Friday's top prospect performers

September 11th, 2021

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

Mariners: Julio Rodríguez, OF (MLB No. 2), Double-A Arkansas
Rodríguez has been lighting up Minor League pitching all season long and kept it rolling with two home runs in a 4-for-5 day at the plate, driving in four runs and scoring three with a walk and a strikeout. The 20-year-old launched his 11th homer of the year to straightaway center in the third inning and then smashed a liner down the left-field line for his 12th dinger in the seventh. Rodríguez has been consistently dominant at High-A and Double-A, posting a .992 OPS in Everett and a 1.042 OPS in Arkansas. For the season, baseball’s No. 2 prospect is slashing .354/.451/.569 with a 1.020 OPS in 306 total plate appearances. Mariners prospect stats »

Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., SS (MLB No. 3), Triple-A Omaha
Another day, another Witt Jr. home run. For the third consecutive game, the Royals' top prospect went yard. He was 2-for-4 Friday night, also doubling with two RBIs, a walk and a stolen base. Witt Jr. raked his way to a .939 OPS in 61 Double-A games and has put up even better stats at Triple-A with a .304/.360/.644 slash line and a 1.004 OPS in 47 games for Omaha. For the year, Witt Jr. has 31 homers, 91 RBIs and a .967 OPS over 494 plate appearances in a dominant season. Royals prospect stats »

Twins: Jordan Balazovic, RHP (MLB No. 83), Double-A Wichita
Aaron Sabato, 1B (No. 16), High-A Cedar Rapids

Balazovic was unhittable in his six innings, but not totally untouchable. In strange fashion, the Twins’ top pitching prospect had his no-hit outing tainted slightly after a leadoff walk, a steal, a wild pitch and a groundout brought in a run for Northwest Arkansas in the third inning. After that, though, Balazovic retired 10 of the next 11 batters (one reached on an error) and tallied five strikeouts by the end of his night. It’s the second-longest no-hit bid of his career -- he tossed seven no-hit innings in 2019 -- and the righty owns a 3.47 ERA in 19 starts for Wichita.

Sabato slammed two homers, one in the first inning and one in the ninth, for Cedar Rapids in its 6-3 victory. It was the 2020 Draft first-rounder’s third career multihomer game as well as his 15th and 16th long balls on the season. Sabato’s bat was his main calling card coming out of North Carolina, but he has yet to see the same success at the plate in his first professional season. While he has hit for power, the 22-year-old is batting .194 in 99 games. Sabato has the makings of a three true outcomes hitter, with 55.8 percent of his 428 plate appearances ending in a home run (16), walk (83), or strikeout (140). Twins prospect stats »

Braves: Freddie Tarnok, RHP (No. 12), Double-A Mississippi
Since his call up to Double-A on July 20, Tarnok has been dominant and he kept his hot streak rolling with 6 1/3 one-hit innings in Mississippi’s Friday night victory. The right-hander fanned eight and allowed one walk on the way to lowering his Double-A ERA to 2.41. Tarnok also eclipsed 100 strikeouts for the first time in his career with his performance. On the season, the 22-year-old has a 3.39 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings, a 13.5 K/9. Braves prospect stats »

Cardinals: Luis Pino, OF (No. 26), DSL Cardinals Blue
Pino was signed out of Cuba on April 14 for $800,000 and has impressed in his first 30 Dominican Summer League games. On Friday, the 17-year-old posted his first career four-hit game with two doubles and three runs scored. Pino has played on the Cuban Junior National team and projects to be a solid defensive outfielder with power to the gaps as he grows. On the year, Pino has an .819 OPS with five doubles and five homers and has turned his game up a notch in September, going 9-for-24 with two homers and two doubles in six games. Cardinals prospect stats »

Dodgers: Wilman Diaz, SS (No. 10), DSL Dodgers Shoemaker
Diaz launched his first professional home run in a 3-for-6 day that included two doubles, three RBIs, two runs and two strikeouts. It was the 17-year-old’s first career game with multiple extra-base hits and his second game with three hits. Diaz ranked as the No. 3 International Prospect on MLB Pipeline’s 2020 rankings and signed in January for $2,697,500. Diaz brings a blend of hard contact and speed to the shortstop position and with his advanced tools, figures to be one of the Dodgers’ top prospects in the coming years. Dodgers prospect stats »

Nationals: Cole Henry, RHP (No. 8), High-A Wilmington
Henry hurled yet another solid start, this time going five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and only two hits allowed in the form of a pair of singles in the second inning. The 2020 second-rounder worked efficiently after a 19-pitch first inning, tossed 49 of his 65 pitches for strikes and fanned three of the first four batters he faced. It’s the third straight scoreless outing for Henry, who owns a 1.89 ERA in eight High-A appearances with 54 strikeouts in 38 innings. Nationals prospect stats »

Orioles: Drew Rom, LHP (No. 26), Double-A Bowie
Rom struck out seven over five three-hit innings, allowing zero walks for the seventh time out of 22 appearances this year. The 21-year-old worked around a couple extra-base hits by inducing key groundouts to prevent any runs from scoring and capped off his outing by striking out the last two batters on seven pitches. It’s his second straight scoreless outing and the 15th time he’s gone at least five innings. Rom has amassed 113 strikeouts and just 26 walks in 102 2/3 innings across two levels this season. Orioles prospect stats »

Rays: Tommy Romero, RHP (No. 18), Triple-A Durham
Romero set a career-high with 13 strikeouts in a dominant start in Durham’s 10-1 win. The 24-year-old tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk on an even 100 pitches. It was the second time in the past three games that Romero has eclipsed double-digit strikeouts. The right-hander started his year at Double-A Montgomery and dominated with a 1.88 ERA and 75 strikeouts over 48 innings. Following his promotion to Triple-A on July 20, Romero has a 4.14 ERA in 45 2/3 innings with 53 strikeouts. Rays prospect stats »

Red Sox: Chris Murphy, LHP (No. 11), Double-A Portland
Murphy tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts over six scoreless innings, allowing two hits on 76 pitches (59 strikes) in Portland’s 2-0 win. The left-handed hurler has had an up-and-down season, showing flashes of dominance followed by outings with multiple runs. Across High-A and Double-A, Murphy has a 4.10 ERA in 101 innings with 128 strikeouts to 35 walks. The 23-year-old is prone to giving up the long ball with 21 home runs allowed in 20 starts, but his potential as a high-strikeout starter is evident. Red Sox prospect stats »