Wednesday's slate of Minor League action saw four Top 30 prospects connect on a pair of home runs on a day where the ball seemed to be flying out of the yard across all levels.Orioles No. 24 prospect Alex Murphy became the first of the group to accomplish the feat
Wednesday's slate of Minor League action saw four Top 30 prospects connect on a pair of home runs on a day where the ball seemed to be flying out of the yard across all levels.
Orioles No. 24 prospect Alex Murphy became the first of the group to accomplish the feat by going 2-for-4 with two solo shots in Class A Delmarva's afternoon loss to Greensboro. The 21-year-old catcher has already set a new career-high with five home runs this season and owns a solid .283/.358/.440 batting line in 42 games for the Shorebirds. Next up was ...
Giants No. 20 prospect Austin Slater, who, entering the day, had hit eight home runs in 178 pro games. Needless to say, he improved upon that total, going deep twice in his first career multi-homer game to power Double-A Richmond past Binghamton. The second-baseman-turned-outfielder owns an even .400 average with 12 RBIs over his past 10 contests and is hitting .323 with a career-best five homers in 34 games on the season.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Slater goes yard - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=738934783
"I've been more selectively aggressive this year, as opposed to other years. I feel like I've been seeing more pitches for the most part," Slater told MiLB.com. "Obviously today is an outlier, but I've been able to work more counts this year and been able to be more aggressive on the pitches that I want in hitters' counts and that's what I did. It just worked out that way."
A's No. 6 prospect Matt Chapman's two homers and three RBIs proved to be the difference in Double-A Midland's 5-2 win against Springfield. It was the second two-homer game of the season for the 2014 first-rounder, who now leads the Texas League with 13 long balls in 45 games. He also ranks second and fourth in total bases (96) and OPS (.936), respectively.
"I've just tried to stay consistent and keep the same mindset, not really change at all," Chapman told MiLB.com. "I just happened to run into a good night. It makes it a lot more fun to go out there and have success and it makes it easier to get up the next day and try to keep something rolling. It makes it a lot more enjoyable, that's for sure."
MILB Video - Title: Chapman's second homer of the night - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=739178583
Lastly, Royals No. 16 prospect Jorge Bonifacio joined the party with a pair of solo homers -- including a leadoff blast in the bottom of the first -- in Triple-A Omaha's loss to Albuquerque. Still just 22, Bonifacio, after struggling in Double-A in each of the past two years, has made a surprisingly smooth transition at the Minors' highest level, hitting .320/.386/.562 with eight homers in 44 games.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Wednesday
• No. 1 overall prospect Lucas Giolito (Nationals' No. 1) got back on track with his best start of 2016 for Double-A Harrisburg as he allowed just one run on four hits while working a season-high seven innings. He threw 70 of his 106 pitches for strikes in the outing, striking out six and walking one while generating 11 outs on the ground. After a shaky start to his season, Giolito has quietly settled in with a 1.90 ERA in 23 2/3 innings across his past past starts.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Giolito K's batter - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=738976883
• No. 24 overall prospect Gleyber Torres' (Cubs' No. 1) solo home run in the top of the first inning gave Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach an early lead in an eventual win against Carolina. The 19-year-old shortstop's five home runs in 43 games this season matches the total he put up over 176 games during his first two pro campaigns.
MILB Video - Title: Torres' fifth homer - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=739230083
• No. 34 overall prospect Anderson Espinoza (Red Sox No. 4) was lights-out in his longest start of the season, firing six scoreless innings of two-hit ball to lead Class A Greenville in a shutout of Asheville. The 18-year-old righty struck out three and did not issue a walk in the outing, with 43 of his 67 pitches going for strikes. He now owns a 3.86 ERA in 39 2/3 innings on the season. Opposing Espinoza on the mound for Asheville was ...
Rockies No. 13 prospect Peter Lambert, who gave up just one run on one hit in five innings while walking one and fanning five. The 2015 second-rounder has allowed two or fewer runs in eight of his nine starts to begin his first full pro campaign.
• After missing much of the first two months while recovering from offseason knee surgery, A's No. 4 prospect Richie Martin, playing in just his second game of the season, connected on his first home run as part of a 3-for-5 showing in Class A Advanced Stockton's rout of Lancaster. The 2015 No. 20 overall Draft pick spent his pro debut in the Class A New York-Penn League, where he hit .237/.353/.342 with two homers in 51 games.
• Astros No. 8 prospect Joe Musgrove didn't disappoint in his third Triple-A start as he scattered one run on five hits over a season-best seven innings to pace Fresno in a win against Oklahoma City. He struck out seven hitters without issuing a walk for a third time this season to improve his overall strikeout-to-walk ratio to 49/5 in 44 1/3 innings, while his ERA now sits at a miniscule 1.02.
• Tigers No. 8 prospect JaCoby Jones homered for a third straight day as Double-A Erie fell to Reading in 11 innings. Since returning from a 50-game suspension for a drug of abuse, which began during last year's Arizona Fall League, Jones, 24, is batting .343 with nine RBIs and has hits in seven of his eight games for the SeaWolves.
MILB Video - Title: Jones goes yard - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=739000683
• Giants No. 11 prospectClayton Blackburn recorded his best start of 2016 with six scoreless innings of two-hit ball in Triple-A Sacramento's win against Colorado Springs. It was an encouraging performance from the 23-year-old right-hander, who has pitched to a 4.66 ERA in 38 2/3 innings for the River Cats this season.
• A's No. 14 prospect Daniel Mengden continued to roll with his third straight seven-inning gem for Triple-A Nashville, who went on to beat to Las Vegas in 12 innings. The right-hander allowed one run on four hits, walking one and striking out five. He's now allowed just five earned runs in 57 innings (0.79 ERA) this season between the Double- and Triple-A levels.
• Making his season debut for Class A Greensboro, Marlins No. 18 prospect Chris Paddack struck out nine of the 15 batters he faced over four innings against Delmarva. He allowed one run on two hits and one walk. Pacing the Grasshoppers at the plate was No. 13 prospect Anfernee Seymour, who went 3-for-5 for with two triples and two RBIs, while Isael Soto (No. 8) finished 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored.
• Rays No. 26 prospect Nick Ciuffo went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate to extend his hitting streak to nine games, but it wasn't enough to keep Class A Advanced Charlotte from falling to St. Lucie. The 21-year-old backstop is hitting .400 (16-for-40) during the streak and .285 on the season -- a marked improvement over his .258 clip in 94 games for Class A Bowling Green in 2015.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.