Repeats lead Prospect Team of the Week
The focus of the baseball world was on prospects Sunday with the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and MLB Draft both taking place in Denver. But that was just the last day in what was yet another strong week for prospects playing for Minor League teams all around the country.
The latest edition of MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week has multiple familiar faces on the list. First baseman Mason Martin (Pirates), outfielder Cody Thomas (Athletics) and left-hander John Doxakis (Rays) each made the cut for the third time through 10 weeks in 2021 while second baseman Kaden Polcovich (Mariners) and outfielder Joshua Mears (Padres) appear for a second time.
Here is the latest Prospect Team of the Week, covering July 5-11:
C: Josh Breaux, Hudson Valley Renegades (High-A)
(Yankees No. 19)
.526/.550/1.421, 5 G, 10-for-19, 5 HR, 2 2B, 8 RBI, 7 R, 1 BB, 2 K
The 2018 second-rounder hit as many home runs during a home series against Brooklyn last week (five) as he did in the entire month of June, including three on Saturday alone. His monthly OPS has climbed steeply through May (.488), June (.879) and July (1.426), and he’s hitting .265/.319/.514 with 12 long balls through 48 games on the season as a whole. Power is going to be the 23-year-old’s carrying tool, and this recent surge could push him to Double-A in the second half, where he would find a more age-appropriate challenge.
1B: Mason Martin, Altoona Curve (Double-A)
(Pirates No. 14)
.444/.524/1.000, 5 G, 8-for-18, 3 HR, 1 2B, 6 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K
Martin proved that last week’s PTOW appearance was no flash in the pan with a repeat in the second week of July. The left-handed slugger has clubbed seven homers this month, sending more than half of his 13 hits in that span over the fence. His .616 slugging percentage on the season is tops among qualified Double-A hitters, while his 16 homers puts him at a tie atop the level’s leaderboard with Royals prospect MJ Melendez. Martin tied for fourth in the Minors with 35 long balls in 2019 and has shown few issues in getting that pop to translate to the upper levels.
2B: Kaden Polcovich, Everett AquaSox (High-A)
(Mariners No. 22)
.500/.625/.833, 5 G, 9-for-18, 0 HR, 3 3B, 6 RBI, 7 R, 4 BB, 4 K, 3 SB
The 2020 third-rounder is back after a Week 5 appearance on the PTOW. Polcovich has an ongoing seven-game hitting streak that has pushed his season average from .249 to .274. Interestingly, three of his four triples on the season came last week alone. The switch-hitter out of Oklahoma State started to hit his stride in June and is sitting on a .274/.413/.497 line, putting him among the top five in High-A West in OBP, slugging and OPS (.910) around the midpoint of his first season.
3B: Gunnar Henderson, Aberdeen IronBirds (High-A)
(Orioles No. 5/MLB No. 91)
.320/.346/.760, 6 G, 8-for-25, 3 HR, 2 2B, 6 RBI, 6 R, 1 BB, 8 K
Few batters needed a week like this more than Henderson. The left-handed slugger opened his time at High-A by going 1-for-31 (.032) with 17 strikeouts and 12 walks through his first 11 games with Aberdeen. He broke that run by going 3-for-4 with a homer and a double last Tuesday and carried that through the rest of the week. His two-homer showing Friday at Greenville marked his first career multi-dinger game. The 2019 second-rounder’s pop has come through the most in his first full season as he’s hitting .269/.352/.513 with 11 homers through 52 games between Low-A and High-A.
SS: Aeverson Arteaga, ACL Giants Orange (Rookie-level)
(Giants No. 22)
.421/.476/1.158, 5 G, 8-for-19, 4 HR, 2 2B, 6 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K
Top San Francisco prospect Marco Luciano has claimed two PTOW honors in 2021, including last week’s. It was time for another Giants shortstop to take the spotlight. Arteaga did so all the way down in the Arizona Complex League, where he mashed four homers in only five games. That’s an interesting development for the 18-year-old, whose best tools are his run, glove and arm. If Arteaga -- who signed for $1 million in July 2019 -- can show even average power, he could shoot up prospect boards as he gains more professional experience.
