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Wednesday's best: Staumont unhittable for NW Arkansas

MLB.com

An effectively wild Josh Staumont proved too much for opposing hitters on Wednesday in his longest outing of the season for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Staumont, the Royals' No. 9 prospect, permitted one run over seven innings without giving up a hit as he led the Naturals past Springfield, 5-1. He threw 54 of his 100 pitches for strikes in the performance, striking out eight and issuing five walks. "I wasn't overjoyed with today's outcome," Staumont told MiLB.com.

An effectively wild Josh Staumont proved too much for opposing hitters on Wednesday in his longest outing of the season for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Staumont, the Royals' No. 9 prospect, permitted one run over seven innings without giving up a hit as he led the Naturals past Springfield, 5-1. He threw 54 of his 100 pitches for strikes in the performance, striking out eight and issuing five walks. "I wasn't overjoyed with today's outcome," Staumont told MiLB.com.

Staumont fires seven hitless frames

"Although it was a good one, I still walked a bunch of guys and was behind and made good pitches in order to get those outs," Staumont told MiLB.com. "Sticking by that process, I like the upward trend of success. I think that's the key. If you're taking two steps forward here, you better not be taking three steps back."

Staumont, 23, put two runners on base to begin his outing, the first of which would ultimately score on a sacrifice fly after drawing a leadoff walk. He opened the third inning in the same manner, but escaped further damage in the frame by inducing a pair of swinging strikeouts. The right-hander was more efficient the rest of the way, as he retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth innings en route to retiring nine of the final 11 batters he faced.

His eight strikeouts, meanwhile, were all of the swinging variety and tied his second highest single-game total this season.

"You have to, as a pitcher, adjust accordingly," he said. "A lot of times, adjustments come pitch to pitch. They come inning to inning and batter to batter. I think a lot of the time, our adjustments are really being made seeing how the innings are projecting and seeing specific counts. We threw primarily fast-curve today. They both play like completely different pitches, although it's the same pitch. So a curveball down is a completely different pitch than for a strike and vice-versa for a fastball. I think we just got into a groove and just let it play."

Staumont has struggled to make progress this season after his breakout 2016 campaign and strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. He was demoted in early July to Northwest Arkansas from Triple-A Omaha, where he had posted a 6.28 ERA with 63 walks and 93 strikeouts in 76 innings. While Staumont hasn't fared much better back in the Texas League, the hard-throwing righty has thrown the ball better of late, allowing two or fewer earned runs in four of his last five starts.

"This season's been a little bit of a maelstrom when it comes to success," Staumont said. "I can't by any means say that I've been happy with my performance recently, but trending upwards is something I think everyone wants to hear when it comes to success."

Overall, Staumont is 5-11 with a 6.05 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) this season. He's struck out 124 while issuing 93 walks over 113 innings between the two levels.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Wednesday

No. 9 overall prospect Ronald Acuna (Braves' No. 1) went 2-for-5 and scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning to help Triple-A Gwinnett edge Durham, 6-5. The 19-year-old outfielder also swiped a pair of bags for a second straight game, giving him 41 stolen bases on the season, and he extended his hitting streak to 11 games with the multihit performance. He's been red hot during that stretch, hitting .412 with eight extra-base hits, 10 runs scored and nine stolen bases.

• No. 10 overall prospect Kyle Tucker (Astros' No. 1) homered for the second time in as many games, though it wasn't enough to keep Double-A Corpus Christi from falling to Midland, 8-4. The 20-year-old outfielder's homer, a solo shot, was his 13th with the Hooks and 22nd of the season. Also going deep for in the loss was Ramon Laureano (No. 16), who connected on a pair of solo homers before finishing 2-for-4. He's up to nine home runs this season after hitting a trio of blasts in his last two contests.

Tucker crushes a homer

• No. 20 overall prospect Austin Meadows (Pirates' No. 1) went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored for Triple-A Indianapolis in his fifth game since being activated from the disabled list. He spent more than a month on the shelf as a result of the strained right hamstring he suffered on June 22. Prior to the injury, the 22-year-old outfielder had slashed .248/.313/.358 with four home runs over 68 games in the International League.

Angels No. 9 prospect Grayson Long yielded three hits over seven scoreless innings in a dominant showing for Double-A Mobile. He posted seven strikeouts against one walk, while finding the zone with 65 of his 98 offerings. The 6-foot-5 right-hander has given up two or fewer earned runs in five straight starts, going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA over 29 innings during that stretch.

Nationals No. 8 prospect Yasel Antuna and Luis Garcia (No. 9), both 17, combined to collect seven hits for the Washington's affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. Garcia paced his team in the hit column by going 4-for-5 with a double, while Antuna improved his average to .320 with a 3-for-5 performance that included two triples, two runs scored and two RBIs.

Padres No. 8 prospect Joey Lucchesi allowed two earned runs on five hits over eight innings, tying his career high, as he won for the fourth time in nine outings with Double-A San Antonio. He compiled four strikeouts and one walk, throwing 65 of his 87 pitches for strikes. The 24-year-old lefty owns a 1.99 ERA over 54 1/3 innings in the Texas League.

• Padres No. 11 prospect Jorge Ona homered in both games of Class A Fort Wayne's doubleheader sweep of Lake County, as he finished the day 3-for-7 with five RBIs. Hudson Potts (No. 23) also homered in the opener for the TinCaps, his fourth homer in his last nine games and 17th of the season. The home runs supported a strong effort on the mound from right-hander Reggie Lawson (No. 27), who allowed one earned run over six innings with seven strikeouts to record the win in game one.

Yankees No. 14 prospect Dillon Tate retired the final eight batters he faced en route to completing 7 2/3 innings and recording his first win for Double-A Trenton. He allowed one earned run on five hits in the outing while striking out six and generating another 12 outs via ground balls. The 23-year-old righty has posted a 3.66 ERA in three starts for the Thunder, giving him a 2.88 ERA in 78 innings (12 starts) on the season, including his time with Class A Advanced Tampa.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.