Thursday's top prospect performers

August 6th, 2021

Here's a look at Thursday’s top Minor League performers from each team's Top 30 Prospects list:

Orioles: Grayson Rodriguez, RHP (MLB No. 18) Double-A Bowie
It was just another typical outing for the Orioles’ top pitching prospect -- one hit, one walk and nine strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Rodriguez struck out six of the first seven batters he faced, fanning three in the first around a two-out single and striking out the side in the second. Naturally, he finished his outing with a four-pitch strikeout after allowing a one-out walk, marking his fourth scoreless outing in 16 starts across two levels. The 21-year-old lowered his Double-A ERA to 2.63 and has a 74-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11 starts for Bowie.

Yankees: Jasson Dominguez, CF (MLB No. 23), Low-A Tampa
Dominguez has struggled and posted just a .205 average over his past 10 games, but Thursday served as a reminder of his potential at the plate. The 18-year-old phenom went 2-for-5 against Jupiter, homering for the second time since moving to Tampa, while adding a double and two RBIs. Dominguez’s performance raised his average to .269 and his OPS to .775 in 17 games with the Tarpons.

Rockies: Rockies: Zac Veen, OF (MLB No. 38), Low-A Fresno
Ryan Vilade, OF (Rockies No. 4), Triple-A Albuquerque

A slow start to the 2021 season has turned into a hot streak for the Rockies’ No. 1 prospect. Veen went 3-for-4 against San Jose, hitting his 12th homer and his 19th double to go along with three runs and three RBIs. Veen now has three straight multihit games and at least a base hit in eight of his past nine, raising his average to a season-high .290 to go along with an .897 OPS. His .417/.500/.583 batting line through four August games has come in a small sample, yes, but that comes on the heels of the 19-year-old’s hot July, when he slashed .300/.372/.620, hit nine dingers and drove in 23 runners.

The hits just keep coming for Vilade. With a 3-for-5 night against Oklahoma City, he extended his hitting streak to 14 games dating back to July 20. Vilade recorded both his fourth home run and fourth triple of the season in Albuquerque’s extra-inning win, smoking a two-run shot in the sixth, five innings after leading off the game with the three-bagger and scoring two batters later. The 22-year-old has a slash line of .333/.333/.467 in five games this month after slashing a torrid .314/.368/.453 in July.

Reds: Hunter Greene, RHP (MLB No. 53), Triple-A Louisville
Greene was just about unhittable in his ninth outing for Louisville. The righty allowed only one hit (the first time he’s done so this season), one walk and also hit a batter while striking out 10 across 6 1/3 innings. It’s the third time this season Greene has reached the double-digit strikeout mark -- the first time he’s done so for the Bats -- as he tossed 57 of his 80 pitches for strikes. He allowed a walk in the second, but was hitless through three before he gave up a leadoff single on the first pitch of the fourth inning. The only other baserunner he allowed came in the sixth on a two-out hit-by-pitch. Greene now owns a 3.63 ERA with 60 punchouts in 44 2/3 Triple-A innings this season.

Nationals: Cade Cavalli, RHP (MLB No. 76), Double-A Harrisburg
Yasel Antuna, SS/3B (No. 6), High-A Wilmington

Cavalli’s promotion to Double-A Harrisburg continues to be a success after he posted another solid outing against the SeaWolves. He gave up just a single score in five innings of work while striking out at least eight batters for the fourth time since moving up from High-A Wilmington in June. Washington’s No. 3 prospect also lowered his ERA with the Senators to 3.27 after allowing two or fewer earned runs for the sixth time with the club.

Antuna crushed a homer and a double in Wilmington’s 10-1 victory over Bowling Green. The 21-year-old scored three runs and drove in two as he hit his second homer and ninth double in his past 10 games. Antuna has been red-hot in that span, slashing an insane .439/.500/.805 with eight RBIs. He’s batting .229 on the year with 20 doubles, nine homers, 39 RBIs and 31 walks.

Phillies: Bryson Stott, SS (MLB No. 99), Double-A Reading
Stott finished a homer shy of the cycle in a 3-for-5 performance in Reading’s 9-2 win. The Phillies’ No. 2 prospect started his night off with a flyout, but proceeded to single, double and triple in his next three at-bats. His second three-bagger of the season drove in the eighth run of the game for Reading and he tallied another RBI on a groundout in the seventh. The 23-year-old is batting .258 with five homers, 14 doubles and 19 RBIs through 50 Double-A games.

Angels: Jack Kochanowicz, RHP (No. 6), Low-A Inland Empire
The 2021 season hasn’t gone as well as Kochanowicz has hoped, but if Thursday is any indication, the 20-year-old should be in line for more success with Inland Empire. Through six innings against Visalia, Kochanowicz struck out five, gave up just two hits and one walk and kept the Rawhide off the board. It’s the first scoreless outing of the season for the Angels’ 2019 third-round pick.

