Thursday's top prospect performers

July 30th, 2021

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

Rays: Vidal Bruján , 2B (MLB No. 36), Triple-A Durham
Taj Bradley, RHP (No. 17), Low-A Charleston

Bruján smacked two doubles in a game for the first time since May 25 en route to a 3-for-5 day at the plate on Thursday afternoon. Though he didn’t drive in a run, the Rays’ No. 2 prospect scored three in Durham’s 8-2 win and has hit in all six games he’s played since being sent back to Triple-A on July 23, including two multihit games. In that span, he’s batting .429 with five doubles and five RBIs.

Bradley continued his streak of allowing three runs or fewer as he tossed five no-hit innings on Thursday, striking out eight and walking two. Bradley gave up five runs in two of his first three outings to start the 2021 season, but since then, the 20-year-old has allowed just seven runs (five earned) in 12 starts. It’s his third straight scoreless outing and his first of the season without allowing a hit. The 2018 fifth-rounder lowered his ERA to 1.76 and has amassed 81 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings.

Nationals: Jackson Rutledge, RHP (MLB No. 89), Low-A Fredericksburg
Rutledge tossed his first scoreless outing of the season on Thursday, giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out seven. The 2019 first-rounder struck out four of the first six batters he faced before allowing the first two men to reach base via a single and a walk in the third. He induced two flyouts and a groundout to escape the jam before exiting unscathed after five innings. Rutledge has struggled with a shoulder injury this season, but his seven strikeouts are a season-high and he’s amassed 26 Ks in 22 1/3 innings.

Cubs: Justin Steele, LHP (No. 29), Triple-A Iowa
Steele tossed another strong outing in Iowa’s 2-0 victory, earning the win after giving up four hits across five scoreless innings with no walks and five strikeouts. It was Steele’s sixth scoreless outing of the year in eight appearances (four starts), and the 26-year-old is pitching to a 1.56 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings in Triple-A after a successful stint with the Major League club in April and May.

Braves: Braves: Drew Waters, OF (MLB No. 25), Triple-A Gwinnett Freddy Tarnok, RHP (No. 10), Double-A Mississippi
Waters tallied his third four-hit game of the year, hitting three singles, a double and scoring two runs in Gwinnett’s 8-7 loss. The Braves’ No. 2 prospect has amassed eight multihit games in July and has recorded hits in eight of his past 10 games, giving him a .319/.366/.617 slash line with five homers and 17 RBIs this month. 

Tarnok had a career night, setting a new career-high in strikeouts with 12 through five innings of three-hit, one-run ball in just his second Double-A start. Tarnok wasted no time, either -- he struck out the side to begin his night, coming back from a 3-1 count to fan the leadoff man before taking care of the next two batters on eight pitches. He struck out seven of the first eight men he faced before a walk and a single put two on with two out in the third. His eighth strikeout of the night got him out of the jam. Tarnok now owns a 3.96 ERA across two levels this season.

Mets: Mark Vientos, 3B (No. 8), Double-A Binghamton
Vientos crushed his third mutihomer game of the season, giving the 21-year-old the most home runs in the Northeast division with 20. Vientos has hit eight homers this month, including four in his past six games, with 19 RBIs and a .257 average. On the season, the 2017 second-rounder is slashing .269/.341/.596 with 51 RBIs.

Rangers: Yerry Rodriguez, RHP (No. 23), Double-A Frisco
Rodriguez fanned a season-high 11 batters as he tossed six scoreless innings for Frisco. The 23-year-old struck out eight of the first 11 batters he faced, surrendering a pair of singles but allowing nothing more. He gave up a total of three hits on the night, all singles, and only allowed a runner to reach second base on a wild pitch. The Dominican Republic native threw 59 of his 88 pitches for strikes and has a 2.63 ERA through 14 starts.

Red Sox: Cameron Cannon, SS/2B (No. 25), High-A Greenville
Ceddanne Rafaela, SS (No. 29), Low-A Salem

It was a big night for this pair of Sox prospects. Cannon did a lot of damage in Greenville’s 17-5 win, finishing a triple shy of the cycle and driving in a run with every hit on a 3-for-5 night at the dish. An RBI double in the fifth kickstarted a four-run inning for the Drive that saw their lead increase to 7-2. A homer in the sixth made it an 8-3 game, and an RBI single in the ninth was the first of six runs scored in that frame. The 23-year-old is batting .295 with a .791 OPS this season.

Rafaela has been getting his steps in lately. The 20-year-old legged out two triples and smacked his fifth homer of the season in a 3-for-5 performance, scoring three runs and driving in three. Rafaela hammered the second pitch he saw over the wall for a two-run homer. After getting thrown out at the plate in the seventh when he tried to turn a triple into a Little League home run, he avenged his mistake by adding an RBI triple in the ninth, without the attempt to race home this time. Rafaela has eight doubles, seven triples and 23 RBIs in 60 games this year.

Rockies: Elehuris Montero, 3B (No. 9), Double-A Hartford
Montero tallied his third multihit effort in four games with a 3-for-5 performance in Hartford’s 6-5 win. The 22-year-old smacked a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw in a go-ahead fifth inning to extend Hartford’s lead to 5-2, and he got to play hero in the bottom of the ninth with a two-out, walk-off single to give him three RBIs on the night. Through 73 Double-A games this season, Montero is batting .290 with a career-best 19 homers and 57 RBIs.

Royals: Austin Cox, LHP (No. 10), Double-A Northwest Arkansas
Seuly Matias, OF (No. 16), High-A Quad Cities
Cox surrendered just one hit across a season-high six innings and worked around four walks to toss his second scoreless start of the season. The 2018 fifth-round Draft pick also fanned a season-high seven batters as he tossed 48 of his 86 pitches for strikes. Cox lowered his ERA to 3.22 through 11 starts, and he’s amassed 42 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings.

Matias belted two homers in a game for the first time this season, driving in a season-high four runs on a 3-for-5 day at the plate, his first three-hit game of the year. With two men on in the bottom of the first, Matias launched the second pitch he saw into the seats to give Quad Cities an early 3-0 lead. He would add a solo shot in the bottom of the third and a single in the sixth to complete his night. The 22-year-old is batting .213 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 23 High-A games.

Twins: Wander Javier, SS (No. 20), High-A Cedar Rapids
After hitting two triples Wednesday, Javier finished a homer shy of the cycle on a 3-for-4 day at the plate. It’s his second three-hit effort in a row and his third in the past 10 games, during which the 23-year-old is slashing .302/.302/.535. Javier has hit 12 doubles and eight triples through 69 High-A games this year.