Monday's top prospect performers

March 10th, 2020

After a rough outing the last time he took the ball (four runs in one-third of an inning), Monday's dominant performance against the Pirates was just what Anthony Kay, the Blue Jays' No. 10 prospect needed.

Kay, whom the Blue Jays acquired from the Mets last season, gave up hits to two of the first three batters he faced, but then retired six in a row and navigated his way through three scoreless innings.

While the 24-year-old lefty did give up three hits and issue a pair of walks, it was an encouraging sign that he was able to strike out four and work his way out of trouble.

Kay also wasn't the only Blue Jays' prospect to impress on the mound as Thomas Hatch, the organization's No. 24 prospect, also put up nothing but zeros, retiring all six batters he faced -- two via strikeout -- in his two innings of relief.

Here's a look at how other top prospects performed on Monday:

Tarik Skubal, LHP, Tigers No. 4
Skubal illustrated why he's the No. 46 overall prospect in baseball as he gave up one run and struck out three over 2 2/3 innings. Skubal, who has made two appearances this spring, saw his prospect stock sky rocket last year as he dominated in his first full season. Not only did the lefty pitch to a 2.42 ERA over 24 starts, but he racked up 179 strikeouts over 122 2/3 innings and posted double-digit strikeout performances in seven of his final nine regular-season starts.

Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates No. 3
Cruz, the 64th-ranked prospect in all of baseball, was optioned to Double-A Altoona following the loss to Toronto, but he did leave on a high note. Cruz went 1-for-1 with an RBI double, bringing his Spring Training average up to .217. Cruz spent 35 games with Altoona last year and hit .269/.346/.412.

Kyle Isbel, OF, Royals No. 7
There are few, if any, plays more exciting than the inside-the-park homer. Isbel, a third-round pick from the 2018 Draft, was able to accomplish the feat in the ninth inning as he drove a ball deep to center and raced around the bases for his second homer of Spring Training. The outfielder, who hit seven homers across two levels (59 games) last season, finished 1-for-2 and is hitting .250 so far this season.

Riley Adams, C, Blue Jays No. 27
Adams, playing in a split-squad game against the Rays, hit a three-run homer, his first of Spring Training, in his lone at-bat of the day. The 23-year-old is now hitting .375 in spring and coming off a 2019 campaign in which he hit a career-high 14 homers and reached Double-A New Hampshire for the first time.

Willi Castro, SS, Tigers No. 6
Castro put the Tigers on the board with an RBI double in the second inning. The 22-year-old has hit well so far this spring, batting .304 with three doubles and two RBIs over 23 at-bats. Castro got a taste of the Majors last season and hit .230 over 30 games. Bryan Garcia, the Tigers' No. 15 prospect, also impressed. Garcia, who has pitched to a 1.50 ERA through six spring appearances, came on in the fifth inning and quickly retired all three batters he faced.

Alex Vesia, LHP, Marlins No. 27
Vesia has been dominant throughout Spring Training and that continued against the Mets as the lefty pitched the ninth and retired all three batters he faced. Of course, that's nothing new for the 23-year-old, who hasn't given up a run all spring (five appearances) and posted a measly 1.76 ERA with 100 strikeouts over 66 2/3 innings across three levels last season.

Mauricio Llovera, RHP, Phillies No. 15
It's hard to be more dominant than Llovera was against the Yankees. The 23-year-old has pitched well all spring -- posting a 1.50 ERA over four appearances -- but he was especially brilliant on Monday. Llovera issued a walk, but that was the extent of the damage as he struck out four and cruised through two scoreless innings.

Walker Lockett, RHP, Mets No. 25
Lockett has yet to allow a run this spring (4 2/3 innings over two appearances) after spinning a scoreless start against the Marlins. Lockett, 25, gave up two hits in the first inning, but ultimately settled down and fired a trio of scoreless frames. The 2012 draftee retired the final five batters he faced and although Lockett doesn't have a ton of big league experience, he has pitched in the Majors in each of the past two seasons.