Each week we pick the hitting and pitching prospects from each level (AAA, AA, A+, A, Short Season-A and DSL (Rookie) who, in our opinion, had the best week. We’re always on the lookout for candidates, so tweet us (@Prospects1500, @PaulTheMartin and @Scotty_Ballgame) when you see a great performance.
Martin picks his POTW hitters and pitchers for each level, while Greene presents other names at each level that are just as deserving of POTW honors. Enjoy, and make sure you’re keeping an eye out for these prospects in your dynasty leagues.
Hitter: Francisco Mejia, C (Cleveland Indians, #2)
Columbus Clippers (4 G, .556/.556/1.056, 10 H, 3 2B, 2 HR)
Mejia had a tough time taking advantage of his major league call-up. Although he did make the most of the partial week, he played in AAA. Mejia was oddly promoted and demoted by the Cleveland Indians on June 11th and returned to action for the Columbus Clippers on June 14th. All he did that first game was to come a triple away from the cycle. Over the next three, Mejia was able to accumulate 7 more hits, another homer, and 2 more doubles. The catcher/designated hitter proved to the Indians that their demotion might have been premature.
He has been en fuego since June began hitting .435 with a .325 ISO. With the pressure applied to the Indians, who have a grasp on the Central despite holes in their lineup, Mejia should be promoted again soon. Of course, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Michael Brantley have all been hot, but outside of those names, and a still heating Edwin Encarnacion, the Indians are not mashers. There is no doubt Francisco Mejia should be able to slot in somewhere near the top of that order to support Cleveland’s big bats. The highlight of Mejia’s week came when the Clippers were trailing 4-0 to the Indianapolis Indians. In the bottom of the 6th, the switch-hitter came up from the left side and smashed a grand slam to tie the game. The Clippers ended up winning the game 10-4. Congratulations Mr. Mejia, and we impatiently await your pending recall to the majors.
WATCH: Francisco Mejia smacks a Grand Slam in Saturday night’s victory over Indianapolis.
We deem this All-Star worthy!
— Columbus Clippers (@CLBClippers) June 17, 2018
Scott Greene’s AAA Hitter: Ryan McBroom, OF (New York Yankees, #37)
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (8 G, .441/.429/.706, 15 H, 3 2B, 2 HR)
Pitcher: Max Fried, LHP (Atlanta Braves, #9)
Gwinnett Stripers (1 GS, 1-0, 7 IP, 11:0 K:BB, 3 H, 1 ER, 15% SwStr%)
The Atlanta Braves farm system has names that can win the pitcher award at any level every single week. Fried is a name that sometimes gets forgotten amongst the tool shed. The big lefty had a dominant start after his roughest of the season on June 7th. His huge hook and sinking fastball were stellar, striking out 11 Norfolk Tides. Fried has not had the greatest season in AAA. The strikeouts have not been as gaudy, and he has had 2 or 3 walks in every start beside this one. However, Fried remains one of the Braves top arms that include names like Kyle Wright, Luiz Gohara, Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard, and so many more. This embarrassment of riches is why he can sometimes get lost in the fray. This start should put Fried back on people’s radars and maybe earn him a spot in the big league rotation sometime soon.
Scott Greene’s AAA Pitcher: Josh James, RHP (Houston Astros, #N/A)
Fresno Grizzlies (1 GS, 6 IP, 11:2 K:BB, 3 H, 1 ER, 17% SwStr%)
Hitter: Will Craig, 1B (Pittsburgh Pirates, #12)
Altoona Curve (6 G, .522/.607/1.261, 12 H, 2 2B, 5 HR)
Some people labeled Craig a disappointment because he lacked power in his first two minor league seasons. Seeing him only hit 8 HR in 186 G was hard to endure, but stat-scouting him now is completely different. He has increased the K% with the promotion to AA. However, Craig also brought his FB% above 56%, and the homers are coming along. This week alone was an example of how the changes have affected his stat-line. Will Craig only had 6 HR all of last season, but last week he had 5. He is a big man that always had potential to achieve more with the bat. It is awesome to finally see him get there in AA and still only be 23-years-old. Craig is still on track to hit the majors with a similar trajectory to other Pirates prospects Josh Bell and Austin Meadows. His power this week was much more like what those two prospects were able to show later in their development, just as Craig is doing this season. Keep an eye on the changes he’s making. I have a feeling more of these awards are on the way for Craig.
