Class A West Michigan's offense exploded for 22 hits Monday in a 14-5 rout over Lansing to advance to the Midwest League finals.
Tigers No. 10 prospect Christin Stewart paced the WhiteCaps at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI, while Mike Gerber, the club's No. 19 prospect, finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a stolen base.
"Hitting's contagious, it really is, and tonight showed it," Stewart told MiLB.com. "We just strung a lot of hits together. We had some really good at-bats and we just executed when we needed to."
Stewart, whom the Tigers selected in the first round of the Draft in June, has batted a combined .285/.372/.508 with 10 home runs, 30 extra-base hits and 44 RBIs in 71 games between the Gulf Coast, New York-Penn and Midwest Leagues.
The 21-year-old outfielder spent most of his time at West Michigan, where he posted a .286/.375/.492 batting line along with seven homers, 20 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs in 51 contests. In the best-of-three Midwest League semifinals, Stewart was 5-for-12 with three RBIs.
Gerber, meanwhile, continues to add to an impressive 2015 campaign that saw him bat .292/.355/.468 with 13 home runs, 31 doubles, 10 triples and 76 RBIs in 135 games for the WhiteCaps. The 23-year-old outfielder also scored 74 runs and stole 16 bases in 20 attempts.
Like Stewart, Gerber -- a 15th-round Draft pick in 2014 out of Creighton -- swung a hot bat in the Midwest League semifinals, going 5-for-11 with a home run, triple, five runs scored and two RBIs.
West Michigan and Cedar Rapids will square off in game one of the Midwest League finals on Wednesday.
The rest of the 10 best performances from top Minor Leaguers
• Cubs No. 22 prospect Victor Caratini went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs as Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach defeated Wilmington, 2-0, to move within one game of the Carolina League finals. The 22-year-old catcher finished the regular season on a tear, batting .364 with a .998 OPS and nine extra-base hits over his final 15 games for the Pelicans, and he's kept it going in the postseason, going 7-for-16 with three doubles and six RBIs in his last five contests. Overall, Caratini batted .257/.342/.372 with 31 doubles and 53 RBIs in 112 regular-season games for Myrtle Beach.
• Dodgers No. 9 prospect Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run -- his second of the series -- in five at-bats as Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga edged High Desert, 6-5, in the California League semifinals. The 20-year-old first baseman had a huge full-season debut -- after spending the 2014 season between the Appalachian and Pioneer Leagues -- batting .264/.336/.538 with 30 home runs (tying him for the fifth-highest total in the Minors), 33 doubles and 103 RBIs in 128 games for the Quakes.
• Indians No. 10 prospect Erik Gonzalez backed Mike Clevinger's outstanding Triple-A debut and helped Columbus reach the Governors Cup by going 2-for-4 with a double and a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. He finished the five-game series with a .476 batting average. The 24-year-old shortstop has put up solid numbers in each of the last three seasons but his success has been overshadowed by Francisco Lindor's rise to the Major Leagues. In 2015, Gonzalez batted .255/.292/.373 with nine home runs, 24 doubles, seven triples, 70 runs scored, 69 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 137 games between Double-A Akron (72 games) and Columbus (65).
• Indians No. 15 prospect Clevinger fired 7 2/3 no-hit innings and struck out a career-best 10 batters in Columbus' 5-0 victory. He departed the game to a standing ovation after 102 pitches (65 strikes), with the pair of walks he issued in the fifth and eighth innings, respectively, representing the only blemishes in the 24-year-old right-hander's performance.
"This is definitely my best outing of the season so far, definitely one of the best of my career," Clevinger told MiLB.com. "I felt fresh, I had a lot of days off, so I definitely felt good."
Originally drafted by the Angels in the fourth round of the 2011 Draft, Clevinger made just eight starts the following year for the club's Class A affiliate before undergoing Tommy John surgery, which would limit him to just 46 2/3 innings between the 2012-13 seasons. The Seminole State (Fla.) Community College product managed to log 100 innings in 2014, though the Angels dealt the righty to Cleveland before the end of the season in exchange for reliever Vinnie Pestano.
Clevinger emerged as one of the Tribe's better pitching prospects this season in his first taste of the Double-A level, posting the fifth-best 2.73 ERA in the Eastern League while working a career-high 158 innings (27 appearances/26 starts) for Akron. On top of that, he posted a 1.06 WHIP, led the league opponents' batting average (.219) and ranked second in strikeouts (145).
• Indians No. 28 prospect Yandy Diaz supported Clevinger's performance with a big game of his own, going 3-for-4 with a double, run scored and RBI. The 24-year-old third baseman had been quiet in the series, going 2-for-14 in his previous four games, but he made up for it with a three-hit showing on Monday. The 6-foot-2, right-handed hitter appeared in just four games for Columbus before the start of the playoffs, though he did bat .315/.412/.408 with 25 extra-base hits, 55 RBIs and more walks (78) than strikeouts (65) in 132 games at Double-A Akron.
• Rangers No. 22 prospect Jairo Beras doubled, tripled and drove in three runs as part of a 2-for-3 performance, as Class A Hickory beat Asheville, 7-2, in game one of the South Atlantic League finals. He was 2-for-10 with a solo home run against West Virginia in the semifinals. Back in the Sally for a second consecutive season, Beras, 20, improved his batting line to .291/.332/.440 in 88 games while also tallying nine home runs and 18 doubles. The 6-foot-5, 178-pound outfielder will need considerable time to develop in the Minors, but the final product could be worth the wait.
• Rays No. 24 prospect Jake Bauers went 2-for-3 with a solo home run, but it wasn't enough to keep Double-A Montgomery from losing to Chattanooga, 4-1, and being eliminated from the Southern League semifinals. Bauers collected a hit in all four games in the series, going 5-for-13 with two extra-base hits, two RBIs and four walks in that span. One of the more underrated young hitters in the minors, Bauers, 19, impressed this season during his time at Class A Advanced Charlotte and Montgomery, batting a combined .272/.342/.418 with 11 home runs, 32 doubles and 74 RBIs in 128 games. A natural first baseman, he is expected to see time in the outfield in the upcoming Arizona Fall League.
• Twins No. 10 prospect Adam Brett Walker II connected on his second postseason home run in as many days as Double-A Chattanooga knocked off Montgomery, 4-1, to advance to the Southern League finals. After hitting a two-run shot in game three of the series, the 23-year-old slugger connected on a solo shot in the eighth inning to give Chattanooga a 4-1 lead. Walker batted just .239 in 133 games this season but still managed to pace the Southern League in multiple offense categories including home runs (31), RBIs (106) and total bases (250). Unfortunately, the 2012 third-rounder also fanned in 34.8 percent of his plate appearances and led all Minor Leaguers with 195 strikeouts.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com.