The future of the St. Louis Cardinals' starting rotation shined on Friday night as Nos. 1 and 2 prospects Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty had strong outings for Triple-A Memphis and Class A Advanced Palm Beach, respectively.Making his second Triple-A start since returning from a 50-game suspension, Reyes, MLBPipeline.com's No.
The future of the St. Louis Cardinals' starting rotation shined on Friday night as Nos. 1 and 2 prospects Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty had strong outings for Triple-A Memphis and Class A Advanced Palm Beach, respectively.
Making his second Triple-A start since returning from a 50-game suspension, Reyes, MLBPipeline.com's No. 11 overall prospect, allowed one run on three hits in five innings for the Redbirds, who ultimately fell to Las Vegas, 4-1. The 21-year-old righty struck out seven hitters, walked two and hit another in the outing while throwing 58 of his 89 pitches for strikes. Of those strikes, 24 were of the swing-and-miss variety.
Reyes was cruising up until the fifth inning, when he allowed a leadoff single and then issued an eight-pitch walk to the following hitter. But he bounced back to strike out the next two hitters, both swinging, and appeared destined to escape the jam before No. 82 overall prospect Gavin Cecchini took him back up the middle with a game-tying RBI single. Between his two starts for Memphis, Reyes has piled up 15 strikeouts in nine innings while allowing just one earned run.
As for Flaherty, the No. 75 overall prospect turned in his best start of 2016 for Palm Beach as he struck out a season-high nine hitters in six scoreless innings, giving up four hits and walking two. It was an encouraging performance by the 20-year-old right-hander, who had allowed at least three earned runs in four straight starts for the Cardinals heading into the day. He's pitched to a 5.08 ERA in 44 1/3 innings on the season, though his 44 strikeouts, strong groundball rate and three home runs allowed in that span suggests it will continue to come down.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Friday
• No. 17 overall prospect Sean Newcomb (Braves' No. 1) got back on track Friday with one of his better starts of the season for Double-A Mississippi, tossing five innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts in a win against Jacksonville. The 2014 first-rounder scattered four hits and walked only one batter in the outing after he issued a season-high six free passes in his last turn.
• No. 22 overall prospect Bradley Zimmer (Indians' No. 1) paced Double-A Akron's offense in a win over Harrisburg, going 3-for-4 with his ninth home run and two RBIs out of the three-hole. It was the second three-hit performance including a homer of the week for the 23-year-old outfielder, who has a .938 OPS with 23 extra-base hits and 17 steals in 42 games this season.
• No. 87 overall prospect Hunter Renfroe's (Padres' No. 1) 10th home run of the season proved to be the difference in Triple-A El Paso's 3-2 win over Omaha. His 2-for-4 showing at the plate lifted his season slash line to .317/.342/.585 in 44 games, while his 58 hits and 15 doubles have him tied for second place in the Pacific Coast League.
• A pair of young Marlins prospects showcased their power in Class A Greensboro's blowout of Hickory as both Stone Garrett (No. 4 prospect) and Isael Soto (No. 8) took Dillon Tate deep en route to finishing the game with two home runs each. Garrett led the way with three hits as the duo combined to go 5-for-9 with seven RBIs and six runs scored. 2015 first-rounder Josh Naylor (No. 2) also had a big game for the Grasshoppers, going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and RBIs.
• Mariners No. 4 prospect Tyler O'Neill tallied an RBI for a fourth straight games in Double-A Jackson's win against Montgomery, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. The 20-year-old has been anything but overmatched in Double-A this season, hitting .316/.374/.563 with a 17/48 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 45 games. On top of that, he's tied for the Southern League lead in RBIs (33) and ranks second in both home runs (9) and hits (55).
• Nationals No. 9 prospect Austin Voth didn't yield an earned run for the fifth time in nine starts, firing a season-high seven scoreless innings for Triple-A Syracuse in a win against Gwinnett. The 23-year-old righty surrendered just three hits, struck out six and did not issue a walk in the outing, with 61 of his 91 pitches going for strikes. Voth lowered his ERA to 2.81 from 3.25 with the performance, and he's now registered 50 strikeouts against eight walks in 51 1/3 frames this season.
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• After not giving up an earned run over his previous five starts and 31 innings, Tigers No. 14 prospect Tyler Alexander allowed one run on five hits over six innings in Class A Advanced Lakeland's loss to Clearwater. The 21-year-old southpaw fanned eight in the outing, one shy of his season-high, and walked one while throwing 59 of his 87 pitches for strikes. In his first full pro season, Alexander has pitched to an excellent 1.66 ERA in 54 1/3 innings for the Flying Tigers.
• Braves No. 25 prospect Max Povse set a new career high with 10 strikeouts in Class A Advanced Carolina's victory over Frederick. The 6-foot-8 righty allowed one run on six hits and two walks in the outing, and he's now piled up 16 strikeouts over 10 innings during his last two turns for the Mudcats.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.