Mike Olt, 3b, Rangers: Olt was having a nondescript 0-for-3 day as Triple-A Round Rock trailed Oklahoma City 4-1 heading into the top of the ninth, but that’s when he and the rest of the Express lineup exploded for eight runs. He hit two home runs in the top of the ninth to fuel Round Rock’s 9-4 victory. It’s been a surprisingly challenging season for Olt, who was hitting .139/.235/.236 with 32 strikeouts in 20 games through the first month of the season before the Rangers shut him down for a month. Since returning to the field, Olt has looked more like the player who ranked as the No. 22 prospect in baseball entering the season, hitting .250/.333/.577 with five home runs and a more manageable 14 strikeouts in 14 games. The Rangers can afford to be patient with Olt, but the last two weeks have been a promising sign after a disastrous start.
Taylor Guerrieri, rhp, Rays: Hey look--the Rays have another exciting pitching prospect in their farm system. Guerrieri threw his second straight scoreless start for low Class A Bowling Green yesterday, striking out seven with only one walk over five innings. He hasn’t allowed a run in six of his 11 starts, which is why his ERA sits at 2.50 with a 43-10 K-BB mark over 54 innings. Guerrieri hasn’t racked up huge strikeout numbers this year, but he has swing-and-miss stuff, throws strikes and has a nasty two-seam fastball that helps him generate plenty of weak grounders.
Yeison Asencio, rf, Padres: How far can Asencio go with his free-swinging approach? It hasn’t slowed him down yet. The 23-year-old went 3-for-5 with a home run yesterday and is off to a .317/.325/.512 start through his first 10 games since the Padres promoted him to Double-A San Antonio. He hasn’t drawn a walk yet in the Texas League (he has been hit by a pitch), but he’s not an all-or-nothing hitter either because he makes enough contact, though he will have to show more loft power to profile as an everyday corner outfielder, particularly with his lack of plate discipline.
Danry Vasquez, lf, Tigers: Vasquez had a clean 5-for-5 game yesterday for low Class A West Michigan, bringing his slash line to .285/.322/.403 through 65 games. The pure hitting ability that the Tigers saw when they signed him three years ago has shown up, and while the power is still a projection at this point, his four home runs are a career-high and he has plenty of room on his frame to pack on on the pounds.
Billy Hamilton, cf, Reds: Hamilton doesn’t do it often, but he hit an over-the-fence home run yesterday, his third of the year and his fourth home run in total including one inside-the-park job. With 43 stolen bases in 50 attempts (86 percent), Hamilton ranks third in the minors in stolen bases but his hitting overall has been mediocre with a .252/.312/.352 line through 65 games. Hamilton isn’t a natural hitter, so the adjustment to Triple-A shouldn’t be surprising, but he only needs to be a decent hitter to be a valuable overall player because of what his unbelievable speed can do for him on the basepaths and in center field.
Gary Brown, cf, Giants: Brown’s season on the whole has been a disappointment, as he’s hitting .233/.294/.389 in 67 games for Triple-A Fresno. Lately, however, the speedy 24-year-old has been at his best. He’s hit .293/.339/.586 in 15 June games, including a 2-for-4 effort yesterday in which he hit his seventh home run of the season. The increase in Brown’s strikeout rate paired with the decrease in his ability to draw a walk are concerning, but it’s too soon to give up on him.