Brett Baty is back on the Prospect Team of the Week.
The Mets’ No. 4 prospect was MLB Pipeline’s first third-base honoree last month when he came flying out of the gate for High-A Brooklyn, and he did enough to keep up that momentum with a return to the hot-corner spot this week, making him the first third baseman to appear on two lists and the fourth player overall alongside Adley Rutschman, Taylor Trammell and Nick Pratto. That’s some strong company for the 2019 12th overall pick.
Baty is one of the most prominent names on this edition of the PTOW, covering games from May 31-June 6:
C: Dillon Dingler, West Michigan Whitecaps (High-A)
(Tigers No. 5)
.500/.577/.955, 6 G, 22 AB, 5 R, 11 H, 4 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K
The Tigers have been high on the right-handed-hitting backstop since they took him 38th overall last year out of Ohio State. A lot of that had to do with his athleticism and defensive acumen, but Dingler is proving to be more than a good runner with a strong arm in his first Minor League season. The former Buckeye picked up multiple hits in his first four games at Great Lakes last week and boosted his season average from .240 to .299 over his latest six contests alone. He leads High-A Central with a .993 OPS through 26 total games.
1B: Lewin Díaz, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Triple-A)
(Marlins No. 5)
.320/.393/.760, 6 G, 25 AB, 7 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K
Díaz powered his way onto the PTOW by homering in each of his final three games of the week at Gwinnett. Having entered the week with a .427 slugging percentage, the left-handed slugger was able to bump that up to .505 with that over-the-fence showing. Díaz saw 14 games with the Marlins last year but has only managed a one-game callup on May 27 this year, during which he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Big weeks like this one will boost his case to return to Miami. The 24-year-old is hitting .243/.311/.505 with seven homers on the Triple-A season.
2B: Kaden Polcovich, Everett AquaSox (High-A)
(Mariners No. 24)
.409/.435/1.136, 5 G, 22 AB, 6 R, 9 H, 1 2B, 5 HR, 8 RBI, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 CS
Polcovich went deep five times -- including twice on both Tuesday and Friday of last week -- to lead all ranked prospects during this period. In fact, those five dingers tied him with Triple-A Omaha’s Ryan O’Hearn for the most in all of the Minors. The 2020 third-rounder out of Oklahoma State was seen as a below-average power hitter coming into his first pro season, but he’s certainly turning that reputation around of late. His seven total homers are second-most in High-A West, while his .899 OPS places fourth, two spots behind Everett teammate Julio Rodríguez (.979).
As can probably be surmised by his line, Baty had hits in all six of his games last week for Brooklyn at Jersey Shore, yet the biggest development was on his power side. Despite a good start, the left-handed slugger hadn’t homered in the first four weeks of the 2021 season but managed to go deep four times alone in this period. Six of his 11 total extra-base hits came last week. His 1.190 slugging percentage and 1.806 OPS were both tops among ranked prospects in that time. Baty leads High-A East with a .369 average and .476 OBP and places third with a 1.071 OPS through 24 games.
SS: Anthony Volpe, Tampa Tarpons (Low-A)
(Yankees No. 11)
.435/.519/1.000, 6 G, 23 AB, 6 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K, 3 SB
The 2019 30th overall pick joins his fellow New York infielder (albeit of a different stripe) as a player making up for his lost first full season with a strong showing early in 2021. Volpe’s biggest day of the week came last Thursday at home against Lakeland, when he went 3-for-5 with two homers, a double and six RBIs. He picked up multiple hits in four of his six games and now leads Low-A Southeast in total hits with 32. He is also at the top of the leaderboard with 11 doubles and places second with 14 steals. Volpe is hitting .278/.400/.539 with a 24/23 K/BB ratio through 27 games.
