Throughout the season, the MLBPipeline.com staff will name Pipeline Prospects of the Week -- one hitter and one pitcher who excelled over the previous seven days. To qualify for selection, a player must rank among their organization's Top 20 Prospects, as listed on our Prospect Watch.
Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Week: Joey Gallo, Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Rangers' No. 5 prospect, 6 G, 8-for-22 (.364/.516/.909), 1.425 OPS, 3 HR, 9 RBIs
Joey Gallo hitting home runs is nothing new. He was, after all, the Minor League leader in long balls with 40 in 2013. But after striking out 172 times in 111 games and hitting .251 during his first full season, there definitely was a sense of wanting to see how he would do moving up a level in 2014.
So far, so good. Gallo had three multihit games during the past week, but the big day was Wednesday. Gallo not only homered three times and drove in six runs, but he also walked three times and scored a total of four runs. Most impressive, he didn't strike out at all in that day's contest. For the week, Gallo walked more times -- eight -- than he struck out (six).
Gallo entered this week hitting .351/.464/.824 with nine homers and 22 RBIs. He is second in the Minor League in slugging percentage and tied for second in home runs. Yes, he's still striking out -- 24 times in 22 games -- but his K rate is down (26.5 percent, compared to 37 percent in the South Atlantic League last year). At the same time, his walk rate is up, 19.6 percent vs. 10.8 last year. If that trend continues, then the idea of him continuing to tap into his ridiculous raw power at the highest levels will seem more realistic.
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/SS, Iowa Cubs: Cubs' No. 6 prospect, 7 G, 12-for-30 (.455/.455/.955), 1.409 OPS, 2 HR, 8 RBIs
Tommy Joseph, C, Reading Fightin Phils: Phillies' No. 16 prospect, 4 G, 6-for-16 (.375/.412/1.000), 1.412 OPS, 3 HR, 9 RBIs
Jose Ramirez, 2B, Columbus Clippers: Indians' No. 8 prospect, 6 G, 10-for-26 (.385/.452/.769), 1.221 OPS, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 SB
Chris Taylor, SS, Tacoma Rainiers: Mariners' No. 8 prospect, 5 G, 11-for-23 (.478/.500/.826), 1.326 OPS, 2 Hr, 5 RBIs
Drew Ward, 3B, Hagerstown Suns: Nationals' No. 13 prospect, 7 G, 12-for-31 (.387/.457/.645), 1.102 OPS, 2 HR, 12 RBIs* * * * *
Pipeline Pitching Prospect of the Week: Ben Lively, Bakersfield Blaze
Reds' No. 13 prospect, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 GS, 12 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 17 K
Lively doesn't believe in giving up runs. Or hurting himself with walks. Funny how the latter makes it easier to achieve to the former.
Lively's two scoreless starts extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 24. He last gave up a run in his first start of the season, back on April 6. The walk Lively issued this past week was his first of the season, giving him a 40-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Giving up just six hits in his 12 innings, for a .150 batting average against, isn't new, either. In fact, that raised his BAA to .134, The right-hander taken by the Reds in the fourth round of the 2013 Draft out of Central Florida has allowed just 13 hits in 29 innings overall. Fantasy enthusiasts might want to note that Lively has a 0.483 WHIP to go along with his 0.31 ERA.
Aaron Blair, RHP, South Bend Silver Hawks: D-backs' No. 4 prospect, 1-0, 0.64 ERA, 2 GS, 14 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 18 K
Ismael Guillon, LHP, Dayton Dragons: Reds' No. 10 prospect, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K
Josh Hader, LHP, Lancaster JetHawks: Astros' No. 15 prospect, 1-0, 1.13 ERA, 2 G, 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K
Luke Jackson, RHP, Frisco RoughRiders: Rangers' No. 8 prospect, 2-0, 0.69 ERA, 2 GS, 13 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 14 K
Mike Montgomery, LHP, Durham Bulls: Rays' No. 18 prospect, 1-0, 1.35 ERA, 2 GS, 13.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 14 K
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter.