known for having dominant command without serious strikeout upside. Once he tweaked some of the stuff, he was able to unlock a bit of that upside he was missing. Falter did not generate many swinging strikes this week, but he did accumulate 39 “looking strikes.” He has been able to confuse hitters with some of his stuff painting the zone and has now hopped on my radar with this performance.
Hitter: Wilkerman Garcia, SS (New York Yankees, #17)
Charleston Riverdogs (7 G, 10 H, 3/3 HR/SB, 2 2B, 1 3B, .333/.394/.767, 2:6 BB:K)
The freshly-turned 20-year-old switch hitter, Wilkerman Garcia, is putting on a toolsy showcase to start the season. This week he accumulated 3 HR and 3 SB to go along with 3 other XBH in 7 games played. It was an impressive 33 PA for the youngster as he hit more home runs than his entire minor league career to date. He needs to continue working on swing and miss issues, even in this successful week he posted 6 Ks. Garcia’s tools are off the charts as he showed with 6 of his 10 hits going for extra bases. He has never displayed this much power and speed to start a season. After two teenage seasons in the New York Yankees system, Garcia looks to make a name for himself amongst a host of other talented prospects.
Pitcher: Yennsy Diaz, SP (Toronto Blue Jays, #38)
Lansing Lugnuts (2 GS, 11 IP, 10:7 K:BB, 2 H, 0 ER)
Yennsy Diaz had his big fastball on display this week against the Dayton Dragons and West Michigan Whitecaps. He hurled 11 IP and gave up only 2 H and 0 ER. The walks may have been a bit unruly, however limiting baserunners as he did would be impressive at any level. Diaz has shown an incredible ability to miss bats in the two years he’s been with the Blue Jays. This year is no different as he is generating 13.3% SwStr% and limiting hard contact. Diaz’ ability to create soft contact was shown this week while only allowing 2 H total. I will be watching this season to see if the command begins to match the upside of the fastball and whiff ability. It’s time for this 21-year-old to start attacking the zone a little bit more.
Article featured image of Nathaniel Lowe – photo credit @Scotty_Ballgame