De La Cruz entered the year as a smallish outfielder who had shown some promise with the bat, but he just keeps hitting, as with four home runs in his last four games, he's now at .306/.355/.566 overall and among the league leaders in several offensive categories. The knock against him is
he's going to have to keep it up. The 20-year-old Dominican is a compact, athletic 5-foot-11, but he has no loud tools, as average speed and arm strength gives him a left field profile, and he's an aggressive hitter whose free-swinging ways could get exposed at the upper levels. His stock is up, but only in the sense that he's gone from a name in the crowd to someone worth keeping an eye on.
Others Of Note:
- Hanser Alberto, SS/3B, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 19-year-old is relative unknown in the system but can really hit; 9-for-16 in last four games and .349/.384/.463 in 44 games.
- Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Low-A Peoria): 2-for-4. Season debut for 2011 first-round pick.
- Dante Bichette, 3B, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 4-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI. Possibly recovering from ugly start; 10-for-19 in last four games and up to .267/.367/.314 overall.
- Ryan Brett, 2B, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green): 4-for-5, 3 R, RBI, BB, SB. Up to .322/.363/.435 overall;. 5-foot-9 line drive machine with good speed.
- Simon Castro, RHP, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham): 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K. Best start of the year on just 96 pitches; 3.74 ERA with 54 Ks in 65 innings.
- Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 4-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI. Batting average up 38 points in just six games (14-for-26); .287/.341/.482 overall.
- Nick Franklin, SS/2B, Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 2-for-3, 2 3B, R, K, SB. Having offensive breakout year at .340/.407/.535; whether he plays shortstop or second base in the big leagues is still up for debate.
- Anthony Gose, OF, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 2-for-5, R, RBI, K, SB, CS. Has exploded with tweak to swing mechanics; hitting .368 in May and suddenly up to .293/.373/.418 overall.
- Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 3-for-5, R, 2 RBI, 2 K. 3 SB (52). 12 stolen bases in last six games and .316/.389/.454 on the season. Offensively, he's ready for Double-A. Defensively, he's ready for a move to center.
- Miles Head, 3B, Athletics (High-A Stockton): 3-for-5, 2 HR (11), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K. All the A's can do is move him up and see if he keeps hitting, and that could come soon; 11-for-17 with 24 total bases in last four games and .378/.424/.697 overall.
- Danny Hultzen, LHP, Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Gave up five runs in his first start of the year and five earned runs in his nine starts since (0.85 ERA); wasting time at this level.
- Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque): 3-for-4, 2B, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI. I think he's ready.
- Roger Kieschnick, OF, Giants (Triple-A Fresno): 2-for-5, HR (14), 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 K. Hitting .320/.392/.630 in 50 games, and while the strikeouts are a concern, he deserves the chance to see if he could help a stagnant offense.
- Matt Lipka, OF, Braves (High-A Lynchburg): 3-for-4, 2 RBI, SB. Some progress but mostly just streakiness; 8-for-13 in last three games and .260/.325/.337 overall.
- Wil Myers, OF/3B, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, K. The Royals insist he'll return to third soon, but the reasoning seems unclear; .326/.383/.651 in 12 Triple-A games.
- Rougned Odor, 2B, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 3-for-5, 2B, R, RBI, BB, SB. 18-year-old is 11-for-24 in last six games and up to .291/.351/.488; outstanding numbers for age/level.
- Chris Owings, SS, Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 3-for-5, 2 R, RBI, SB. Repeating the level has done the trick, as the tools for success are certainly there; .327/.369/.559 in 50 games.
- Domingo Santana, OF, Astros (High-A Lancaster): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (9), R, 3 RBI, K. 11-for-27 with four home runs in last six games and .277/.343/.561 overall; Very real power, but hard to judge in Lancaster.
- Jean Segura, SS, Angels (Double-A Arkansas): 4-for-5, R, K, SB, CS. Scouts keep waiting for him to get going as approach has gone backwards; .272/.322/.364 in 49 games.
- Trevor Story, SS, Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 2-for-4, HR (8), 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, SB. Athletic shortstop showing more improved defense and plenty of bat; .287/.379/.538 in 45 games.
- Sebastian Valle, C, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 2-for-5, 3B, HR (5), 2 R, 3 RBI, K. Finally showing signs of life with home runs in three of last four games; still at just .234/.266/.393 overall.
- Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 2-for-5, HR (6), R, 2 RBI. Hitting .283/.330/.545 in May and it's clear that Ian Stewart is not exactly a long-term impediment.