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Saturday's top prospect performers

@wboor
August 4, 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: Anthony Alford, OF (No. 21) -- 3-for-4, 2B, 3B (Gulf Coast League Blue Jays) Alford is working his way back from an oblique injury with the GCL Blue Jays

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

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Anthony Alford, OF (No. 21) -- 3-for-4, 2B, 3B (Gulf Coast League Blue Jays)
Alford is working his way back from an oblique injury with the GCL Blue Jays and should soon be ready to return to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons after missing more than a month of playing time. Alford has made the most of his three games in the GCL so far, going 5-for-9 with a home run and a pair of walks, but injuries continue to plague him as he looks to establish himself as an MLB regular with the Blue Jays. Over 62 games in Triple-A this season, he's hit .256 with a .745 OPS. Toronto's addition of Derek Fisher at the Trade Deadline further crowds that outfield picture but, if the 25-year-old Alford can stay on the field, he still possesses athletic upside that is rare in the organization. Blue Jays prospects stats »

Orioles: JC Encarnacion, 1B (No. 29) -- 3-for-4, 3B (Class A Delmarva)
Encarnacion has plenty of exciting tools and, on nights like this, you see what it looks like when he puts them all together. The 21-year-old first baseman hit his third triple of the season and singled twice. He's now hitting .242 with a .668 OPS over 97 games, but one of the biggest developmental hurdles for Encarnacion continues to be his plate approach. He's already racked up 112 strikeouts compared to just 22 walks. If those rates can improve and Encarnacion can put the ball in play more consistently, then he'll be able to tap into his impressive raw power. Orioles prospects stats »

Rays: Ronaldo Hernandez, C (No. 7) -- 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI (Class A Advanced Charlotte)
Hernandez doubled and drove in a pair on Saturday, giving him 46 RBIs over 81 games this season. The 21-year-old profiles to hit for power as he develops, which he's shown at times with his seven home runs, but that has still fallen a bit below expectations after he hit 21 homers in 2018. Hernandez now has three two-hit games over his last five, though, so he could be showing signs of heating up down the stretch for the Stone Crabs. Rays prospects stats »

Red Sox: Gilberto Jimenez, OF (No. 8) -- 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI (Class A Short-Season Lowell)
Jimenez isn't known for his power, but the 19-year-old prospect hit his third home run of the season on Saturday. The Red Sox appear to have found an absolute steal in Jimenez, whom they signed for just $10,000 in 2017 out of the Dominican Republic. He quickly transitioned to switch-hitting after entering pro ball and has done nothing but hit, with a .353 average and .844 OPS in 2019. Things will really get exciting for Jimenez when he learns to utilize his plus speed more in game situations, so there should be an uptick in steals in his future along with plenty of doubles and triples if he continues to put the ball in play at such a high rate. He now has hits in 12 straight games. Red Sox prospects stats »

Yankees: Estevan Florial, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 67) -- 2-for-4, 2 3B, 4 RBI, BB (Class A Advanced Tampa)
Florial came up big for the Tarpons as he flashed his 65-grade speed rounding the bases on a pair of triples. These were just the second and third triples of Florial's season through 50 games, but his present speed and future power projections could make him a threat in that category as he develops. Overall, Florial is hitting .233 with a .653 OPS this season in the Florida State League. He's already struck out 71 times, which has seen his on-base percentage drop to .288, but he did get a late start after breaking his right wrist in Spring Training. Yankees prospects stats »

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Indians: Bobby Bradley, 1B (No. 7) -- 3-for-5, 2B (Triple-A Columbus)
It's rare that Bradley cracks the list without hitting a home run, which he's already done 28 times this season across the Majors and Minors, but Saturday's three-hit game was a well-rounded effort from the Triple-A slugger at the plate. He now has hits in each of his last four games and, while the strikeout total is still high -- 119 in 80 games -- his .604 slugging percentage and .954 OPS speak for themselves. He sits two home runs shy of his Minors career high of 29, which he set in 2016 as a member of the Class A Advanced Lynchburg Hillcats, and the 30-homer plateau is obviously well within reach this season. Indians prospects stats »

Royals: Jackson Kowar, RHP (No. 5) -- 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (Double-A Northwest Arkansas)
After giving up 10 runs over 11 1/3 innings in his past two starts, Kowar bounced back with a gem for the Naturals. The 22-year-old set a career high for innings pitched as he picked up his second Double-A win. Kowar, the 33rd overall pick from the 2018 Draft, gave up a lead-off single, but then retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced en route to throwing 102 pitches, 67 for strikes. Prior to his promotion to Northwest Arkansas, Kowar began the year with Class A Advanced Wilmington, where he posted a 3.53 ERA over 13 starts. Royals prospects stats »

