Pipeline Prospects of the Week: Seager, Montas
Quakes shortstop continues May eruption; Dash righty takes no-no into seventh
Throughout the season, the MLBPipeline.com staff will name Pipeline Prospects of the Week -- one hitter and one pitcher who excelled over the previous seven days. To qualify for selection, a player must rank among their organization's Top 20 Prospects, as listed on our Prospect Watch.
Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Week: Corey Seager, SS, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers No. 1 prospect), 7 G, 16-for-29 (.552/.567/.931), 1.498 OPS, 2 HR, 8 RBI
The 18th overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Seager signed for $2.35 million and had no problem handling older pitching at his first two pro stops. That prompted the Dodgers to promote the shortstop to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga last August. He struggled mightily there (.160/.246/.320), and then as the youngest player in the Arizona Fall League during the offseason.
Seager has made adjustments since returning to the California League at age 19 this April. After a solid first month, he has really heated up in May, batting 444/.495/.733. He now leads the Minor Leagues with 20 doubles and the Cal League in hitting (.371), OPS (1.030) extra-base hits (28) and total bases (107).
Seager has a higher ceiling than his older brother, Kyle, a third baseman who has been the most consistent performer in the Mariners lineup the last three seasons. A 6-foot-4, 215-pounder with strength and a smooth left-handed swing, Corey should hit for both power and average. He's probably too big to stay at shortstop for much longer, but he profiles well at third base, where he could be a plus defender.
Javier Baez, SS, Iowa Cubs (Cubs No. 1 prospect), 7 G, 12-for-30 (.400/.419/.900), 1.319 OPS, 7 R, 6 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs
Kris Bryant, 3B, Jacksonville Suns (Cubs No. 2 prospect), 6 G, 8-for-19 (.421/.500/.895), 1.395 OPS, 2 HR, 8 RBIs
Hunter Dozier, 3B, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals No. 6 prospect), 7 G, 11-for-20 (.550/.621/.750), 1.371 OPS, 8 R, 4 2B, 4 RBIs, 6 BB
Brandon Nimmo, OF, St. Lucie Mets (Mets No. 6 prospect), 7 G, 11-for-26 (.423/.531/.731), 1.262 OPS, 9 R, 2 HR, 5 RBIs
Darnell Sweeney, 2B/SS, Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers No. 19 prospect), 6 G, 12-for-23 (.522/.536/.870), 1.405 OPS, 7 R, 3 2B, 8 RBIs
Pipeline Pitching Prospect of the Week: Francellis Montas, RHP, Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox No. 16 prospect), 1-0, 1.13 ERA, 1 GS, 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO
Montas has made up for lost time since missing April after minor knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear. One of the hardest throwers in the White Sox system, he has surrendered no more than two runs in any of his four starts at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. His last outing was his best, as he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning Thursday against Salem and struck out a season-high 11 in a 6-3 victory.
Montas has the highest upside of the three Minor Leaguers whom Chicago acquired from the Red Sox in the three-team trade that sent Jake Peavy to Boston last July. His fastball hit 100 mph when he was 18 years old, and though he has to tone down his velocity to throw strikes, he still deals at 91-95 mph and peaks at 97 on a regular basis.
The 21-year-old has yet to display consistency with any of his secondary pitches, which could lead to a future in the bullpen. But in a small sample size so far this year, his control has been better than ever, and the White Sox will keep him in the rotation as long as they can.
Eddie Butler, RHP, Tulsa Drillers (Rockies No. 2 prospect), 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 GS, 12 2/3 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 5 SO
Jonathon Crawford, RHP, West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers No. 4 prospect), 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO
Marco Gonzales, LHP, Springfield Cardinals (Cardinals No. 4 prospect), 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
Mike Montgomery, LHP, Durham Bulls (Rays No. 18 prospect), 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO
Henry Owens, LHP, Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox No. 1 prospect), 1-1, 0.82 ERA, 2 GS, 11 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 14 SO
Julio Urias, LHP, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers No. 3 prospect), 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO