MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances in the Minors from the previous week. Any player on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible.
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There are a lot of new faces on this week's Prospect Team of the Week, covering the week of July 30-Aug. 6. There are only two repeat performers and this week's squad includes a pair of 2018 draftees (with a raking first-rounder leading the way) as well as a 2017 international signee just getting his pro career underway. One of the returnees is here for the second week in a row, making a claim to be the hottest pitching prospect in the Minors.
C: Connor Wong, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Class A Adv)
(Dodgers' No. 16 prospect)
5 G, .524/.545/1.000, 10 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 5 SO
Wong homered on Tuesday, then hit two more on Wednesday as part of a huge 4-for-4 game. Five of the catcher's past six games have resulted in at least two hits, dating back to the end of last week, allowing him to raise his average nearly 20 points this past week. He's hit .405 over his past 10 games overall. This is Wong's second PTOW nod, with his first one coming after the first week of the Minor League season.
2018 Prospect Teams of the Week
1B: Nathaniel Lowe, Montgomery Biscuits (Double-A)
(Rays' No. 12 prospect)
7 G, .435/.567/.826, 4 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 7 BB, 3 SO
The Futures Game participant keeps on raking in the Southern League and has a seven-game hitting streak going, highlighted by four two-hit games this past week. One of those was a two-homer affair on Tuesday and Lowe is now hitting a combined .347/.439/.597 with 23 homers and 85 RBIs between the Class A Advanced Florida State League and the SL, putting him in line to win an organizational triple crown.
2B: Vidal Brujan, Bowling Green Hot Rods (Class A)
(Rays' No. 11 prospect)
5 G, .444/.522/.944, 7 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 1 SO, 1 SB
So much for hitting a wall in a first taste of full-season ball. After going 0-for-3 on Monday (albeit with an RBI), Brujan went 8-for-15 in his remaining four games, capping things off with a three-hit game, including a homer, on Saturday. The 20-year-old was hitting .340/.407/.487 in the second half of the Midwest League, bringing his average up to .313 (fourth in the league) while his 43 steals placed him second. The Rays saw enough to bump him up to the Florida State League to start this week.
3B: Nolan Gorman, Johnson City Cardinals (Rookie)
(Cardinals' No. 3 prospect/MLB No. 100 prospect)
6 G, .542/.577/1.042, 7 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO
The Cardinals challenged their first-round pick by having him skip the Gulf Coast League and sending him to the Appalachian League for his pro debut, and boy has he responded. Gorman has an eight-game hitting streak going and he homered in three straight games this past week. He's now hitting .346/.439/.677 for the summer and leads the Appy League in SLG while standing second with his 11 home runs.
SS: Tyler Freeman, Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Short season)
(Indians' No. 19 prospect)
7 G, .480/.519/.760, 5 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2 SB
The No. 71 overall pick in the 2017 Draft had a solid debut last summer in the Rookie-level Arizona League. He's stepped it up a notch in the New York-Penn League this summer. Freeman has a nine-game hitting streak going, a streak that included a home run on Tuesday and a four-hit, four-RBI game on Wednesday this past week. Clearly showing no ill effects from a torn left labrum that slowed his start to the year, the infielder leads the league in batting average (.385) and OPS (.984).
OF: Tyler Ramirez, Midland RockHounds (Double-A)
(A's No. 20 prospect)
7 G, .533/.611/.567, 10 R, 1 2B, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 4 SO
Ramirez hit in all seven games this past week, highlighted by a five-hit performance on Thursday. That was one of four multihit games for the outfielder, who has been turning it up a notch of late. Ramirez has hit .390 with eight RBIs over his past 10 games and is now sixth in the Texas League with his .374 OBP.
OF: Alex McKenna, Tri-City ValleyCats (Short-season)
(Astros' No. 30 prospect)
4 G, .500/.600/1.333, 3 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB
The Astros' fourth-round pick this past June has a seven-game hitting streak going. The Cal Poly product homered in three straight games Monday-Wednesday and is now hitting .316/.421/.547 in the NY-Penn League. McKenna's .968 OPS would put him second in the league if he had enough at-bats to qualify.
OF: Julio Rodriguez, DSL Mariners (Rookie)
(Mariners' No. 4 prospect)
6 G, .381/.458/.762, 6 R, 4 3B, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB
Signed for $1.75 million in July 2017, Rodriguez is just getting his pro career started in the Dominican Summer League, and he's handling the challenge just fine. His big game came on Wednesday -- a four-hit performance. The 17-year-old is now hitting .314/.392/.515, placing him eighth in the DSL in SLG.
LHP: Seth Corry, AZL Giants Orange/Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Rookie/Short-season)
(Giants' No. 15 prospect)
1-0, 0.90 ERA, 2 GS, 10 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 11 SO, 1.00 WHIP
The Giants' third-round pick in 2017 finished off his stay in one league strongly and then introduced himself to his new teammates extremely well last week. The southpaw gave up one run over five innings, striking out six, in his final start in the Rookie-level Arizona League on Tuesday, then got promoted to the short-season Northwest League. Corry was even sharper in his debut there, allowing just one hit over five shutout frames while striking out another five.
RHP: Dylan Cease, Birmingham Barons (Double-A)
(White Sox No. 5 prospect/MLB No. 44 prospect)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 GS, 12 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 16 SO, 0.67 WHIP
Cease keeps on rolling through the Southern League, earning his second straight PTOW nod. The Futures Gamer went six innings in each of his two starts this past week, putting up zeroes in each. On Monday, he gave up five hits and two walks while striking out seven. On Saturday, Cease yielded just one hit, walked none and whiffed nine. In seven starts in Double-A, he now has a 1.99 ERA and .176 BAA while striking out 12.8 per nine.
RP: Janser Lara, Lexington Legends (Class A)
Royals' No. 27 prospect
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 0.50 WHIP
The 21-year-old Dominican right-hander got the chance to start earlier in the year, but he might be settling into a relief role now, if his last week is any indication. Lara threw two hitless innings, striking out three, on Thursday, then followed that up with two more scoreless frames on Sunday, allowing one hit and one walk in that outing. After posting a 5.16 ERA in eight starts with Lexington, he has a 1.61 ERA in eight relief outings to go along with a .167 BAA.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.