The Angels made moves at the Trade Deadline to try to reshape their farm system, and the biggest of those added a new top prospect to the organization in catcher Logan O'Hoppe, acquired from the Phillies. The Halos have another impressive prospect down the chain in that position, though, in backstop Edgar Quero.
Making a return appearance to the Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week, Quero continues to showcase his dynamic bat at the Single-A level. The Cienfuegos, Cuba, native finished last year with 10 games in the California League and returned there this season where he has been the bane of that circuit’s arms. Quero ranks in the top five among Single-A hitters in slugging (.519, 2nd), OPS (.946, 2nd), on-base percentage (.427, 3rd), doubles (27, t-3rd) average (.317, 4th) and extra-base hits (40, t-5th).
To be eligible for the Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week, Minor League players must be ranked among their club's Top 30 prospects on Pipeline's lists. (Those in the Majors do not qualify.)
This is the Prospect Team of the Week for Aug. 1-7:
Catcher: Edgar Quero, Inland Empire 66ers (Single-A)
Angels No. 9
.400/.500/.840, 6 G, 10-for-25, 2 HR, 5 2B, 8 RBI, 8 R, 5 BB, 8 K, 1 SB
It has been a breakout year for Quero, who makes his third appearance on the Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week. The backstop continued to crush California League pitching with 10 hits in 25 at-bats during the award period, leaving the yard twice and racking up five doubles. A switch-hitter, Quero has been better against right-handed pitching this season, batting .336/.435/.552 with 10 of his 12 homers, but even against lefties, he’s been very good. Facing southpaws, Quero boasts a .267/.405/.433 line and has walked as many times (15) as he’s struck out. The 19-year-old posted four multihit games last week, including a pair of three-hit affairs. On Wednesday, he homered and doubled among his three knocks. Two days later, he doubled three more times and drove in three runs. In 85 games with the 66ers this year, Quero is hitting .317/.427/.519 for a .946 OPS, second-best in Single-A.
1B: Zavier Warren, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (High-A)
Brewers No. 18
.480/.552/1.200, 6 G, 12-for-25, 3 HR, 2 3B, 5 2B, 10 RBI, 8 R, 4 BB, 4 K
A third-round pick out of Central Michigan in 2020, Warren was a collegiate shortstop who was announced as a catcher when he was drafted. Now, he’s on the Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week as a first baseman, a testament to his versatility. In fact, Warren has spent the bulk of his time in pro ball as a third baseman (117 games at the hot corner compared to 25 at first and 20 behind the plate). He’s only played six games at first this year, but half of those came last week, when he lit up Midwest League pitching. Warren is riding a nine-game hit streak and had multiple knocks on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The biggest of those contests was his middle one, when Warren belted two homers, doubled and drove in five on a four-hit night. He added another homer on Thursday, giving him nearly a third of his total 10 for the season in a two-game stretch.
2B: Eguy Rosario, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)
Padres No. 3
.565/.593/.957, 5 G, 13-for-23, 2 HR, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 9 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Like Quero, Rosario makes his third Team of the Week appearance of the season this week and does so after a monster week for his parent club. The Padres’ deal for Juan Soto shipped out a group of top prospects that enabled Rosario to move up to No. 3 in his organization’s rankings, and the infielder’s hot season in the Pacific Coast League continued with it. With hits in his last 10, Rosario had multiple knocks in all five games he played last week, homering on Thursday and Friday while doubling on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Rosario scored at least two runs and drove in at least one in each of his first four games of the week. His best run-producing day came on Thursday, when the 22-year-old drove in four and scored a pair.
Baty is the only player on this week’s selections to surpass Rosario and Quero in appearances and does so on the day he is reportedly headed to Triple-A. This edition marks the third baseman’s fourth weekly honor of the year, which goes to show why he’s a top-20 overall prospect in baseball. Baty torched Eastern League pitching in July, batting .365/.435/.688 with eight homers and 27 RBIs in 23 games. Through August’s first week, he was even better. Baty’s most impressive game of the week was a 3-for-4 showing on Thursday that included a pair of homers, four RBIs and two runs scored. The third baseman was also content to lay off when necessary, earning at least one walk in four games while striking out just three times for the week.
SS: Romy Gonzalez, ACL White Sox (Rookie)
White Sox No. 7
.471/.526/1.177, 5 G, 8-for-17, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Last season, Gonzalez saw 10 games at the big league level for the White Sox and batted .250/.273/.344. This year, he started the campaign with Triple-A Charlotte but has only seen sporadic action, playing 27 games from April through June with three different stints on the IL. Now in Rookie ball on a rehab assignment, Gonzalez looked back to form. The infielder notched hits in each of his five games played, with multihit games in three. Gonzalez homered in four of his five contests and drove in at least one run in all five. Perhaps most importantly, he struck out just twice for the week, both in his final game, compared with 36 K’s in 27 games to begin the year with Charlotte.
