Reed headlines Prospect Team of the Week
Astros prospect drove in 10 runs, had a 1.763 OPS over course of 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.
Lancaster's The Hangar might be the best place to hit in the entire Minor Leagues, and the high Class A California League might be the friendliest hitting environment. JetHawks first baseman A.J. Reed didn't exactly take advantage of his surroundings in April, however, batting .208/.356/.417.
The Astros drafted Reed in the second round last June because of his hitting prowess, and after that slow first month he has shown why. The NCAA Division I leader with 23 homers last spring, he batted .327/.417/.664 in May and has upped his production to .462/.557/.731 in June. He hit for the cycle last Tuesday and posted a 1.763 OPS for the week with 10 RBIs, making him the top performer on the Prospect Team of the Week.
Here are the rest of the top performers in the Minors for the week of June 15-21:
C: Austin Barnes, Dodgers (No. 11 prospect)
6 G, .474/.524/.737, 3 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1 SB
He earned PTOW recognition last week as well, and he joins Cubs masher Kyle Schwarber as the only catchers to do so in consecutive weeks. Acquired from the Marlins in the December Dee Gordon trade, Barnes is hitting .313/.400/.479 in Triple-A and recently crashed MLBPipeline.com's list of the 10 best catching prospects.
1B: A.J. Reed, Astros (No. 12 prospect)
7 G, .565/.676/1.087, 12 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 10 BB, 3 SO
He now paces the Minors in RBIs (65), slugging (.616) and OPS (1.058) while ranking second in homers (18) and fifth in on-base percentage (.442). Reed tops the Cal League in all of those categories as well as in walks (50), and at .335, he's one hit away from the batting lead.
2B: Tony Kemp, Astros (No. 14 prospect)
7 G, .400/.438/.533, 6 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO, 5 SB
He also made last week's PTOW, making a total of three players who have successfully defended that honor in 2015. The Astros may have another Jose Altuve on their hands in the 5-foot-6 Kemp, who has hit safely in all 11 of his Triple-A starts and is batting .361/.452/.427 overall with 21 steals. Ranked first in the Minors in on-base percentage and second in hitting, he's beginning to get some time in the outfield to increase his versatility.
3B: Patrick Wisdom, Cardinals (No. 17 prospect)
7 G, .321/.321/.786, 5 R, 9 H, 1 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 0 BB, 7 SO
He didn't produce in Double-A last year and began 2015 there by going 1-for-23. Wisdom started to get his bat going at the beginning of May but has really taken off since the Cardinals sent him to extended spring training for two weeks. He led all Minor Leagues with four homers and 13 RBIs last week, upping his numbers to .261/.317/.455 with seven homers in 48 games.
SS: Tyler Saladino, White Sox (No. 15 prospect)
6 G, .381/.462/.667, 7 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 2 SO, 7 SB
The White Sox cornered the market on productive shortstops last week, as Tim Anderson (.440/.462/.680) finished a close second to Saladino. His 2014 season ended in July with Tommy John surgery and he missed a month this year with shoulder tendinitis, but Saladino is starting to catch fire with two homers and three multi-steal games last week. He's hitting .258/.329/.371 with 18 steals in 35 Triple-A contests.
OF: Billy McKinney, Cubs (No. 5 prospect)
5 G, .625/.650/1.000, 5 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 1 SO
Mired in a 1-for-20 slump entering last week, McKinney was finding Double-A pitchers tough to solve as a 20-year-old. No longer, as the other first-round pick in last July's Jeff Samardzija trade is now batting .304/.352/.473 in Double-A and .321/.392/.507 overall.
OF: Scott Schebler, Dodgers (No. 8 prospect)
6 G, .579/.640/.895, 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, 3 SB
One of Los Angeles' most productive Minor League hitters the last two years, he has had trouble getting going in Triple-A but has looked more like his old self since going 1-for-3 in an emergency start for the Dodgers on June 5. After his blazing week, Schebler is now batting .251/.338/.460 with nine homers and 10 steals in 62 Triple-A games.
OF: Mark Zagunis, Cubs (No. 15 prospect)
6 G, .478/.556/.833, 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 1 SO, 2 SB
Like Schwarber, he was drafted out of college as a catcher (third round) by the Cubs last year. Zagunis prefers to play the outfield, however, and Chicago has acquiesced, which should result in more offensive production. He has had little trouble handling high Class A in his first full pro season, batting .320/.442/.481 and leading the Carolina League in hitting, on-base percentage and OPS (.923).
LHP: Luiz Gohara, Mariners (No. 7 prospect)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO, .833 WHIP
Signed for a Brazilian-record $800,000 bonus in 2012, he posted an unsightly 8.20 ERA in 11 starts at short-season Everett last summer. Still just 18, Gohara fared much better in his first start back with the AquaSox this year, showcasing a lively mid-90s fastball in six shutout innings on Thursday.
RHP: Jharel Cotton, Dodgers (No. 23 prospect)
1-0, 0.75 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 12 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 13 SO, 1.000 WHIP
His season got off to a late start after a comebacker broke his left wrist. Cotton made his season debut on May 26 in low A, jumped to high Class A five days later and made his first Double-A appearance of 2015 yesterday. In six outings between the three stops, he has recorded a 1.99 ERA and a 41/9 K/BB ratio in 31 2/3 innings.