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Tuesday's top prospect performers

@wboor
August 7, 2019

Here's a look at Tuesday's top Minor League performers from each team's Top 30 Prospects list: AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST Blue Jays: Kevin Smith, SS/3B (No. 14) -- 3-for-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI (Double-A New Hampshire) Smith powered the Fisher Cats' offense with a three-run home run and an RBI double

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

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Kevin Smith, SS/3B (No. 14) -- 3-for-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI (Double-A New Hampshire)
Smith powered the Fisher Cats' offense with a three-run home run and an RBI double on Tuesday. The infielder hasn't matched his 2018 output -- he posted an .886 OPS between Class A Lansing and Class A Advanced Dunedin -- but he's come on strong in the second half of the season in Double-A to restore some of the shine to his prospect status. July was a huge month for Smith as he hit .333 with a 1.079 OPS and eight home runs. After a quiet start to August, he's back on the board with his 17th home run of the season and has his OPS back up to .702 on the season. The Blue Jays' front office has always been particularly high on Smith, who's played primarily at shortstop this season with some third base and second base mixed in. Blue Jays prospects stats »

Orioles: Zac Lowther, LHP (No. 10) -- 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 10 K (Double-A Bowie)
Lowther set a new season high with 10 strikeouts on Tuesday, which represents the first time that he's hit double digits since May, 2018. It's important that Lowther keeps his strikeout total high to offset high high walk total, given that he's already issued 56 free passes over 116 innings. The swing-and-miss stuff all starts with Lowther's fastball, which plays better than its 87-91 mph velocity might suggest. Add in an above-average curveball and a changeup, and Lowther has been able to overcome those walks to work deep into games. You have to go all the way back to April 26 to find the last time that Lowther didn't last at least five innings. Orioles prospects stats »

Rays: Nick Schnell, OF (No. 14) -- 3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB (Rookie Princeton)
Over the first 33 games of Schnell's 2019 season, split between the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League, he hit two home runs. On Tuesday night, he decided to double that. Schnell's pair of home runs powered an 11-2 Princeton win and left him with an .847 OPS with the Rookie affiliate of the Rays. The 19-year-old isn't expected to have too many multi-homer games just yet, but that power could eventually develop as he grows into his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame over the coming seasons. Rays prospects stats »

Red Sox: Gilberto Jimenez, OF (No. 8) -- 2-for-5, 2B (Class A Short-Season Lowell)
Jimenez has impressed this season with Lowell after a strong 2018 debut in the Dominican Summer League. There are plenty of raw tools for Jimenez, including the new element of switch-hitting, which he didn't adopt until after he signed with the Red Sox in 2017. As these tools come together, though, Jimenez will be able to better utilize his legs. Jimenez's 70-grade speed has only resulted in seven stolen bases through 39 games this season, but there's plenty of room for that to grow. He's showing some consistency at the plate, too, with hits in 15 of his last 16 games. Red Sox prospects stats »

Yankees: Luis Medina, RHP (No. 21) -- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K (Class A Charleston)
There's such a wide gap between the good days and bad days for Medina, but the young right-hander is starting to string together a few more of the good ones. This start was one of his best of the season as he struck out seven batters over five shutout innings. The two walks are also an encouraging sign, as Medina had walked four or more batters in five of his last 10 starts entering play on Tuesday. Over 86 innings this season, Medina now owns a 6.49 ERA with 66 walks and 105 strikeouts. There will obviously be plenty of patience for someone like Medina, whose electric arm can reach triple digits on the radar gun, and he now has the final month of the season to enter the offseason on the upswing. Yankees prospects stats »

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Indians: Bo Naylor, C (No. 5) -- 1-for-3, 3B, 2 RBI, BB (Class A Lake County)
Make it 10 hits over the last six games for Naylor as the 2018 first-round Draft pick continues to put the ball in play with force. Through 86 games in his first year of full-season ball, Naylor is hitting .248 with a .741 OPS and nine home runs. There's plenty of development ahead for Naylor's offensive game given his pure hitting ability and raw ceiling, and some of that should involve an uptick in power as he taps into his strong frame. Cleveland gave Naylor a handful of games at third base when he debuted in the Arizona League last season, but he's played exclusively at catcher in 2019. Indians prospects stats »

Royals: Brewer Hicklen, OF (No. 15) -- 2-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI (Class A Advanced Wilmington)
Tuesday's performance has to come as a relief for Hicklen, who was riding a serious cold streak. The 23-year-old was just 3-for-33 (.091) over his last 10 games, but broke out with a home run and a double for Wilmington on Tuesday. Despite that skid and his 118 strikeouts over 102 games this season, Hicklen has still reached base at a clip of .371, which allows him to tap into his plus speed. Hicklen has 34 stolen bases, putting him one shy of his total from last season, and his impressive athleticism should allow his power to develop further. This home run was his seventh, which leaves him well shy of last year's total of 18, but there's still 20-20 potential in there if it all comes together for Hicklen. Royals prospects stats »

Tigers: Casey Mize, RHP (No. 1, MLB No. 2) -- 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K (Double-A Erie)
Mize was back to his dominant self on Tuesday, which is encouraging news for the Tigers after two of his last three outings were uncharacteristically poor. The right-hander tossed six innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts, leaving him with a 2.65 ERA over 13 starts in Double-A this season. Add in the six exceptional starts that Mize made earlier this season with Class A Advanced Lakeland, and MLB's No. 2 prospect has thrown 98 2/3 innings with 97 strikeouts and just 18 walks. The 22-year-old has also done very well to keep the ball in the park and limit the big blows with just three home runs surrendered in 2019. Tigers prospects stats »

Twins: Wander Javier, SS (No. 7) -- 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI (Class A Cedar Rapids)
Javier hit his eighth homer of the year, doubling last year's total, in the fifth inning of Cedar Rapids' win over Burlington. The 20-year-old, a 2015 international signee from the Dominican Republic, has struggled this year and is hitting .167 through 56 games. However, Javier's health is more important than his numbers. Javier has an enticing set of tools, but hasn't been able to develop them much as he missed time in 2016 with a hamstring injury and then missed all of 2018 with a torn labrum. Twins prospects stats »

White Sox: Zack Collins, C/1B (No. 11) -- 1-for-3, HR, RBI (Triple-A Charlotte)
Collins went deep for the second time over his past four games, bringing his season total to 11 (including the one homer he hit in the big leagues). Collins, who possesses power to all fields, is hitting .272 through 65 games with Charlotte and that would easily mark his best average since being drafted in the first round of the 2016 Draft. Collins has improved his game-calling over the past few years,but it still remains to be seen whether he can stick behind the plate. White Sox prospects stats »

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

A’s: Jordan Diaz, 3B (No. 19) -- 2-for-3, HR, 4 RBI, BB (Class A Short-Season Vermont)
Make it two home runs in three games for Diaz, who now has eight homers on the season with 37 RBIs. Still just 18, Diaz has grown into some improved power numbers this season thanks to his consistent line-drive contact. Down the road, some of those line drives could eventually start to clear the wall with some added launch angle. For now, he's hitting .266 with a .774 OPS over 50 games in the New York-Penn League. The next step for Diaz will be to improve his plate approach, as he currently sits at a .307 on-base percentage. A's prospects stats »

Angels: Aaron Hernandez, RHP (No. 16) -- 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K (Class A Advanced Inland Empire)
Hernandez turned in one of his best outings of the season on Tuesday with four hitless innings. It's been a mixed bag for Hernandez in 2019, which is why the bullpen is still a possibility for him long term. Through 12 starts and four relief appearances spanning 57 innings, Hernandez now has a 4.74 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 35 walks. The 2018 third-round Draft pick made his pro debut this season at Class A Advanced, which is a challenge, but he's started to show some encouraging signs of late. Angels prospects stats »

Astros: Colin Barber, OF (No. 21) -- 2-for-4, HR, RBI (Gulf Coast League Astros)
Barber, the Astros' fourth-round pick from the 2019 Draft, got off to a slow start in his professional career, but appears to be getting on track with hits in six of his past seven games. The 18-year-old, who hit his second professional homer Tuesday, has bumped his average from .161 to .250 in that span and is showing why the Astros gave him an above-slot $1 million bonus. Barber has impressive raw power and also possesses one of the quicker bats in the Astros' farm system. Astros prospects stats »

Mariners: Justus Sheffield, LHP (No. 9) -- 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (Double-A Arkansas)
Sheffield has had his fair share of struggles this year and was actually demoted from Triple-A Tacoma after pitching to a 6.87 ERA through 55 innings (13 games, 12 starts). However, Sheffield has certainly turned things around lately. After firing 50 of his 73 pitches for strikes on Tuesday, Sheffield has a 1.49 ERA through 10 starts with the Travelers and has fanned 71 over 66 1/3 innings. Mariners prospects stats »

Rangers: Sam Huff, C (No. 2, No. 79 in MLB) -- 2-for-4, HR, RBI (Class A Advanced Down East)
Huff hadn't homered since July 19, but that quickly changed as he hit a solo blast -- his 26th of the year -- in the first inning of Down East's win over Carolina. Huff has set a career high for homers this year and also hasn't had to sacrifice average to do so. In fact, the seventh-round pick from the 2016 Draft is hitting .294 across two levels after hitting .241 a season ago. Huff has been one of the biggest breakout performers this season and even won the MVP Award at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Rangers prospects stats »

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Cristian Pache, OF (No. 1, MLB No. 11) -- 2-for-5, RBI; Drew Waters, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 27) -- 3-for-5, RBI (Triple-A Gwinnett)
The Gwinnett Stripers added one impressive group of reinforcements on Monday, including No. 1 prospect Cristian Pache, No. 2 prospect Drew Waters, No. 3 prospect Ian Anderson and No. 13 prospect Tucker Davidson. Tuesday was the grand debut, with Pache notching a pair of base knocks and an RBI and Waters coming away with three hits and an RBI. Waters hadn't put together a multihit game since June 24 and hasn't homered since June 15, but he still leaves Double-A behind with some very impressive numbers at the level. The 20-year-old outfielder hit .319 with an .847 OPS for Double-A Mississippi, and he now joins a reloaded Gwinnett squad for a playoff push in the International League
Braves prospects stats »

Marlins: Peyton Burdick, OF (No. 30) -- 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI (Class A Clinton)
Burdick, a third-round pick from this year's Draft, is hitting .297 with Clinton and has hits in 12 of his past 13 games after Tuesday's multihit performance. The 22-year-old Wright State product has some of the best raw power from the Draft class and is slugging .489 so far in his professional debut, but there are concerns about his ability to make contact -- Burdick has struck out 45 times in 46 games. Marlins prospects stats »

Mets: Ronny Mauricio, SS (No. 1, No. 84 in MLB) -- 2-for-5 (Class A Columbia)
Mauricio boosted his average to .284 with another multihit performance, his fourth over the past 10 games. In fact, the 18-year-old has hits in nine of his past 10 games and is hitting .300 in August after hitting .273 in July. Mauricio, whom the Mets signed in 2017, has been impressive offensively all season and is hitting .284 through 97 games. Mets prospects stats »

Phillies: Simon Muzziotti, OF (No. 12) -- 1-for-4, HR, RBI (Class A Advanced Clearwater)
Muzziotti is 5-for-13 (.385) after hitting his third homer of the season Tuesday. The 20-year-old, whom the Phillies signed in 2016, makes consistent contact and is hitting .286 through 89 games this season. Phillies prospects stats »

Nationals: Justin Connell, OF (No. 30) -- 2-for-4, RBI (Class A Hagerstown)
Connell, an 11th-round pick from the 2017 Draft, was 0-for-13 over his past four games before turning in his first multihit effort since July 21. The 20-year-old is hitting .247 through 95 games in his first season with Hagerstown and has drawn 40 walks, living up to his reputation as a player with an excellent eye and strong recognition of the strike zone. Connell doesn't hit for much power, but is able to use the whole field with his short, line-drive-producing swing. Nationals prospects stats »

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Brewers: Tristen Lutz, OF (No. 2) -- 3-for-5, HR, RBI (Class A Advanced Carolina)
After back-to-back 0-for-4 performances, Lutz bounced back in a big way with his fifth three-hit performance of the season. The 20-year-old, a 2017 Draft pick, hit his 11th homer of the year and is hitting .251 through 102 games in his first season at the Class A Advanced level. Lutz uses the whole field better than most young hitters and is projected to hit for even more power as he continues to add strength to his frame. Brewers prospects stats »

Cubs: Brailyn Marquez, LHP (No. 4) -- 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K (Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach)
Coming off a fantastic stretch of pitching with Class A South Bend, Marquez didn't miss a beat on Tuesday in his debut with the Pelicans. The 20-year-old lefty threw five scoreless innings and, while he did walk three batters, he didn't allow a hit. It's almost to be expected at this point from Marquez, given that it comes on the back of two starts in Class A that saw him throw a combined 12 scoreless innings with just one hit allowed, one walk and 22 strikeouts. Now at 82 1/3 innings, Marquez is well past his previous career high of 54 2/3 innings in 2018, but he's showing no signs of slowing down and has as much momentum as any pitching prospect in the Cubs' system. Cubs prospects stats »

Cardinals: Julio Rodriguez, C (No. 13) -- 1-for-3 (Double-A Springfield)
The 22-year-old has gotten off to a slow start with Springfield -- his single was only his second hit in 11 at-bats for the Cardinals -- but he did hit well with Class A Advanced Palm Beach (.276/.321/.407) for 71 games prior to his promotion. Rodriguez, whom the Cardinals signed in 2016, was a midseason Florida State League All-Star this season and stands out behind the plate with a plus arm and impressive catch-and-throw skills. Cardinals prospects stats »

Pirates: Rodolfo Castro, INF (No. 22) -- 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI (Class A Advanced Bradenton)
The transition to the Class A Advanced level has been tough on Castro, who is hitting .195 through 33 games. However, the 20-year-old showed some signs of life Tuesday as he hit his 18th homer of the year and turned in his first multihit performance since July 2. Castro, who signed with the Pirates in 2015, hit .242 over 61 games with Class A Greensboro prior to his promotion to Bradenton. Pirates prospects stats »

Reds: Jose Israel Garcia, SS (No. 9) -- 1-for-3, 2B (Class A Advanced Daytona)
Garcia signed with the Reds for nearly $5 million at the end of the 2016-17 signing period, and the 21-year-old is starting to flash more and more of what Cincinnati saw in him. The Cuban infielder now has seven hits over his last four games and has done better to limit his walks of late, which should let him tap into his line-drive power more often. Over 83 games this season for Class A Advanced Daytona, Garcia is hitting .259 with a .727 OPS. Reds prospects stats »

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-backs: Matt Tabor, RHP (No. 10) -- 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K (Class A Kane County)
This was a nice bounceback start for Tabor, who allowed six earned runs over 4 2/3 innings of work his last time out. Overall, though, Tuesday's start was another episode in what's been an impressive season for the 21-year-old right-hander. He now owns a 3.17 ERA over 82 1/3 innings with 91 strikeouts and just 14 walks. Over 17 starts, he's walked more than one batter just two times thanks to a strong fastball and repeatable delivery. The development of Tabor's slider will be the primary variable as he advances through the levels, but he's passing all of the tests in Class A this season. D-backs prospects stats »

Dodgers: Omar Estevez, SS/2B (No. 16) -- 3-for-4, 3 R, BB (Double-A Tulsa)
Estevez extended his hitting streak to seven games on Tuesday. The first six were one-hit games, but the 21-year-old collected three Tuesday to raise his average to .299 and OPS to .790. Estevez's hit tool is still clearly ahead of his power tool, but there's some room for him to grow into more pop after hitting just four home runs over his first 66 games this season. Estevez went deep 15 times in 2018 with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, which is more in line with what can be expected of him. Dodgers prospects stats »

Giants: Jairo Pomares, OF (No. 13) -- 2-for-3, RBI (Arizona Rookie League Giants Black)
Pomares singled twice and drove in a run on Tuesday, which gives the young outfielder hits in nine straight games. It's been a fantastic pro debut for Pomares this season in the Arizona Rookie League, where he's now hitting .381 with a .989 OPS over 32 games. He's also showing the early signs of a plate approach that is very advanced for his age with nine walks and a .408 on-base percentage. The 19-year-old is still extremely early in his development arc, but his projected tools are already showing themselves, making him one of the more exciting long-term prospects in the Giants' organization. Giants prospects stats »

Padres: Ronald Bolanos, RHP (No. 18) -- 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K (Double-A Amarillo)
There's so much attention put on the top-end talent in San Diego's system, but they also boast plenty of exciting depth in arms like Bolanos. The Cuban right-hander has his inconsistencies, which can show up in big ways at times. He's allowed eight earned runs twice over his last 10 starts, but outside of those days where he just doesn't have it, Bolanos flashes some truly impressive stuff. His fastball, which sits around 93 mph but reaches higher, is his most reliable pitch while his breaking pitches and changeup trail behind. He now owns a 4.60 ERA in Double-A after posting a 2.85 ERA over a similar innings total in Class A Advanced, but the strikeout total is still there with 70 over 58 2/3 innings. There are some rough edges, sure, but Tuesday is what it looks like when Bolanos is on. Padres prospects stats »

Rockies: Niko Decolati, OF (No. 22) -- 2-for-4, HR, RBI (Class A Asheville)
Decolati put together his second multi-hit game over his last four, this time with a home run. The homer was Decolati's fourth of the season and, while that still leaves him projected to fall shy of his 11 from 2018, the 21-year-old should hit for more power as he develops. With 53 games under his belt now in Class A, Decolati is hitting .280 with a .755 OPS and 11 stolen bases, which could also become a bigger part of his game as he utilizes his 60-grade speed on the bases. Rockies prospects stats »

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