Baseball America Prospect Report — Aug. 17, 2020
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—Righthander Kyle Wright, Atlanta’s No. 4 prospect, continued to be inconsistent. After facing one more than the minimum over the first two innings, Wright—the No. 5 overall pick from 2017—walked four of the first seven hitters he faced in the third inning while giving up a pair of runs. He was replaced in the fourth by righthander Grant Dayton. Control and command have been glaring weaknesses in Wright’s career—he’s walked 35 and struck out 35 in 40.2 frames over two seasons.
—In this, the year of the big league debut, Baltimore played its part by summoning lefthander Keegan Akin for his first turn on a major league mound. The 25-year-old, whom Baltimore selected in the second round in 2016 out of Western Michigan, was roughed up a bit in his first turn, but recorded his first MLB strikeout in the process. The victim? Nationals second baseman Luis Garcia, who was also making his big league debut. Akin, who ranks as Baltimore’s No. 11 prospect, struck out 131 in 112.1 innings in 2019 with Triple-A Norfolk.
Chicago White Sox
—Luis Robert went 2-for-7 in the team’s series against the Cardinals, hitting his third home run, a solo shot, in the second game of a doubleheader. Robert, who also added a leaping catch in center field to his resume, is hitting .275/.333/.463 with three home runs, 10 RBIs and four stolen bases.
—Matt Foster pitched two scoreless outings and continued to stifle hitters, striking out two and allowing one hit in three innings. The 25-year-old righthander is 2-0, 0.00 with 15 strikeouts in 10.2 innings, while allowing three hits and walking two.
—No. 29 prospect Danny Mendick went 3-for-7 with a double and a run scored in the three-game series. Mendick, who took over second base duties when Nick Madrigal went down with a separated shoulder, is hitting .316 with four runs in 38 at-bats in August.
—No. 18 prospect James Karinchak pitched two outings in the team’s three-game set against the Tigers. The hard-throwing righthander struck out five in 2.2 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.79 to go along with 22 strikeouts in 11.1 innings.
—Righthander Ryan Castellani, the Rockies’ No. 8 prospect and owner of a delivery straight out of the Max Scherzer school of pitching, made his second start on Friday against the Rangers. He struck out seven in 4.2 one-run innings. He struck out three in the first inning—Shin-Soo Choo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Joey Gallo—all swinging. Castellani used his whole arsenal to rack up his first three strikeouts, getting Choo on a 95 mph fastball, Kiner-Falefa on an 87 mph slider and Gallo on an 87 mph changeup.
—No. 13 prospect Willi Castro on Friday went 1-for-3 with an RBI in the team’s loss to the Tigers. The third baseman, who was acquired from the Indians for outfielder Leonys Martin and righthander Kyle Dowdy in December 2018, drove in a run on a sacrifice fly in the second inning and singled in the sixth inning. Castro has four hits in 11 at-bats to go along with a home run and three RBIs. Castro struggled (.230/.284/.340, one home run, 100 at-bats) at the major league level after excelling (.301/.366/.467, 11 home runs, 17 stolen bases) at Triple-A in 2019.
—Righthander Beau Burrows on Friday made his third appearance out of the bullpen, striking out one in an inning of work. Two days later he pitched another scoreless inning. The No. 20 prospect has allowed three runs on three hits and one walk in 5.1 innings while striking out two. The 2015 first-round pick reached Double-A quickly as a 20-year-old but injuries and inconsistent control have hampered him in recent years.
—No. 22 prospect Bryan Garcia on Saturday pitched an inning, walking two and striking out one in the team’s loss to the Indians. The righthander is 2-0, 2.45 in 7.1 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out three.
—No. 8 prospect Cristian Javier on Saturday picked up his second win, pitching six shutout innings, allowing a hit and three walks and striking out five. The righthander has helped shore up an injury-riddled Astros rotation with a 2-1, 2.91 mark while striking out 21 in 21.2 innings.
Kansas City Royals
—No. 5 prospect Brady Singer was handed his second loss on Sunday, allowing three runs on four hits, walking four and striking out two. The righthander is 1-2, 4.56 in five starts, striking out 24 in 25.2 innings.
—No. 25 prospect Josh Staumont on Saturday struck out two batters in a scoreless inning of work. The flame-throwing righthander has struck out 19 batters in 9.2 innings while allowing one run on seven hits and five walks.
Los Angeles Angels
—No. 1 prospect Jo Adell on Sunday had his second multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 in the team's loss to the Dodgers. The outfielder, who is the No. 3 prospect in baseball, is hitting .214 in 28-at bats with one RBI.