Tigers: Matt Manning, RHP (No. 2, MLB No. 29) -- 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, 9 K (Double-A Erie)
Make it back-to-back seven-inning outings for Matt Manning, who owns a 2.71 ERA after 20 starts this season. All of the peripheral numbers like Manning, too, including his 124 strikeouts over 113 innings and an opponent batting average of just .198. With all of the success that Manning has had in 2019, his next challenge will be to sustain that deep into August and set himself up for a run at the Major Leagues in 2020. He's just shy of last year's innings total of 117 2/3, which he could pass in his next start, but he's showing no signs of slowing down with his last two performances. Tigers prospects stats »

Twins: Trevor Larnach, OF (No. 5, MLB No. 97) -- 1-for-4, HR (Double-A Pensacola)
Another day, another home run for Larnach, who might just be finding his power stroke in Double-A after a very strong start to the season with Class A Advanced Fort Myers, where he hit .316 with an .842 OPS over 82 games. In 17 games since joining Pensacola, he's hit .234 with a .700 OPS and three homers. The 2018 first-round pick should continue to move his numbers in the right direction, given his advanced approach at the plate. Twins prospects stats »

White Sox: Luis Robert, OF (No. 1, MLB No. 5) -- 3-for-5, 2B, RBI (Triple-A Charlotte)
It might be bigger news when Robert finally doesn't put up one of these nights at the plate. After homering in a two-hit night on Friday, he came right back on Saturday with three hits to raise his average to .352 at the Triple-A level this season. He's spread 23 home runs and a 1.041 OPS across three levels in 2019 and isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Robert is one of the most exciting players in baseball, and he could take a run at some milestones through August. One to keep an eye on is the 40-steal plateau, as the speedy outfielder is just six shy with 34. White Sox prospects stats »

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

A’s: Sheldon Neuse, 3B (No. 8) -- 2-for-3, HR, 2 BB (Triple-A Las Vegas)
Neuse is red hot and showing no signs of cooling off. The 24-year-old slugger has two or more hits in nine of his last 11 games and is now hitting .328 with a .953 OPS through 104 games at the Triple-A level. Neuse has already set career highs in home runs, doubles and walks, and has the month of August to continue stacking those numbers up. Matt Chapman is clearly a roadblock for Neuse in Oakland at his primary position, but he's mixed in a handful of games at second base, shortstop and left field this season. If he keeps hitting this way, he'll force the issue eventually. A's prospects stats »

Angels: Jared Walsh, 1B (No. 24) -- 1-3 HR, 3 RBI (Triple-A Salt Lake)
Walsh is on an absolute tear right now. The 26-year-old has home runs in three consecutive games and nine over his last 11 games. His run of video game numbers have left him with a .329 average and an 1.129 OPS with Triple-A Salt Lake. Walsh's 29 home runs tie his total from 2018 as he continues to build upon one of the more impressive statistical seasons in the Minor Leagues. One improvement he's made between the two seasons is an increased walk rate -- Walsh has 51 in 80 games -- which has earned him an on-base percentage of .434. Angels prospects stats »

Astros: Kyle Tucker, OF (No. 1, No. 13 in MLB) -- 2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI (Triple-A Round Rock)
Tucker has hits in six of his past seven games after hitting his career-high 28th homer of the season in Round Rock's 10-9 win over Sacramento. The 22-year-old has had a bit of an up-and-down season at the plate so far. After hitting over .300 in May and June, Tucker hit just .194 in July. However, Tucker still slugged .646 in July as his power has been present all the year. The 2015 first-round pick made his Major League debut last season and hit .141 over 28 games. Astros prospects stats »

Mariners: Cal Raleigh, C (No. 7) -- 3-for-3, 2B (Double-A Arkansas)
The transition to Double-A has been a bit rough for Raleigh, but he did put together a perfect offensive performance on Saturday night. The Florida State product hit .261 with Class A Advanced Modesto to begin the season, but is hitting just .222 through 16 games with the Travelers. Of course, that's a relatively small sample size, so there's still time for Raleigh to turn it around. Mariners prospects stats »