Blue Jays: Sem Robberse, RHP (Blue Jays No. 21), Low-A Dunedin
Only twice this season has Robberse managed to do what he did to Fort Myers on Thursday. In five innings against the Mighty Mussels, Robberse allowed just one hit and one walk on the mound. That’s the third time in 2021 -- and first since July 1 -- that the 19-year-old right-hander has gone five innings allowing two or fewer combined hits and free passes.

Brewers: Hedbert Perez, OF (No. 3), ACL Brewers
Aaron Ashby, LHP (Brewers No. 7), Triple-A Nashville

Before Thursday, Perez had six total RBIs on the season. By the end of his team’s 15-7 win, he had 13. Perez tallied more RBIs in a single game than he had previously driven in all year, launching two home runs in a game for the first time and adding two doubles to a 5-for-6, seven-RBI performance. After a two-run double in the first, Perez homered, doubled and homered again in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. He added an RBI single in the ninth to finish a triple shy of the cycle. In one game, the 18-year-old doubled his season home run total, from two to four, and he’s now batting .368 with a 1.043 OPS in 17 games.

Don’t be surprised if Milwaukee comes calling for Ashby again soon. Thursday marked Ashby’s finest outing since being optioned to Triple-A Nashville following a tough MLB debut against the Cubs on June 30. He tossed six innings of scoreless ball against Toledo, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out 11 batters, which tied his season high. The southpaw has split his time as a starter and a reliever in 2021, but Ashby’s most recent outing provided more evidence of his future in the Brewers’ rotation.

Dodgers: Landon Knack, RHP (No. 12), Double-A Tulsa
Knack’s move up to Tulsa on July 31 has proven fruitful right out of the gate. He pitched five scoreless innings against Springfield, striking out six. That’s only the third time all season the Dodgers’ 2020 second-round pick pitched through the fifth, including another scoreless, five-inning outing in his last start with High-A Great Lakes on Friday. A lost 2020 Minor League season hasn’t slowed Knack down -- in 11 combined outings across both levels, the 24-year-old owns a 2.22 ERA.

Mariners: Connor Phillips, RHP (No. 8), Low-A Modesto
Matt Brash, RHP (No. 24), Double-A Arkansas

Phillips spun an absolute gem for the Nuts as the 2020 Draft pick (64th overall) racked up a career-high 12 strikeouts over six scoreless innings. Phillips, who has pitched to a 4.75 ERA through 12 starts this season, yielded just two hits and didn't issue a walk.

Brash had himself a night against his in-state opponents. The 23-year-old righty tossed six scoreless innings against Northwest Arkansas, striking out eight batters and walking three. Brash’s no-run outing was his first since being promoted to Arkansas on July 14 and it lowered his ERA with the Travelers to 2.18. He’s also still struck out no fewer than six hitters in each outing since moving up to Double-A.

Rangers: Cody Bradford, LHP (No. 30), Double-A Frisco
In his first Double-A start, Bradford seemed unfazed by the pressure a promotion might bring. The 23-year-old twirled his best outing since May, fanning nine batters and allowing just two baserunners on two singles over 5 1/3 innings. Bradford retired the first nine batters before allowing a leadoff single and a stolen base to open the fourth. He responded by striking out the next three batters, using just seven pitches to dispose of the final two batters of the inning after a one-out balk brought the runner to third. Bradford has a sparkling 98-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 67 innings.

Red Sox: Jay Groome, LHP (No. 7), High-A Greenville
Chih-Jung Liu, RHP (No. 19), Low-A Salem

Groome flashed his potential with a stellar outing against Rome. He made it through five innings on just 58 pitches, giving up just a single hit and striking out six in his second scoreless outing of the year. In his four starts since the beginning of July, only one (July 30) has resulted in Groome allowing more than two runs and two hits while striking out fewer than six batters.

Liu held Lynchburg to just three hits (all singles) and one walk over five scoreless innings, fanning five in the process. He worked around leadoff singles in the first two innings by promptly inducing a double play each time. The last hit he gave up was a two-out single in the third, and he got some help from his catcher, who threw out the runner on a steal attempt to retire the side. The 22-year-old settled in, striking out three of the last six batters he faced. Liu tossed 40 of his 64 pitches for strikes and now has a 6.35 ERA in six Low-A starts.

White Sox: Yoelqui Céspedes, OF (No. 2), High-A Winston-Salem
Céspedes went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate as he continued his recent tear in High-A. The 23-year-old launched a two-run homer in the second to score the first two runs of the game, and that set the tone for Winston-Salem as it went on to win 11-6. Céspedes has hit in nine of his past 10 games, including three multihit games, and has reached base safely in 14 straight contests. He’s slashing .333/.404/.595 in that 10-game span.