Notable performances from prospects around the minors on Tuesday.
• Joey Gallo, 3b, Rangers. One day after the Cubs’ Javier Baez drilled four home runs in a Florida State League game, Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo went deep thrice for low Class A Hickory. He went 4-for-4 with three homers and a double (14 total bases) in the first game of a doubleheader at Hagerstown, then went 0-for-3 with two whiffs in the second game.
The 19-year-old Gallo set an Arizona League record with 18 home runs last season, but never before had he hit three homers in a game—though he does have three two-homer efforts to his credit. Gallo’s three clouts yesterday pushed him into a tie with Astros Double-A center fielder George Springer for the minor league lead with 18 home runs. He has worthy competition for the South Atlantic League long-ball title, however, seeing as West Virginia’s Stetson Allie (Pirates) and Hickory teammate Ryan Rua both have 17 bombs.
Gallo’s 100 strikeouts in 62 games have suppressed his overall batting line, which sits at .235/.327/.548 through 230 at-bats. He has nearly as many homers (18) as singles (20). Just three qualified full-season minor league batters have struck out more frequently per plate appearance than Gallo (38.3 percent): the Dodgers’ James Baldwin III (38.7 percent), the Yankees’ Melky Mesa (38.7) and the Rockies’ Harold Riggins (38.5).
• Stetson Allie, 1b, Pirates. Allie went 4-for-5 with a homer (his 17th), two doubles and two walks in a doubleheader at Delmarva, using the double-dip to keep pace with Gallo in the South Atlantic League home run race, while driving in six runs to open up a league lead in RBIs with 61 through 62 games. The converted pitcher has kept up his torrid early pace through 268 plate appearances now and appears to be a legitimate breakout prospect with a batting line of .332/.414/.629 for low Class A West Virginia.
• Gary Brown, cf, Giants. Though the speedster hasn’t stolen a base in the past three games for Triple-A Fresno (in fact, he’s made just 11 attempts all season), Brown in that time has flashed some of the offensive potential that made him a first-round pick three years ago. He’s gone 9-for-13 (.692) with two homers, three doubles and five runs scored. The 24-year-old Brown will probably be added to the Giants’ 40-man roster this November, but he could seal the deal with a strong second half. He has hit just .228/.293/.367 with 63 whiffs in 62 games during the first half.
• Robbie Ray, lhp, Nationals. With seemingly all of Washington’s pitching prospects on the disabled list or on the mend from serious injury (e.g. Lucas Giolito, Christian Garcia, Sammy Solis, Matt Purke), Ray offers a breath of fresh air for the organization. After striking out seven batters in seven innings and allowing one run and two hits for high Class A Potomac yesterday, Ray leads the Carolina League in ERA (2.22), strikeouts (88) and WHIP (1.07). The 2010 12th-round pick out of the Tennessee prep ranks credits his dramatic improvement (he went 4-12, 6.56 with 7.3 SO/9 for Potomac last year) with improved mechanical consistency, a higher, three-quarters arm slot and a slight hip turn as he raises his lead leg.
• Wil Myers, rf, Rays. The Pirates (Gerrit Cole) and Mariners (Mike Zunino) both called up organizational No. 1 prospects to make their debuts yesterday. The Mets (Zack Wheeler) and Tigers (Nick Castellanos) are rumored to be on the brink of promoting their top prospects. All this recent activity suggests that the coast may be clear for clubs to call up elite talents with no fear of Super Two arbitration consequences. This is good news for Rays No. 1 Wil Myers, who went 1-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs for Triple-A Durham yesterday. He ranks fourth in the International League with 13 homers—sandwiched between minor league vets like Mauro Gomez, Mike Hessman, Ernesto Mejia and Luis Jimenez—and after a pedestrian month of April, Myers has hit .279/.341/.551 with 10 homers in 37 games since May 2.
Tampa Bay has received solid production from its lefty-hitting corner outfielders—Kelly Johnson in left, Matt Joyce in right—though it could benefit from the righty balance that Myers could provide.