Rangers: Kolby Allard, RHP (No. 16) -- 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K (Triple-A Nashville); Jonathan Ornelas, 3B (No. 17) -- 3-for-4, 3B, 3 RBI, 2 BB (Class A Hickory)
Not bad for a first impression. Making his first start since being dealt from the Braves at the Trade Deadline, Allard threw 66 of his 101 pitches for strikes and spun his first scoreless start of the year. The 21-year-old, a 2015 first-round pick, gave up seven runs over 5 2/3 innings in his last start with Triple-A Gwinnett, but clearly the change of scenery helped put that in the past. Ornelas reached base a whopping five times in Hickory's extra-innings, 10-7 win on Saturday, including a triple and three runs driven in. This lifts Ornelas out of a bit of a slow stretch at the plate recently, as he'd hit just .206 with one RBI over his last 10 games. He is now 89 games into his first full professional season after an impressive debut in the Arizona League in 2018, so it's encouraging to see the 19-year-old still producing into August. Once he physically matures, his big leg kick and natural power could combine to make him a 20-homer bat. Rangers prospects stats »

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Justin Dean, OF (No. 23) -- 3-for-4, HR, RBI (Class A Rome)
That's three multihit performances over the past four games for Dean, a 17th-round pick from the 2018 Draft. The 22-year-old has also homered twice during that stretch, bringing his season total to six. Dean, listed at 5-foot-8, is certainly undersized, but that hasn't hampered him early in his career. Dean is hitting .286 though 85 games in his first full season and has also used his 70-grade speed to swipe 35 bases. Braves prospects stats »

Marlins: Jorge Guzman, RHP (No. 17) -- 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K (Double-A Jacksonville)
After a rough July in which Guzman went 0-3 with a 5.04 ERA over five starts, he flirted with a no-hitter to begin the month of August. The 23-year-old right-hander retired the first 16 batters he faced and ultimately threw 64 of his 97 pitches for strikes to make his way through the Biloxi lineup. Guzman, whom the Marlins acquired via a trade with the Astros, has pitched to a 3.89 ERA through 21 starts in his first taste of the Double-A level. Marlins prospects stats »

Mets: Carlos Cortes, 2B (No. 21) -- 1-for-3, 2B (Class A Advanced St. Lucie)
Cortes extended his hitting streak to five games with his 22nd double of the year. The 22-year-old, a third-round pick from the 2018 Draft, is hitting .249 through 103 games in his full-season debut. Cortes has a long track record of hitting, but his defensive home is still a bit of a question. After playing outfield in college, the Mets moved Cortes to second base after the Draft. Mets prospects stats »

Nationals: Malvin Pena, RHP (No. 22) -- 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K (Class A Advanced Potomac)
Pena, who got roughed up for 21 runs over 23 2/3 innings in July, got off on the right foot in August with one of his better starts this season. The 22-year-old, whom the Nationals signed in 2014, threw 50 of his 74 pitches for strikes as he worked his way through six innings, but was stuck with a no-decision. Pena has a solid three-pitch mix and, although he has the stuff to remain a starter, durability has been a concern and may ultimately land him in the bullpen. Nationals prospects stats »

Phillies: Alec Bohm, 3B/1B (No. 1, No. 37 in MLB) -- 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI (Double-A Reading)
Bohm seems to like the month of August, as he's 4-for-8 over two games to begin the month. The 23-year-old, the Phillies' first-round pick from the 2018 Draft, has already played across three levels this season, but the constant change hasn't seemed to slow him down as he's hitting .308. Bohm is batting .252 through 37 games at the Double-A level, but he was regarded as one of the best pure hitters in his Draft class, so it's likely only a matter of time before he makes the necessary adjustments and boosts that average a bit. Phillies prospects stats »

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Brewers: Zack Brown, RHP (No. 3) -- 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K (Triple-A San Antonio)
Brown needed this excellent outing after a fairly difficult season with the Missions, and it's a start that he will look to build on down the stretch in 2019. This lowers Brown's ERA to 5.49, which is the lowest point it's reached since mid-June. Saturday was also Brown's first scoreless outing of the season and the third time he's allowed just one or fewer walks in a game. There are plenty of positives to take away from the start for the 24-year-old, who has always kept the ball on the ground and offers a plus curveball. Brewers prospects stats »

Cubs: Nico Hoerner, SS (No. 1, No. 50 in MLB) -- 1-for-3, 2B (Double-A Tennessee)
Hoerner used his 12th double of the season to extend his hitting streak to a modest five games. The 2018 first-round pick missed two months this season after he was hit by a pitch in late April that fractured his wrist. Hoerner got off to a slow start upon his return and hit .232 in July, but is hitting .274 on the season. The 22-year-old Stanford product has sneaky power and an impressive ability to make consistent contact. Cubs prospects stats »

Cardinals: Justin Williams, OF (No. 17) -- 2-for-4, 2B (Triple-A Memphis)
Williams has two hits in back-to-back games and four of his last seven, giving the outfielder an impressive .409 average over his last 10 games. It's been a challenging season for the outfielder, who missed time earlier this season with a fractured hand and then hit the injured list again for most of July, but he's certainly hit the ground running over nine games in Triple-A since returning to the level. Williams turns 24 in August, so a strong finish to the 2019 season should set him up for some Major League opportunities in 2020. Cardinals prospects stats »

Pirates: Aaron Shortridge, RHP (No. 26) -- 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K (Class A Advanced Bradenton)
Shortridge has been one of the more consistent arms in Pittsburgh's system this season, which has continued through July and into August. The 2018 fourth-round pick now owns a 3.50 ERA over 20 starts and 110 2/3 innings with Class A Advanced Bradenton. Shortridge isn't a high-strikeout arm, but he repeats his delivery very well and is always in control of the strike zone. He's only walked more than two batters once this season while seven of his outings have featured no free passes. Pirates prospects stats »

Reds: Packy Naughton, LHP (No. 13) -- 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, BB, 7 K (Double-A Chattanooga)
Naughton dragged his Double-A ERA down below three with this outing as he continues to carry a heavy load in the Reds' system. Naughton has now made 23 starts covering 129 2/3 innings, which gives him a chance to take a run at his total of 154 innings from 2018. He's been able to do this by limiting the self-inflicted damage, with just 29 walks and seven home runs allowed to date. Five of Naughton's last seven starts have seen him allow one or fewer runs, so he's showing no signs of slowing down. He finished strong last season, too, with a 2.75 ERA over seven starts after the calendar turned to August. Reds prospects stats »

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-backs: Levi Kelly, RHP (No. 9) -- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, BB, 9 K (Class A Kane County)
Kelly has been dominant this season for Class A Kane County, where he now owns a 2.10 ERA and has only allowed more than two earned runs in one of his 17 starts this season. The right-hander has struck out 107 batters and walked 29 over his 81 1/3 innings, but the most impressive number in his season line might be home runs. Kelly has allowed just four this season, which is why you see such impressive consistency from start to start. With a pair of plus pitches in his fastball and slider getting Kelly by now, the development of his third pitch -- the changeup -- will be critical as he climbs the latter. For now, though, he's been nearly automatic. D-backs prospects stats »

Dodgers: Kody Hoese, 3B (No. 8) -- 2 -for-5, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI (Class A Great Lakes)
Hoese, the Dodgers' first-round pick from the 2019 Draft, set a career with four RBIs as he extended his hitting streak to 11 games. The 22-year-old is hitting .321 through 31 games to begin his professional career after putting together a huge season at Tulane. Hoese has a disciplined approach and natural power, but with his below-average speed, he may ultimately be a better fit at first base. Dodgers prospects stats »

Giants: Alexander Canario, OF (No. 7) -- 4-for-5, HR, 3 RBI (Class A Short-Season Salem-Keizer)
Canario turned in one of his best performances of the season and now has hits in six straight games. After getting out to an absurd start in the Arizona League with seven home runs over 10 games, Canario now has five over 28 games with Salem-Keizer, where he's continued to showcase his all-around offensive profile. With the best bat speed in the Giants' system and early results as a 19-year-old, Canario's arrow is pointed up in nearly every area. Giants prospects stats »

Padres: Ty France, 3B/1B (No. 24) -- 3-for-4, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI (Triple-A El Paso)
France has hits in six straight games and has posted multihit performances in each of his past three games. The 25-year-old spent 34 games in the Majors with the Padres this season and hit .235, but when he's been in the Minors, he's absolutely raked. France, who now has six two-homer games this season, has hit .402 through 67 games with the Chihuahuas. The Pacific Coast League is notoriously hitter-friendly, but a .402 average is hard to ignore. France has also set a career high with 26 homers and should be back in San Diego at some point before the end of the year. Padres prospects stats »

Rockies: Roberto Ramos, 1B (No. 29) -- 2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI (Triple-A Albuquerque)
Make that four straight multihit games for Ramos, a 16th-round pick from the 2014 Draft. The 24-year-old hit a career-best 32 homers last season and is showing some pop again this year, having gone deep 23 times in 99 games. Ramos, who is hitting .328, has been swinging the bat well all season. Ramos hit .369 in July and although he's prone to strikeout, Ramos is the type of hitter that can change ta game with just one swing. Rockies prospects stats »

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.