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) June 17, 2018
Greene’s AA Hitter: Nathaniel Lowe, 1B (Tampa Bay Rays, #N/A)
Montgomery Biscuits (7 G, .462/.559/.962, 12 H, 2B, 4 HR)
Pitcher: Kyle Funkhouser, RHP (Detroit Tigers, #6)
Erie Seawolves (2 GS, 2-0, 11 IP, 13:2 K:BB, 8 H, 0 ER, 13% SwStr%)
Ever since he took over for Franklin Perez in the AA rotation, Funkhouser has been a rollercoaster. However, this week we got a spectacular version of the Tigers prospect as he shutout the Trenton Thunder and Hartford Yard Goats, both on the road. Including his start back on June 6th, that makes 18 IP with 1 ER and a 22:3 K:BB. His high fastball and hard-breaking slider are a devastating 1-2 punch. The Detroit Tigers now boast quite a few special arms in Funkhouser, Beau Burrows, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, and 2018 1.1 draft pick Casey Mize.
The 24-year-old sometimes gets overlooked just as Max Fried does in the Atlanta Braves system, but he has not had the same amount of minor league sample. Kyle Funkhouser still has time to develop slowly on a team that will not compete for the next couple years. However, the stuff can probably already succeed in a relief capacity. Long-term I believe this week displays his talent as a starting pitcher, and there is no doubt that this is what the Tigers should be thinking. He should be moving up to AAA at some point this season, but for now, the AA sample still needs more weeks like this to give them confidence for another promotion. The .gif below is from his start on June 6th against the Hartford Yard Goats, striking out top prospect Brendan Rodgers on 3 pitches.
— KJC at the bat (@Tiger_Lifer) June 7, 2018
Greene’s AA Pitcher: Kodi Medeiros, LHP (Milwaukee Brewers, #30)
Biloxi Shuckers (2 GS, 11 IP, 15:5 K:BB, 9 H, ER, 17% SwStr%)
Honorable Mention: Jesus Luzardo, LHP (Oakland Athletics, #6)
Midland Rockhounds (2 GS, 2-0, 10 IP, 9:2 K:BB, 6 H, 0 ER, 8% SwStr%)
Honorable Mention: Craig Brooks, RHP (Chicago Cubs, #N/A)
Tennessee Smokies (3 G, 2 Saves, 4 IP, 8:1 K:BB, 3 H, 0 ER, 16% SwStr%)
Hitter: Jo Adell, OF (Los Angeles Angels, #3)
Inland Empire 66ers (7 G, .536/.581/1.036, 15 H, 2 2B, 4 HR, 3 SB)
Oh, Jo Adell. I wish I could write a little Adell update once a week at the bottom of the piece. The crazy part of that statement is, I don’t think many would mind. The Angels prospect continues to be extremely exciting racking up 4 HR, 3 SB, and 15 H this week for the Inland Empire 66ers. He is one of my favorite prospects out there right now for his barely-comparable athleticism and the overall results. The 19-year-old is cruising along in High-A despite a 22.3% K-BB%. Adell’s talent shines through regardless as he has continued his power and speed output since his promotion. Not only that, but the average has held at .311, his ISO has improved to .311, and he is mashing almost everything he sees. I can’t wait to keep monitoring this prospect’s rise through the minors this season, and it should be quick. Seeing his production now as a raw prospect makes me dream of what he will become when fully polished in the majors.
Jo Adell is special. pic.twitter.com/NSAwsSae2T
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) June 15, 2018
Greene’s A+ Hitter: Ryan McKenna, OF (Baltimore Orioles, #29)
Frederick Keys (9 G, .464/.559/.821, 13 H, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR)
Pitcher: Connor Seabold, RHP (Philadelphia Phillies, #N/A)
Clearwater Threshers (1 GS, 1-0, 9 IP, 9:1 K:BB, 3 H, 1 ER, 15% SwStr%)
Seabold has not done anything to jump off the page since being drafted in the 3rd round out of perennial powerhouse Cal-State Fullerton. This week he decided to take it to the Tampa Tarpons by tossing 9 innings of 1 run ball. Seabold also induced 15% SwStr% on the intriguing New York Yankees High-A team. His only mistake of the night was a home run allowed to catcher Ryan Lidge, cousin of Brad Lidge. Seabold had solid collegiate stats and carried ended his career with a 2.89 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He is one to keep an eye on this year, as he was a high draft pick from a big school rarely discussed in prospect circles. I’m interested to see if he can put together more weeks like this throughout the season.
— BaseballBetsy⚾ (@BaseballBetsy) June 12, 2018
Greene’s A+ Pitcher: Bryan Mata, RHP (Boston Red Sox, #4)
Salem Red Sox (2 GS, 1-0, 11 IP, 15:10 K:BB, 6 H, 2 ER, 9% SwStr%)
Bryan Mata, arguably the top pitching prospect in the Red Sox organization, allowed 1 run in 5.2 innings today for Salem. ERA down to 3.29. He’s 19
— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) June 18, 2018
Hitter: Nolan Jones, 3B (Cleveland Indians, #4)
Lake County Captains (6 G, .500/.538/.833, 12 H, 2 2B, 2 HR)
This week Cleveland Indians 3B prospect Nolan Jones showcased a hit tool that has been a question mark in his game. He was able to put together 5 multi-hit games to go along with 2 HR and 2 2B to display a bit of the power as well. Jones, coveted for his large, athletic build and raw ability, polished off a solid week all-around. He has a decent amount of hype as a Round 2 prep bat. Jones has not shown the game power that everyone wants to see just yet, but the approach is advanced for a younger prospect. More weeks like this will put a higher grade on his hit tool. Hopefully, we see another jump in power at some point this season as well. This week was impressive enough for the award, and I doubt it will be his best of the year.
#Indians (3B) prospect Nolan Jones is starting to show more power to his game:
– First 98 games: (4) HR’s
– Next 51 games (8) HR’s pic.twitter.com/gh1S7oY4sT
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) June 18, 2018
Greene’s A Hitter: Ryan Dorow, 3B (Texas Rangers, #N/A)
Hickory Crawdads (8 G, .448/.515/.655, 13 H, 3 2B, HR, SB)
Pitcher: Miguel Yajure, RHP (New York Yankees, #N/A)
Charleston RiverDogs (1 GS, 1-0, 5 IP, 9:0 K:BB, 0 H, 0 ER, 22% SwStr%)
Even as a Yankees fan, I was relatively unaware with the young, Venezuelan pitching prospect Miguel Yajure. After an injury-shortened 2017, the 20-year-old is finally activated and pitching in the SAL. The promotion was certainly interesting for a kid who previously never made it past rookie ball. In his second start, he combined with Alexander Vargas for a one-hitter. Yajure was able to rack up 9 K with 0 BB in this 5 inning start. The 22% SwStr% is also eye-popping to go along with the command displayed in the lack of walks. It will take some more sample to say that this international prospect will make his way onto more prospect lists. I am intrigued by this week and the lack of reports on this kid in general. Keep this stat-line in mind when placing him on your radar for the rest of the season.
Greene’s A Pitcher: Yohan Ramirez, RHP (Houston Astros, #N/A)
Quad City River Bandits (2 G, 1-0, Save, 8 IP, 12:4 K:BB, 4 H, 0 ER, 13% SwStr%)
A- (Short Season)
Hitter: Jamori Blash, 1B (Washington Nationals, #N/A)
Auburn Doubledays (3 G, .600/.600/1.200, 6 H, 3 2B, HR)
Jamori Blash, brother of Jabari, is as coveted for his athleticism as his sibling was back in his prospect days. Now Jabari is a bit past his prime while Jamori is working into his very quickly. Last season was quiet in rookie ball for Blash, but this season is starting off huge. The 6’4″ outfielder blasted his first home run of the short season and stacked 6 hits in his first 3 games. Some awesome video by Ben Wilson, @TBDubbs11 on Twitter, shows the ridiculous power that lies within this 2017 late round draft pick. Only 3 short games into the season, Jamori Blash looks like a slightly different player. The power is clear, and I am very interested to see this hitter rise through the ranks with his raw ability.
