Jacob Faria took the next step toward reaching the Major Leagues on Sunday with an impressive debut for Triple-A Durham.
The Rays' No. 9 prospect fired six innings of two-hit ball as the Bulls fell to Lehigh Valley, 3-2, in 10 innings. He walked one, struck out six and generated seven ground-ball outs, throwing 52 of his 82 pitches for strikes.
Faria, 22, was moved up to the Triple-A level after he posted a 1-6 record and a 4.21 ERA over 14 starts at Double-A Montgomery. He had been pitching increasingly well of late with a 3.12 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 26 innings across four June starts for the Biscuits.
At the time of his promotion, Faria was pacing the Southern League with 93 strikeouts through 83 1/3 innings, during which he had held opposing hitters to a .211 average and allowed just five home runs.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Faria notches K - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=862548283
Though selected in the 10th round of the 2011 Draft, Faria didn't put things together until the 2015 season, when he was named co-Pitcher of the Year of the Florida State League and led all Minor League pitchers in wins (17), while also ranking third in ERA (1.92) and sixth in strikeouts (159).
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Sunday
• No. 9 overall prospectTrea Turner reached base four times and scored three runs in Triple-A Syracuse's 8-1 win over Toledo. The Nationals' No. 2 prospect hit his fifth home run as well as a double in the game en route to collecting three hits for the second straight game. Right-hander A.J. Cole (Nationals' No. 7) allowed one run on three hits over seven innings for the Chiefs, with eight strikeouts and one walk.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Turner goes yard - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=861775183
• In Double-A Portland's win over Reading, No. 21 overall prospect Andrew Benintendi hit a double, scored three times and tallied two RBIs in his third three-hit game for the Sea Dogs. The Red Sox's No. 3 prospect has been hot of late, hitting .350 over his last 10 games to lift his season average to .268 for the Sea Dogs.
• No. 33 overall prospect Carson Fulmer (White Sox No. 1) was brilliant in what was the best start of his promising career as he fired seven scoreless frames in Double-A Birmingham's rout of Mobile. The 22-year-old righty -- who entered the day with a 5.82 ERA through 14 starts -- allowed a pair of hits (both singles) and walks while striking out seven, with 62 of his 94 pitches going for strikes. At the plate, outfielder Courtney Hawkins (White Sox No. 9) tallied a season-high five RBIs for the Barons thanks in large part to his two-out grand slam, his fourth home run of the season, in the top of the sixth inning.
• No. 49 overall prospectJake Thompson was sharp once again for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, which knocked off Durham in 10 innings, 3-2. The Phillies' No. 2 prospect allowed one unearned run on five hits, striking out four and walking two in 6 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old righty has been lights-out lately for the IronPigs, posting a 0.76 ERA in 35 1/3 innings over his last five starts.
• Cardinals No. 3 prospect Luke Weaver picked up his fourth win in five starts as Double-A Springfield defeated Arkansas, 4-2. The 22-year-old righty piled up eight strikeouts in five innings and allowed one unearned run on six hits. Weaver has a 1.15 ERA with a 37-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 31 1/3 innings.
• Dan Vogelbach's bat proved the difference in Triple-A Iowa's 6-5 win over Oklahoma City in the opener of a twin bill, as he went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and two runs scored. The long ball was the Cubs' No. 20 prospect's second in as many days and 14th of the season.
• Indians No. 8 prospect Francisco Mejia went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run in Class A Lake County's win over Great Lakes to extended his hitting streak to 24 games. During that stretch, the 20-year-old backstop is hitting .430 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. Mejia is pacing the Midwest League with a .347 average, and he's also thrown out 20 of 46 would-be basestealers.
• Phillies No. 14 prospect Carlos Tocci recorded the first five-hit game of his career as Class A Advanced Clearwater walked off Daytona in the bottom of the 10th inning. The 20-year-old finished the contest 5-for-6 at the plate, with two runs scored, two RBIs and a stolen base. Tocci is hitting an even .500 over his last 10 games, during which he's accrued a whopping 22 hits.
• Rangers No. 20 prospect Travis Demeritte blasted his 20th home run to re-claim a share of the Minor League lead in Class A Advanced High Desert's 4-2 win versus Rancho Cucamonga. The 21-year-old second baseman is on pace to shatter his career high of 25 home runs, which he accomplished over 118 games during his full-season debut at Class A Hickory in 2014.
• Red Sox No. 19 prospect Trey Ball allowed two earned runs on eight hits and matched his career high with seven innings pitching to help Class A Advanced Salem edge Winston-Salem, 4-2. The 21-year-old southpaw issued two walks and struck out six, with 48 of his 82 pitches going for strikes. After struggling over 25 starts with Salem in 2015, Ball has rebounded this season to post a 2.29 ERA in 59 innings (11 starts) in his second tour of the Carolina League.
• Tigers No. 4 prospect Mike Gerber hit his ninth home run as part of a 2-for-2 showing in Class A Advanced Lakeland's loss to Dunedin. The 23-year-old outfielder has gone deep three time in his past three games, and he's four homers shy of matching his career high.