Prospect of the Weekend:
Junior Fernandez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Low-A Peoria): 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K.
Signed for $400,000 after taking the Alex Reyes/Lucius Fox route (prep then international), Fernandez’s talent is up there with anyone’s. The fastball is double-plus and has been clocked up to 99 mph, and he throws a change that will make any hitter who sits on the heater look silly. The breaking ball appears to be coming along, and even with a delivery that has some effort, he absolutely has a chance to stay in a rotation.
Others of Note
Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. Urias now has a 20-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the PCL, and he won’t be 20 for another three-plus months.
Manuel Margot, OF, San Diego Padres (Triple-A El Paso): 3-for-3, R, BB, SB, CS. I know you are probably frustrated watching the offense sputter right now, Padres fans, but this guy is coming pretty soon, and he will help.
Andrew Morales, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. A 2014 compensation-round selection, Morales will flash a double-plus slider and a solid-average fastball.
Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers (Double-A Tulsa): 2-for-4, HR. He gets overshadowed in one of the two best systems in baseball, but the offensive upside here is palpable.
Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (High-A Charlotte): 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. The screwball is going to make a lot of people look silly, and that’s just what Honeywell did on Friday vs. Fort Myers.
Brendan Rodgers, SS, Colorado Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 3-for-5, 2 2B, HR, E. Everyone loves Dansby Swanson. Everyone has a good reason to love Dansby Swanson. If I had to pick between Rodgers and Swanson, I’d choose Rodgers.
Anfernee Seymour, OF, Miami Marlins (Low-A Greensboro): 3-for-4, BB, K. Seymour is an 80 runner with a plus arm who can help out all over the diamond, so if hit tool can be even fringe average, he’s a really valuable player.
Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. I think people forgot how good this guy was before undergoing Tommy John surgery. A 1.65 ERA and nearly a strikeout an inning should help refresh some memories.
Austin Voth, RHP, Nationals (Triple-A Syracuse): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 9 K. The Nationals aren’t hurting for pitching, but if someone were to get hurt, Voth might be the next man up (sorry, Giolito).
Tyler O’Neill, OF, Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 2-for-4, 2 HR, 1 K. O’Neill is built like a middle linebacker, and that strength gives him plus power to all parts of the field.
Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics (Double-A Midland): 3-for-4, 2B, K. He struggled mightily coming into the game, so hopefully this helps him breakout. Barreto’s too good to be this bad (15 K in 57 AB) for long.
Carson Fulmer, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Double-A Birmingham): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. No walks! Fulmer fans around the world are doing their happy dance. And by that, I mean everyone is doing a happy dance.
Dinelson Lamet, RHP, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. Lamet has a double-plus fastball and shows a plus slider, so if the change keeps improving, he can pitch in a rotation. If not, the bullpen beckons.
Tyler Mahle, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (High-A Daytona): 6 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. The brother of Angels reliever Greg, Mahle has a plus fastball and three average secondary pitches he can throw for strikes.
Tyler Krieger, SS, Cleveland (Low-A Lake County): 5-for-6, 4 R, 2B, 2 SB. Krieger fell to Cleveland mainly because of a shoulder injury he suffered as a sophomore. He compensates for a lack of even average tools on defense with a potentially plus hit tool and excellent instincts on the bases.
Josh Naylor, 1B, Marlins (Low-A Greensboro): 3-for-3, 2 2B, HR, BB. Naylor won’t turn 20 for another two months, and he’s more than holding his own in full-season baseball. That’s good.
Taylor Clarke, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Low-A Kane County): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Clarke bounced back from his first struggle of the year (three runs in 2 1/3 innings) with another shutout performance, and his career ERA is now 0.92. That’s also good.
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres (Triple-A El Paso): 4-for-7, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR (doubleheader). The same thing I said about Margot applies for Renfroe, only he’ll provide more power and (a lot) less speed.
Jaime Schultz, RHP, Rays (Triple-A Durham): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K. Schultz is continuing to miss bats with a nasty fastball/curveball combination. With the Rays bullpen struggling, might they turn to him as a short-term fix?
Steven Moya, OF, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo): 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR, K. There’s a lot to like about the power, but like with Gordon, a few more walks aren’t too much to ask for, are they?
J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (Double-A Reading): 3-for-4. I don’t think they will, but if the Phillies wanted to skip Triple-A all together for Crawford, I don’t think it’d be a big deal. The approach and the defense are just so good.
Josh Hader, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers (Double-A Biloxi): 4 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. As much as I dislike the lack of a consistent third pitch and the armslot, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore the results.
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Cleveland (Double-A Akron): 2-for-4, 2 R 2 2B, BB. Bradley Zimmer is actually Darthraki for “prototypical No. 2 hitter.”
Chris Shaw, 1B, San Francisco Giants (High-A San Jose): 3-for-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, BB, K. He’s a 20 runner who won’t remind anyone of John Olerud with the glove, but there’s plus power from the left side and some feel for the barrel here, too.
Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (High-A Lakeland): 1-for-1, 4, HR, 4 BB. We haven’t seen a Christin Stewart feared like this since Snow White and the Huntsman.
Cody Reed, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Low-A Kane County): 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K. Well, that’s a heck of a way to make your full-season debut. Reed needs to watch his weight, but the arm strength is impressive.
Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome): 3-for-4, K. He’s one of those few hitters who has a chance to hit for average despite having loads of swing-and-miss, and there should be plus power when all is said and done.
Skye Bolt, OF, Athletics (Low-A Beloit): 3-for-4, HR, BB. Yep, his name is super fun, but there are also three above-average tools at his disposal, and he continues to show these moments of appetizing brilliance.