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Thursday's best: Athletics prospects thrive for Nashville

MLB.com

Triple-A Nashville got off to a fast start this season thanks to performances from some of the Athletics' top prospects.

Triple-A Nashville got off to a fast start this season thanks to performances from some of the Athletics' top prospects.

Starting spots for each team's Top 30 prospects

Franklin Barreto, Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler and James Naile each put together impressive performances as the Sounds cruised to an 11-0 win over the Baby Cakes on Opening Day.

While Naile, Oakland's No. 25 prospect, spun a gem over five scoreless innings on the mound, the trio of position players combined to go 7-for-14 with eight RBIs.

Barreto (No. 66 overall, Athletics' No. 3) put the Sounds on the board early, hitting a two-run homer in the third. The second baseman also drove in a run via a sacrifice fly in the fourth on his way to finishing 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

Mateo (No. 73 overall, Athletics' No. 4) also collected a pair of hits in his Triple-A debut. Hitting atop the Sounds' lineup, the 22-year-old went 2-for-5, scored twice and drove in three runs.

While Mateo was making his Triple-A debut, Fowler (Athletics' No. 5), who was acquired while on the disabled list at last year's Trade Deadline, was making his organizational debut. Fowler got off to a good start, singling in his first at-bat, and just kept on hitting on his way to a 3-for-5, two-RBI performance.

Barreto blasts off

Other top prospect performances from Thursday's Opening Day action:

• No. 29 overall prospect Juan Soto (Nationals' No. 2) started the season in the best way possible, lifting a two-run homer out to left in his first at-bat. The 19-year-old, who hit just three homers in 2017 (32 games), finished 1-for-4.

Soto opens year with a homer

• No. 44 overall prospect Estevan Florial (Yankees' No. 2) came up with a pair of run-scoring hits in Class A Advanced Tampa's win over Lakeland. The 20-year-old, who finished 2-for-5, drove in a run with an RBI single in the seventh and collected another RBI via a ninth-inning triple.

• No. 81 overall prospect Nick Gordon (Twins' No. 4) showed off both his speed and bat, going 4-for-5 with a triple and an RBI for Double-A Chattanooga. Gordon, who hit .270 in 122 games with the Lookouts a season ago, tripled and scored in the first and then singled in three of his final four at-bats.

• No. 92 overall prospect Dane Dunning (White Sox No. 6) was stuck with a no-decision, but he put together an impressive outing for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out eight and gave up three hits as he cruised through five innings of one-run ball.

Brewers No. 10 prospect Freddy Peralta put up nothing but zeros for five innings on Opening Day. The right-hander, who was making his Triple-A debut, struck out six, walked two and gave up just one hit.

• A pair of Indians pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts over 12 innings as No. 8 prospect Shane Bieber fanned nine in six scoreless innings and No. 28 Elijah Morgan struck out eight over six innings as well. Bieber, pitching for Double-A Akron, gave up two hits and didn't allow a run, while Morgan gave up just one unearned run on four hits for Class A Lake County.

Bieber fans ninth batter

• Rockies prospects Colton Welker (No. 4) and Willie Abreu (No. 27) combined to go 5-for-6 with three homers and six RBIs to lead Class A Advanced Lancaster to a win over Modesto. Welker drove in the first run of the game with an RBI single in the first, but the duo really helped break the game open when they hit back-to-back homers in the second. The homer was the first of the night for Abreu, who also went deep in the sixth as part of a 3-for-3, four-RBI evening. Meanwhile, Welker finished 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs.

• A trio of Royals prospects, led by No. 3 Seuly Matias, showed off their power as they combined for four homers and five RBIs. Matias rounded the bases twice as he hit a pair of solo homers for Class A Lexington. However, he wasn't alone as Gabriel Cancel (No. 22) went 2-for-4 with a homer and a double for Class A Advanced Wilmington and Samir Duenez (No. 30) also went 2-for-4 with a double and a homer for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Matias smacks second homer

• Tigers prospects Beau Burrows (No. 4) and Gregory Soto (No. 8) were dominant on the mound for Double-A Erie and Class A Advanced Lakeland. Burrows led Erie to a win as he struck out six and gave up just one hit over five scoreless frames. Soto, despite the strong effort, was stuck with a no-decision after fanning five over five scoreless innings of his own.

Burrows rings up sixth K

Orioles No. 15 prospect Michael Baumann posted a career-high 10 strikeouts in a season-opening win with Class A Delmarva. Baumann, who posted a 1.28 ERA across 11 appearances last season, struck out the first two batters he faced, setting the tone for the dominant performance. The righty carved his way though five scoreless innings, walking one and yielding four hits.

Red Sox No. 30 prospect Jhonathan Diaz started the season with a win for Class A Greenville. Diaz struck out the side in both the fourth and fifth innings and fanned at least one batter in each frame, finishing with nine over six scoreless innings. The left-hander walked one and gave up two hits.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.