After kicking off his 2016 campaign with a pair of home runs and four RBIs on Minor League Opening Day, Travis Demeritte did his best Trevor Story impression on Friday by slugging two more homers as Class A Advanced High Desert defeated Inland Empire, 9-5.The Rangers' No. 21 prospect put
After kicking off his 2016 campaign with a pair of home runs and four RBIs on Minor League Opening Day, Travis Demeritte did his best Trevor Story impression on Friday by slugging two more homers as Class A Advanced High Desert defeated Inland Empire, 9-5.
The Rangers' No. 21 prospect put High Desert on the board in the bottom of the first with a leadoff homer to center field, and then provided the Mavericks with some insurance runs with a three-run, opposite-field shot in the eighth. Demeritte also hit a double in the contest and has a Minor League leading eight RBIs after two games.
Demeritte paced the Class A South Atlantic League with 25 home runs in his 2014 full-season debut, but he appeared in only 53 games last season after he received an 80-game suspension in early June as the result of a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance. On the season, the 21-year-old second baseman hit just .232 with five home runs and 80 strikeouts in 190 at-bats.
Demeritte spent the offseason playing in the Australian Baseball League, where he played in a league-high 56 games for the Adelaide Bite and finished the season on a tear, cranking four homers in Round 14 of the regular season and then another four in the Preliminary Final series. While he obviously won't be able to keep up with his current two-home-runs-per-game pace for the entire season, Demeritte's raw power is real, and the fact that he plays in a notoriously hitter-friendly home park could make him one of the top sluggers in the California League in 2016.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Friday
• Brewers No. 11 prospectIsan Diaz hit his first full-season home run as part of 2-for-2 performance that also saw him walk and steal a base as Class A Wisconsin fell to Beloit, 9-5. Acquired from Arizona during the offseason in the Chase Anderson deal, Diaz, 19, was named the 2015 Pioneer League MVP after hitting .360/.436/.640 with 13 home runs, 25 doubles, 51 RBIs and 12 steals in 68 games for Missoula.
• After going hitless in his Triple-A Durham debut, Rays No. 7 prospectDaniel Robertson bounced back to go 3-for-3 with a solo home run Friday in a loss to Charlotte. Richie Shaffer (No. 11) drove in three runs in the contest and also collected three hits including a pair of doubles.
• A trio of Brewers prospects paced Double-A Biloxi to a 6-2 win over Chattanooga, as Brett Phillips, the organization's No. 2 prospect (No. 32 overall), Jacob Nottingham (No. 10) and Victor Roache (No. 26) all connected on their first home runs of 2016. Nottingham gave the Shuckers an early lead with his two-run shot in the first inning, while Roache and Phillips added to lead with their homers in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Phillips, meanwhile, finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs to go along with his dinger.
• Giants No. 1 prospectChristian Arroyo (No. 82 overall) enjoyed a perfect night at the plate Friday, going 4-for-4 with a run scored and walk, but it wasn't enough to keep Double-A Richmond from falling to Hartford, 8-3. David Dahl, the Rockies' No. 3 prospect (No. 46 overall), had a big game for the Yard Goats, going 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season and knocked in two runs.
• Giants No. 3 prospect Phil Bickford was nothing short of dominant in his full-season debut for Class A Augusta as the 2015 first-rounder struck out 10 batters -- including seven of the first nine hitters he faced -- and carried a no-hit bid into the fifth inning. He ultimately allowed three earned runs -- all with two outs in the fifth -- on one hit and one walk, with 50 of his 76 pitches going for strikes.
• Angels No. 4 prospect Victor Alcantara twirled a gem in his Double-A against a talented lineup as Arkansas shutout Midland, 2-0. The right-hander surrendered two hits in six scoreless frames against the RockHounds, striking out eight and walking one. Alcantara has an exceptional fastball that sits at 95-96 mph with heavy sink and can touch 99, and the righty's slider is also above average. While some scouts still view him as a reliever long term due to his control problems and lack of an effective third pitch, it's worth noting that Alcantara trimmed his walk rate in each of the last two seasons, which, along with his pure stuff and strong groundball tendencies, gives the Angels hope that he has a future as a starter.
• Braves No. 14 prospectChris Ellis' Braves debut couldn't have gone better, as the right-hander -- acquired along with Sean Newcomb from the Angels in the offseason Andrelton Simmons trade -- fired six scoreless innings in Double-A Mississippi's 2-0 win over Pensacola. The 2014 third-rounder scattered four hits and struck out eight in the contest, throwing 65 of his 85 pitches for strikes.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.