Athletics trio among 10 top prospect performers Friday
Oakland's No. 6 prospect drives in three, No. 21 homers and No. 22 notches four hits
A trio of Oakland Athletics prospects hit up a storm Friday as Double-A Midland scored in each of the first six innings en route to a 9-5 win over Corpus Christi in the Texas League semifinals.
The RockHounds' offense was led by leadoff hitter and No. 21 prospect Jaycob Brugman, who went 2-for-4 with a home run, double, three RBIs and two runs scored. The 23-year-old outfielder gave Midland a 3-1 lead with an RBI double in the bottom of the second inning and later blew the game open in the sixth with a two-out, two-run home run.
The Brigham Young product put together a solid campaign in the Texas League, batting .260/.343/.382 with six home runs, 41 extra-base hits, 61 runs scored and 63 RBIs in 132 games for Midland. Brugman also stole 11 bases (in 18 chances) and posted a solid 89/62 strikeout-to-walk ratio while seeing time at all three outfield positions.
No. 22 prospect Ryon Healy also had a big game, collecting four hits in five at-bats to go along with one run scored and an RBI. After a breakthrough 2014 campaign in the California League, many expected the 23-year-old corner infielder's production to take a hit this season in Double-A. Instead, Healy -- a 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-handed hitter -- silenced his doubters with another strong performance, batting .302/.339/.426 with 10 home runs, 31 doubles and 62 RBIs in 124 games.
This season was the first time in his three-year career that he played third base in a majority of his team's games, logging 84 starts at the hot corner compared to 24 at first base.
Meanwhile, No. 6 prospect Renato Nunez continued his hot hitting by going 2-for-4 with three RBIs for the RockHounds. The multi-hit performance also extended the 21-year-old's hitting streak to eight games, during which he's batting .359 with four home runs, five doubles and 24 RBIs. Nunez, like Healy, put together a well-rounded campaign in his first taste of Double-A, batting .278/.332/.480 with 18 home runs, 23 doubles and 61 RBIs in 93 games for Midland. On top of that, the right-handed hitter drastically reduced his strikeout rate to 15.9 percent this season after fanning 20.1 percent of the time in 2014.
The rest of the 10 best performances from top Minor Leaguers
• Angels No. 30 prospect David Fletcher had a perfect day at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double, two runs scored, two walks and a stolen base, but it wasn't enough to prevent Rookie-level Orem from losing to Idaho Falls. With the multi-hit performance, the 21-year-old shortstop has now recorded at least one knock in all three postseason games. Fletcher, a 2015 sixth-rounder, stood out this summer in his professional debut, batting .311/.377/.414 with 46 runs scored, 22 extra-base hits, 40 RBIs and 17 steals in 69 games between Orem and Class A Burlington..
• The Brewers' No. 28 prospect Adrian Houser was masterful in Double-A Biloxi's win over Pensacola in the Southern League semifinals, recording his first shutout in five professional seasons while striking out a career-high 10 batters. He carried a perfect game into the seventh inning before yielding three hits, and he needed only 99 pitches (72 strikes) to complete the outing. Acquired at the Trade Deadline in the Carlos Gomez deal, Houser, 22, scuffled over the first four months of the season in the Astros' system but fared much better after joining Biloxi, going 4-1 with a 2.02 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 32/6 strikeout-to-walk in 37 innings over seven starts.
• Phillies No. 2 prospect (No. 55 overall) Jake Thompson scattered three hits over nine scoreless innings Friday in a 3-0 win against Binghamton, giving Double-A Reading a 2-0 series advantage in the best-of-five Eastern League semifinals. He surrendered three hits and one walk while striking out eight, with 66 of 108 pitches gong for strikes.
"I threw a lot of strikes, got ahead in counts and was able to get them to put balls in play. And the defense made every play behind me," Thompson told MiLB.com. "I was throwing good pitches in the bottom of the zone and was able to use off-speed early in the count to get ground-ball outs."
The 21-year-old right-hander had completed eight innings just once in his four-year career before Friday's outing, and it was the 10th time in 72 starts in which he's struck out at least eight batters. Thompson was outstanding after coming over from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels deal, going 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 34 strikeouts and 12 walks in 45 innings over his final seven regular-season starts.
• Phillies No. 3 prospect (No. 59 overall) Nick Williams -- whom was acquired along with Thompson in the aforementioned Hamels trade -- went 2-for-5 with a solo home run for Double-A Reading in his third game back from the disabled list (concussion). The 22-year-old outfielder had an impressive 2015 campaign between the Rangers' and Phillies' Double-A affiliates, batting .303/.354/.491 with 17 home runs, 26 doubles, six triples, 77 runs scored and 55 RBIs in 119 regular-season contests. Williams was especially good in 22 games with Reading, posting a .320/.340/.536 batting line along with four home runs, 11 extra-base hits and 21 runs scored.
• Phillies No. 7 prospect Franklyn Kilome bounced back from his worst start of the season to fire five scoreless frames in Class A Short Season Williamsport's 3-1 win over West Virginia in the New York-Penn League playoffs. The 20-year-old allowed two hits and three walks but also matched his career-high with six strikeouts. Kilome, a 6-foot-6, 175-pound right-hander, had a good but also inconsistent regular season for the Crosscutters, pitching to a 3.28 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 36/21 strikeout-to-walk in 49 1/3 innings (11 starts).
• Royals No. 5 prospect Bubba Starling went 1-for-2 with a two-run home run and two stolen bases to help Double-A Northwest Arkansas beat Arkansas, 6-3, and clinch the Texas League North divisional title. After struggling in the low minors for several years, the 22-year-old outfielder put things together this season to hit .269/.337/.448 with 12 home runs, 39 extra-base hits and 44 RBIs in 103 games between Class A Advanced Wilmington (12 games) and Northwest Arkansas (91). More significantly, the 2011 first-rounder (No. 5 overall) walked at a steady clip (8.8 percent) while reducing his strikeout rate to 25.9 percent from 27.3 percent in 2014.
• Royals No. 29 prospect Lane Adams also filled out the box score in Northwest Arkansas' series-clinching win, going 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, three runs scored and three stolen bases. In 134 regular-season games this season between Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, the 25-year-old outfielder batted a combined .281/.347/.445 with 16 homers, 45 extra-base hits, 72 runs scored and 31 steals. A 13th-round Draft pick back in 2009, Adams did most of his damage in Texas League, where he batted .298 with an .826 OPS, 12 homers and 29 stolen bases. He's looking to return to the Major Leagues after going 0-for-3 in six games with the Royals last season as a September callup.