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.
This past week marked the official end of the Minor League regular season, with playoffs in Low-A, High-A and Double-A set to begin on Tuesday. That, of course, means this is the final Prospect Team of the Week for 2021, covering games from Sept. 13-19.
While there are no Yankees on this week’s squad, their farm system easily led the way in PTOW nods with 23. Here’s the top five:
Red Sox, 12
None of the top five organizations are represented below, but there is a member of the Rays, bringing their total to 10 to tie the Cardinals in double figures. The D-backs (9 for the season) and the Cubs (4) are represented twice in this week’s squad. And in case you were wondering, all 30 organizations did earn at least one PTOW spot over the course of the year.
C: Ford Proctor, Montgomery Biscuits (Double-A)
(Rays No. 30)
.400/.429/1.200, 4 G, 10 AB, 5 R, 4 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 6 SO
It was Proctor’s idea to move from the infield to behind the plate, and it seems to be paying off. He did most of his damage in a doubleheader on Friday, going 3-for-5 with two homers and a double across the two games, and all four of his hits this week were for extra bases. Proctor has shaken off the first two months of the season, when he hit .176, to hit .290 with eight of his 12 homers and 30 of his 47 RBIs.
Others receiving votes: Adley Rutschman, Norfolk Tides (Triple-A, Orioles)
1B: Aaron Sabato, Cedar Rapids (High-A)
(Twins No. 16)
.333/.500/.833, 6 G, 18 AB, 7 R, 6 H, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 7 BB, 4 SO
It’s largely been a lost season for the Twins’ first-round pick in 2020, but he did end on a high note by homering twice on Friday and once on Saturday and walking more than he struck out during the week. He’s found his power stroke since his late-August promotion to High-A, with eight homers and a .613 SLG in 22 games for Cedar Rapids.
2B: James Triantos, ACL Cubs (Rookie)
(Cubs No. 11)
.600/.647/1.400, 4 G, 15 AB, 9 R, 9 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1 CS
Triantos was the designated hitter in three of his four games this week, but his one game in the field was at second (he’s played more than half of his games this summer there) and we needed to put him somewhere to reflect just how hot he’s been. Most of his work came on Thursday (4-for-4, 2 2B) and Saturday (3-for-4, 2 HR), though he also homered to start the week. Overall, the Cubs’ second-round pick this year has hit .327/.376/.594 in his pro debut in the Arizona Complex League.
Others receiving votes: Nick Gonzales, Greensboro Grasshoppers (High-A, Pirates)
3B: Drew Ellis, Reno Aces (Triple-A)
(D-backs No. 15)
.320/.393/.920, 6 G, 25 AB, 9 R, 8 H, 3 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 10 SO
While Ellis didn’t do much during his brief time in the big leagues this year, he had a great week down in Triple-A, homering in four different games, including three straight to start the week, and had three multihit games as well. That brought his September line with Reno to .333/.442/.861 and his season to a solid .292/.402/.596 with 18 homers in 74 games.
SS: Shay Whitcomb, Asheville Tourists (High-A)
(Astros No. 20)
.421/.421/1.000, 4 G, 19 AB, 6 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 0 BB, 6 SO, 1 SB
The Astros’ fifth-round pick in the 2020 Draft had two hits in each of the four games he played last week, homering on Wednesday and then going deep on Friday and Saturday to bring his September line to .352/.390/.741 and extend his active hitting streak to six games (all multihit). The University of San Diego product has done particularly well since moving up to High-A (.300/.358/.601 in 58 games) and is a member of the 20-20 club for the year (actually 20-30, with 23 homers and 30 steals).
After going 0-for-4 on Monday, Thomas hit in five straight, four of them of the multihit variety. He also homered in four straight games, to bring his season total to 17 and give him a combined .283/.374/.507 line. He’s been particularly good since getting to Reno (.336/.405/.619 in 26 games) and has six homers in 16 games in September.
OF: James Wood, ACL Padres (Rookie)
(Padres No. 5)
.550/.625/.950, 5 G, 20 AB, 8 R, 11 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 4 SO, 2 SB
Wood started the week by going 5-for-8 with a homer on Monday and two doubles and five RBIs on Tuesday and ended the week with a 3-for-3 day and another home run. While his pro debut has been brief, the Padres’ second-rounder from the 2021 Draft has handled it very well, with a .372/.465/.535 line across 86 at-bats to go along with 22 RBIs and going a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts in 26 games.
A promotion to Triple-A? No problem for the 2021 Futures Game MVP. Davis homered twice in his Triple-A debut and collected hits in all six games with Iowa. It’s been a big year for the talented outfielder, one that began in High-A and has now spanned three levels. The 21-year old now has a .270/.379/.513 line with 18 homers in a season that has him knocking on the big league door.
Others receiving votes: Gabriel Gonzalez, DSL Mariners (Rookie)
LHP: Drew Rom, Bowie Baysox (Double-A)
(Orioles No. 26)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 0.00 WHIP
Rom could not have been much better in his final regular-season start in 2021, tossing five perfect frames and striking out seven on Friday. It capped off an outstanding September for the southpaw: 14 scoreless innings, just five hits (.109 BAA), one walk and 18 strikeouts, all of which helped reverse a rough intro to Double-A in August. For the year, Rom went 11-1 with a 3.18 ERA, a K/9 rate just over 10 and a 2.17 BB/9 ratio.
RHP: Daniel Espino, Lake County Captains (High-A)
(Indians No. 5)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO, 0.30 WHIP
Espino’s double-digit strikeout performance on Saturday was his second-straight 10-K start to finish off the year with a flourish as he made some very nice adjustments to High-A following a mid-July promotion. The right-hander reached double-digits in K’s in six of his 10 starts with Lake County to go along with a .170 BAA there, a big reason why he finished with a huge 14.92 K/9 rate for the year (and a .192 BAA).
RP: Yerry Rodriguez, Round Rock Express (Triple-A)
(Rangers No. 23)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0.00 WHIP
Rodriguez spent much of the year throwing well as a starter in Double-A before struggling with a promotion to Triple-A in August. A move to the bullpen to close out the year has been successful, including his two perfect outings this week. Take out one rough outing (4 ER in 2 IP) on Sept. 11 and Rodriguez tossed 7 2/3 shutout relief innings in September, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out nine.