MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any Minor Leaguer currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list in our Prospect Rankings is eligible.
You may have heard that Jarred Kelenic, No. 4 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, made his big league debut as a Mariners outfielder last week. While he was busy collecting three extra-base hits in his second game in Seattle, two other Mariners outfielders on the Top 100 were destroying the Minors.
Julio Rodríguez, the game's No. 5 prospect, homered in five of his six games to take over the Minor League lead in runs (17) and extra-base hits (11). Taylor Trammell, ranked No. 84, was demoted to Triple-A to make room for Kelenic in Seattle and took out any frustrations he may have had by going 11-for-18 with three homers in four contests.
Rodriguez and Trammell claim two of the 11 spots on the latest Prospect Team of the Week, which covers games from May 10-16:
Rutschman went just 4-for-21 with nine strikeouts in the first week of the season, but he's back to looking like the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 Draft and the best catching prospect in baseball. He displayed a patient approach by leading all Top 30 prospects with 10 walks in six games last week and now tops the Double-A Northeast with 13 free passes while slashing .231/.444/.513 overall in 11 contests.
This week's PTOW also included the game's top first-base prospect in Casas, who similarly shook off a slow first week (3-for-21 with 11 strikeouts, including a six-whiff game). He broke out with two homers and six RBIs on Wednesday and is now slashing .319/.360/.532 through 11 games.
2B: Nick Allen, Midland RockHounds (Double-A)
(Athletics No. 3)
.636/.690/.773, 6 G, 22 AB, 6 R, 14 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 4 SO, 2 SB, 2 CS
The shortstop on our preseason All-Defense team, Allen split his time between second base and short last week and stood out at the plate. He led all Top 30 Prospects in batting, on-base percentage and hits while logging four three-hit games and improving his season line to .364/.455/.432 in 12 contests.
Others receiving votes: Michael Busch, Tulsa Drillers (Double-A, Dodgers); Otto Lopez, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double-A, Blue Jays).
3B: Jordan Walker, Palm Beach Cardinals (Low-A)
(Cardinals No. 6)
.450/.542/.800, 5 G, 20 AB, 7 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SO
The 21st overall pick in the 2020 Draft, Walker isn't having any difficulty making the jump from a Georgia high school to Low-A. Batting .361/.511/.667 overall with more walks (11) than strikeouts (nine) through 10 games, he homered on the first professional pitch he saw and slammed four extra-base hits last week
SS: Oswald Peraza, Hudson Valley Renegades (High-A)
(Yankees No. 4)
.429/.500/1.143, 6 G, 21 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 5 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2 SB, 1 CS
A tooled-up shortstop, Peraza has been overshadowed in the Yankees' system, but that's starting to change. He went deep in four consecutive games last week while topping all Top 30 Prospects in slugging and matching Rodríguez for the home run lead with five. For the season, he's slashing .340/.426/.702 with five homers in 12 games and leading the High-A East in hits (16), dingers, total bases (33) and steals (nine).
Duran scuffled when he got to Double-A in 2019 and opened this year with three consecutive hitless games in Triple-A, but his reworked swing since has delivered increased power as promised. He christened the opening of Worcester's Polar Park on Tuesday with a pair of homers and now is batting .283/.389/.609 with four blasts and three steals in 12 games.
Rodríguez tore up High-A as an 18-year-old at the end of the 2019 season and is doing so again at the start of 2021. He's riding a 10-game hitting streak and a nine-game extra-base hit streak. He paced all Top 30 Prospects in OPS (1.631), runs and total bases (29) last week while matching Peraza in homers. He's batting .353/.441/.784 with five homers and three steals in 12 games and leads the High-A West in runs (17), hits (18), homers, extra-base hits (11), total bases (40) and RBIs (12).
Trammell skipped Triple-A on the way to Seattle but fit right in when he got there, collecting four hits and four RBIs in his debut at that level on Thursday. His worst game came on Friday, when he went 2-for-4 with a walk but didn't score or drive in a run
Others receiving votes: Luis Matos, San Jose Giants (Low-A, Giants)
LHP: Ken Waldichuck, Hudson Valley Renegades (High-A)
(Yankees No. 27)
0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 7 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 17 SO, 0.95 WHIP
An unheralded fifth-round pick out of St. Mary's in 2019, Waldichuk blew away Rookie-ball hitters in his pro debut and is doing the same to High-A competition. He recorded all 10 of his outs Tuesday via strikeout and added seven more in four scoreless innings on Sunday to equal Reds right-hander Hunter Greene for the most whiffs among Top 30 Prospects last week. Waldichuk has worked 10 scoreless innings this season, giving up just 11 baserunners while striking out 19.
RHP: Roansy Contreras, Altoona Curve (Double-A)
(Pirates No. 20)
1-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO, 0.33 WHIP
Acquired from the Yankees in January as part of the Jameson Taillon trade, Contreras made his organization debut by striking out 11 in five scoreless innings on Opening Day. That wasn't quite enough to land him on the initial PTOW of 2021, so he upped his game by fanning 11 in six hitless frames last Tuesday. In 11 innings this year, he hasn't permitted a run while compiling more than three times as many strikeouts (22) as baserunners allowed (seven).
Others receiving votes: Deivi García, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A, Yankees); Zach McCambley, Beloit Snappers (High-A, Marlins).
RP: Matt Cronin, Wilmington Blue Rocks (High-A)
(Nationals No. 10)
0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO, 0.50 WHIP
Cronin struck out six of the seven batters he faced last week, with only a walk marring an otherwise perfect two appearances. He has surrendered just one hit and two walks while striking out 11 in 5 1/3 innings this year, lowering his career ERA to 0.66 in 27 1/3 frames.
Others receiving votes: Marcel Renteria, Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Double-A, Mets); Jose Alberto Rivera, Asheville Tourists (High-A, Astros); Mason Thompson, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A, Padres).