MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.
Triple-A Las Vegas's Cashman Field is one of the toughest places to pitch in professional baseball. Games there averaged 11.9 runs per game in 2014, the fifth-highest total in the Minor Leagues, and an average of 11.1 runs per contest are being scored this season.
If not for Noah Syndergaard, that 2015 figure would be even higher. Syndergaard, who led the Pacific Coast League with 145 strikeouts while posting a 4.60 ERA for the 51s in 2014, threw a seven-inning shutout in the first game of a doubleheader on Monday, then came back five days later with seven more scoreless innings at Cashman Field. His performance was the most impressive among prospects for the week of April 27-May 3.
C: Kyle Schwarber, Cubs (No. 4 prospect)
7 G, .391/.913/.500, 4 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 4 SO
The lone repeater from our inaugural Prospect Team of the Week last week, Schwarber is now hitting .364/.476/.697 overall at Double-A Tennessee, giving him the third-best OPS (1.173) in the Minors. It's still unclear whether he'll be able to stay behind the plate, but he should be able to hit in the middle of Chicago's lineup.
1B: Josh Bell, Pirates (No. 3 prospect)
6 G, .615/.613/.962, 5 R, 3 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 3 BB, 0 SO
Bell hadn't played any first base before the Arizona Fall League last offseason, though that didn't stop him from entering the year as the game's top prospect at his position. He lived up to that reputation last week by leading all Minor Leaguers in hitting and OPS (1.574) to boost his season totals to .395/.452/.568 at Double-A Altoona.
2B: Carlos Sanchez, White Sox (No. 10 prospect)
7 G, .484/.529/.839, 7 R, 5 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 4 SO, 3 SB
Sanchez is more known for his glove than his bat, but he now ranks second in the Minors in hitting (.407) and first in hits (37) in his third full season at Triple-A Charlotte. He had two homers and 7 RBIs on Saturday and is having his best season since he won the high Class A Carolina League batting title (.315) three years ago. If he keeps hitting and rookie Micah Johnson continues to struggle, Sanchez could get a look in Chicago soon.
3B: Rafael Devers, Red Sox (No. 5 prospect)
5 G, .417/.417/.792, 5 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 0 BB, 2 SO
Devers had no problem hitting for average after jumping from Rookie ball last year to low Class A as an 18-year-old this April, but his big-time power didn't really show itself until Sunday. After providing three extra-base hits (all doubles) in his first 18 games, he went 5-for-6 with two doubles, two homers and five RBIs to improve his season line to .329/.350/.474.
SS: Trevor Story, Rockies (No. 13 prospect)
6 G, .455/.571/1.000, 7 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 6 SO, 2 SB
He tied the Minor League lead with three homers and a 1.000 slugging percentage last week, and he's now hitting .395/.500/.716 at Double-A New Britain -- good for second in the Minors in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS (1.216). Though he won't displace Nolan Arenado, DJ LeMahieu or Troy Tulowitzki as infield starters in Colorado, Story could post nice numbers as a utilityman based in Coors Field.
OF: Byron Buxton, Twins (No. 1 prospect)
7 G, .483/.543/.828, 11 R, 2 2B, 4 3B, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 3 SO, 5 SB
Did someone really ask our Pipeline Inbox if baseball's best prospect might be a bust because he got off to a slow start in Double-A? Four straight multihit games, which included six extra-base knocks, have raised Buxton's numbers to .287/.357/.506. No one in the Minors has a better package of tools, and he's still just 21.
OF: Jordan Patterson, Rockies (No. 22 prospect)
6 G, .542/.577/.817, 7 R, 6 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 5 SO, 3 SB
The least heralded prospect on this week's team, Patterson was a fourth-round pick in 2013 out of South Alabama, where he doubled as a lefty reliever. Currently riding a 12-game hitting streak that included a pair of three-RBI games last week, he's batting .356/.440/.667 and leading the high Class A California League with 17 extra-base hits and 21 runs in 23 games.
OF: Joc Pederson, Dodgers (No. 3 prospect)
.263/.364/.947, 5 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 8 SO
He'll need to cut down on his strikeouts and make some adjustments against left-handers, but Pederson is giving Los Angeles everything it hoped for from its rookie center fielder. He homered in four Dodgers victories last week, including a leadoff blast and a grand slam, and is now batting .271/.422/.600 while providing quality defense.
LHP: Julio Urias, Dodgers (No. 2 prospect)
0-1, 2.25 ERA, 2 GS, 12 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 17 SO, .500 WHIP
The youngest player in Double-A by more than a year, the 18-year-old Urias recorded his first two quality starts of 2015 last week (in part because Los Angeles protects him with tight pitch counts). He has gone 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA in five starts, and he leads the Texas League in strikeouts per nine innings (11.1) and opponent average (.181).
RHP: Noah Syndergaard, Mets (No. 1 prospect)
2-0, 0.57 ERA, 2 GS, 14 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 19 SO, .571 WHIP
After his big week, Syndergaard is now 2-0 with 1.66 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings through four starts. Elbow tendinitis slowed him during Spring Training and food poisoning pushed back his first start last week, but now he's hitting his stride and shouldn't require much more time in Triple-A.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter.