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Saturday's top prospect performers

@GoldenSombrero
July 14, 2019

Here's a look at Saturday's top Minor League performers from each team's Top 30 Prospects list: AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST Blue Jays: Kevin Smith, SS/3B (No. 5) -- 3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR (Double-A New Hampshire) Smith appears to be in the midst of a much-needed power surge. After slugging two

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

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Kevin Smith, SS/3B (No. 5) -- 3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR (Double-A New Hampshire)
Smith appears to be in the midst of a much-needed power surge. After slugging two homers on Friday, he went deep again for the Fisher Cats on Saturday and added a double to his two-day tear. The University of Maryland product has above-average power potential, as his .528 slugging percentage in 2018 can attest to, but he's struggled to tap into it for much of his 2019 campaign. The 23-year-old holds a .194/.253/.388 line with New Hampshire, a meager line that's partially a product of his swing-and-miss tendency (92 strikeouts to 11 walks in 71 games). But if Smith can continue to put balls in play, he tends to drive them -- 28 of his 52 hits this season have gone for extra bases. Blue Jays prospects stats »

Orioles: Yusniel Diaz, RHP (No. 4, MLB No. 90) -- 3-for-4, R, 2 2B, RBI, BB (Double-A Bowie)
After an 0-for-5, two-strikeout performance on Friday, Diaz bounced back to collect three hits including two doubles in Bowie's loss against Akron. The 22-year-old struggled in April (.651 OPS) and spent all of May on the injured list, but he's been swinging the bat better since the beginning of June and sports a .256 average with eight home runs -- he's hit nine overall -- and 32 RBIs over his last 31 games for the Baysox. The recent uptick in power is a positive development for Diaz, who's long demonstrated good hitting ability and an advanced approach but suspect power potential. Orioles prospects stats »

Rays: Ronaldo Hernandez, C (No. 7, MLB No. 80) -- 3-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB (Class A Adv Charlotte)
Hernandez's perfect night at the plate was highlighted by his seventh home run, a two-run shot in the first inning that put the Stone Crabs on the board in their eventual win over Tampa. The 21-year-old backstop is putting together a solid offensive campaign in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, where's now batting .267/.301/.417 with 20 extra-base hits through 65 games after slashing just .196/.220/.268 in April. Defensively, Hernandez has cut down 15 of 33 attempted basestealers (45.5 percent) but also has committed 10 passed balls in 55 games behind the plate. Rays prospects stats »

Red Sox: Brayan Bello, RHP (No. 23) -- 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 K (Class A Greenville)
Bello's potential was on full display Saturday as the 20-year-old right-hander turned in the best start of his career, striking out a career-high 13 batters over six innings for the Drive. Heading into the day, the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder had totaled 14 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings over his last four starts. Signed for just $28,000 out of the Dominican Republic in July 2017, Bello, who projects to have three average-or-better pitches including a plus fastball, put himself on the prospect radar by finishing second in WHIP (0.73) and third in opponent average (.162) in last year's Dominican Summer League. Red Sox prospects stats »

Yankees: Chance Adams, RHP (No. 19) -- 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
Adams' ERA had begun to rise after allowed eight earned runs over his past two outings with the RailRiders before he took the mound on Saturday. But with a stretched-out start against Syracuse, an outing in which he allowed just three hits, the right-hander was able to trim it well. The Dallas Baptist product allowed a first-inning RBI double, but then faced the minimum over the next five innings before Ruben Tejada's leadoff homer in the seventh inning. The 24-year-old's performance was just the third time this season he's recorded an out or more past the sixth inning. Yankees prospects stats »

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Indians: George Valera, OF (No. 5) -- 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB (Class A Short Season Mahoning Valley)
The power potential Valera has shown early in his pro career has caused pitchers to be more cautious with him, but the 18-year-old still can find ways to barrel a ball up. His fifth homer with the Scrappers drove in a pair of runs, and now, 10 of his 26 hits on the season have gone for extra bases (five doubles and five home runs). The walk issued to the international signee out of the Dominican Republic was the 11th this month in just 13 games. The scary thing for opponents: the young slugger still has time to build on his 5-foot-10 frame for even more home-run potential. Indians prospects stats »

