MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any Minor Leaguer currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible.
The Pirates made Will Craig a first-round pick (No. 22 overall) in 2016 because he had one of the more potent college bats available. But his offensive production didn't stand out in his first two years as a pro, when he batted a combined .274/.386/.368 with eight homers in 186 games, and he hit just .217/.327/.380 with three homers in the first five weeks in Double-A this season.
2018 Prospect Teams of the Week
Since then, however, Craig has looked like the hitter Pittsburgh thought it was drafting. Since May 11, he's batting .299/.354/.581 with eight homers in 31 games. He led all Minor Leaguers with five homers, 12 runs and a 1.261 slugging percentage during the previous seven days, earning MLB Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week recognition for the second time in five weeks. He went deep five times in six contests and in the one game where he didn't leave the park, he went 3-for-3 with a walk.
Below is the PTOW for games of June 11-17:
C: Francisco Mejia, Columbus Clippers (Triple-A)
(Indians No. 1 prospect/MLB No. 11)
.556/.556/1.056, 4 G, 18 AB, 3 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SO
Though the Indians called up Mejia last Monday and sent him down Tuesday without using him in a game, he didn't let that bother him. Baseball's top catching prospect uncharacteristically has struggled at the plate for most of the season, not crossing the Mendoza Line for good until June 3, but he looked like his normal self last week by collecting multiple hits in each of the four games he played and slamming at least one extra-base hit in each of them. A career .293/.349/.447 hitter in the Minors before 2018, he's now batting .243/.294/.395 with six homers in 54 contests.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Mejia launches grand slam - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2164409983
1B: Will Craig, Altoona Curve (Double-A)
(Pirates No. 17 prospect)
.522/.607/1.261, 6 G, 23 AB, 12 R, 12 H, 2 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 4 BB, 4 SO
Craig's surge has boosted his season line to .263/.342/.493 with 11 homers in 61 games. He has tapped into his raw power as he has hit more balls in the air (he has cut his groundout/airout ratio in half from 1.2 in 2017 to 0.6 this year) and gotten more aggressive (his strikeout rate has risen from 20 to 26 percent).
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Craig goes yard - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2168791283
2B: Nick Senzel, Louisville Bats (Triple-A)
(Reds No. 1 prospect/MLB No. 5)
.406/.424/.625, 7 G, 32 AB, 4 R, 13 H, 4 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 8 SO, 1 SB
After missing most of May while dealing with vertigo, Senzel has shown why he's considered one of the best pure hitters in the Minors by batting .381/.429/.556 in June. He had a stretch of seven straight multihit games snapped on Sunday, yet he still doubled and extended his on-base streak to 17 straight contests. He's hitting .302/.372/.478 with four homers in 40 games while also learning to play second base.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Senzel makes sweet snag - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2168288983
3B: Nolan Jones, Lake County Captains (low Class A)
(Indians No. 5 prospect)
.500/.538/.833, 6 G, 24 AB, 3 R, 12 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 6 SO
After leading the short-season New York-Penn League in OPS (.912), extra-base hits (25) and walks (43) as a 19-year-old last summer, Jones has gotten better each month in 2018. He has improved his OPS from .684 in April to .803 in May to 1.034 thus far in June. After five multihit games and two homers last week, he's batting .276/.395/.442 with eight homers in 55 contests.
SS: Antoni Flores, DSL Red Sox 2 (Rookie)
(Red Sox No. 17 prospect)
.476/.577/.762, 6 G, 21 AB, 6 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 BB, 5 SO
Signed for $1.4 million out of Venezuela last summer, Flores is living up to the reports that he had a nice right-handed swing and an advanced approach. After going 0-for-4 in his first pro game, he has reached base safely in each of his 11 contests since and is hitting .378/.472/.556 with more walks (eight) than strikeouts (sixth) in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League. He had the best game of his young career on Sunday, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, two runs scored and three driven in.
OF: Jo Adell, Inland Empire 66ers (high Class A)
(Angels No. 1 prospect/MLB No. 53)
.536/.581/1.036, 7 G, 28 AB, 9 R, 15 H, 2 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO, 3 SB
Though questions about Adell's ability to make consistent contact against quality pitching swirled around the 2017 Draft, that didn't stop the Angels from selecting him 10th overall, and he has answered them in pro ball. He hit .325/.376/.532 between two Rookie ball stops in his pro debut and is batting .318/.373/.617 with 14 homers and 11 steals in 50 games split evenly between two Class A clubs this year. He makes the PTOW for the second time in the last five weeks after registering four games with at least three hits in the past seven days, homering and driving in two runs in each of those contests.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Adell launches lead-off homer - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2167965283
OF: Tyler Krieger, Akron RubberDucks (Double-A)
(Indians No. 25 prospect)
.421/.522/.895, 6 G, 19 AB, 7 R, 8 H, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 2 SO, 5 SB
Like his fellow Indians prospects Mejia and Jones, Krieger started slowly this spring. Making the transition from second base to the outfield, he was hovering below the Mendoza Line as recently as June 6 but raised his OPS 60 points on Sunday by going 5-for-5 with two homers and two steals. He topped all Minor Leaguers with five swipes last week and is hitting .229/.305/.338 with five homers and 11 steals in 58 games.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Krieger homers twice - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2168425483
OF: Jordan Patterson, Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A)
(Rockies No. 20 prospect)
.455/.556/.1000, 6 G, 22 AB, 8 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1 SB
Patterson went 8-for-18 with the Rockies in 2016 but hasn't been back to Colorado since, and he's taking out his frustration on Triple-A pitchers. He smacked a career-high 26 homers at that level last year and already has 14 this season, including two as part of a four-RBI game on Thursday. He hit safely in all six of his games last week and had an extra-base knock in five of them, raising his season line to .275/.376/.544 in 57 contests.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Patterson rips homer - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2156917483
LHP: Max Fried, Gwinnett Stripers (Triple-A)
(Braves No. 7 prospect/MLB No. 75)
1-0, 1.29 ERA, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO, 0.43 WHIP
After his worst start of the year on June 7, Fried bounced back and fanned 11 on Wednesday, throwing 66 of 99 pitches for strikes while permitting just one run and three hits in seven innings. He opened the season in Double-A, has made two trips to Atlanta and has spent most of the spring in Triple-A, posting a combined 3.83 ERA and 58/24 K/BB ratio in 54 innings.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Fried notches 11th strikeout - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2152277283
RHP: Keegan Thompson, Myrtle Beach Pelicans (high Class A)
(Cubs No. 18 prospect)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO, 0.00 WHIP
Thompson retired all 21 batters he faced on Friday, striking out eight and throwing 60 of 84 pitches for strikes, only to see his bullpen blow the game by giving up four runs in the eighth inning. More efficient than overpowering, he has logged a 3.19 ERA and a 61/13 K/BB ratio in 67 2/3 innings this year, ranking first in the Carolina League in WHIP (0.92) and third in opponent average (.202).
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Thompson goes 7 perfect frames - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2155802383
RP: Riley Ferrell, Corpus Christi Hooks (Double-A)
(Astros No. 19 prospect)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 2 SV, 5 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R ,0 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO, 0.53 WHIP
Ferrell hasn't allowed an earned run since May 14 and added three scoreless appearances last week while striking out nine of the 21 batters he faced and improving to 6-for-6 in save opportunities. He now has a 2.08 ERA in 19 games, with 29 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings and a .184 opponent average.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.