AL shines in Prospect Team of the Week

July 19th, 2021

MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any Minor Leaguer currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list in our Prospect Rankings is eligible.

There were a lot of exceptional Minor League performances last week. Blue Jays shortstop Orelvis Martinez and Rangers second baseman Justin Foscue each averaged more than a home run per game, while Rockies outfielder Zac Veen totaled as many extra-base hits as outs.

The eight hitters on the latest Prospect Team of the Week combined to hit .473/.556/1.114 with 29 homers, 63 runs and 86 RBIs in 43 games. The three pitchers spun 16 scoreless innings between them, surrendering just four hits and four walks while striking out 27.

Here are the brightest stars in the Minors from games of July 12-18:

C: Bryan Lavastida, Lake County Captains (High-A)
(Indians No. 25)
.429/.591/.929, 5 G, 14 AB, 6 R, 6 H, 4 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 6 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB

A career .321 hitter in three pro seasons, Lavastida has been red-hot since missing three weeks in May with a wrist injury and has reached base in each of his 15 games this month, including four contests with multiple RBIs last week. If he weren't a few plate appearances short of qualifying, he'd rank third in the High-A Central in hitting (.326) and on-base percentage (.413) and fourth in slugging (.518) and OPS (.931).

1B: Grant Lavigne, Fresno Grizzlies (Low-A)
(Rockies No. 12)
.435/.500/.739, 6 G, 23 AB, 7 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 4 SO

Lavigne has improved each month this season, starting slow with a .652 OPS in May but posting a .886 mark in June and surging to 1.053 in July. He had four multihit games last week and reached base five times on Thursday and is now batting .289/.395/.453 with six homers in 62 games in Low-A.

2B: Justin Foscue, Hickory Crawdads (High-A)
(Rangers No. 5)
.471/.500/1.529, 4 G, 17 AB, 8 R, 8 H, 3 2B, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 1 BB, 3 SO

The 14th overall pick in 2020 Draft, Foscue batted just .182 in two weeks in May before missing nearly two months with a left rib contusion. He returned on July 6 and has homered in each of his last six games, including five in four contests last week to improve his overall season line to .289/.389/.737 with nine homers in 21 contests, mostly in High-A.

3B: Austin Shenton, Everett AquaSox (High-A)/Arkansas Travelers (Double-A)
(Mariners No. 17)
.526/.609/1.211, 5 G, 19 AB, 7 R, 10 H, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 1 SO

Shenton tied for the most doubles (five) among Top 30 Prospects last week while also homering in each of his High-A games before a promotion to Double-A. He departed as the High-A Central leader in slugging (.576), OPS (.994), doubles (24), extra-base hits (38) and RBIs (53) while also ranking second in homers (11) and runs (55). He's batting .302/.423/.583 overall with 11 homers and 43 walks in 60 games and tops the Minors with 27 doubles and 41 extra-base hits

SS: Orelvis Martinez, Dunedin Blue Jays (Low-A)
(Blue Jays No. 6)
.500/.563/1.357, 6 G, 28 AB, 10 R, 14 H, 3 2B, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 3 BB, 6 SO

Martinez had four hits (three for extra bases) and drove in three runs on Friday, then had one of the best individual games of the Minor League season on Saturday, going 4-for-6 with three homers, four runs and nine RBIs. For the week, he paced all Top 30 Prospects in hits, total bases (38), homers and RBIs. The recipient of the second-largest bonus ($3.5 million) in the 2018 international class, he's hitting .291/.375/.578 and tops the Low-A Southeast with 69 hits, 19 doubles, 15 homers, 36 extra-base hits, 137 total bases and 56 RBIs in 59 games

OF: Joshua Mears, Lake Elsinore Storm (Low-A)
(Padres No. 9)
.480/.567/.920, 6 G, 25 AB, 4 R, 12 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SO, 1 SB

Mears makes the PTOW for the third time in 2021, tying Rays left-hander John Doxakis, Pirates first baseman Mason Martin, Yankees right-hander Glenn Otto and Athletics outfielder Cody Thomas for the most appearances this year. He finished last week with four consecutive multihit games, including a two-homer contest on Thursday. He's batting .259/.402/.535 and stands fourth in the Low-A West with 12 homers in 56 games.

OF: Brent Rooker, St. Paul Saints (Triple-A)
(Twins No. 10)
.304/.393/1.000, 6 G, 23 AB, 9 R, 7 H, 1 2B, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 3 BB, 9 SO

Rooker snapped out of a July slump with three homers and seven RBIs on Tuesday and added blasts on Wednesday and Saturday as well. He leads the Triple-A East and is tied for second in the Minors with 19 homers in 58 games, sits in the top five in the league in RBIs (47, third), extra-base hits (28, fourth) and walks (37, fourth) and is batting .239/.368/.566 in Triple-A.

OF: Zac Veen, Fresno Grizzlies (Low-A)
(Rockies No. 1/MLB No. 39)
.667/.750/1.556, 5 G, 18 AB, 12 R, 12 H, 1 2B, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 5 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB

The No. 9 overall selection in last year's Draft, Veen slugged five homers last week -- one more than his total from his first 10 weeks in pro ball. He went 4-for-4 with two homers, two walks, four runs and six RBIs on Thursday and led all Top 30 Prospects in hitting, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS (2.306) and runs for the week. He paces the Low-A West with 41 walks, places second with 50 runs and 27 steals and is batting .282/.399/.489 with nine homers in 61 games

LHP: Evan Lee, Wilmington Blue Rocks (High-A)
(Nationals No. 24)
1-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO, 0.50 WHIP

Coming off his worst start of the year (eight runs in 4 1/3 innings) on July 7, Lee bounced back with his best, striking out nine in six scoreless innings last Wednesday to earn his first victory of 2021. His ERA still sits at 4.81, but he does have 56 whiffs in 39 1/3 frames.

RHP: Jordan Balazovic, Wichita Wind Surge (Double-A)
(Twins No. 2/MLB No. 75)
1-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO, 0.29 WHIP

After missing the first month of the season with a back injury, Balazovic hasn't allowed a run in five of his eight starts, including his last three straight. He permitted just one hit and one walk while fanning 11 of the 22 batters he faced in seven innings last Thursday to stretch his scoreless streak to 18 2/3 frames. He's now 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA and a 51/9 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 Double-A innings.

RP: Wyatt Mills, Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A)
(Mariners No. 19)
0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 1 SV, 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 0.00 WHIP

Mills got roughed up in two big league stints in May but was untouchable in Triple-A last week, retiring all nine batters he faced, seven via the strikeout. He has a 3.18 ERA in 16 Triple-A appearances this year with a 40/6 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings.