This story was excerpted from Mandy Bell’s Guardians Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.
The Guardians’ offense went quiet over the last two nights, but a handful of hitters throughout the team’s farm system have been on fire. Let’s take another trip down to the farm for this edition of the Guardians Minor League roundup:
When infielder/outfielder Jhonkensy Noel, the Guardians' No. 14 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was sent back to Minor League camp this spring, the Guardians noted that they’re looking forward to seeing what he’s able to do once he has more repetitions in their Minor League system, especially if he can control the strike zone. But he didn’t get off to the start he probably would’ve wanted. By the end of June, he was hitting just .199 with a .401 slugging percentage.
The Guardians saw flashes of his power this spring in the limited time he had to participate in Cactus League games. Even when he was struggling this year, he still hit 14 homers in the first three months of the season. But now, Noel is starting to show signs of having more well-rounded success.
Since the calendar flipped to July, Noel has progressed. In 75 at-bats, he’s hit .293 with a .507 slugging percentage. He’s hit four home runs with 15 RBIs, and his strikeout rate dropped from 32% last month to 21% so far this month.
Unlike Noel, No. 11 prospect Petey Halpin wasn’t part of big league camp this spring. But the now-21-year-old outfielder served as a depth player in a handful of Cactus League games for the Guardians, playing in the late innings after the big leaguers got their work in. During that stretch, Halpin made such an impression that Guardians manager Terry Francona called him over to the big league meeting one morning to be named the MVP of the game the night before. And over his last handful of games, he’s been as productive as anyone in Cleveland’s system.
Halpin has hit .400 (12-for-30) in his last six games, with three doubles, two homers and four RBIs.
High-A Lake County
The Guardians know about the talents of infielder Milan Tolentino. The No. 18 prospect was known for his defense and his arm strength coming into the 2020 Draft and has lived up to those expectations since turning pro. What will cause him to make quick advancements through Cleveland’s system is whether he can prove his bat can make just as much of an impact as his glove. He hasn’t proven it consistently just yet, but he’s giving everyone a glance of what he’s capable of now.
Tolentino carries an active nine-game hitting streak into Sunday. In that span, he’s hit .410 with two doubles, a triple, three homers and 12 RBIs. He’s knocked in a run in each of his last four games.
As long as we’re talking hitting streaks, we need to highlight shortstop Jose Devers, who has logged at least one hit in each of his last 10 games. Only one of those contests was a multihit effort, however he’s still hitting .282 with two doubles and four homers in that span.