Saturday's top prospect performers

September 19th, 2021

Here's a look at Saturday’s top Minor League performers from each team's Top 30 Prospects list:

Mariners: George Kirby, RHP (MLB No. 34), Double-A Arkansas
Kirby posted another stellar outing on Saturday, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings with six punchouts and two hits allowed for Arkansas. The 2019 first-rounder wrapped up an impressive second season with his sixth scoreless start of the season. Kirby finished the year with a 2.76 ERA, tossing 62 innings over 14 starts and striking out 74 batters while allowing 14 walks. In 2022, the 23-year-old is expected to follow Logan Gilbert as the next young Mariners starter to make an impact in Seattle. Mariners prospect stats »

D-backs: Alek Thomas, OF (MLB No. 41), Triple-A Reno
Not one, not two, not three … make it four straight games with a long ball for Arizona’s third-ranked prospect. The 21-year-old smacked a solo shot to right-center to lead off the eighth inning for the Aces. It was the second knock of the game for Thomas, who added a pair of walks and scored twice. The 2018 second-round Draft pick has gone 7-for-17 with four dingers, a double, two walks, six runs scored and four RBIs over his past four games. D-backs prospect stats »

Royals: MJ Melendez, C (MLB No. 68), Triple-A Omaha
Melendez extended his MiLB home run lead in grand fashion. The Royals’ No. 4 prospect smacked a grand slam for his 38th dinger of the season, his 10th in Triple-A, in Omaha’s 14-3 victory over Iowa. It’s worth noting that Melendez had never hit more than 19 long balls in a season before 2021, and his 89 RBIs surpass his previous career-high mark of 73 he set in 2018. He’s also drawn 71 walks and is slugging a whopping .612 in 113 games across two levels this year. Royals prospect stats »

Indians: Gabriel Arias, SS (MLB No. 83), Triple-A Columbus
Daniel Espino, RHP (MLB No. 94), High-A Lake County

Arias was all about the double in Columbus’ victory over Toledo, tallying three two-baggers in a game for the first time in his career and setting a new career-best mark for doubles in a season with 28. The 21-year-old tallied two RBIs and two runs scored to round out his night and recorded his second consecutive three-hit game. Arias has been productive all season long for Columbus with a .781 OPS and 41 extra-base hits.

In his longest outing of the season, Espino was pretty much untouchable. Cleveland’s No. 5 prospect fanned 10 in 6 2/3 frames of two-hit ball, his seventh outing of the year in which he’s recorded double-digit strikeouts and his second 10-strikeout game in a row. It’s also the second time all year he hasn’t walked a batter. Espino fired 62 of his 82 pitches for strikes and retired 16 batters in a row after allowing a two-out double in the opening inning. The 20-year-old has tallied 152 strikeouts in 91 2/3 innings across two levels this season. Indians prospect stats »

Cubs: James Triantos, INF (No. 11), ACL Cubs
Triantos was selected 56th overall in the 2021 Draft after reclassifying from the 2022 class and has impressed in his first taste of professional ball. The 18-year-old smacked two homers and added a double in the Arizona Complex League on Saturday, tallying a career-best 10 total bases. In 25 games in the ACL, Triantos has totaled six homers, seven doubles, 19 RBIs and 27 runs scored while slashing .327/.376/.594 with a .970 OPS. Cubs prospect stats »

Giants: Ryan Murphy, RHP (No. 21), High-A Eugene 
Not only did Murphy strike out eight in just four innings of work, but he only allowed one baserunner in the form of a one-out single in the second inning. After surrendering the hit, Murphy fanned five of the last eight batters he faced as he tossed 42 of his 59 pitches for strikes. Since being promoted to Eugene at the beginning of August, the 21-year-old has pitched to a 1.44 ERA in six High-A starts, with 48 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings. On the season, he’s recorded 164 K’s. Giants prospect stats »

Mets: Luke Ritter, 2B/1B (No. 28), High-A Brooklyn
Ritter roped three hits in a game for the third time this season, crushing a 422-foot home run and adding a double, a single, two RBIs and two runs scored. The 24-year-old righty has struggled since a hot month of July, but has found his power stroke with three homers over his past six games. On the year, Ritter has swatted 14 homers and driven in 44 runs with a .758 OPS. Mets prospect stats »

Padres: James Wood, OF (No. 5), ACL Padres
On the final day of the Rookie ball season, Wood went out strong with a 3-for-3 performance, smacking his third home run, driving in two and walking once. Drafted 62nd overall in 2021, the 19-year-old tore the cover off the ball in 26 games in the Complex League, with a .372 average and an even 1.000 OPS with 10 stolen bases, 13 walks, 18 runs scored and 22 RBIs. Padres prospect stats »

Tigers: Cristian Santana, SS (No. 9), DSL Tigers
Jacob Robson, OF (No. 28), Triple-A Toledo

Following a cold month of August, Santana’s bat has come alive in September. The 17-year-old kept his strong month rolling with his second consecutive three-hit game, smacking a homer and a double with two RBIs and three runs scored. Santana, who signed for a Tigers-record $2.95 million bonus in January, has slashed .391/.517/.630 for a 1.147 OPS in 15 games this month. On the season, Santana has a .916 OPS with seven homers and 22 RBIs, showing elite plate discipline with 26 walks and a .413 OBP in 184 plate appearances.

Robson notched his fourth four-hit game of the season on a perfect day at the plate, lacing his 10th Triple-A double and scoring three runs in the process. The 2016 Draft pick has put together a strong season in 2021, slashing .316/.430/.498 with seven homers, 19 doubles, 36 RBIs and 51 walks in 85 games across two levels, including a .282 average and 14 stolen bases in 67 contests with Toledo. Tigers prospect stats »