Royals: Brewer Hicklen, OF (No. 15) -- 2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, SB (Class A Adv Wilmington )
Hicklen picked up his fourth multihit performance in six games for the Blue Rocks, but he also swiped his 32nd base on the year. That's the best mark in the Carolina League this season, and it's been fueled by a healthy .283/.403/.409 line for the outfield prospect. Though his speed is his trademark, the University of Alabama-Birmingham alum has yet to finish a season below the .800 OPS mark since he was selected in the seventh round of the 2017 Draft, though his first taste of Class A Advanced ball in '18 was a struggle (.573 OPS in 22 games). However, Hicklen has adapted well, and his offensive upside will put him in position to rise in a timely manner through the Royals' farm system. Royals prospects stats »

Tigers: Derek Hill, OF (No. 23) -- 2-for-5, HR (Double-A Erie)
In his past nine games, Hill has swatted three homers and hit a pair of doubles for the Seawolves. The flashes of power are a good sign from the 2014 first-rounder, but his .229 batting average and .283 on-base percentage marks this year haven't allowed him to readily show his 70-grade speed on the basepaths. If the 23-year-old can turn his first eight games in July (.250/.333/.500) into more than a blip on the radar, it would be an exciting development for the Tigers' center field prospect. Tigers prospects stats »

Twins: Alex Kirilloff, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 13) -- 3-for-4, 2 R, 2B, RBI (Double-A Pensacola)
Kirilloff has looked like his 2018 self since returning from the injured list, as Saturday's three-hit performance gives him a .323 average and 11 extra-base hits (3 HR) over his 25 games. A wrist injury suffered during Spring Training delayed the start of Kirilloff's first Double-A campaign until early May after a 2018 season in which he ranked among the Minor League leaders with a .348 average (third), 71 extra-base hits (first), 296 total bases (first) and 101 RBIs (seventh). With his impressive feel to hit seemingly back in place, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the 21-year-old outfielder go on a power surge to close out the season. Twins prospects stats »

White Sox: Luis Robert, OF (No. 1, MLB No. 5) -- 2-for-5, R, 2B (Triple-A Charlotte)
Robert is now 6-for-13 at the plate since his promotion Charlotte and has hit safely in all three games for the Knights following an absurd two-homer, seven-RBI Triple-A debut. After appearing in only 50 games last season during an injury-plagued campaign, the tooled-up 21-year-old has emerged as one of the top prospects in baseball in 2019 by slashing .354/.404/.637 with 18 homers, 47 extra-base hits and 29 steals in 78 games across three levels. White Sox prospects stats »

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

A’s: Sheldon Neuse, 3B (No. 9) -- 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 2B, HR (Triple-A Las Vegas)
Neuse powered the Aviators to a 13-9 win over Salt Lake with his second straight three-hit, three-RBI performance. It was also his third consecutive multihit effort and he's now hit safely in seven straight games while batting .406 with 13 RBIs during that span. Meanwhile, it's worth noting that Neuse, who came over from the Nationals with Jesus Luzardo and Blake Treinen in the July 2017 trade for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, has started five straight games at shortstop in the absence of Jorge Mateo. A's prospects stats »

Angels: Jo Adell, OF (No. 1, MLB No. 4) -- 2-for-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI (Double-A Mobile)
Adell has been with the the BayBears for only one month, but it's already reached the point where it's weird when the five-tool outfielder doesn't have a big night at the plate. In 27 games with Mobile, the 20-year-old has recorded 13 multihit performances and gone hitless on only five occasions. That's translated to a robust .376/.422/.673 line for him in the Southern League, and, overall, he's clubbed eight homers and 13 doubles in 33 games between two levels. Angels prospects stats »

Astros: Cristian Javier, RHP (No. 28) -- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (Double-A Corpus Christi)
Pitching out of the Hooks' bullpen on Saturday following starter Bryan Abreu, Javier recorded six of his nine outs via the strikeout and faced three over the minimum en route to completing three scoreless frames. The strong performance was just the latest for the 22-year-old righty in what has been a dominant campaign across two levels. In 79 1/3 innings, Javier has pitched to a 1.93 ERA with 107 strikeouts (12.1 K/9) but also 41 walks (4.7 BB/9). He's held hitters to a .133 average in 2019, giving him a .174 opponent average in 342 2/3 frames for his career. Astros prospects stats »

