Tuesday's top prospect performers

April 18th, 2018

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.
With top pitching prospect Triston McKenzie sidelined to begin the season, Shane Bieber and Sam Hentges are taking center stage in the Cleveland Indians' farm system. They combined to throw 13 scoreless innings with 16 strikeouts, as each hurler recorded his second win in three starts at his respective level.
Bieber, Cleveland's No. 8 prospect, fired seven scoreless frames, allowing four hits and striking out six to lead Double-A Akron past Altoona, 2-0. The 22-year-old right-hander extended his season-opening scoreless-innings streak to 20 with the performance, during which he's allowed just 10 hits and zero walks while striking out 23 batters.
That Bieber, the Indians' fourth-round pick in the 2016 Draft, is yet to issue a walk should not be surprising -- he issued just 12 free passes (two intentional) in 173 1/3 innings last season to lead all Minor League hurlers both in walk rate (1.5 percent) and walks-per-nine innings (0.5 BB/9).
Hentges (No. 17) also dazzled in his start for Class A Advanced Lynchburg, posting six blank frames to help the Hillcats defeat Frederick, 4-1. The 21-year-old lefty scattered six hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts in arguably his best outing since returning from Tommy John surgery last June. He's quickly emerged as Lynchburg's ace in McKenzie's absence, posting a 0.56 ERA with 19 strikeouts and three walks in 16 innings (three starts) to begin the season.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Tuesday
• It took him 10 games, but No. 2 overall prospect Ronald Acuna (Braves' No. 1) is finally on the board with his first home run. The 20-year-old phenom connected on a two-run shot to left field in the fifth inning, before finishing 2-for-4 with two runs and a walk in Triple-A Gwinnett's win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The RBIs also were firsts for Acuna, who's hitting .175 overall with two extra-base hits after his second multi-hit game.

MILB Video - Title: Acuna's first 2018 homer - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1947979983

No. 13 overall prospect Bo Bichette (Blue Jays' No. 2) extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single in Double-A New Hampshire's loss to Binghamton. Bichette also scored and run and stole his fourth base. The 20-year-old shortstop is hitting .341 through 10 games and ranks among the top three in the Eastern League in both runs scored (10) and hits (15).
No. 14 overall prospect Brendan Rodgers (Rockies' No. 1) broke out of a 1-for-26 slump by going 3-for-4 in Double-A Hartford's loss to Portland in game one of a doubleheader. One of the 21-year-old shortstop's hits was a double, and he also plated a run in the three-hit performance, his second this season.
No. 29 overall prospect Juan Soto (Nationals' No. 2) collected a pair of hits in both ends of Class A Hagerstown's doubleheader to improve his season slash line to a robust .415/.537/.902. The 19-year-old outfielder went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI in the opener and then reached base four times in the nightcap in a 2-for-2, two-walk performance. Altogether, Soto has produced 10 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs in 12 games, with nearly twice as many walks (13) as strikeouts (seven).
No. 60 overall prospectJesus Luzardo (A's No. 2) furthered his reputation as one of baseball's top left-handed pitching prospects by spinning five no-hit frames with nine strikeouts for Class A Advanced Stockton. He allowed just two hitters to reach base -- one via a walk and the other on his own error -- and threw 50 of his 76 pitches for strikes. The 20-year-old southpaw has been dominant to begin the season, posting a 1.23 ERA with 25 strikeouts and .120 opponents' average over 14 2/3 innings (three starts) in the hitter-friendly California League.
No. 81 overall prospect Nick Gordon (Twins' No. 4) has at least one hit and one RBI in three straight games after connecting on his first home run, a solo shot, in Double-A Chattanooga's win over Jacksonville. The 22-year-old middle infielder is off to a strong start in 2018, hitting .350/.381/.550 through 10 games in his second tour of the Southern League.
Angels No. 10 prospect set a career high with six RBIs behind a trio of run-producing extra-base hits in Triple-A Salt Lake's rout of Sacramento. The 23-year-old outfielder accrued his RBIs in the first six innings, too, as he plated two runs with a triple in the second inning, connected on a three-run homer in the fourth and then added a solo shot two frames later to finish 3-for-5. Hermosillo also scored two runs and recorded an outfield assist in center field.

MILB Video - Title: Hermosillo's second homer - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1948743283

Blue Jays' No. 9 prospect T.J. Zeuch tossed six scoreless innings en route to his second win in three starts for Class A Advanced Dunedin. He scattered five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts while generating an additional seven outs on the ground. The 6-foot-7 right-hander has completed at least six innings in each of his three starts for Dunedin, posting a 2.89 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 18 2/3 frames overall.
Brewers No. 5 prospect set a career high with 10 strikeouts for Double-A Biloxi after entering the game as a reliever in the fourth inning. The 22-year-old righty would work the remaining 6 1/3 frames, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks as the Shuckers fell 4-3 to Mobile in 10 innings. At the plate for Biloxi, Corey Ray (No. 7) stayed hot with his fourth straight multi-hit performance as he finished 2-for-5 with two steals. He's hit a double in four straight games and has an extra-base hit in nine of his past 10 contests.
Dodgers No. 16 prospect Caleb Ferguson took a no-decision for Double-A Tulsa despite posting five scoreless frames of two-hit ball. He tallied nine strikeouts against just one walk while throwing 53 of his 73 pitches for strikes. The 21-year-old righty sports a 0.87 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings through three starts for the Drillers.

MILB Video - Title: Ferguson fans nine - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1948543983

Giants No. 8 prospectShaun Anderson led the way with six scoreless innings as Double-A Richmond blanked Bowie, 1-0. Facing three batters over the minimum in the outing, Anderson, whom San Francisco acquired from Boston at last year's Trade Deadline, yielded four hits and one walk while pairing four strikeouts with nine ground-ball outs. He threw 86 pitches, 52 for strikes.
Orioles No. 17 prospect Zac Lowther allowed three hits over five innings in his second straight scoreless start for Class A Delmarva. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk, throwing 58 of his 84 pitches for strikes in the outing. The 21-year-old lefty has been dominant early in his first full season, posting a 0.36 WHIP with 20 strikeouts across 11 scoreless frames (both wins).
Reds No. 5 prospect Tony Santillan has gone 16 innings without allowing an earned run as he pitched Class A Advanced Daytona past Tampa, 8-2. The 21-year-old righty gave up three hits in six innings, struck out five and hit a batter. He's limited opposing hitters to a .145 average across his first three starts, posting 18 strikeouts against four walks in 16 innings.