Los Angeles Dodgers
—Righthander Brusdar Graterol, the Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect, was at it again on Saturday. The fireballing reliever threw just two pitches below 99 mph in the seventh inning of his team’s win over the Angels: One was a 90 mph slider. The other was a fastball that clocked in at a mere 98 mph.
—No. 4 prospect Keibert Ruiz could not have gotten his big league career off to a quicker start. Called up because of an injury to Will Smith, Ruiz swatted a home run to right field on the first swing of his first at-bat. Ruiz, 22, has long been lauded for his combination of offensive and defensive gifts, posted a .679 OPS primarily at Double-A Tulsa in 2019. He hit six home runs during the season, including two in just nine games after a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He missed a significant chunk of the season with a fractured finger.
—Another day, another big league debut. This time, first baseman Lewin Diaz got the call. Diaz was part of the package the Marlins acquired from the Twins in last summer’s Sergio Romo trade, and his first big league action came while pinch-hitting for outfielder Lewis Brinson. Diaz wasted no time on Saturday writing his name in the history books, turning around a 92 mph cutter from Mark Melancon for his first big league knock. Miami’s No. 8 prospect produced an .851 OPS with 27 home runs between the Twins and Marlins systems in 2019. He also made a little history on Sunday, when, according to team PR, he became the first Marlin to bat cleanup in his first big league start.
—On Saturday, righthander Daniel Castano made his second big league start. One of the pieces acquired from St. Louis in exchange for Marcell Ozuna, Castano spun six strong innings. He allowed one run on four hits and struck out a pair—Johan Camargo and Austin Riley—back-to-back in the second inning.
—No. 17 prospect Devin Williams pitched two outings in the team's three-game set against the Cubs, striking out five batters and allowing one hit in 2.1 scoreless innings. The righthander is 1-1, 1.04 with 17 strikeouts in 8.2 innings.
Netherlands Defeats Cuba To Kick Off World Baseball Classic
Josh Palacios drove in the tie-breaking run and the Netherlands held Cuba to three hits to pick up a 4-2 win in the World Baseball Classic opener.
—No. 15 prospect Randy Dobnak on Sunday collected his fourth win, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk in 5.1 innings while striking out three. The righthander thus far has cemented himself as one of the frontrunners in the American League Rookie of the Year race with a 4-1, 1.42 mark in five starts.
—No. 18 prospect Jorge Alcala on Saturday made his third multi-inning outing in four appearances this season, allowing three hits and a walk in two scoreless innings. The righthander has struck out eight in seven innings while allowing two runs on six hits and walking two.
—No. 1 prospect Jesus Luzardo on Friday had his worst start to date. The lefthander was tagged for six runs on nine hits and two walks in 3.1 innings and struck out three. The No. 9 prospect in baseball is 1-0, 4.79 in 20.2 innings, allowing 22 hits, walking nine and striking out 20.
—No. 3 prospect Sean Murphy went 3-for-9, including a solo home run, in the team’s three-game set against the Giants. The catcher is hitting .222/.364/.378 with two home runs, three RBIs and seven runs scored.
—On Friday, No. 1 prospect righthander Spencer Howard got touched up somewhat against the Mets. Howard showed flashes of excellent stuff, but struggled with control and command. He walked a pair over 3.1 innings and gave up back-to-back homers to Dominic Smith and Robinson Cano in the third inning before yielding to Jose Alvarez.
—No. 2 prospect third baseman Alec Bohm put together a solid weekend in the three-game set with the Mets. The third overall pick from the 2018 draft went 4-for-10 with a double. He drove in runs on Friday and Sunday, with the latter standing as the first multi-hit game of his young career.
San Diego Padres
—Though he went 0-for-the weekend, Jorge Mateo, the former Yankees top prospect who was traded to Oakland in the deal that sent Sonny Gray to New York and then again to the Padres for a PTBNL just before the season, made his big league debut. Mateo is still known for his elite speed, and has swiped 283 bases in 361 attempts (78.3% success rate) in his minor league career.
San Francisco Giants
—Giants rookie Mauricio Dubon was splendid over the weekend. The former Red Sox and Brewers farmhand went 5-for-11 with five singles, a walk and a stolen base in the Giants’ series against the A’s. He got on base at a .500 clip.
—No. 3 prospect Evan White collected hits in multiple games for the second time this season in the team’s three-game series against the Astros. The first baseman hit a solo home run on Saturday and went 2-for-8 with two runs scored to raise his average to .120.
—No. 10 prospect Kyle Lewis added two more hits, including an RBI single to center field on Sunday, after going 0-for-5 in the first two games of the series. The center fielder is hitting .325/.400/.482 with four home runs, 15 RBIs and 13 runs scored.