OF: Heriberto Hernandez, Bowling Green Hot Rods (High-A)
Rays No. 12
.421/.542/1.105, 5 G, 8-for-19, 4 HR, 1 2B, 12 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB, 4 K
The 2022 season has been a bit of a roller coaster for Hernandez, whose OPS by month has gone from .959 in April to .594 in May to .849 in June and .825 in July. August is off to a terrific start for the 22-year-old, who originally signed with the Rangers in 2017 out of his native Dominican Republic. Hernandez kicked off the week with a three-hit game that included a home run and four RBIs on Tuesday and kept rolling from there. The outfielder added homers in each of his next two games and finished the week with another on Sunday, giving him four in five games to start August after he tallied five dingers in 21 contests in July. Hernandez drove in at least three runs in three different games and worked at least one walk in his first four contests for the week.
OF: Kerry Carpenter, Toledo Mud Hens (Triple-A)
Tigers No. 22
.417/.500/.958, 7 G, 10-for-24, 3 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B, 9 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB, 4 K, 1 SB
A product of Virginia Tech drafted in 2019, Carpenter flew under the radar as a prospect until this year when he put himself on the map with Double-A Erie, batting .304/.359/.646 in 63 games. Through his first month-plus in Triple-A, he’s been even better than at his last stop, now batting .342/.433/.667 at the Minors’ highest level. The only selection on this week’s squad to have played seven games over the award period, due to a Wednesday doubleheader, Carpenter is now riding a 10-game hit streak and has been flashing his power bat over his last four games. The 24-year-old homered and tripled on Saturday, then belted a grand slam as part of a five-RBI day on Sunday.
OF: Denzel Clarke, Lansing Lugnuts (High-A)
Athletics No. 15
.400/.500/1.000, 5 G, 8-for-20, 3 HR, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 7 R, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 SB
Playing his first full season in the A’s organization, Clarke is turning heads this year, enough to be selected to the Futures Game last month. Even with that accolade, Clarke's most notable feat this year might be one he accomplished last week, when he hit inside-the-park homers in consecutive games. After beginning the year by posting a .295/.420/.545 line in 42 games with Single-A Stockton, the Toronto native is finding his stride at the High-A level. While holding down center field duties for Lansing, Clarke homered in three of his five games played, matching his total from his first 22 games with the Lugnuts. Tuesday was Clarke’s best game in the Midwest League. The 22-year-old went 3-for-5 -- his second three-hit game at the level -- with an inside-the-parker and a double. He also homered and doubled to drive in three runs on Friday night.
LHP: Jordan Wicks, Tennessee Smokies (Double-A)
Cubs No. 7
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 15 K, 0.78 WHIP
The Southern League gave Wicks a rude welcome at the end of July. After posting a 3.65 ERA and 86 strikeouts against 17 walks in 66 2/3 innings for High-A South Bend to start the year, Wicks made the jump to Tennessee but got roughed up immediately. Over his first two starts for the Smokies, the lefty was charged with seven runs, all earned, on 10 hits in seven innings, taking losses to Biloxi and Birmingham. As the calendar turned, so did Wicks’ results. The Kansas State product was masterful in his first two appearances of August against Rocket City, starting with eight strikeouts across five innings to counter three hits and a walk on Tuesday. Five days later, Wicks was just about as good, only lasting four frames but striking out seven while allowing just two hits and two walks. The 22-year-old has now fanned 109 batters through 82 2/3 innings this season.
Painter has been brilliant at two different levels this year for the Phillies and is still reaching new heights, with his best start of the season coming last week. On Saturday, the right-hander went a season-long seven innings and struck out a 11 while yielding just two hits and a walk. The feat came in the second game of an impressive pitching doubleheader, giving Painter a complete-game victory, during which he only threw 79 pitches (56 strikes). The 2021 13th-overall pick opened the year with a 1.40 ERA and 69 strikeouts against 16 walks in 38 2/3 innings for Single-A Clearwater before being promoted to Jersey Shore in early June. Through nine outings with the BlueClaws, Painter is now 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA in seven starts. Opponents are batting a mere .191 against him, and Painter’s High-A WHIP sits at 0.91.
RP: Ben Leeper, Iowa Cubs (Triple-A)
Cubs No. 2
0-0, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 0.33 WHIP
Leeper’s season has been a series of ups and downs with the righty posting a 5.63 ERA in five April appearances, a 0.00 mark through seven games in May, a whopping 13.50 in five June appearances and then a 4.15 ERA in seven July contests. So far, August is off to the right kind of start. Leeper faced Toledo twice last week, first earning a save while dealing a pair of innings to wrap up the second game of a doubleheader on Wednesday with four strikeouts against a walk. Four days later, Leeper pitched a perfect ninth in an Iowa loss, striking out two. Since his ERA hit 5.48 on July 1, Leeper has dropped that mark to 4.22 over his last eight outings, allowing just two earned runs in that span.