Tuesday Prospect Notebook: Mondesi Goes For the Cycle

Running down of the top prospect performers from Memorial Day weekend.

Raul Adalberto Mondesi, ss, Royals: Mondesi hadn’t been having a particularly strong month of May before Memorial Day weekend, but it’s hard to criticize the second-youngest player in the low Class A South Atlantic League at age 17. But Mondesi pulled out of it in a big way, going 7-for-12 over the weekend and capping it off by hitting for the cycle Monday against Kannapolis. Mondesi tripled in the first inning, homered in the third, legged out an infield single in the fifth and doubled in the sixth. Scouts can project Mondesi developing average power once he fills out and he flashed it this weekend, homering three times in all to bring his season total to four. His big weekend raised his batting average 24 points, now standing at .247/.292/.404 after 178 at-bats.

Chris Stratton, rhp, Giants: Stratton (Mississippi State) and Kevin Gausman (Louisiana State) were competing against each other in the Southeastern Conference last year, when Stratton was the SEC pitcher of the year. Both went on to be first-round picks last year, but while Gausman rocketed to the majors, the Giants were conservative with Stratton and sent him to low Class A to start his first full year. His ERA coming into Monday’s outing was a solid but unspectacular 3.59, but if he puts together a few more outings like yesterday, he shouldn’t be in the Sally League much longer. Stratton tossed seven one-hit, shutout innings against Hickory, fanning eight and walking three. He increased his strikeout total to 57 in 54 2/3 innings and has allowed just a .212 opponents’ average.

Josh Elander, of, Braves: Elander’s athleticism combined with doubts about his receiving added up to a move from catcher to the outfield in his first pro season at low Class A Rome. Elander’s bat would’ve been more intriguing had he stayed at catcher, but he does have the power to be a prospect as a corner outfielder. The 2012 sixth-round pick out of Texas Christian has put up a .333/.388/.585 line with eight homers in 48 games and has hit .360 so far in May. He had three straight multi-hit games over the weekend, going 7-for-17 with three homers and two doubles.

Wil Myers, of, Rays: Turning to a more well known catcher-turned-outfielder, the clamor for a Myers callup has subsided a bit as he’s hit just .236 in May with Triple-A Durham, dropping his line for the year to .263/.344/.441 after 179 at-bats. He’s gotten going again in the last few days though, stringing together a five-game hitting streak that included an 8-for-18 showing in four games over the weekend, during which he homered twice and added three doubles. Of note, three of the four opposing starters Myers faced were righthanders, who had been the righty swinger’s nemesis so far. He’s still hitting just .237 against righties compared to .333 against southpaws.

Yordano Ventura, rhp, Royals: It qualified as certifiable news when Ventura actually got knocked around in his May 22 start for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, during which he gave up six earned runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He was back to his usual self Monday against San Antonio. Ventura turned in his longest outing of the year, going eight innings and whiffing eight while giving up only one run on four hits. His ERA dropped to 2.56 and he reclaimed the Texas League strikeout lead with 68 in 52 2/3 innings.

Keyvius Sampson, rhp, Padres: Ventura’s opposite number on the mound yesterday, Sampson began the year with a disastrous stint in Triple-A, posting an 8.03 ERA in four starts, during which he walked 12 and gave up 17 hits in 12 1/3 innings. The Padres sent him back to Double-A San Antonio at the end of April and, after some initial troubles, he’s been able to rein things in. Over his last three outings, Sampson has allowed just four runs in 17 2/3 innings and he had his best start of the year on Monday. Sampson whiffed nine Northwest Arkansas hitters and walked just two while allowing one run on five hits in seven innings. He dropped his Double-A ERA to 3.23 in six starts and has brought his walk rate down to a more manageable 12 in 30 2/3 innings for the Missions.