— Ben Wilson (@TBDubbs11) June 17, 2018
Greene’s A- Hitter: Diego Rincones, OF (San Francisco Giants, #43)
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (3 G, .583/.583/.583, 7 H in first 12 AB)
Pitcher: Angel Rondon, RHP (St. Louis Cardinals, #N/A)
State College Spikes (1 GS, 7 IP, 7:1 K:BB, 2 H, 0 ER, 16% SwStr%)
Rondon has been toiling away in the Dominican Summer League for the St. Louis Cardinals for a few seasons now. The raw 20-year-old starter has finally made his way up to short-season A-ball and dominated in his first start. The Cardinals always have a way of getting the best from their pitching prospects. This week’s performance would suggest that there is some upside to be had in Angel Rondon. The path has now begun with a 7 IP, 7 K start with 16% SwStr%, following many arms that came before him. It is always fun to find these deep names that have excellent performances. Angel Rondon should be monitored this year to see exactly where his ceiling lies.
Greene’s A- Pitcher: Eduard Bazardo, RHP (Boston Red Sox, #N/A)
Lowell Spinners (1 GS, 4 IP, 10:2 K:BB, 4 H, 2 ER, 14% SwStr%)
Hitter: Rochest Cruz, 2B (Chicago Cubs, #N/A)
DSL Cubs 1 (6 G, .500/.567/.846, 13 H, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 8 SB)
This year marks Rochest Cruz’ second season in the DSL for the Chicago Cubs. The slight-of-build lefty ran wild on the bases this week. He was able to steal 8 bases without being caught. The power was also an intriguing showcase to go along with a double, triple, and 13 overall hits. Cruz still has a long way to go in his development, but this week’s stat-line is jaw-dropping. Something must have clicked with the young 2nd basemen in the offseason. He is still young enough to blast on to top prospect lists at some point, but this may be a prospect to keep in the back of your mind. When he gets promoted, that will be the true test for Cruz.
Rochest Cruz is up to .396 for the DSL Cubs1 side. Has multiple hits in 5 of his last 6 games. 1.040 OPS inccoming today. #Cubs A single in two tries today.
— Tim Huwe (@tim815) June 18, 2018
Greene’s Rookie Hitter: Diego Maican, OF (Kansas City Royals, #N/A)
DSL Royals 1 (5 G, .688/.647/.813, 12 H in his first 20 AB of pro pall)
Honorable Mention: Yeison Coca, SS (Milwaukee Brewers, #N/A)
Helena Brewers (3 G, .385/.385/.615, 5 H, 1 HR, 2 SB)
Pitcher: Ronny Henriquez, RHP (Texas Rangers, #N/A)
DSL Rangers 2 (1 GS, 1-0, 6 IP, 11:0 K:BB, 1 H, 0 ER)
The 17-year-old Henriquez was lights out for the DSL Rangers squad this week. All he did was toss 11 K with no walks in 6 innings allowing only 1 hit. The small, Dominican right-hander still has not allowed a run this season to go along with a 24:3 K:BB. This includes a start he made today on June 18th, so the dominance continues to build for this extremely youthful starter. It is not easy to find a lot of information on these kids so just keep an eye on his stats now that we see this is the ceiling that he provides.
Greene’s Rookie Pitcher: Bryan Valdez, LHP (Arizona Diamondbacks, #N/A)
DSL D-backs 1 (2 GS, 2-0, 11 IP, 14:0 K:BB, 4 H, 0 ER)
Honorable Mention: Wander Cabrera, LHP (Colorado Rockies, #N/A)
Grand Junction Rockies (2 GS, 1-0, 11 IP, 12:3 K:BB, 3 ER, 5 H, 17% SwStr%)
Featured image of Kyle Funkhouser – via Bryan Green on Flickr