Top Prospects: Meadows, Barnes among 10 best Wednesday
Pirates No. 2 prospect homers in ninth to tie game for the Curve, No. 16 rips a grand slam
Austin Meadows and Barrett Barnes came up big for Double-A Altoona Wednesday in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs, with each player connecting on a late-inning home run as Double-A Altoona rallied from a seven-run deficit to beat Bowie, 8-7.
Pirates No. 16 prospect Barrett Barnes led the comeback with a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning to put Altoona within two runs. The home run was the 10th of the season -- his fourth in 38 games with the Curve -- for the 24-year-old outfielder, who finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Since arriving in the Eastern League, Barnes is batting .261 with 10 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs in 38 games.
Meanwhile, Meadows, the Pirates' No. 2 prospect (No. 24 overall), couldn't have picked a better time for his first Double-A home run, connecting on a game-tying, two-run home run with one out in the ninth inning.
Barnes followed Meadows' home run with a single, advanced to second base on a throwing error and then came around to score the winning run on a base hit by Jacob Stallings.
Meadows has now hit safely in six of seven games since moving up to Altoona, batting .367 with six extra-base hits in that span. The 20-year-old outfielder earned the promotion after an outstanding campaign in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League during which he batted .307/.357/.407 with 72 runs scored, 33 extra-base hits and 20 steals in 121 games for Class A Advanced Bradenton.
Altoona and Bowie will meet on Thursday in the second game of the best-of-three series.
The rest of the 10 best performances from top Minor Leaguers
• Astros No. 18 prospect Chris Devenski struck out a season-high nine batters over six innings as Double-A Corpus Christi defeated Midland, 9-2. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed two earned runs on five hits and one walk, throwing 65 of 98 pitches for strikes. After scuffling during the second part of July, Devenski has pitched to a 2.78 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings over his last six starts. On the season, the 2011 25th-rounder is 8-4 with a 3.01 ERA and 113/34 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 125 2/3 innings (25 appearances/18 starts) for the Hooks.
• Cardinals No. 2 prospect Jack Flaherty added to his eye-opening full-season debut Wednesday, firing seven innings of one-run ball in Class Peoria's win over Kane County. The 19-year-old right-hander yielded one run on five hits and struck out six, and he's fanned at least six batters in six of his last seven starts for the Chiefs. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder has been excellent in his last three starts, posting a 1.74 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings, and he owns a 2.74 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 103/31 strikeout-to-walk in 102 innings (19 starts) on the season.
• Rays No. 10 prospect Casey Gillaspie went 2-for-3 with his 18th home run and three RBIs as Class A Advanced Charlotte edged Palm Beach, 6-4, to move on to the next round in the Florida State League playoffs. The 22-year-old switch-hitter had a huge series for the Stone Crabs, going a combined 5-for-10 with three runs scored, two extra-base hits and four RBIs over two games. During the regular season, Gillaspie produced a .253/.334/.480 batting line and plated 48 runs in 79 games between Class A Bowling Green and Charlotte.
• Reds No. 6 prospect Nick Travieso pitched Class A Advanced Daytona into the next round of the Florida State League playoffs, allowing one earned run on six hits in a 2-1 victory over Clearwater. The 2012 first-rounder struck five against one walk in the outing, and he also induced 10 groundouts compared to just two flyouts. Travieso, 21, has been dominant over his last 11 starts for the Tortugas, going 5-2 with a 1.50 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 41/17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 54 innings. On top of that, the right-hander has yielded just one home run while holding opposing hitters to a .174 batting average in that span.
• Rockies No. 18 prospect Jesus Tinoco led Class A Asheville to a 5-2 win over Savannah to kick off the South Atlantic League playoffs, allowing one earned run over 7 2/3 innings in his longest start as a professional. The 20-year-old right-hander has been a force since coming over from Toronto in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, as he's 6-0 with a 1.70 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 43/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 47 2/3 innings (eight starts) for the Tourists. Overall, the Venezuela native owns a 2.86 ERA and 111/30 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 129 innings between the Blue Jays' and Rockies' Class A affiliates.
• Royals No. 15 prospect Alec Mills continued to roll Wednesday, allowing just two hits over six innings as Class A Advanced Wilmington dropped Lynchburg, 6-1, in the Carolina League playoffs. The 23-year-old was excellent over his first 13 starts for the Blue Rocks, posting a 2.34 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 75/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 77 innings. Mills was less consistent during the second half -- he also spent nearly a month on the disabled list, from July 20 to August 15 -- but has pitched well of late, going 2-1 with a 1.02 ERA and 19/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 2/3 covering his last three starts. Pitching in his fourth professional campaign, Mills has a 2.87 ERA along with a very impressive 117/17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 119 1/3 frames for Wilmington in 2015.
• Tigers No. 5 prospect Spencer Turnbull followed the best start of his Minor League career (6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 12 K) with another strong performance Wednesday, guiding Class A West Michigan to a playoff win over Fort Wayne with six innings of two-run ball. The 22-year-old right-hander surrendered seven hits and one walk while striking out seven in the game, with 69 of his 100 pitches going for strikes. Turnbull has dealt over his last six starts for the Whitecaps, posting a 4-0 record, 2.36 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings. The Alabama product is 12-3 with a 3.01 ERA and 113/53 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 122 2/3 innings this year in his full-season debut.
• Yankees No. 5 prospect James Kaprielian was sharp in his longest professional start as Short Season Staten Island defeated Tri-City, 2-1, in 11 innings to open the New York-Penn League playoffs. The 21-year-old right-hander allowed one earned run on four hits and fanned four batters in six innings, needing only 68 pitches (52 strikes) to complete the outing. Kaprielian, whom the Yankees selected in the first round of the 2015 Draft (No. 16 overall), has been as good as advertised during his time with Staten Island, registering a 1.80 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 16/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 15 innings (four starts).