Manaea among 10 top prospect performers Monday
Royals' No. 2 looks sharp in first start in 10 months for Blue Rocks
Sean Manaea is back on track.
The Royals' No. 2 prospect (No. 45 overall) made his return to Class A Advanced Wilmington on Monday -- 10 months after he pitched his most recent game for the Blue Rocks. The results were promising -- six hits, three runs (one earned), eight strikeouts and no walks in five innings -- with the most important stat being zero: as in, zero concerns about his health.
The former second-round pick has had spells of brilliance. He broke the Cape Cod strikeout record in 2013 and punched out 145 batters in 121 innings last season. But the 6-foot-5 southpaw, who has been slowed by a hip problem in the past, suffered an abdominal strain and a separate groin injury this spring.
Last week, he returned to make a start for Kansas City's Arizona League club. Monday marked Manaea's return to high-level baseball, where he's now won eight career games.
The rest of the 10 best performances from top Minor Leaguers
• Giants No. 17 prospect Adam Duvall swatted a pinch-hit grand slam for Triple-A Sacramento on what was supposed to be a night off. The blast came as part of a six-run seventh inning that helped the River Cats blow out Las Vegas. The blast was Duvall's first hit following an 0-for-8 mini-slump. The first baseman has been one of the most feared sluggers in the Minors this season and has 16 dingers and 49 RBIs on the year. Duvall was hitting .325 on May 23, but his average now sits at .255. June 13 was the last time he recorded a multi-hit game and he only had six RBIs this month before connecting on the slam.
• Marlins No. 15 prospect Austin Brice and No. 19 prospect J.T. Riddle helped Double-A Jacksonville take down Biloxi, 12-1. Brice was unquestionably the star, striking out 13 while giving up one hit and one walk in a career-high eight shutout innings. His 13 punchouts were a new career-high and only the second time Brice has notched double-digit Ks in his six years of pro ball. After giving up a first-inning single, he proceeded to retire 20 straight batters. While the offense didn't need to do much to support Brice, Riddle stood out with a 3-for-4 performance, including a double and a three-run homer that came as part of a 10-run fourth inning. The dinger was Riddle's first home run at the Double-A level and he's 4-for-12 (.333) since his promotion on Saturday.
• Mets No. 12 prospect Michael Fulmer was about as good as a losing pitcher can be. The Double-A Binghamton hurler gave up just three hits and one unearned run while striking out nine in seven innings. The Mets lost to Akron, 1-0, but Fulmer has been nothing short of outstanding since a rough start on June 5. Over his past four outings, he's given up one earned run in 24 1/3 innings while striking out 26 and walking four. On the year, he stands at 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA.
• Padres No. 13 prospect Alex Dickerson went 4-for-5 with two dingers and four RBIs in Triple-A El Paso's 14-1 win over Tacoma on Monday night. The homers came in back-to-back innings -- the fourth and fifth -- during which El Paso scored a dozen runs to blow the game open. Dickerson had not homered since June 2, but he wasn't exactly mired in a slump entering Monday. His .315/.384/.520 line is impressive and that's without factoring in 21 doubles, five triples, seven roundtrippers and 41 RBIs.
• Phillies No. 2 prospect (No. 30 overall) Aaron Nola got the job done for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, collecting his third win in as many tries at the highest level of the Minors. The highly touted right-hander scattered five hits while striking out four and giving up three walks in five shutout innings. At the moment, he is thriving heading into his appearance at the 2015 All-Star Futures Game.
• Tigers No. 1 prospect (No. 84 overall) Steven Moya and Tigers No. 1 prospect Buck Farmer powered Triple-A Toledo to a 4-1 win over Durham. Moya swatted two solo homers in the contest, giving him eight dingers on the year. He appears to be heating up as the Mud Hens close in on the end of June, which isn't surprising. July was his best month at the plate last season. He was named the Eastern League's player of the month after belting 10 homers, bringing in 33 runners and scoring 20 runs in just 29 games last year. Farmer also flashed serious talent, striking out eight while walking none in seven innings of one-run ball. The eight strikeouts matched his season-high and he picked up his first win since June 5. The 6-foot-4 right-hander stands at 7-2 with a 3.35 ERA.
• Twins No. 12 prospect Adam Brett Walker continued a torrid stretch for Double-A Chattanooga on Monday night, homered for the third straight game and extended his Minor League lead with his 23rd dinger of the year. The outfielder has also homered in five of his past six contests, a run that sandwiches the Southern League Home Run Derby crown he picked up last week. While the Lookouts dropped Monday's contest to Montgomery, 5-3, Walker's steady power has helped the team to a 44-29 record.