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.
One of the best hitters available in the 2015-16 international class, Juan Soto was poised to break out as a prospect in 2017. But ankle, hamate and hamstring injuries combined to limit his full-season debut to 23 games, during which he gave a preview of coming attractions by hitting .360/.427/.523 at Class A Hagerstown.
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Those numbers pale in comparison to the onslaught he has wreaked on pitchers this year. He needed just 16 games to earn a promotion from Hagerstown to Class A Advanced Potomac, where he has continued to rake. Last week alone, he batted .522/.607/1.261 with five homers in six games, claiming a spot on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week for the third time in a season that's just four weeks old. For perspective, no player has ever made PTOW more than four times in one season.
Soto now leads the Minors in extra-base hits (23), total bases (90), RBIs (39), on-base percentage (.489) and OPS (1.322) while ranking second in homers (11) and slugging percentage (.833). He also has more walks (24) than strikeouts (17) in 133 plate appearances. He's currently No. 28 on our Top 100 Prospects list, and some scouts think he has a higher offensive ceiling than fellow Nationals outfielder Victor Robles, who's No. 6 on the Top 100.
2018 Prospect Teams of the Week
Here's the complete Prospect Team of the Week for games of April 30 through May 6:
C: Evan Skoug, Kannapolis Intimidators (low Class A)
(White Sox No. 22 prospect)
.294/.429/.941, 5 G, 17 AB, 6 R, 5 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 7 SO, 1 SB
The 2017 Big 12 Conference player of the year after leading Texas Christian to a third straight College World Series berth, Skoug batted just .154/.263/.308 in low Class A during his pro debut last summer and fared even worse (.150/.268/.233) in April after rejoining Kannapolis. He finally got his bat going last week, hitting safely in all five games and homering in each of his last three.
1B: Jordan Patterson, Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A)
(Rockies' No. 21 prospect)
.320/.379/.720, 7 G, 25 AB, 7 R, 8 H, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 8 SO
Though Patterson went 8-for-18 during a September 2016 callup with Rockies, a logjam of outfielders and first basemen in Colorado has prevented him from returning since. He totaled 40 homers in Triple-A during the past two seasons before starting slowly in 2018, but he began to heat up last week. He went deep three times and also had a four-hit game, boosting his season line to .245/.376/.462 with six homers in 30 contests.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Patterson goes yard - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2009753283
2B: David Bote, Iowa Cubs (Triple-A)
(Cubs' No. 14 prospect)
.517/.600/.793, 7 G, 29 AB, 7 R, 15 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6 BB, 6 SO, 1 SB
Bote spent nine days with the Cubs, going 1-for-9 in his first taste of the big leagues, and responded to his April 28 demotion to Triple-A with his best week of the season. He hit safely in all seven games, including five multihit efforts and a five-hit performance on Sunday. He's batting .342/.405/.618 with five homers in 19 games at Iowa.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Bote notches 5th hit - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2017699683
3B: J.D. Davis, Fresno Grizzlies (Triple-A)
(Astros' No. 9 prospect)
.593/.613/.963, 7 G, 27 AB, 3 R, 16 H, 7 2B, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 1 BB, 6 SO
Davis shared the Astros' first-base job with Marwin Gonzalez for the first two weeks of the season, then headed to Triple-A after Yuli Gurriel returned from a suspension and a hand injury. He's making an impressive case for another opportunity, riding a 21-game hitting streak and leading the Minors in batting while posting a slash line of .425/.474/.655 with three homers in 22 contests. He had six multihit games in seven tries last week and tops the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in batting, on-base percentage and doubles (11).
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Davis doubles in a run - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2004388783
SS: Jonathan Arauz, Quad Cities River Bandits (low Class A)
(Astros' No. 22 prospect)
.522/.586/1.043, 6 G, 23 AB, 8 R, 12 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SO
Part of the Ken Giles/Vince Velasquez trade in December 2015, Arauz scuffled in his first exposure to full-season ball last year, batting .220/.331/.276 at Quad Cities. He's erasing that memory by hitting .309/.419/.557 and his four homers in 27 games already has doubled his previous career high. All four have come in his last eight games, including one as part of a five-RBI night on Saturday.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Arauz belts slam - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1997068083
OF: Telmito Agustin, Potomac Nationals (high Class A)
(Nationals' No. 27 prospect)
.476/.542/1.000, 6 G, 21 AB, 6 R, 10 H, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 CS
A year after batting .206/.257/.275 in 33-game introduction to high Class A, Agustin is back and thriving in the Carolina League. He reached base at least twice in each of his six games last week, giving Potomac two of the three outfielders on the PTOW, and leads the CL in hitting (.397), slugging (.667) and OPS (1.090).
OF: Thomas Jones, Greensboro Grasshoppers (low Class A)
(Marlins' No. 25 prospect)
.350/.409/1.000, 5 G, 20 AB, 8 R, 7 H, 1 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1 SB
One of the most coveted athletes in the 2016 Draft, Jones turned down college football offers to sign for $1 million as a third-round pick. The Marlins have brought him along slowly, as he just made his full-season debut last week after spending the first month of this season in extended spring training. So far, so good, as Jones homered four times in his first three games at low Class A, including two on Thursday.
OF: Juan Soto, Potomac Nationals (high Class A)
(Nationals' No. 2 prospect/MLB No. 28)
.522/.607/1.261, 1.868, 6 G, 23 AB, 10 R, 12 H, 2 2B, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 5 BB, 2 SO, 1 CS
Soto opened 2018 by batting .373/.486/.814 with five homers and 24 RBIs in 16 games at low Class A Hagerstown. Since his promotion, he has hit .388./.492/.857 with six homers and 15 RBIs in 12 games, with more than twice as many extra-base hits and walks (10 each) than strikeouts (four).
LHP: Stephen Gonsalves, Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A)
(Twins' No. 3 prospect/MLB No. 77)
2-0, 0.63 ERA, 2 GS, 14 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 14 SO, 0.42 WHIP
Gonsalves might have the most impressive numbers of any left-hander in the Minors in the previous three seasons (35-13, 2.39 ERA, 405 strikeouts in 384 1/3 innings), so it's no surprise he's rolling again this year. After getting knocked around in five Triple-A outings at the end of 2017, he returned to Rochester last week and won both his starts while surrendering a total of one run. He's tied for the Minor League lead with five victories and has a 1.30 ERA with 39 whiffs in 34 2/3 innings.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Gonsalves finishes strong outing - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1996589083
RHP: Dylan Cease, Winston-Salem Dash (high Class A)
(White Sox No. 5 prospect/MLB No. 59)
2-0, 0.69 ERA, 2 GS, 13 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 18 SO, 0.92 WHIP
Cease is one of two Top 100 Prospects whom the White Sox acquired from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana trade last July, along with outfielder Eloy Jimenez (No. 4 on the list) -- who just missed joining him on this PTOW. He has allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his six starts this year, including two outings last week that included a 12-strikeout gem on Tuesday. He's now 4-1 with a 1.95 ERA and a Minor League-leading 42 whiffs in 32 1/3 innings.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Cease notches 12th strikeout - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1998506383
RP: Jimmie Sherfy, Reno Aces (Triple-A)
(D-backs' No. 15 prospect)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 3 SV, 3 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO
Sherfy didn't allow a run in 11 regular-season appearances with the D-backs last summer, though the Dodgers did get to him in both of his National League Division Series outings. He converted all three of his save opportunities last week, recording 10 of his 11 outs via strikeouts, and is 6-for-6 in 2018. He has a 2.45 ERA in 10 games, holding opponents to a .154 opponents' batting average while recording a 33 percent whiff rate.