—No. 8 prospect Justus Sheffield on Sunday went six innings for the second start in a row, allowing a run on six hits and a walk and striking out four. The lefthander is 1-2, 4.12 with 18 strikeouts in 19.2 innings while allowing 18 hits and walking seven.
St. Louis Cardinals
—No. 1 prospect Dylan Carlson on Saturday made his big league debut, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout and batting in the seventh spot in the team’s win over the White Sox in the first game of a doubleheader. He went 1-for-3 in the following game, knocking a double to right field for his first major league hit and added a 1-for-4 showing on Sunday. Carlson, who is the No. 10 prospect in baseball, in 2019 won the Double-A Texas League MVP while being the second-youngest player in the league to start the season. The outfielder hit .281 with 21 home runs and 18 stolen bases and was even better upon a promotion to Triple-A Memphis.
—No. 4 prospect Genesis Cabrera on Saturday picked up his first win, striking out two batters in an inning of work, but he also allowed two runs on a hit and a walk. The lefthander, who was a late arrival to summer camp after testing positive for COVID-19, went 0-2, 4.87 in 20.1 big league innings in 2019.
—No. 9 prospect Andrew Knizner on Saturday went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI in his first game of the season. The catcher in 2019 hit .226 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 53 at-bats. Knizner on Sunday threw out two baserunners in the team’s loss to the White Sox.
—Max Schrock on Saturday made his big league debut, going 2-for-3 with a strikeout. The second baseman, who was acquired from the Athletics with third baseman Yairo Munoz in exchange for outfielder Stephen Piscotty in December 2017, hit .275/.366/.381 with two home runs and 12 stolen bases in 85 games at Triple-A in 2019.
—No. 30 prospect Seth Elledge on Sunday excelled in his big league debut, throwing 2.1 innings while striking out five. The righthander went 6-4, 4.26 with 75 strikeouts in 67.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019.
Tampa Bay Rays
—Outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, the Rays’ No. 10 prospect, had a nice Sunday in his team’s win over Toronto, going 2-for-3 with a three-run home run off of Toronto starter Matt Shoemaker. It was his third home run of the season.
—No. 4 prospect Nick Solak on Friday put together one of his most complete performances to date, compiling three hits, including an opposite field home run, his first of the season, and adding a diving catch in center field. The outfielder, who went 5-for-12 in the three-game series, is hitting .299/.373/.418 with a home run, eight RBIs and eight runs scored in 67 at-bats.
—No. 18 prospect Jonathan Hernandez on Saturday in the team’s win over the Rockies made his fourth multi-inning outing of the season, allowing a run on two hits. The 25-year-old righthander has pitched to a 2.13 ERA in 12.2 innings while striking out 15 as the Rangers’ setup man.
—No. 28 prospect Taylor Hearn on Sunday in the team’s loss to the Rockies made his second appearance, pitching a scoreless inning and walking one. The 25-year-old lefthander struggled in his debut, allowing two runs on a hit, walking one and striking out one in an inning.
Toronto Blue Jays
—Lefthander and No. 10 prospect Anthony Kay spun 2.1 innings of one-run ball despite walking five hitters in his two appearances against Miami.
—Righthander Jordan Romano suffered the first blip in an otherwise outstanding season when he surrendered a game-winning home run to Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe. Romano can take a little bit of solace in allowing a longball at the Jays’ 2020 home of Sahlen Field. Normally the home of Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate, the park has surrendered 23 home runs in five games (two of which were just seven innings).
—On Friday, RHP Dakota Bacus made his big league debut. Oakland’s ninth-round selection in 2012 out of Indiana State spun two scoreless innings in the Nats’ loss to Baltimore. His first big league strikeout was O’s outfielder Austin Hays. Bacus was dealt to Washington in 2013 in exchange for C Kurt Suzuki. In a fun quirk, Bacus technically appeared in a game before he was actually called up. The feat is explained in the tweet below.
—Bacus wasn’t the Nationals’ only big league debut of the weekend. On Friday, the team summoned No. 2 prospect Luis Garcia from the alternate site in Fredericksburg, Va. Garcia, just 20 years old, opened his career with a pair of hits (including a double) and two RBIs in his team’s shellacking of Baltimore. He also flashed the leather over the course of the weekend.
—Nationals No. 1 prospect Carter Kieboom went 3-for-10 over the weekend with a walk, two runs and three RBIs. Perhaps most significant, Kieboom struck out just once. By making more contact this weekend, Kieboom’s strikeout rate is down to 35 percent.