Pipeline Preview: Olson, Urias clash in Cal League
A's prospect vying for Minors HR title, but he'll face a tough test Saturday
As Cubs' No. 1 prospect Kris Bryant and Rangers' No. 1 prospect Joey Gallo battle down the stretch for the Minor League home run title, A's No. 2 prospect Matt Olson is lurking just off their pace. He has hit 36 home runs in 129 games with Class A Advanced Stockton and ranks third among all Minor Leaguers, five behind Bryant and four behind Gallo.
Olson will look to add to that total Saturday when Stockton continues its three-game series at Rancho Cucamonga. It won't be an easy assignment, however, as the Quakes give the ball to left-hander Julio Urias, the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect. First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET.
Olson, a left-handed hitter, has fared well against left-handed pitchers this season, but hasn't hit for nearly as much power as he has against right-handers. Against lefties, he is hitting .250/.404/.492 with seven home runs in 161 plate appearances, compared with a .259/.398/.564 slash line with 29 home runs in 432 plate appearances against righties.
Urias, however, is no ordinary left-hander. He is ranked No. 17 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list and tops the rankings of the Top 10 left-handed pitchers. He has held left-handed hitters to a .539 OPS and one home run in 162 plate appearances in his career. And he just celebrated his 18th birthday earlier this month.
Despite being by far the youngest player in the California League this season, Urias has had plenty of success. He has struck out 96 batters and walked 34 in 77 1/3 innings. The Dodgers have carefully monitored his workload to make sure he was able to pitch the full season, and as a result, he doesn't qualify for the league's ERA title. If he did, his mark of 2.68 would be the best in the California League, and his 1.18 WHIP would rank third.
Urias is coming off two of his best outings of the season. In back-to-back games, he has struck out a career-high nine batters in five innings. In his most recent appearance on Monday, he held Lake Elsinore scoreless and allowed just one hit and two walks.
In addition to Olson, Urias will have to contend with Stockton shortstop Daniel Robertson, ranked No. 88 on the Top 100, on Saturday. The A's No. 1 prospect is hitting .308/.400/.472 with 15 home runs in 125 games this season.
Though Urias, Robertson and Olson have spent the last two seasons in the same league (all three played in the Midwest League last year), Saturday will be their first meeting.
Urias isn't the only pitcher ranked on the Top 100 scheduled to start Saturday. He is joined by Tyler Glasnow (No. 19), who will take the ball for Class A Advanced Bradenton at Palm Beach at 6:35 p.m., and Aaron Blair (No. 83), who will lead Double-A Mobile against Huntsville at 7:05 p.m.
Top prospect probables:
Alec Asher (Rangers' No. 13), Frisco at Midland
Manny Banuelos (Yankees' No. 8), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Rochester
Corey Black (Cubs' No. 19), Tennessee vs. Jacksonville
Blair (D-backs' No. 4), Mobile vs. Huntsville
Austin Brice (Marlins' No. 17), Jupiter at St. Lucie
Anthony DeSclafani (Marlins' No. 3), New Orleans at Las Vegas
Edwin Diaz (Mariners' No. 7), Clinton at Kane County
Edwin Escobar (Red Sox No. 10), Pawtucket at Buffalo
Amir Garrett (Reds' No. 18), Dayton at West Michigan
Domingo German (Marlins' No. 11), Greensboro at Lakewood
Glasnow (Pirates' No. 1), Bradenton at Palm Beach
Marco Gonzales (Cardinals' No. 3), Memphis vs. Sacramento
Luis Heredia (Pirates' No. 14), West Virginia vs. Kannapolis
Brian Johnson (Red Sox No. 11), Portland at New Hampshire
Mike Montgomery (Rays' No. 17), Durham vs. Gwinnett
Aaron Northcraft (Braves' No. 14), Gwinnett at Durham
Chris Stratton (Giants' No. 8), Richmond vs. Bowie
Blake Taylor (Mets' No. 17), Kingsport at Bluefield
Nick Tropeano (Astros' No. 13), Oklahoma City vs. El Paso
Urias (Dodgers' No. 2), Rancho Cucamonga vs. Stockton
Tyler Wagner (Brewers' No. 14), Brevard County at Clearwater