Pipeline Preview: Taveras, Baez square off
Top prospects for Cardinals, Cubs begin five-game series at Triple-A
Injuries have ravaged MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, making the disabled list the place to look for the top ranked position player (Byron Buxton) and pitcher (Archie Bradley). But this week, the two top ranked healthy prospects will face off as Triple-A Memphis hosts Iowa.
Outfielder Oscar Taveras (No. 2) will lead the Redbirds against shortstop Javier Baez (No. 6) and the Cubs in a five-game series beginning Tuesday. Fans can watch the first game of the series, which begins at 8:02 p.m. ET, on MiLB.TV.
The Cubs and Redbirds played seven times in the first 11 days of the season, with Memphis holding a 4-3 advantage. They are playing a five-game series this week because one of their games scheduled in April was rained out.
Taveras, the Cardinals' No. 1 prospect, enters the series hitting .323 with an .896 OPS and seven home runs in 47 games this season. He hit .292 and drove in six runs when the teams met last month.
Baez, the Cubs' No. 1 prospect, missed the second series against Memphis due to a sprained ankle. That injury contributed to his slow start, as he hit .172 in April. But he has heated up of late and enters the series on an 11-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .422/.438/.867. Overall this season, he is hitting .225/.287/.437 in 39 games.
Taveras and Baez are the headliners, but Iowa second baseman Arismendy Alcantara and Memphis outfielder Stephen Piscotty are both ranked in the Top 100, as well. Alcantara, the Cubs' No. 6 prospect and No. 76 overall, is hitting .281 this season. Piscotty, the Cardinals' No. 2 prospect and No. 85 overall, is hitting .298.
While the top ranked healthy hitters play Tuesday in Memphis, a top ranked healthy pitcher will also be in action. Right-hander Jon Gray, the Rockies' No. 1 prospect and No. 13 overall, is slated to start for Double-A Tulsa against Frisco. The game, which begins at 8:05 p.m., can be seen on MiLB.TV. Gray, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, is 5-2 with a 2.79 ERA this season.
A few other pitchers ranked in the Top 100 are scheduled to start Tuesday, including Robert Stephenson (No. 16), Andrew Heaney (No. 25), A.J. Cole (No. 59) and Daniel Norris (No. 99). Fans can watch Stephenson, Heaney and Cole on MiLB.TV, beginning with Cole and Double-A Harrisburg hosting Erie at 7 p.m.
Top prospect probables
Chris Beck (White Sox No. 8), Birmingham vs. Chattanooga
Corey Black (Cubs' No. 16), Tennessee at Huntsville
Michael Blazek (Brewers' No. 18), Nashville vs. Colorado Springs
Austin Brice (Marlins' No. 19), Jupiter vs. Lakeland
A.J. Cole (Nationals' No. 2), Harrisburg vs. Erie
Dylan Covey (A's No. 13), Beloit vs. Cedar Rapids
Cody Dickson (Pirates' No. 19), West Virginia at Rome
Michael Fulmer (Mets' No. 16), St. Lucie at Brevard County
Drew Gagnon (Brewers' No. 16), Huntsville vs. Tennessee
Severino Gonzalez (Phillies' No. 6), Reading vs. Trenton
Jon Gray (Rockies' No. 1), Tulsa vs. Frisco
Andrew Heaney (Marlins' No. 1), New Orleans at Round Rock
Dace Kime (Indians' 14), Lake County vs. Great Lakes
Tyler Matzek (Rockies' No. 12), Colorado Springs at Nashville
Adalberto Mejia (Giants' No. 3), Richmond vs. Altoona
Keury Mella (Giants' No. 19), Augusta vs. Savannah
Francellis Montas (White Sox No. 16), Winston-Salem vs. Potomac
Daniel Norris (Blue Jays' No. 4), Dunedin at Charlotte
Wes Parsons (Braves' No. 19), Lynchburg vs. Frederick
Victor Payano (Rangers' No. 17), Myrtle Beach vs. Salem
Enny Romero (Rays' No. 4), Durham at Toledo
Joe Ross (Padres' No. 9), Lake Elsinore vs. Lancaster
Antonio Senzatela (Rockies' No. 20), Asheville vs. Lexington
Robert Stephenson (Reds' No. 1), Pensacola at Mississippi
Jake Thompson (Tigers' No. 3), Lakeland at Jupiter
Andrew Thurman (Astros' No. 15), Quad Cities at Burlington
Nick Tropeano (Astros' No. 16), Oklahoma City vs. Omaha
Duane Underwood (Cubs' No. 20), Kane County vs. Peoria
Mike Wright (Orioles' No. 5), Norfolk vs. Lehigh Valley
Kevin Ziomek (Tigers' No. 13), West Michigan at Bowling Green