Mariners: Ricardo Sánchez, LHP (No. 24) -- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 K; Donnie Walton, SS (No. 28) -- 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI (Double-A Arkansas)
Sánchez, 22, matched his season-high totals in both innings pitched and strikeouts as he pitched Arkansas past Springfield, 5-1, en route to his first win since June 8. The 5-foot-11 southpaw has posted back-to-back seven-inning starts for the Travelers and owns a 1.10 ERA across his last four turns, during which he's compiled 27 strikeouts against three walks in 24 2/3 frames. Altogether, Sanchez has registered a 3.58 ERA and 100/24 K/BB in 100 2/3 innings (18 starts) this season, which is his first in the Mariners' system after they acquired him from Atlanta -- who had designated him for assignment -- in late November. Walton tallied three of his team's five hits from atop the lineup, including a two-run home run in the seventh inning. The former fifth-round pick (2016) from Oklahoma State is having a breakout campaign in the Texas League, with a .306/.406/.430 line and a career-best nine homers -- he hit four in each of the last two years -- in 81 games. Mariners prospects stats »

Rangers: Josh Jung, 3B -- 3-for-5, R, 3B, RBI (AZL Rangers)
One of the best college hitters in the 2019 Draft is already living up to that reputation in the pro ball, as Saturday's three-hit showing was already Jung's second in three games in the Arizona League. Selected by Texas with the No. 8 overall pick, Jung, a Texas Tech product, projects to hit for both average and power -- the latter of which he gets to easily and could translate to 25 or more home runs per year once he learns how to consistently turn on the ball. Rangers prospects stats »

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Drew Waters, OF (No. 4, MLB No. 44) -- 3-for-4, R, 2B, RBI (Double-A Mississippi); Tristan Beck, RHP (No. 13) -- 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K (Class A Adv Florida)
Waters has been an on-base machine during his first season with the M-Braves, leading all Double-A batters in average and total bases. Taking a walk doesn't seem to be part of his game at this point, but if he can get on base 34 percent of the time via a hit, who needs to walk? Saturday's three-hit performance was Waters' 15th game with three or more base hits this year, and his run scored was his 56th (tied for fifth among all Double-A hitters). Beck, a 2018 fourth-round Draft selection out of Stanford, has been lights out since returning to the Fire Frogs from the injured list. Saturday's gem against Clearwater was his second consecutive scoreless outing after spending two and a half months sidelined and rehabbing from an injury. This most recent start was particularly notable because Beck did not issue a walk, a feat he's accomplished only once before this season and three times in his career so far. Braves prospects stats »

Marlins: Sixto Sanchez, RHP (No. 1, MLB No. 22) -- 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K (Double-A Jacksonville)
Sanchez threw 79 pitches (53 for strikes) in seven efficient innings for the Jumbo Shrimp, especially when compared to other starts he's made this season. It wasn't a dominant outing by the 20-year-old, but it was effective, earning the win as Jacksonville poured on the offense to more than cover the two runs Sanchez allowed. The lone walk he allowed proved to be costly, as it was followed by a double and a triple -- all in the first inning -- to produce the two runs allowed on his record. He definitely settled into the game as it went on, tossing perfect frames in the fourth and fifth, then allowing a single in the sixth (and the runner was immediately caught stealing) and having a runner reach via an error in the seventh. Marlins prospects stats »

Mets: Tony Dibrell, RHP (No. 17) -- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K (Class A Adv St. Lucie)
Dibrell has pitched to a sparkling 2.39 ERA in his first season in the Florida State League, earning an 8-4 record for the Mets in the process. He's been particularly strong of late, allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of his past five outings and and 11 of his past 12. Walks remain the primary concern for Dibrell, as he's issued three or more in seven of his 17 appearances in 2019 and averaged 3.5 walks per nine innings on the season. The rest of his stat line looks great, so if he's able to stay in the zone more often, success could certainly come quickly for the 2017 Draftee. Mets prospects stats »

