Wednesday Prospect Notebook: Zack Wheeler Rights The Ship

Notable performances from prospects around the minors on Tuesday.

Zack Wheeler, rhp, Mets. The top prospect had been conspicuously absent from prospect reports during April, though the 22-year-old finally got in the win column—figuratively and literally—during his Tuesday start for Triple-A Las Vegas at Reno. Wheeler allowed two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings, while striking out eight and walking one. According to Baseball-Reference’s new minor league game logs, Wheeler accumulated a season-high 13 swinging strikes to go with a 63 game score that’s also a high-water mark for 2013.

The righty had rung up a 5.79 ERA through his first five starts—that drops to 4.91 if you discount his five-run blowup on April 25—but said he corrected a mechanical glitch prior to Tuesday’s start. Wheeler said he compared video of himself this season with footage from 2012 at Double-A Binghamton and arrived at the conclusion that he was over-rotating his upper half during delivery. Through all his trouble, he still ranks second in the Pacific Coast League with 36 strikeouts.

Yordano Ventura, rhp, Royals. No pitcher on Tuesday struck out more batters than the 21-year-old Ventura, who fanned a season-high 10 over five innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. His game score (72) also established a season high—based on allowing one hit, three walks and no runs—though he has yet to exceed five innings or 88 pitches in any of his five starts. Naturals pitching coach Jim Brower estimates that Ventura sat 97-98 mph during the start.

Garin Cecchini, 3b, Red Sox. The 22-year-old has reached base in two-thirds of his plate appearances for high Class A Salem since Friday, batting 7-for-11 with one walk and plenty of extra-base pop (one homer, two doubles, three triples). He went 3-for-4 with a homer and two doubles yesterday, contributing to his Carolina League-leading advantages in average (.392), on-base percentage (.478) and extra-base hits (15).

Matt Wisler, rhp, Padres. If you’re looking for a sleeper pitching prospect in the low minors, then Wisler could be your guy. The 20-year-old leads the California League with a 1.04 ERA and 0.77 WHIP after throwing six shutout innings for high Class A Lake Elsinore on Tuesday. He struck out four and allowed just two hits. Wisler has the type of power curveball that evaluators like to see from righthanded starter prospects, having ranked No. 9 in the 16-team Midwest League rankings last year and No. 6 in a deep Padres system.

Avisail Garcia, rf, Tigers. The 21-year-old hit the ground running in his rehab assignment with high Class A Lakeland, going 10-for-20 with a homer, two triples and four walks in his past five games.

Cesar Hernandez, 2b, Phillies. He went 1-for-4 with a walk and a pair of runs scored for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, but—bigger picture—the Phillies project big things for the 22-year-old. Hernandez has gone 10-for-20 with a homer, two triples, three walks and four steals in his past five games.

Brandon Workman, rhp, Red Sox. The organization’s reigning minor league pitcher of the year, Workman continues to build his case as a viable mid-rotation option at Double-A Portland. (Boston will have a better idea if the 24-year-old pitches this effectively at Triple-A this season.) Workman carried a perfect game into the seventh yesterday before losing it, but he finished with a line of 6 2/3 innings, two hits, one run, six strikeouts and one walk.