Thursday's top offseason prospect performers

November 5th, 2021

Here's a look at Thursday’s top performers in the Fall and Winter Leagues  from each team's Top 30 Prospects list.

Mets: Brett Baty, 3B (MLB No. 45), Salt River Rafters
Baty racked up three hits and an RBI in Salt River’s 2-0 victory over Mesa. His RBI knock in the sixth inning pushed the lead to two runs. With his multihit effort, 21-year-old took the Rafters’ team lead in hits with 16, and he has posted a .276/.368/.414 with a .781 OPS in 16 games. Baty has struck out 23 times in 68 AFL plate appearances (33.8 percent K rate) but has remained productive with five extra-base hits and seven RBIs. The 2019 Draft first-rounder cemented himself among the Mets' top prospects with a strong regular season, hitting 12 home runs with an .855 OPS between High-A Brooklyn and Double-A Binghamton.

Pirates: Nick Gonzales, 2B (MLB No. 62), Peoria Javelinas
Gonzales drove in a pair of runs and smacked his second homer of the Fall League in Peoria’s blanking of Scottsdale. The Pirates’ No. 4 prospect plated the first run of the game as the Javelinas got to Giants prospect Seth Corry early. Fellow Bucs prospect Ji-hwan Bae (PIT 22) led the first inning off with a single, advanced to second on a hit batsman and swiped third before Gonzales plated him with a sacrifice fly. A throwing error in the following frame put him on base for the first time and allowed another run to cross the plate, and on a 1-1 pitch in the seventh, the 22-year-old parked a solo shot to left-center field to bring in the game’s sixth and final run. Gonzales ranks eighth among qualified players with a batting average of .345 through 15 AFL games.

Marlins: JJ Bleday, OF (MLB No. 71), Mesa Solar Sox
Bleday tallied a double, a single and a walk in five trips to the plate, continuing his hot streak in Arizona. The Vanderbilt product ranks second in the AFL in hits with 23, trailing Solar Sox teammate Nelson Velazquez (CHC 29) by three. In 15 Fall League games, Bleday has 10 extra-base hits (three home runs, seven doubles) and a slash line of .359/.453/.609 with a 1.063 OPS. His success with the bat has been a welcome sight after he struggled at Double-A Pensacola during the regular season, posting a .212/.323/.373 slash line with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs in 468 plate appearances.

Rangers: Justin Foscue, 2B (MLB No. 83), Surprise Saguaros
Foscue clubbed his third AFL dinger on a two-hit day in Surprise’s loss to Glendale. The fourth-ranked Rangers prospect smacked the seventh pitch of the game over the left-field fence to give the Saguaros an early 1-0 lead. The slugging second baseman reached base after being hit by a pitch in the fourth, and he added a single in the sixth to round out his day. The 2020 first-rounder (14th overall) slugged 17 home runs across three levels in the regular season, and six of his 10 hits in the Fall League have gone for extra bases (three homers, three doubles).

Astros: Pedro Leon, SS/OF (No. 2), Glendale Desert Dogs
After struggling in his first 13 games of the Fall League, Leon fared much better Thursday as he left the yard for the first time this fall, plated two runs and drew a walk in Glendale’s 5-2 win. After Justin Foscue homered in the first frame for Surprise, Leon helped even the score with a seven-pitch bases-loaded walk against Cole Henry (WAS 7). The long ball came in the sixth. He sent a 2-1 pitch over the fence in left-center for a solo shot. More »

Braves: Victor Vodnik, RHP (No. 20), Peoria Javelinas
Vodnik fired one of the best pitching performances of the fall with five scoreless innings of two-hit, five-strikeout ball in Peoria’s win. The righty hurler scattered two singles across five frames and set down nine of the first 10 batters he faced. He tossed 35 of his 59 pitches for strikes and didn’t allow a baserunner to reach scoring position. Vodnik suffered an injury-plagued regular season, having only tossed 33 2/3 innings in Double-A, but his 16 innings of work this fall are the second-highest among all pitchers, trailing only Owen White (TEX 29). More »

Cardinals: Juan Yepez, OF/1B (No. 27), Glendale Desert Dogs
Yepez’s stock continues to rise as the 23-year-old slugged his fifth homer of the Fall League in a 2-for-4 performance. Getting the start at first base and batting out of the cleanup spot, Yepez singled in the first inning and temporarily gave Glendale a one-run advantage with a solo shot on the first pitch he saw in the third. Though Yepez has cooled off somewhat, he ranks eighth among qualified hitters in OPS with a mark of 1.031, one of only 10 players with an OPS over 1.000. He’s tied for second in RBIs with 18, and his 10 extra-base hits are tied for third-most in the AFL. After a strong regular season, Yepez is slashing .298/.382/.649 through 15 games.

D-backs: Slade Cecconi, RHP (No. 7), Salt River Rafters
Cecconi continued his strong showing in the AFL with three scoreless innings and four strikeouts in Salt River’s victory. The 22-year-old worked efficiently with 28 strikes on 42 pitches, scattering three hits and two walks to keep Mesa off the scoreboard. In 15 Fall League innings, the former University of Miami hurler has a 2.40 ERA with 13 strikeouts, allowing seven walks and four earned runs in five games. Cecconi has been extending a nice debut season in which he posted a 4.12 ERA with 63 strikeouts over 59 innings in 12 starts for High-A Hillsboro. More »