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Elite pitching prospects headline spring action

MLB.com

Elite prospect arms, both right-handed and left-handed, impressed on the mound in a full slate of Spring Training action on Saturday. MLB Pipeline's No. 10 overall prospect Michael Kopech of the White Sox and No. 32 overall prospect A.J. Puk of the A's each threw multiple innings and both topped out in the high 90s.

Kopech struck out three batters in 2 1/3 innings of work against the Royals, allowing one unearned run and two hits. His fastball lived up to its 80 billing, but his slider also drew positive reviews.

Elite prospect arms, both right-handed and left-handed, impressed on the mound in a full slate of Spring Training action on Saturday. MLB Pipeline's No. 10 overall prospect Michael Kopech of the White Sox and No. 32 overall prospect A.J. Puk of the A's each threw multiple innings and both topped out in the high 90s.

Kopech struck out three batters in 2 1/3 innings of work against the Royals, allowing one unearned run and two hits. His fastball lived up to its 80 billing, but his slider also drew positive reviews.

Tweet from @JonathanMayo: Always fun to watch @MichaelKopech5 work. Scoreless 1st, gave up weak 1b to Alex Gordon. 94-99 mph w FB, very good mid-80s SL working too. pic.twitter.com/akMadZpaAn

Puk, who ranks as the No. 2 southpaw prospect in baseball, had a similar outing. He struck out three in three innings against the Padres, allowing an unearned run and showing his plus-plus fastball and plus slider. Both pitchers figure to reach the Majors sometime in 2018, and it looks to be appointment viewing once they do.

Other top prospect performances from Saturday's action:

• Speaking of elite righty-lefty combos, the Yankees had a pair of their own on the mound that wasn't too shabby. Left-hander Justus Sheffield and right-hander Chance Adams, respectively ranked as the No. 48 and No. 75 overall prospects, each pitched two solid innings against the Red Sox. Adams got the start and pitched two scoreless frames before Sheffield came in and allowed one earned run on two hits and two walks. Both are expected to knock on the door for the Yankees sometime this season.

• No. 8 overall prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. had another strong day all over the field for the Padres, reaching base twice with two walks, stealing two bases and scoring a run. His middle infield partner of the future, No. 2 second-base prospect Luis Urias, wasn't far behind. The 20-year-old hit a double in his lone plate appearance.

• No. 41 overall prospect Ryan McMahon started at first base for the Rockies and went deep for his first career Spring Training home run. Currently trying to make the Opening Day lineup at first base, McMahon's homer showed an exit velocity that wasn't seen from the team even at Coors Field last year.

Tweet from @_dadler: #Rockies No. 2 prospect Ryan McMahon -- also baseball's No. 41 overall prospect per @MLBPipeline -- just hit a home run with an exit velocity of 114.0 mph, per #Statcast™. That's harder than any home run the Rockies hit last year. pic.twitter.com/xOsKtTtVv6

• If this Spring Training has a winner so far, it's No. 65 overall prospect Miguel Andujar. The 23-year-old is auditioning for the Yankees' third base spot and added another hit and RBI in two plate appearances against the Red Sox. He is now hitting .421 with a monstrous 1.158 slugging percentage.

Video: NYY@BOS: Andujar hammers an RBI single down the line

• The Dodgers already have a pair of strong MLB options at catcher with Austin Barnes and Yasmani Grandal, but they've still got plenty of Minor League prospects there as well. No. 52 overall prospect Keibert Ruiz and Dodgers No. 25 prospect Kyle Farmer combined to go 4-for-5 at the plate with a homer (from Farmer) and two RBIs against the D-backs. That's in addition to Dodgers No. 9 prospect Will Smith, who his 2-for-8 with a homer this Spring Training.

Video: ARI@LAD: Ruiz knocks an RBI single to right

Giants No. 2 prospect Chris Shaw went 2-for-2 and hit his first homer of Spring Training in a split-squad game against the Rangers. He also saw some more time in left field, where he hopes to make the team's MLB roster sometime this year after spending most of his Minor League career at first base.

Video: TEX@SF: Shaw clubs a solo homer to left-center field

Giants No. 3 prospect Steven Duggar also went 2-for-2 in the same game and threw in two stolen bases. Currently batting .375 with a 1.224 OPS, Duggar figures to be among the Giants' options in center field this season.

D-backs No. 20 prospect Kevin Cron is a load at 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, and he put all of that mass into a homer against the Dodgers. The younger brother of C.J. Cron, Kevin has hit 25 homers in three straight seasons in the Minors and figures to start the season in Triple-A Reno.

Video: ARI@LAD: Cron skies a solo homer to left field

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jfordbaer.