An all-star team comprised of prospects, based on their performance in the minors during the month of July. Monthly all-prospect team archives available here.
C Austin Barnes • Marlins
Double-A Jacksonville (Southern)
While Barnes caught just 10 of the 28 games in which he played for Jacksonville in July, such is life when one backs up J.T. Realmuto, a top Marlins prospect and the Southern League’s best defensive catcher. Since when is versatility a bad thing, though, especially when the player in question logged nine games at second base and eight at third in addition to his time behind the plate? Barnes has a line-drive stroke, a strong batting eye, plus arm strength and good-enough receiving skills to handle catcher.
1B Casey Gillaspie • Rays
Short-season Hudson Valley (New York-Penn)
Drafted 20th overall from Wichita State in June, the switch-hitting Gillaspie tightened his strike-zone control in July and reaped the rewards with 14 extra-base hits, 16 walks and 24 RBIs in 29 games. He hit just .220 in June, thanks to nearly five times as many strikeouts as walks, but he rebounded to hit .330 in July once he gained pro experience. Gillaspie ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in walks and on-base percentage as a junior this year, so this is an established trend, not an aberration.
2B Dilson Herrera • Mets
Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Herrera may not have a single knockout tool, but the 20-year-old Colombian does many things well and has made the jump to Double-A in the second half without a misstep. In fact, he hit .320 and ranked third in the minors with 139 hits at the end of July, thanks to a quick swing and plenty of hard contact. He has enough power, speed and control of the zone to profile as a big league starter at the keystone.
3B Rio Ruiz • Astros
High Class A Lancaster (California)
No minor league third baseman had more extra-base hits than Ruiz in July (17), and he finished the month ranked second in the California League with 66 walks. The 2012 fourth-rounder benefits from a hitter-friendly home park at Lancaster, where he has hit eight of 11 home runs, but the lefty hitter has present gap power that could morph into plus down the line because of his strong command of the strike zone.
SS Trea Turner • Padres
Low Class A Fort Wayne (Midwest) & short-season Eugene (Northwest)
Turner turned on the jets after joining Fort Wayne on July 13, hitting .478 with nine extra-base hits and eight steals in the first 17 games following his promotion to the Midwest League. The 13th overall pick in June from North Carolina State, Turner’s speed, defense and feel to hit have served him well in a smooth transition to pro ball. He could jump on the fast track next season, a la Padres 2013 first-rounder Hunter Renfroe.
OF Mallex Smith • Padres
High Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
A double-plus runner, Smith led all minor leaguers in July with 25 steals, pushing his industry-leading season total to 74. The 2012 fifth-rounder made the most of a refresher course at low Class A Fort Wayne this season to springboard to the California League in July, where he showcased gap power and good range in center field to go with game-changing speed.
OF Jorge Soler • Cubs
Double-A Tennessee (Southern) & Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast)
Stymied by hamstring trouble in the first half, Soler made such a rousing return to action—more than half his hits went for extra bases—that the Cubs promoted him to Triple-A on July 24. Just two minor league batters finished with a higher isolated slugging percentage than Soler’s .432 in July: first basemen Telvin Nash (Astros) and Andy Wilkins (White Sox). Remove Soler’s three rehab appearances in the Rookie-level Arizona League and he actually hit .406/.500/.891 in 24 games.
OF Steven Souza • Nationals
Triple-A Syracuse (International)
Another stellar month at Syracuse had Souza leading the minors in average (.355) at the end of July, while ranking fifth in on-base percentage (.435) and sixth in slugging (.598). With each successive month the 25-year-old looks more like a future big league contributor, one with plus power and good wheels who consistently hits the ball hard because he swings at strikes.
RHP Lucas Giolito • Nationals
Low Class A Hagerstown (South Atlantic)
The 2012 first-rounder found a handle on all three of his pitches in July and mixed them to full effect, with season-best showings for SO/BB ratio (6.6), WHIP (0.81) and strikeout rate (10.5 per nine innings). As he puts Tommy John surgery further behind him, Giolito will be positioned to move quickly with a knockout fastball/curveball combo, especially with his changeup showing more life this season.
RHP Tyler Glasnow • Pirates
High Class A Bradenton (Florida State)
As is the case with the Nationals’ Lucas Giolito, Glasnow has harnessed his explosive three-pitch mix to a greater extent as the season has progressed. Wild at the beginning of the season, he concluded his finest month in July with a 4.4 SO/BB ratio thanks to a vastly improved walk rate of 2.7 per nine innings. Glasnow ranked second in the minors with a .179 opponent average and fourth with a 1.74 ERA as August dawned.
RHP Nathan Karns • Rays
Triple-A Durham (International)
Acquired by the Rays in spring training to add rotation depth, Karns spent the first half at Durham demonstrating how not to get promoted, fighting his delivery and logging a 5.63 ERA over 18 starts while walking 4.2 batters per nine innings. He began to build positive momentum in July, and he now is engaged in battle with Rochester’s Alex Meyer for the strikeout crown in the International League. Already 26, Karns angles for a late-season callup to the now David Price-less Rays.
RHP Luis Severino • Yankees
High Class A Tampa (Florida State) & Double-A Trenton (Eastern)
Severino hasn’t allowed a home run since April 25, which was three months and two classifications ago. Since being promoted out of low Class A Charleston, he has gone 3-1, 1.53 in seven starts at high Class A and Double-A, striking out 48 and walking 10 in 35 innings.
RHP Tyler Wagner • Brewers
High Class A Brevard County (Florida State)
More pitchability than raw stuff, Wagner allowed just three runs in five July starts by din of three average-to-a-tick-above pitches and good control. As the month closed, the 2012 fourth-rounder from Utah led the Florida State League in ERA (1.53) and ranked third in WHIP (1.04) and opponent average (.211).