Sano, Walker among top 10 prospect performers Thursday
Twins Nos. 2 and 12 prospects both launch homers for Double-A Chattanooga
Top Twins prospects are still raking down at Double-A Chattanooga.
Both Lookouts stars participated in the Southern League All-Star Game on Tuesday night, with Walker winning his second straight Home Run Derby in the process. While he's always been known for knocking the cover off the ball, he's beginning to increase his average, too.
Walker went 2-for-4 Thursday and has upped his line up to .274/.327/.595. On May 9, his average was .227. Walker's average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage would be career highs if the season ended today.
Sano, meanwhile, has rebounded from a slow start. Thursday's homer was his second in two games and he has 13 doubles and 43 RBIs to complement a .248/.348/.500 line.
The rest of the 10 best performances from top Minor Leaguers
• Angels No. 7 prospect Nate Smith helped Double-A Arkansas extend its team shutout streak to 21 innings. The southpaw tossed seven scoreless innings, scattering three hits while striking out five. The Travelers won, 6-0, and Smith remains undefeated since May 22. He's now 7-4 with a 2.74 ERA on the year.
• Athletics No. 4 prospect Renato Nunez hit his 10th homer of the year for Double-A Midland, a two-run shot that helped the RockHounds take down San Antonio, 5-0. The third baseman, who along with No. 1 prospect Matt Olson was selected to represent Oakland in the All-Star Futures Game, has now hit in four straight contests, and his .238 average is the highest its been since May 10. Nunez, who signed with Oakland for $2.2 million in 2010, now has 67 homers and 279 RBIs in his five-year career.
• Cubs No. 2 prospect (No. 40 overall) Kyle Schwarber was named to the All-Star Futures Game and then played the hero for Triple-A Iowa against Omaha. The catcher ripped a triple in the third inning -- his first Iowa hit after going 0-for-4 on Tuesday -- and then came to the plate with the game tied, a runner on and two outs in the 10th inning. Schwarber came through, skying a double off the center-field wall that brought home Arismendy Alcantara for a walk-off win. The former Indiana star joined Iowa this week after a short stint with the big league club in which he hit .364/.391/.591 with a homer and six RBIs in six games.
• Reds No. 2 prospect (No. 20 overall) Jesse Winker clubbed his first homer since June 8 for Double-A Pensacola. The outfielder finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs in the Blue Wahoos' 9-3 route of Mississippi and is hitting .251/.352/.363 with nine doubles, two triples, four homers and 19 RBIs this season. Multi-hit games have almost become a regular occurrence for Winker as Thursday marked his seventh in the past 17 contests.
• Reds No. 9 prospect Yorman Rodriguez, another selection for the All-Star Futures Game, led Triple-A Louisville to a 15-2 blowout win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The right fielder finished 3-for-4 with a double, homer and five RBIs and now has two dingers in his past three games. His current line -- .275/.317/.443 -- is by far the best it has been all year. In addition, Rodriguez has notched three multi-hit games in the past four days. "I think up until about ... two months ago, he had been surviving on natural ability," Bats manager Delino DeShields told MiLB.com. "I think he's starting to understand the game a lot more, especially at the plate. I think he's starting to understand situational play and how to be a professional hitter."
• Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers made his pro debut a special one, going 4-for-6 with a single -- his first pro hit -- a double, home run and an infield single in his final at-bat. The No. 3 overall pick also crossed the plate three times for Rookie Level Grand Junction in the team's 15-11 loss to the Orem Owlz. The Rockies set a franchise record with 20 hits in the loss.
• Rockies No. 8 prospect Dom Nunez went 2-for-3 with a double, solo homer and three RBIs for Class A Asheville. The homer was his first of the season and Nunez now has seven doubles and 16 RBIs this year. His average is up to .224, the highest it has been since May 19.
• Yankees No. 2 prospect (No. 56 overall) Aaron Judge, a Futures Game selection, could not keep Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre from a 15-2 blowout loss, but he provided the organization with confirmation that he was indeed ready for a promotion, swatting a two-run homer. Judge was just 1-for-10 at the Triple-A level entering Thursday's game and had yet to record an extra-base hit. But his 1-for-3 day took care of both his first extra-base hit and home run. He excelled at Double-A Trenton before his promotion, clobbering 12 home runs while adding 16 doubles and 44 RBIs in 63 games.