With the first half of the Minor Leagues’ full-season circuits in the rearview mirror, teams have already punched their postseason tickets in select leagues, and players are gearing up for the dog days of summer.
This week on the Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week, a pair of selections from earlier in the season make their returns while one organization notches multiple honorees.
To be eligible for the Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week, Minor League players must be ranked among their club's Top 30 prospects on Pipeline's lists. (Those in the Majors do not qualify.)
This is the Prospect Team of the Week for June 20-June 26:
Catcher: Israel Pineda, Wilmington Blue Rocks (High-A)
Nationals No. 24
.421/.476/.842, 5 G, 8-for-19, 2 HR, 1 3B, 7 RBI, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Pineda kicks off this week’s selections with the first of his career. The backstop tallied hits in all five games his Wilmington squad played against Aberdeen and posted his biggest performance on Saturday, going 3-for-5 with a grand slam, a triple and five RBIs. The showing, Pineda’s second three-hit game of the season, helped drive his team’s 11-1 rout of the IronBirds. The 22-year-old now has hits in six straight games after going hitless in four of his previous five. Over that period, he’s boosted his average from .229 to .251 and his OPS from .624 to .697.
1B: Blaze Jordan, Salem Red Sox (Single-A)
Red Sox No. 6
.500/.556/.833, 6 G, 12-for-24, 2 HR, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 K
Jordan likewise makes his first Prospect Team of the Week squad (though he’s not the first Blaze among this year’s selections) thanks to a stellar week of games for Salem. Jordan ran his own hitting streak to 16 games by notching knocks in all six against Fredericksburg, including five multihit performances. The first baseman doubled in each of the series’ first two games, homered in the next two, and drove in all five of his runs over the final four games of the set. Jordan’s progression this season has been steady. After batting .162/.230/.250 in 17 games for the month of April, he jumpstarted his campaign with a .323/.358/.515 line in 24 May contests. So far in June, he’s been even better, batting an eye-popping .417/.474/.690 in 22 games.
2B: Samad Taylor, Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A)
Blue Jays No. 16
.364/.400/.955, 6 G, 8-for-22, 4 HR, 1 2B, 7 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 5 K
Though he cooled over the last three games of his week, Taylor was scorching hot in his first three. The infielder went 7-for-11 to open Buffalo’s series against St. Paul with two homers on Tuesday (during a five-RBI performance) and another on Wednesday. Taylor only notched one hit in 11 at-bats over his final three games, but even that one left the yard; a solo shot on Saturday night.
3B: Deyvison De Los Santos, Visalia Rawhide (Single-A)
D-backs No. 12
.577/.607/.885, 6 G, 15-for-26, 2 HR, 1 3B, 6 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 5 K
It was a week of threes for the D-backs’ De Los Santos, who tallied three hits in five different games for the Rawhide at Inland Empire. The corner infielder started with a homer and two singles on Tuesday before tripling to go along with two singles on Thursday. After racking up three singles in Friday and Saturday’s games, De Los Santos finished the week with another homer and two singles on Sunday. For the month of June, the 19-year-old is batting .422/.451/.663 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 21 games played.
SS: Nasim Nunez, Beloit Sky Carp (High-A)
Marlins No. 17
.474/.615/.947, 5 G, 9-for-19, 1 HR, 2 3B, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 6 R, 6 BB, 1 K, 2 SB
Nunez’s bat is coming alive, and last week was his best series of the season. After going 0-for-2 with a walk in Tuesday’s series opener at Lansing, Nunez went 9-for-17 the rest of the way. His biggest performance came in a 4-for-4 showing on Friday, during which the shortstop tripled, doubled, drove in three, stole two bases and added two walks. In Sunday’s finale, Nunez was nearly as good, belting a homer and tacking on a double, a walk and three runs scored. Over his last six games, Nunez has walked seven times against only two strikeouts, bringing his total walks for the month of June (17) nearly level with his strikeouts (18) through 18 games played.
OF: Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge (Double-A)
Twins No. 9
.429/.556/.952, 9-for-21, 3 HR, 2 2B, 6 RBI, 7 R, 6 BB, 7 K
Back for his second selection, Wallner paced Wichita at the plate in a seven-game series against visiting San Antonio. With hits in all six of his games played, primarily in right field, Wallner started off with a pair of homers and four RBIs as part of his 3-for-5 day in Tuesday’s series opener. The Southern Miss product doubled and walked twice on Wednesday before walking three times and notching a single on Thursday. Wallner added another homer and a double on Friday and then recorded a single in each of the week’s final two games. Through 24 games in June, Wallner is batting .351/.510/.689 with six homers and 13 RBIs.
OF: Evan Carter, Hickory Crawdads (High-A)
Rangers No. 9
.455/.571/.909, 6 G, 10-for-22, 1 HR, 3 3B, 1 2B, 8 RBI, 8 R, 6 BB, 4 K, 4 SB
Like Wallner, Carter also opened his series with a bang, going 3-for-3 with a grand slam and a pair of triples in Tuesday’s first game at Rome. The Tennessee prep product drove in six runs that night, scored three and added a walk before tallying at least one hit in each of his next five games. After singles on Wednesday and Thursday, Carter doubled as part of a three-hit night on Friday. The outfielder then tripled, drove in a pair and walked twice on Saturday and finished the series with a single and walk on Sunday. Prior to his big series, Carter was hitting just .143 in June (6-for-42) with a .321 on-base percentage and .167 slugging percentage. Those numbers jumped to .250/.405/.422 after his series at Rome.
OF: Grant McCray, San Jose Giants (Single-A)
Giants No. 25
.387/.412/.903, 6 G, 12-for-31, 4 HR, 4 2B, 9 RBI, 8 R, 1 BB, 10 K, 2 SB
Back on the Prospect Team of the Week for the second time this year, McCray flashed his power bat last week as Single-A San Jose ran its winning streak to 11 straight with a six-game sweep on the road at Stockton. McCray was one of the driving forces behind that sweep, accounting for 17 runs and eight extra-base hits. The outfielder homered and drove in three in the series opener and then, after going 0-for-5 on Wednesday, took off over the next four days. McCray homered Thursday, Friday and Saturday, driving in a combined six runs and racking up nine hits with multihit performances in each game. He finished the weekend with a double and a walk on Sunday. All together, McCray’s average has reached the .300 mark with his OPS now sitting at .919 in his second season at Single-A.
LHP: Zach King, Beloit Sky Carp (High-A)
Marlins No. 29
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 K, 0.57 WHIP
While shortstop Nunez was rapping out hits at the plate, King was the beneficiary in his second straight dominant start for Beloit. The southpaw got the nod on Sunday afternoon at Lansing and threw seven stellar innings, allowing just three singles and establishing a new personal best with 11 strikeouts. That start came on the heels of six shutout innings at Lake County on June 19. Over his last two outings, King has allowed just eight hits and two walks in 13 innings while striking out 20 batters.
RHP: Robinson Pina, Tri-City Dust Devils (High-A)
Angels No. 29
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.57 WHIP
Pina ran into his first speed bumps of the season at the start of June, giving up nine earned runs over his first 14 1/3 innings, spanning three starts, to see his ERA jump from 2.14 at the end of May to 3.19 after his outing on June 16. On Thursday, the right-hander got back on track. Pina responded to his tough stretch with seven scoreless innings at Eugene, striking out 13 -- one shy of matching his season high -- while walking only two and allowing a pair of singles. The seven innings marked the righty’s longest outing of the year and first time reaching that threshold since last June 15.
RP: Cam Robinson, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (High-A)
Brewers No. 26
0-0, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 3 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 0.82 WHIP
Robinson has been steady force out of the bullpen for Wisconsin this year, converting 17 of 19 save opportunities, including three last week against visiting Quad Cities. The right-hander struck out two to work around two walks in a hitless inning of work on Wednesday. Two days later, he fanned three more and allowed just one hit and no walks in 1 2/3 innings. On Sunday, Robinson wrapped up his week with another save in a perfect ninth, striking out two. Since the start of May, Robinson has allowed runs in just one of 19 appearances, surrendering three in an inning against Beloit on June 17. Even with that outing, his ERA over the last two months sits at 1.03 with 38 strikeouts against nine walks in 26 1/3 innings.