MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

July 8th, 2019

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 on our Prospect Watch is eligible.

Sunday’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game meant it was a shorter week for some top prospects, and as a result, MLB Pipeline’s latest Prospect Team of the Week doesn’t have many familiar faces.

At the same time, Seth Beer, the Astros’ first-round pick from the 2018 Draft, managed to pick up PTOW honors for a second time this season, and the same goes for 20-year-old Cubs third baseman Christopher Morel, who is swinging an increasingly hot bat in his first full-season campaign.

However, the latest crop of PTOW talent is headlined by a pair of first-timers in Marco Luciano, a tooled-up 17-year-old who is raking to begin his pro career, and 19-year-old Alek Thomas, who represented the D-backs in the Futures Game after an impressive start to his first full season in the Midwest League.

Here’s the complete Prospect Team of the Week for games of July 1-7.

C: Cal Raleigh, Modest Nuts (Class A Advanced)
(Mariners’ No. 13 prospect)
6 G, .346/.370/.846, 5 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, SB

Raleigh’s four-homer week was highlighted by his third two-homer game of the season on Saturday, and he ultimately hit safely in all six games for the Nuts. A third-round pick in the 2018 Draft out of Florida State, Raleigh, a 22-year-old switch-hitter, is having a breakout first full season in the California League, ranking among the circuit leaders with 17 home runs (tied-second) and 55 RBIs (fourth) through 76 games.

1B: Seth Beer, Corpus Christi Hooks (Double-A)
(Astros’ No. 8 prospect)
6 G, .583/.655/1.042, 10 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 4 HBP

Beer’s monster week for the Hooks saw him homer in three straight games, the last of which, on Thursday, was a 5-for-6 showing in which he also scored four runs. In that three-game span, the 22-year-old went 12-for-16 with nine runs scored and seven RBIs. Overall, Beer, who hit 56 homers in three years at Clemson before the Astros took him in the first round of the 2018 Draft, has gone deep 19 times while slashing .323/.413/.570 over 79 games spanning two levels in his first full season.

2B: Aaron Bracho, Arizona League Indians Blue (Rookie)
(Indians’ No. 14 prospect)
6 G, .316/.481/.895, 6 R, 1 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 7 BB, 3 K, 2 SB

Signed for $1.5 million back in July 2017, Bracho missed out on what was supposed to be his pro debut in ’18 due to a fractured right arm. Now fully healthy, the 18-year-old is showing why he was such a highly touted international prospect. Bracho homered three times in a four-game span last week and tallied multiple hits in all three contests. It gives him four home runs in first 14 pro games, during which he’s recorded more walks (12) than strikeouts (11).

3B: Christopher Morel, South Bend Cubs (Class A)
(Cubs’ No. 26 prospect)
7 G, .462/.500/.846, 5 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 SB, 2 CS

After going 0-for-4 on Monday, Morel proceeded to record a hit in six straight games for South Bend and wrapped up his week with three consecutive multihit efforts. The 20-year-old is starting to show more power as the season unfolds, as he’s batting .336/.361/.566 with 15 extra-base hits (4 HR) in 31 games since June 1 after slashing .241/.289/.383 with 12 XBH (2 HR) in 39 games during the first two months of the season.

SS: Marco Luciano, AZL Giants Orange (Rookie)
(Giants’ No. 3 prospect)
6 G, .440/.481/.920, 11 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 SB

he 17-year-old shortstop has enjoyed a tremendous start to his pro career, batting .375/.467/.813 with seven homers through 16 games in the Arizona League. He recorded the first multi-homer game in his career on Tuesday as part of his second consecutive three-hit performance. There should plenty of two-homer and three-hit games to come for Luciano, who’s one of the more exciting and talented prospects in the Minors below full-season ball.

OF: Alek Thomas, Kane County Cougars (Class A)
(D-backs’ No. 7 prospect)
5 G, .500/.522/.950, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K

Before he suited up for the National League squad in Sunday’s Futures Game, Thomas had back-to-back career games at the plate for Kane County. It began with a career-best five-hit game on Tuesday, when he finished a home run short of the cycle. Well, the 19-year-old outfielder achieved the feat Wednesday, when he tallied a single, home run, triple and double in his first four at-bats before drawing an intentional walk in his final trip to the plate. The D-backs’ second-round pick from the 2018 Draft is having an impressive first full season in the Midwest League, hitting .305/.389/.495 with 30 extra-base hits (8 HR) through 72 games.

OF: Sam Hilliard, Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A)
(Rockies’ No. 9 prospect)
7 G, .333/.357/.815, 5 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 SB, 1 CS

Hilliard’s power is no joke. The 6-foot-5, 238-pound outfielder went deep four times for the ‘Topes last week to push his season total to 24 homers, which is good for a share of fourth in the Pacific Coast League. He might already have the outright lead, too, had he not hit only two homers in June after clubbing 18 during the first two months of the season. The 25-year-old now has a pair of 20-homer seasons on his resume since the Rockies took him in the 15th round of the 2015 Draft; and with 16 steals, he’s poised to record his second 20-homer, 20-steal campaign in ’19 after previously achieving the feat in 2017 (21 HR, 37 SB).

OF: Ryan McKenna, Bowie Baysox (Double-A)
(Orioles’ No. 7 prospect)
7 G, .346/.433/.769, 7 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HBP, 2 SB

McKenna kicked off last week by homering three times in two games, the second of which was his third career two-homer game. The homers, along with McKenna’s four multihit performances, helped him offset a trio of 0-fer games. With nine home runs on the season, the 22-year-old is two long balls away from matching the career-high total he set during last year’s breakout campaign. What’s more, after batting .209 during the first two months of the season, McKenna owns a .276/.340/.470 line with 15 extra-base hits and six steals since June 1.

LHP: Seth Corry, Augusta GreenJackets (Class A)
(Giants’ No. 25 prospect)
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 GS, 11 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K, 0.45 WHIP

Corry harnessed his control last week while recording a pair of wins in the South Atlantic League. Both outings were of the scoreless variety, as he followed a six-inning start on Tuesday with a five-inning one to close out the week. The latter marked the first time in 17 starts this season that the 20-year-old southpaw did not issue a walk. Altogether, Corry has been highly effective in his first full season, pitching to a 2.19 ERA with a .177 opponents’ average and 98 strikeouts in 70 innings, albeit with 43 walks and nine hit batters.

RHP: Enoli Paredes, Corpus Christi Hooks (Double-A)
(Astros’ No. 25 prospect)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 12 K, 0.33 WHIP

Paredes’ outing for the Hooks on Friday was perhaps the best in his four-year career, as he notched a career-high 12 strikeouts while tossing six hitless innings in a no-decision against Midland. The 23-year-old righty fanned the first four batters he faced and recorded 11 of his first 12 outs via strikeout. His lone blemishes were a pair of walks and a hit by pitch, and he threw 59 of 91 pitches for strikes in the outing. It was Paredes’ third scoreless outing in five appearances since he was promoted from Class A Fayetteville, where he’d posted a 1.64 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 44 innings. He’s racked up 93 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings between the two levels, all while holding hitters to a .150 average.

RP: Demarcus Evans, Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A)
(Rangers’ No. 24 prospect)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 0.00 WHIP

Evans had about as good of a week as a reliever can have as he struck out nine of the 12 batters he faced while making a pair of perfect two-inning appearances for Frisco. The 22-year-old right-hander limited hitters to a .149/.257/.218 line and led all Minor League relievers in strikeout rate last year (16.6 per nine innings) in the Class A South Atlantic League. He’s averaging 16.1 K/9 this year between Class A Advanced Down East and the RoughRiders, while hitters have mustered just a .116/.277/.165 line against him.