The first half of the Minor League season is nearing its end, and teams are already clinching playoff berths across select leagues. Across all circuits, top prospects are continuing to flex their muscle and display their diverse skill sets.
This week, a pair of Triple-A Rockies prospects capitalized on their team’s big week at the plate for Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week while two Yankees prospects got nods as well. A speedy Seattle catcher got to stretch his legs and race onto his first squad. while an Atlanta shortstop was a run-producing machine.
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 June 13-June 19:
Seattle’s 2021 first-rounder put his wide array of tools on display last week and rode them to his first ever Prospect Team of the Week selection by posting a 1.342 OPS in five games for the Nuts. Ford entered the week off a good note thanks to a 4-for-5 performance with a homer, two triples and five RBIs in his team’s June 12 series finale at Inland Empire. Back home against Lake Elsinore, he continued that momentum. The backstop registered hits in all five games he played with another 4-for-5 performance on Friday. In that game, Ford homered and drove in three. After not having registered a triple in his first 57 career games, the backstop now has four over his last six played.
1B: Elehuris Montero, Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A)
Rockies No. 5
.471/.500/1.059, 5 G, 8-for-17, 2 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B, 9 RBI, 7 R, 6 BB, 2 K, 1 SB, 2 HBP
Though Montero has played the majority of his time at third base this year (31, compared to 16 at first), he made half his starts across the diamond last week. Over five games played, which included one start as Albuquerque’s designated hitter, Montero pushed his hitting streak to 14 games and started his team’s series against Sugar Land with a flourish. In his first two contests opposite the Space Cowboys, Montero went 5-for-nine with a homer, two doubles and five RBIs. As of the start of his hitting streak, the corner infielder was a .284/.358/.465 hitter. Entering play this week, Montero has boosted that line to .327/.395/.563 for the season, including a .429/.463/.829 stretch through his first nine games in June.
2B: Eddinson Paulino, Salem Red Sox, (Single-A)
Red Sox No. 19
.480/.581/.960, 6 G, 12-for-25, 2 HR, 2 3B, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 8 R, 6 BB, 2 K, 5 SB
Paulino took some lumps getting adjusted to the Single-A level in his first month, batting .194/.268/.375 in 17 games. Since then, he’s been on the rise. After hitting .279/.367/.442 in 26 May contests, the infielder is off to an even better start in June. Paulino had at least one hit in all six of his team’s games against visiting Delmarva and racked up four multihit performances, including three-hit days on Thursday and Sunday, while adding five stolen bases in five attempts. Through 15 games this month, Paulino has batted .333/.452/.650 with three homers – more than his first two months of the season combined – and 13 RBIs. And on top of all that, it may be his plate discipline that has impressed most over the last two months. Paulino struck out 23 times against just six walks in April. In May, it was 15 K’s and 13 BBs. So far in June, the 19-year-old is even with 13 apiece.
Montgomery’s resident Australian surged in a road series at Rocket City, belting four homers over five games, over a third of his total entering the week, which sat at 11. After leaving the yard in the series opener on Tuesday, Mead doubled twice on Wednesday, went 1-for-3 on Thursday and then homered as part of a two-hit game Saturday before belting a pair of dingers in Sunday’s finale. The Adelaide, South Australia, native has gone hitless just twice in 16 games this month and is batting .344/.414/.705 for June. That showing comes on the heels of a May during which he hit .250/.347/.375 in 17 games played. This week marks Mead’s second selection of the 2022 season, joining his sparkling Week 3.
SS: Vaughn Grissom, Rome Braves (High-A)
Braves No. 6
.516/.559/.871, 6 G, 16-for-31, 2 HR, 5 2B, 17 RBI, 14 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 3 SB
If pro baseball was a video game, Grissom might have had it set on “Rookie” mode last week based on his blistering stat line. With more hits, doubles, RBIs and runs scored than anyone else on this week’s list, the Atlanta shortstop prospect impressed for High-A Rome. Grissom put up two hits or more in five of his team’s six games last week, going hitless in the other. The 21-year-old started with three-hit nights on Tuesday and Wednesday before posting back-to-back four-hit showings on Thursday and Friday. As part of Rome’s 22-run, 23-hit onslaught on Thursday, Grissom led the way, going 4-for-7 with two grand slams, a double, eight RBIs and five runs scored. He doubled twice and drove in three more as part of a 4-for-5 performance on Friday. Like others on this week’s list, Grissom is having a resurgent June after a tough May. Last month, he hit .239/.330/.432 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 22 games. Through 16 so far in June, Grissom is hitting .382/.440/.603 with three homers and 19 RBIs.
OF: Everson Pereira, Hudson Valley Renegades (High-A)
Yankees No. 10
.483/.500/1.000, 6 G, 14-for-29, 4 HR, 3 2B, 13 RBI, 11 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 SB
Holding down center field for Hudson Valley for most of his season, Pereira broke out with his best week of the year at the plate. On the road at Greensboro, the outfielder tallied four multihit games, with his best performance coming on Friday. That night, Pereira went 4-for-6 with two homers, a double and seven RBIs as the Renegades rolled up 22 runs on 23 hits. Friday’s showing was Pereira’s second multihomer game of the week after he also belted a pair in Tuesday’s series opener. Those two contests were the 21-year-old’s first four-hit games since last August. Pereira entered the week a .241/.336/.330 hitter and left with a line of .273/.356/.418 for the season.
OF: Dominic Fletcher, Reno Aces (Triple-A)
D-backs No. 18
.563/.652/.938, 5 G, 9-for-16, 1 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 7 R, 6 BB, 2 K
Through three professional seasons, Fletcher has been a constant riser for the D-backs, and now he’s knocking on the door to the Major Leagues. In his latest stellar week, the outfielder posted a pair of three-hit games for the Aces against visiting Oklahoma City, kicking off the series with a 3-for-4 Wednesday performance that featured a homer and a triple. Fletcher not only racked up five hits in his final two games of the week but also displayed a steady eye with six walks against only two strikeouts. The former Arkansas Razorbacks standout conquered Double-A earlier this year with a .346/.408/.591 slash line in 32 games. Through his first 26 Triple-A games, Fletcher has been even better, batting .363/.438/.588.
OF: Ryan Vilade, Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A)
Rockies No. 9
.500/.565/.850, 5 G, 10-for-20, 2 HR, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 12 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP
It was a big offensive week for Albuquerque, which ran its winning streak to seven games with a six-game sweep of visiting Salt Lake. Against the Bees, the Isotopes piled up 65 runs, including a 20-run outburst on Wednesday in their biggest offensive performance of the year. Vilade was in the thick of things throughout. The Oklahoman belted two homers on Wednesday night, part of a franchise record eight for the ’Topes, driving in four runs while scoring five. He then amassed seven more knocks over his next four games and scored seven more runs. Vilade started June just 6-for-42 (.143) through his first 10 games played before breaking out against Salt Lake. Wednesday’s three-hit game was his first since a 5-for-6 night against Sacramento on May 1.
LHP: Robert Gasser, Fort Wayne TinCaps (High-A)
Padres No. 8
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 12 K, 0.58 WHIP
In the modern schedule of Minor League Baseball, most starting pitchers only take the mound once a week. Gasser’s rotation lined up so that he faced off with Lansing twice last week, and the southpaw made the most of it. Gasser dealt five scoreless innings on Tuesday, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out four, and then pitched a gem five days later. After his team gave him eight runs of support in the top of the first, Gasser walked the leadoff man in the bottom half, then didn’t see another baserunner for the rest of the day. The 23-year-old retired 21 in a row, eight via strikeouts, over seven hitless innings in what is tied for his longest start of the year. Since giving up five runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 at Great Lakes on June 2, Gasser has dominated. Over his last three starts, the lefty has gone 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA, allowing just one run on eight hits while striking out 23 and walking three over 19 innings.
RHP: Luis Medina, Somerset Patriots (Double-A)
Yankees No. 11
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K, 0.50 WHIP
Medina has been good all season for Somerset but finally notched his first quality start of the year in the opener of a Wednesday doubleheader at New Hampshire. Over six innings, the right-hander faced just three over the minimum and dealt efficient ball with 57 strikes among his 84 pitches. Medina’s outing was just his second scoreless appearance of the year and first since he dealt five shutout frames against visiting Portland on April 29. The righty’s six innings were the first time he reached that mark since Sept. 19, 2021, at Akron, and his 10 strikeouts were a season high and his first time reaching double digits since Sept. 2 of last year at Bowie.
RP: Eric Orze, Syracuse Mets (Triple-A)
Mets No. 17
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 0.33 WHIP
Orze’s season got off to a rough start with the reliever clocking a 11.05 ERA through six games in April. Ever since, he’s been steadily improving. In his lone appearance last week at Norfolk, Orze went a season-high three innings and was dominant, matching a season-best mark with six strikeouts and allowing just one hit. The right-hander rebounded from his tough April by posting a 3.75 ERA in seven appearances in May. So far in June, Orze owns a 2.08 mark and has limited opponents to a .172 batting average.