Yanks' Judge leads Prospect Team of the Week
MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.
The 32nd overall pick in the 2013 Draft, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit everywhere he went until he reached Triple-A at the end of last June. He batted just .224/.308/.373 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the second half of last season, then put up .230/.292/.387 numbers there in the first two months of 2016.
Judge seems to have solved Triple-A pitching in June. He's hitting a robust .345/.467/.701 with more homers (eight) and walks (17) than he had in his first two months of this season combined. He led the Minors with five homers and 29 total bases last week, and he could take over in right field for New York should the Yankees go into sell mode and trade the resurgent Carlos Beltran.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Judge goes yard - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=857505683
For now, Judge will have to settle for tearing up Triple-A and headlining MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week. Here's the complete squad for the week of June 20-26:
C: Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
(Cubs No. 2 prospect)
7 G, .318/.444/.636, 4 R, 7 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 6 SO
The best catching prospect in baseball, Contreras pinch-homered on the first pitch he saw in the big leagues June 19 and then enjoyed a memorable first full week with the Cubs. Looking for ways to get his bat into the lineup, Chicago has given him two starts in left field and one at first base.
1B: Rhys Hoskins, Reading Fightin Phils (Double-A)
(Phillies No. 19 prospect)
6 G, .400/.444/.880, 9 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO
Hoskins earns PTOW recognition for the second time in three weeks, part of a scorching June performance in which he has batted .337/.394/.768 with 11 homers to tie Rangers second baseman Travis Demeritte for the Minor League longball lead with 20. Hoskins is batting .281/.343/.559 overall and tops the Eastern League in homers, total bases (.157) and slugging.
MILB Video - Title: Hoskins launches three-run shot - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=855514083
2B: Jonathan Piron, Grand Junction Rockies (Rookie)
(Rockies No. 24 prospect)
7 G, .480/.536/.880, 8 R, 12 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, 6 SB
Though he has one of the quicker bats in the deep Rockies system, Piron struggled in his first crack at full-season ball, hitting .187/.224/.306 at low Class A Asheville in the first two months of the 2016 season. He has fared much better in his return to Grand Junction, leading the Pioneer League in hits (15), RBI (10), total bases (28) and steals (six) while batting .455/.514/.848 in his first nine games back.
3B: Jeimer Candelario, Iowa Cubs (Triple-A)
(Cubs No. 7 prospect)
7 G, .409/.536/.727, 2 R, 9 H, 4 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 BB, 5 SO
The Cubs really don't have a place to put him in their big league lineup, but Candelario is one of the best third-base prospects in the game and was one of the most impressive hitters in the 2015 Arizona Fall League. Promoted to Triple-A at age 22 in early June, he's hitting .345/.473/.638 with 11 extra-base hits in his first 18 games at that level.
SS: Trea Turner, Syracuse Chiefs (Triple-A)
(Nationals No. 2 prospect)
8 G, .400/.486/.733, 7 R, 12 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB
Turner snapped out of a 7-for-41 slump with a hot week that boosted his Triple-A numbers to .304/.377/.464. He paces the International League with 50 runs and seven triples, and he ranks second with 22 steals (in 24 attempts) and third with 130 total bases.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Turner blasts off - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=861775183
OF: Hunter Cole, Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A)
(Giants No. 18 prospect)
6 G, .381/.409/.905, 5 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 6 SO
A 26th-round pick in 2014, Cole had no problems handling Double-A pitching in the second half of his first full pro season but hit just .231/.295/.329 in his first two months there in 2016. One of the best pure hitters in the Giants system, he has lived up to that billing by batting .321/.380/.607 with six homers in June.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Cole goes yard - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=844281783
OF: Courtney Hawkins, Birmingham Barons (Double-A)
(White Sox No. 9 prospect)
4 G, .500/.524/.944, 2 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO
Swing-and-miss issues have plagued Hawkins since the White Sox drafted him 13th overall in 2012, and an oblique injury sidelined him for a month earlier this year, but he has heated up as of late. He has hit safely in his last six games to improve his Double-A line to .234/.291/.386 and matched a career high with five RBIs on Sunday.
OF: Aaron Judge, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A)
(Yankees No. 2 prospect)
6 G, .458/.519/1.208, 8 R, 11 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 7 SO
Judge now leads the International League and the Yankees system with 15 homers. He topped New York farmhands with 20 homers in 2015 as well.
LHP: Thomas Szapucki, Kingsport Mets (Rookie)
(Mets No. 17 prospect)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 13 SO, .333 WHIP
A fifth-round pick out of a Florida high school in 2015, Szapucki made three brief relief appearances in his pro debut last summer. His first pro start was spectacular, as he fanned 13 of the 21 batters he faced Thursday in the Appalachian League season opener. His fastball reached the mid 90s and he overmatched hitters with his curveball.
RHP: Jose Berrios, Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A)
(Twins No. 1 prospect)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO, 0.625 WHIP
Last year's Minor League strikeout leader (175 in 166 1/3 innings) got knocked around to the tune of a 10.20 ERA in four starts with the Twins earlier this year, but he is ready for another shot at the Majors. Berrios has a 2.51 ERA in four Triple-A starts in June, with a 32/8 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings. He's 6-3, 2.92 overall at Rochester and ranks third in the International League in opponent average (.199).
MILB Video - Title: Berrios registers strikeout No. 9 - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=849657183