OF: Tyler Gentry, Quad Cities River Bandits (High-A)
(Royals No. 22)
.389/.520/.889, 6 G, 18 AB, 6 R, 7 H, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 5 BB, 6 K
Coming out of Alabama, the 2020 third-rounder’s best skills might have been away from the plate, as he earned above-average grades for his run tool, outfield glove and arm. That said, he did hit .429/.554/.750 in an abbreviated 2020 season, and it was that side of his offensive game that came out last week. Gentry clubbed three of his five homers on the season in this period, including two on Wednesday at home against Beloit. The 22-year-old bumped his OPS above .900 for the first time since Opening Day, and he now ranks fifth in High-A Central with a .925 mark in the category.
OF: Cody Thomas, Las Vegas Aviators (Triple-A)
(A’s No. 23)
.450/.522/1.050, 6 G, 20 AB, 8 R, 9 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K
Perhaps still most well-known for days as a quarterback at the University of Oklahoma, Thomas was traded from the Dodgers to the A’s last February and is inching closer to a Major League debut with his second organization. The 26-year-old outfielder has hits in seven straight games and has gone deep three times in that span, split between road series in Sacramento and Albuquerque. Thomas showed above-average power during his Dodgers days, and as a 1.050 slugging percentage will tell you last week, that is still what comes through most in his move to the Oakland system. Thomas is hitting .267/.333/.583 with four homers in 19 games with Las Vegas.
OF: Carlos Cortes, Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Double-A)
(Mets No. 17)
.391/.462/.826, 5 G, 23 AB, 9 R, 9 H, 4 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K
The story on Cortes entering 2020 was that many evaluators thought the 2018 third-rounder had the bat to reach the Majors, but they didn’t know exactly where he would fit defensively as an ambidextrous thrower with a below-average run tool. The Mets have used him exclusively in left field, where he throws lefty, so far this season, and the bat has lived up to expectations. Cortes had no trouble showing off a good hit tool and power from the left side in New Hampshire last week with five of his nine hits going for extra bases. His big performance came Thursday with his first career two-homer game. Cortes owns a .282/.361/.544 line with five homers through 26 games and is slugging above .500 for the first time since the second day of the season.
LHP: Ethan Small, Biloxi Shuckers (Double-A)
(Brewers No. 4)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 BB, 19 K, 0.84 WHIP
Small didn’t just lead all ranked prospects with 19 strikeouts last week; he also led all Minor League pitchers in the category as well. The 24-year-old southpaw first fanned 11 Montgomery batters over five one-hit innings last Tuesday and then came back around to haunt the Biscuits with eight more K’s in 5 2/3 scoreless frames Sunday. Six walks in that span won’t dispel concerns around Small’s control, but the swing-and-miss tendencies he has exhibited early in 2021 -- aided by an arsenal that earns above-average grades for his fastball, curve and change -- show why Small starts are becoming must-follows. The 2019 28th overall pick has a 2.60 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 19 walks in 27 2/3 innings for Biloxi.
RHP: Graham Ashcraft, Dayton Dragons (High-A)
(Reds No. 18)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 0.43 WHIP
The 2019 sixth-rounder thrives on his low-to-mid-90s fastball and above-average slider and had no issues riding those to his best professional start Saturday at Lake County. The outing marked the first time Ashcraft pitched more than 5 1/3 innings in a start this season, and he needed only 76 pitches to get through his seven frames. That’s saying something considering he also matched his season high with nine strikeouts. The 23-year-old right-hander has a 3.25 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 38 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings and ranks second in High-A Central with a 2.47 FIP.
RP: Albert Abreu, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A)
(Yankees No. 18)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 0 GS, 4 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0.43 WHIP
Abreu has bounced between Triple-A and the Majors several times already this season, and if this last week is any indication, the Yankees shouldn’t have any hesitations about bringing him back when they next need an arm. Abreu thrived in both long and short relief last week, striking out six Lehigh Valley batters in 3 2/3 innings on Wednesday and then tossing a scoreless frame four days later. The 25-year-old right-hander averages around 97 mph on his fastball and also features an above-average slider. He needed to find the zone more consistently, and he has done that with three walks in 9 1/3 innings at Triple-A. Abreu has struck out 14 of the 35 batters he has faced at the Minors’ top level.