MLBPipeline.com'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.
Many scouts believed Nick Senzel was the best pure hitter available in the 2016 Draft, which is a major reason why the Reds selected him second overall and signed him for $6.2 million. He has lived up to that reputation, batting .317/.390/.519 with 89 extra-base hits in his first 177 pro games.
Prospect Team of the Week
Senzel has raised his game since arriving in Double-A in late June, hitting a sizzling .352/.405/.587 with 23 extra-base knocks (including nine homers) in 47 games. No Minor Leaguer was hotter last week, when Senzel batted .522/.560/1.130 with a pair of multihomer games on Thursday and Sunday. He topped everyone in the Minors in slugging and tied for the lead with four homers during that time.
Though Eugenio Suarez is having a nice year in Cincinnati, Senzel has a higher ceiling and will be ready for the big leagues at some point next year. For now, he'll have to settle for tearing up Double-A and headlining MLBPipeline's Prospect Team of the Week.
This week's squad, which is based on games from Aug. 7-13, features three players who switched organizations in trades last month. The complete team:
C: Raudy Read, Harrisburg Senators (Double-A)
(Nationals' No. 14 prospect)
.348/.444/.870, 6 G, 7 R, 8 H, 4 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SO, 1 SB
Read tied Senzel for the Minor League lead with four homers last week, including two on Saturday, boosting his career-best total to 14 this year. He's batting .265/.310/.451 in 94 games and has made improvements with his receiving behind the plate this summer.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Read launches homer - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1720122283
1B: Daniel Vogelbach, Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A)
(Mariners' No. 12 prospect)
.333/.438/.667, 7 G, 8 R, 9 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 7 SO
Vogelbach didn't switch addresses at this year's Trade Deadline, but he was the key prospect in a deal that moved Mike Montgomery from the Mariners to the Cubs last July -- and Montgomery would go on to save Game 7 of the World Series. Vogelbach stands out most for his on-base ability, and he reached base safely 14 times in seven games last week. He's hitting .295/.395/.470 with 16 homers in 108 games and stands second in the Pacific Coast League with 67 walks.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Vogelbach goes yard - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1709592783
2B: Esteury Ruiz, AZL Padres (Rookie)
(Padres' No. 30 prospect)
.450/.542/.800, 6 G, 4 R, 9 H, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SO, 5 SB, 2 CS
Though Ruiz is still years away from the big leagues at age 18, the Padres zeroed in on his hitting ability when they sent Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter to the Royals on July 24 (San Diego also received Matt Strahm and Travis Wood). Ruiz began last week with four consecutive multihit games and hit his first homer with his new organization on Friday. He leads the Arizona League in slugging (.678), triples (nine), extra-base hits (28) and total bases (99), and he's batting .370/.415/.678 with 16 steals in 37 games.
3B: Nick Senzel, Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Double-A)
(Reds' No. 1 prospect/MLB No. 11)
.522/.560/1.130, 6 G, 7 R, 12 H, 2 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB
Senzel's hitting ability stands out, but don't sleep on his power. His nine homers in 47 games at Pensacola are more than he hit during his entire junior season at Tennessee. Senzel is batting a combined .325/.385/.522 with 13 homers in 109 games between high Class A and Double-A, and he tops all Reds farmhands in hitting, on-base percentage, OPS (.908) and doubles (39).
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Senzel rips homer - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1725356383
SS: Isaac Paredes, West Michigan Whitecaps (Class A)
(Tigers' No. 8 prospect)
.400/.500/.900, 5 G, 6 R, 8 H, 1 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 4 SO
Jeimer Candelario and Paredes immediately became two of the Tigers' three best position prospects when they were acquired from the Cubs in exchange for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila on July 31. Paredes is tied for the Midwest League lead with four homers in 13 games since the trade, including two on Tuesday. He's batting .275/.356/.431 with 11 homers in 105 games as an 18-year-old in the MWL, which may be the toughest hitting environment in the Minors.
OF: Eloy Jimenez, Winston-Salem Dash (Class A Advanced)
(White Sox No. 2 prospect/MLB No. 7)
.385/.448/.846, 6 G, 7 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 4 SO, 1 CS
The highest-ranked prospect on this PTOW -- No. 7 on MLBPipeline's Top 100 -- Jimenez headlined the trade that shipped Jose Quintana from the White Sox to the Cubs on July 13. He has raked since the deal, batting .362/.427/.714 with eight homers in 28 games, including two dingers on Saturday before his 11-game hitting streak ended the next day. After missing the first five weeks of the season with a sore right shoulder, Jimenez has recorded a .308/.381/.581 slash line with 16 homers in 70 games between two Class A stops.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Jimenez belts 2nd homer of game - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1721981883
OF: Jordan Luplow, Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A)
(Pirates' No. 21 prospect)
.500/.536/.846, 7 G, 5 R, 13 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 SO, 1 SB
The lone member of this week's team to repeat from earlier in the year, Luplow first earned PTOW recognition when he homered five times in seven games from May 29-June 4. This time, he cranked out six multihit games in seven days to improve his Indianapolis line to .355/.433/.600 with seven homers in 31 games. He's batting .308/.388/.555 with 23 homers in 104 games between Double-A and Triple-A after posting a .784 OPS in high Class A last year.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Luplow makes diving grab - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1724104683
OF: Brent Rooker, Fort Myers Miracle (Class A Advanced)
(Twins' No. 14 prospect)
.364/.417/.818, 6 G, 5 R, 8 H, 1 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 1 BB, 5 SO
After joining Rafael Palmeiro as the only players ever to win the Southeastern Conference triple crown, Rooker signed for $1,935,300 as a supplemental first-round pick. He had no problem handling the Rookie-level Appalachian League but batted just .200/.291/.357 in his first 20 Florida State League games. Consider that slump busted after Rooker led all Minor Leaguers with 13 RBIs last week, boosting his numbers in his pro debut to .260/.342/.525 with 13 homers in 48 games.
LHP: Steven Brault, Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A)
(Pirates' No. 7 prospect)
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 GS, 14 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 7 SO, 0.71 WHIP
No Minor Leaguer had more shutout innings than Brault, who spun a pair of scoreless seven-inning gems on Monday and Saturday. He won both, improving to 10-5 with International League bests in ERA (1.94) and opponent average (.199). Brault has turned in 10 straight quality starts for Indianapolis, going 8-2 with a 1.52 ERA during that span.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Brault notches strikeout - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1721096283
RHP: Bryse Wilson, Rome Braves (Class A)
(Braves' No. 22 prospect)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 GS, 12 2/3 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 17 SO, 0.87 WHIP
Wilson ranked second behind Brault with 12 2/3 scoreless innings last week, and he paced all Minor Leaguers with 17 strikeouts, including 11 during seven shutout frames on Tuesday. He hasn't allowed a run in his last three starts while running his record to 9-5 with a 2.36 ERA (second-best in the South Atlantic League) and 120 strikeouts in 118 innings.
RP: Ben Heller, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
(Yankees' No. 24 prospect)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 1 SV, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO, 0.00 WHIP
A lesser-known piece of the Andrew Miller blockbuster between the Indians and Yankees last summer, Heller faced 13 batters last week, fanned 10 of them and allowed just one to reach base -- and that on a strikeout/wild pitch. He ranks second among IL relievers in strikeout rate (13.0 per nine innings), opponent average (.172) and WHIP (0.96). He's New York's 11th PTOW selection of 2017, tying it with the Astros, Brewers and Rockies for the most.