Phillies: Jhordany Mezquita, RHP (No. 26) -- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (Class A Lakewood)
Working the second half of Saturday's game as a "piggyback" pitcher for starter Dominic Pipkin, Mezquita slammed the door on the Hagerstown offense, but it wasn't enough as the BlueClaws would fall 2-0 in the contest. The BlueClaws mix and match their pitchers in different roles, and Mezquita's game log shows alternating starts and relief appearances all the way back to Opening Day, although many of the relief appearances are for three or four innings. This was easily his best outing of the season, as it's his first without a walk and only his second scoreless appearance this year. He has a respectable 4.21 ERA on the year but the Phillies would definitely like to see him rein in his walks a bit, as he's issued 40 in 62 innings. Phillies prospects stats »

Nationals: Reid Schaller, RHP (No. 15) -- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (Class A Hagerstown)
Schaller was the pitcher on the other end of the Hagerstown-Lakewood matchup mentioned in the Phillies' section above as these division rival affiliates took to the field at the Class A level. Schaller's five scoreless innings were a large part of the reason why Mezquita's performance was not enough to earn his team the victory. Making only his fourth start this season, Schaller had what must be called his best outing of the year, allowing only two baserunners. He tossed three perfect frames, and his two hits were doubles, and only during the fifth did that runner advance to third to then be stranded when Schaller induced a grounder back to the mound and then a fly out to center to dance around the danger. Nationals prospects stats »

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Brewers: Lucas Erceg, 3B (No. 8) -- 1-for-4, HR (Triple-A San Antonio)
The month of July has been a rough go for Erceg, but he broke out of a skid with his 12th homer with the Missions this season. It was just the first hit of the month for the 2016 second-round pick out of Menlo College, who entered Saturday's action with an 0-for-17 stretch intact.The third base prospect has accumulated a .686 OPS this year despite a meager .197 batting average. Known primarily for his defensive assets, including a 70-grade arm, Erceg hasn't been able to post above a .700 OPS at either the Double-A or Triple-A level. Brewers prospects stats »

Cubs: Brennen Davis, OF (No. 7) -- 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI (Class A South Bend)
Davis was the difference-maker for South Bend in a 10-inning, walk-off victory on Saturday. The 19-year-old hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning to clinch the victory, capping the outfield prospect's first three-hit game in 2019. The 2018 second-rounder has still yet to unleash his agility on the basepaths, with only three stolen bases in just four attempts over 43 games despite demonstrating 65-grade speed. But it's hard to ask for much more from Davis with his .301/.379/.490 line with eight doubles, three triples and five homers in his first full pro season. Cubs prospects stats »

Cardinals: Nolan Gorman, 3B (No. 1, MLB No. 30) -- 2-for-3, HR (Class A Adv Palm Beach)
Gorman, whom the Cardinals drafted in the first round last June, is on a bit of a power surge, hitting two homers in as many days in the midst of his first full month playing in the Florida State League. Gorman also connected on a double in the other half of the Cardinals' twin bill Saturday, bringing his Class A Advanced average up 23 points compared to where it was at the start of the day. It's important to remember that Gorman is only 19 years old and facing pitching older than him almost every time up to the plate in the FSL, so going on a streak of four straight games with an extra-base hit is definitely something to be positive about if you're a member of the St. Louis front office. Cardinals prospects stats »

Pirates: Pablo Reyes, UTIL (No. 15) -- 2-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI (Triple-A Indianapolis)
There was a lot of offense in the Indians' 17-5 rout of the Clippers, but none more impressive than that from the bat of Reyes. The outfielder helped drive in four runs with his first multihomer game of 2019 and his first since July 15, 2017. The Dominican Republic native isn't known as a power hitter, per se, especially given his 5-foot-8 frame. But he's shown glimpses of average power this season, with 11 doubles and seven homers in 36 games for Indianapolis as part of his .258/.303/.516 line. At the least, the Pirates certainly have a capable bat to fill a super-utility role in the big leagues. Pirates prospects stats »

Reds: Jose Garcia, SS (No. 8) -- 2-for-2 R, 2B, RBI, BB (Class A Adv Daytona)
Garcia, whom the Reds signed in 2017 for close to $5 million, is showing improvement across the board in his second pro season in the Reds' organization. After logging 125 games with Dayton in 2018 and finishing with a slash line of .245/.290/..344, he's upgraded to a line of .251/.317/.408 in his sophomore campaign stateside. This is great news for a player whose calling card is his athleticism and glove work, as he receives his best grades in the run (60), arm (55) and field (55) tools. That speed hasn't been on display on many steal attempts this season, as he's only attempted six (all successful), but it is a big part of his all-around game. Reds prospects stats »

