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.
MLB Pipeline’s latest Prospect Team of the Week features many familiar names, with seven of the 11 roster spots belonging to players making their second PTOW appearance. The group is led by a pair of Top 100 prospects in Wander Franco (No. 5) and Ryan Mountcastle (No. 63), and, overall, there are three former first-round Draft picks in this week’s squad.
Additionally, the Indians, Orioles and Rangers all have two PTOW representatives this week. Cleveland’s seven PTOW selections this season is second only to Houston (9), though the Orioles and Rangers, with six PTOW selections apiece, aren’t far off the lead.
Here’s this week's PTOW, based on games from May 27 through June 2.
C: Sam Huff, Down East Wood Ducks (Class A Advanced)
(Rangers’ No. 21 prospect)
6 G, .435/.480/.739, 4 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP
Huff plated eight runs with a trio of multihit performances to begin the week and ultimately hit safely in all six games for the Wood Ducks. He homered twice along the way, giving the 21-year-old backstop a career-high 19 homers in 53 games for the season. He’s batting .337 with four homers in 23 games since his promotion from Class A Hickory, where he torched South Atlantic League hurlers to the tune of a .333/.368/.796 line with 15 homers in 30 games.
1B: Ryan Mountcastle, Norfolk Tides (Triple-A)
(Orioles’ No. 1 prospect/No. 63 overall)
3 G, .357/.357/1.214, 4 R, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 3 K
Though he played in only three games last week, and went 0-for-4 in the first of the three contests, Mountcastle’s outstanding showing over the weekend nets him his second PTOW selection in 2019. After a two-hit game Saturday that included a walk-off homer, the former first-round pick (2015) erupted for his first career three-homer game on Sunday, going yard in three of his first four at-bats en route to his second five-RBI performance in his last eight games. In his first Triple-A campaign, the 22-year-old is hitting .328/.351/.578 with 11 home runs.
2B: Diosbel Arias, Down East Wood Ducks (Class A Advanced)
(Rangers’ No. 19)
6 G, .579/.680/.737, 7 R, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP
Arias reached base in all five trips to the plate on Monday while recording a season-high four hits from the cleanup spot. Two of his hits were doubles, and he added another two-base hit the following day. He hit safely in five of six games for the Wood Ducks, three of which were multihit efforts. Bumped up from the Class A Short Season Northwest League to the Carolina League for his first full season, the 22-year-old Cuban infielder has responded to the challenge by hitting .317/.380/.428 in 56 games for Down East.
3B: Nolan Jones, Lynchburg Hillcats (Class A Advanced)
(Indians’ No. 2 prospect/No. 59 overall)
6 G, .400/.625/.800, 5 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 9 BB, 5 K
Jones, 21, connected on a three-run homer is his first game of the week and a grand slam in the next as he pushed his season total to four home runs. The former second-round pick (2016) has hit all four homers in his last 13 games, a stretch during which he’s batted .350/.536/.675. Overall, Jones sports a .305 average on the season and ranks among the Carolina League leaders with 45 walks (first), a .452 OBP (second) and .877 OPS (fourth).
SS: Wander Franco, Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class A)
(Rays’ No. 1 prospect/No. 5 overall)
5 G, .474/.500/.947, 7 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SB
Franco continued his assault on Midwest League pitching last week by posting four multihit performances in five games, without striking out in 22 plate appearances. The 18-year-old switch-hitter went deep on Friday and then again the following day, giving him six homers in 47 games to go along with a robust .326/.392/.536 line in his first full season. He has 23 extra-base hits, 11 steals and more walks (22) than strikeouts (16). What’s more, Franco currently is riding a nine-game hitting streak, during which he has a .474 average, nine RBIs and 11 runs scored.
OF: Trent Grisham, Biloxi Shuckers (Double-A)
(Brewers’ No. 30 prospect)
6 G, .409/.517/1.136, 8 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 6 BB, 2 K
After tallying 15 extra-base hits through his first 46 games, Grisham had all nine of his hits go for extra bases last week in six games for the Shuckers. The 22-year-old matched his career-high with five RBIs on Friday, when he had a trio of extra-base hits including a three-run homer, and he also went deep on Saturday and Sunday, the latter of which highlighted a four-RBI game. While the former first-round pick (2015) hasn’t hit particularly well in the pro ranks, with a .244 career average, he does seem to be making some progress this season, with a .256 average -- he’s batting .279 with 5 home runs since the start of May -- and a career-high nine home runs in his second tour of the Double-A level.
OF: Jake Fraley, Arkansas Travelers (Double-A)
(Mariners’ No. 14 prospect)
5 G, .440/.481/.920, 8 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 SB, 1 CS
Fraley, whom Seattle acquired from the Rays in the offseason Mike Zunino trade, recorded four multihit, multi-RBI performances last week while hitting safely in all five games. After beginning his week with a home run, the 24-year-old went deep in back-to-back games (Thursday/Friday) before turning in a three-hit, three-RBI showing on Sunday. After battling injuries during his first two full seasons, Fraley has produced a .338/.408/.569 batting line with nine homers and 14 steals so far this season in his first Double-A campaign.
OF: Will Benson, Lake County Captains (Class A)
(Indians’ No. 25 prospect)
7 G, .409/.500/1.000, 7 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 4 SB
Benson went yard in both games of a doubleheader on Sunday to close out his four-homer week for the Captains. The 20-year-old has hit a Midwest League-leading 16 home runs in 50 games this season, which puts him on pace to blow well past the career-high total of 22 he achieved over 123 games last season in his first tour of the MWL. Beyond the power numbers, the former first-round pick (2016) is hitting .278/.373/.611 and leads the circuit in RBIs (45) and total bases (110) and ranks second with 18 stolen bases (in 19 attempts).
LHP: Alex Wells, Bowie Baysox (Double-A)
(Orioles’ No. 26 prospect)
1-0, 0.61 ERA, 2 GS, 14 2/3 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 0.75 WHIP
Wells is the second straight Bowie southpaw to garner PTOW honors after Zac Lowther’s appearance last week. Making two starts last week, the 22-year-old Australian tossed seven scoreless innings on Monday and then pitched into the eighth inning on Sunday, ultimately completing 7 2/3 frames to earn the win. He threw nearly 70 percent strikes between the two outings. Wells has completed at least seven innings in three of his past four starts, pitching to a 0.38 ERA with a 17/2 K/BB ratio over 23 2/3 innings in that span.
RHP: Adbert Alzolay, Iowa Cubs (Triple-A)
(Cubs’ No. 4 prospect)
0-0, 0.75 ERA, 2 GS, 12 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 17 K, 0.42 WHIP
Alzolay made a pair of impressive six-inning starts last week, though neither netted him a win. After striking out a season-high nine batters on Monday, the 24-year-old retired the final 16 batters while facing two over the minimum on Saturday. Alzolay reached Triple-A for the first time last season but logged only eight starts at the level before suffering a lat injury that prematurely ended his campaign and cost him the first month of the ’19 season.
RP: Junior Fernandez, Springfield Cardinals (Double-A)
(Cardinals’ No. 20 prospect)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 SV, 2 G, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 0.20 WHIP
Fernandez is making his second straight PTOW appearance after he once again dominated in a pair of multi-inning relief appearances for Springfield. The 22-year-old struck out four over three hitless frames to earn the save on Tuesday, then tallied four more punchouts over two innings on Saturday. Fernandez has rebounded this season after being limited by arm issues in 2017-18, as he now owns a 0.92 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 28/5 K/BB ratio in 19 2/3 innings (11 games) since his promotion to the Double-A level.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.