OF: Cody Thomas, Las Vegas Aviators (Triple-A)
(Athletics No. 22)
.478/.500/1.174, 5 G, 11-for-23, 3 HR, 1 3B, 5 2B, 11 RBI, 8 R, 2 BB, 3 K
As mentioned above, this is the third time that Thomas has achieved PTOW status. His nine extra-base hits were most among all ranked prospects last week, and his 27 total bases tied him with Breaux as well at the top of that leaderboard. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Thomas did all of his mashing in the state of Nevada (two games at home, three games at Reno), but you can only hit where they schedule you. The former Oklahoma quarterback has multiple hits in five of his last six games overall and is hitting .304/.365/.696 with 16 homers over 48 games during his first season in the A’s system.
OF: Nick Plummer, Springfield Cardinals (Double-A)
(Cardinals No. 29)
.364/.462/.909, 5 G, 8-for-22, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 SB
Does it get more dramatic than your third homer of the game being a two-run walk-off blast in the 10th? That’s what Plummer accomplished last Thursday against Tulsa. It underlined how much of a breakout the 2015 first-rounder is enjoying in 2021. After dropping out of the Top 30, the left-handed slugger has surged back in by hitting .306/.404/.500 with eight homers in 57 games for Springfield. Previously known for his above-average speed, Plummer is putting a retooled swing to work by tapping into more power than before.
OF: Joshua Mears, Lake Elsinore Storm (Low-A)
(Padres No. 9)
.400/.455/1.000, 5 G, 8-for-20, 3 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 7 K
Standing at 6-foor-3, 230 pounds, Mears has shown that he’s more than capable of running into a few balls in the early days of his career, and that continued in Low-A West last week. His best game came Sunday at home against Rancho Cucamonga, when he went 3-for-5 with a pair of homers. That marked Mears’ first three-hit performance of the season. His .225/.377/.475 line and nine homers in 50 games emphasize how much the 2019 second-rounder is power over hit tool at this early stage of his career.
LHP: John Doxakis, Bowling Green Hot Rods (High-A)
(Rays No. 28)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 0.00 WHIP
Pity the High-A East team that has to face Doxakis next. (That’s Winston-Salem, by the way.) The Rays southpaw makes the PTOW cut for the second time in a row after his no-hit performance last Thursday at Rome. Over his last two starts, Doxakis has struck out 13 and allowed only one unearned runs on one hit and one walks over 10 innings. That came after he surrendered eight earned runs in his first two High-A starts combined in June. The 2019 second-rounder, who stands out most for his plus control, owns a 3.06 ERA with 59 strikeouts and only five walks in 47 innings between Low-A and High-A. His 0.68 WHIP is lowest among Minor Leaguers with at least 40 frames this season.
RHP: Bryce Bonnin, Daytona Tortugas (Low-A)
(Reds No. 15)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K, 0.00 WHIP
Bonnin missed much of the first two months of the season while on the injured list but has shown no issue making up for lost time. His 11-strikeout, perfect performance last Wednesday came in his full-season debut in the Reds system. Before that, the 2020 third-rounder out of Texas Tech struck out seven and allowed one earned run over four frames in an Arizona Complex League rehab appearance. When healthy, Bonnin shows two plus pitches in his mid-90s fastball and slider, and those two alone could get a lot of whiffs at the lower levels.
RP: Jovani Moran, Wichita Wind Surge (Double-A)
(Twins No. 30)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 0 GS, 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.33 WHIP
Sure, the 24-year-old left-hander only appeared once last week, but he certainly made it count last Thursday at home against Northwest Arkansas. His five punchouts matched a season high. Moran relies on a 91-94 fastball that features plenty of life and a plus changeup that is at least a plus pitch. The two offerings have helped the 2015 seventh-rounder post a 1.75 ERA and 0.67 WHIP with 60 strikeouts in 36 innings in his second taste of Double-A. His 46.2 percent K rate is second-best in the Minors among pitchers with at least 30 frames.
Also receiving votes: Zack Hess, West Michigan Whitecaps (High-A, Tigers)