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-backs: Andy Yerzy, C/1B (No. 12) -- 2-for-4, HR (Class A Short Season Hillsboro)
After struggling to begin the year with Kane County, Yerzy has begun to regain his groove with the Hops. The 20-year-old, who scouts have seen to possess above-average power potential, wasn't able to home in 33 games with the Cougars, but he launched his third with Hillsboro in his first multihit game of July. The plate discipline that Yerzy showed after a shaky rookie campaign failed to appear in Class A ball (39 strikeouts to nine walks), but that ratio has improved significantly with his step back to short-season ball (29 strikeouts to 21 balls). If the Canadian prep product can begin to polish his hit tool, his raw power potential will likely come along for the ride. D-backs prospects stats »

Dodgers: Gavin Lux, SS/2B (No. 2, MLB No. 31) -- 2-for-4, 2 R, HR (Triple-A Oklahoma City)
Lux belted his 15th home run of the season Saturday as he recorded his third multihit performance in four games since returning from the Futures Game. The 21-year-old middle infielder is absolutely crushing the ball in the Pacific Coast League with a .478/.520/.848 line and 11 extra-base hits in 11 games since the Dodgers promoted him to Triple-A. He lacks a clear path to playing time with the Dodgers at the moment, though it could soon reach a point where he forces the organization's hand. Dodgers prospects stats »

Giants: Joey Bart, C (No. 1, MLB No. 19) -- 4-for-6, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI (Class A Adv San Jose)
The Giants' top prospect recorded the first four-hit game of his career on Saturday, as he fell a triple shy of the cycle in San Jose's 17-5 rout of the JetHawks. The No. 1 catching prospect in all of baseball had only recorded four hits in his first eight games of July -- all singles -- before he settled in against Lancaster. The Georgia Tech product hasn't produced eye-popping numbers in his first taste of Class A Advanced, but he missed the nearly two months with a fractured left hand after being hit by a pitch in April. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 Draft has continued to show off his strong arm this year, too, nabbing 11 basestealers. Giants prospects stats »

Padres: MacKenzie Gore, LHP (No. 1, MLB No. 3) -- 5 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 4 K (Double-A Amarillo); Luis Patiño (No. 3, MLB No. 40) -- 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 9 K (Class A Adv Lake Elsinore)
Gore returned from the Futures Game to a new clubhouse, receiving a promotion to the Sod Poodles after crushing the competition with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore (1.02 ERA, 110 K's in 79 1/3 innings). His first start at the Double-A level was more of the same, and he faced a bonus challenge on Saturday as the Frisco lineup featured a pair of rehabbing MLB players (Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Hunter Pence). The veterans both struck out in their first plate appearances against the 2018 first-round Draft pick out of the North Carolina prep ranks, and Kiner-Falefa's fourth-inning single meant he was one of only four baserunners Gore would allow in his outing. Patiño is now holds the title of "top 19-year-old pitching prospect for Lake Elsinore" with Gore moving up to Amarillo, and he took that mantle and ran with it on Saturday. His nine strikeouts matched a season high, and his 95 pitches were the most he'd thrown in a game this year. He allowed two runs for the third straight appearance, but this time one of them was unearned, the byproduct of a first-inning extended by a fielding error that should have ended as a perfect frame. After allowing a double, stolen base and sacrifice fly to drive in a run in the second, Patiño settled in nicely, including working three straight perfect frames to end his day on the mound. Padres prospects stats »

Rockies: Tyler Nevin, 1B/3B (No. 6) -- 2-for-5, HR, 5 RBI (Double-A Hartford)
Nevin plated two runs with a fifth-inning single and then padded the Yard Goats' lead in the following frame with a three-run homer, his fifth of the year, to finish with a season-high five RBIs. The multihit performance was the 22-year-old's fourth in his past eight games, during which he's batting .333 with seven RBIs, and, overall, he's produced a .242/.339/.348 line over 81 games in his first Double-A campaign. Rockies prospects stats »

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.