Kepler, Gonsalves among 10 top prospect performers Thursday
Twins No. 7 prospect rips 2 homers, No. 10 prospect doesn't allow a hit in 5 frames
After getting a bump in the revised Top 30 Prospect Rankings, Max Kepler is in a groove for Double-A Chattanooga.
The outfielder followed a homer on Wednesday night with two homers on Thursday as the Lookouts took down Pensacola, 3-0. Kepler -- Minnesota's No. 7 prospect -- finished 3-for-4 with the two jacks and two RBIs, pushing his hitting streak to seven and his season line to .337/.418/.553. He's gone yard six times this year and has collected 25 doubles, nine triples, 46 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.
Teammate Jason Wheeler helped secure Chattanooga's shutout. The Twins' No. 27 prospect improved to 2-2 since a late June demotion by surrendering just five hits and no walks against six strikeouts in eight clean frames. The 24-year-old has turned around his season after going 1-6 with a 5.90 ERA for Triple-A Rochester.
Down in Class A Advanced Fort Myers, No. 10 prospect Stephen Gonsalves didn't allow a hit in five innings. While the Miracle lost their no-hitter bid in the seventh inning, Gonsalves' effort did not go to waste in a 4-0 win.
Promoted from Class A Cedar Rapids in early June, the 6-foot-5 southpaw is 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA in nine Florida State League starts. He punched out eight batters on Thursday, good for a new career high at the Class A Advanced level.
The rest of the 10 best performances from top Minor Leaguers
• Angels No. 2 prospect Chris Ellis rebounded well from his first loss for the Double-A Arkansas Travelers. The righty delivered 6 2/3 shutout innings of three-hit ball, striking out two in the process. The dominant night came after giving up three runs in five innings on July 20. Ellis stands at 5-1 with a 3.12 ERA in nine starts since being promoted on June 11. The 22-year-old has now posted three starts in which he's allowed no runs and lasted at least six innings at the Double-A level.
• Astros No. 12 prospect Joe Musgrove stayed perfect for Double-A Corpus Christi with seven innings of shutout ball. The 6-foot-5 right-hander fanned six while allowing two hits and one walk. He's 3-0 with a four-inning save and a 2.25 ERA in six appearances for the Hooks this season. In fact, Musgrove's record is nearly perfect across three levels this year. After Thursday's 'W,' he stands at 11-1 with just 18 earned runs in 87 2/3 innings.
• Orioles No. 3 prospect Zach Davies inched closer to .500 with a win for Triple-A Norfolk. The righty allowed five hits while striking out one batter in six shutout innings. He's won two in a row for the Tides and stands at 5-6 with a 2.84 ERA. The winning streak makes up for a seven-start winless streak between June 8 and July 19, but Davies' low earned-run average proves that he's pitched well this year. While he recorded only one strikeout on Thursday, he has an 81-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the year.
• Pirates No. 5 prospect (No. 79 overall) Alen Hanson's homer provided the only runs Triple-A Indianapolis would need in a 2-1 win over Columbus. The swat was his first roundtripper in nearly a month and gave him six on the year. Hanson has been going through a bit of a rough patch, hitting .115 (3-for-26) in his past six games. He has a .274/.321/.411 season line that includes 13 doubles, nine triples and 41 RBIs.
• Rays No. 25 prospect Tyler Goeddel had his first career three-homer game, smacking three solo shots for Double-A Montgomery on Thursday. Goeddel only had four homers in 86 games entering the game and 23 in four-plus seasons, but his jacks tend to come in flurries. He hit two homers in his eighth career game -- for Class A Bowling Green in 2012 -- and had hit homers in back-to-back games four times in his pro career, but never three in the same contest. Before Thursday, Goeddel hadn't gone yard this year since he hit a solo shot on July 3. The No. 41 overall pick in the 2011 Draft is hitting .255 with 49 RBIs this year.
• White Sox No. 1 prospect (No. 45 overall) Tim Anderson clubbed his first homer since July 6 for Double-A Birmingham, finishing 2-for-4 with a triple and solo shot as the Barons took down Mississippi, 3-2. A 2013 first-round pick, Anderson has hit in four straight games and 12 of the past 14. His batting average hasn't dipped below .300 in nearly a month and a half and he sports a .306/.336/.400 line with 16 doubles, eight triples, three homers and 37 RBIs on the year.
• Yankees No. 7 prospect Gary Sanchez hit his second Triple-A homer, helping Scranton/Wilkes-Barre secure a 3-2 win over Lehigh Valley. Promoted from Double-A Trenton on July 18, the catcher is off to a hot start in Pennsylvania. He finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs Thursday and is hitting .324/.447/.568 with three doubles and 12 RBIs for the RailRiders.