Each week, we search the boxscores and use our own proprietary roto weighting system to pick one hitter and one pitcher who had the best week at each minor league level.
Here are Baseball Farm’s Prospects of the Week for the thirteenth week of the season, June 25 thru July 1, 2018:
Sean Reid-Foley – Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays)
2 strong starts, 2 wins, and 13 K in 12.2 innings of work leads to a PotW award for Toronto farmhand Sean Reid-Foley. Reid-Foley entered the week with a 5.46 ERA and exited with a 4.04 ERA after allowing a single earned run over his two starts. And in reality, Reid-Foley has been pitching consistently well since he imploded and gave up 8 earned runs in 2.1 innings in his first AAA start. And don’t forget that he’s still only 22 years-old, with plenty of time to improve before hitting Toronto’s MLB rotation.
Michael King – Trenton Thunder (Yankees)
Wow, another Yankees pitching prospect coming out of nowhere to dominate, who would have guessed it? This week, King dominated a very strong New Hampshire Fisher Cats lineup (Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio) en route to a 9-inning shutout on June 30. King scattered 3 hits, walked no one, and struck out 11 batters, which matches his career high. King transitioned to throwing more of his fastball later in the game, and it worked. He retired the last 13 batters he faced. He threw 78 of his 103 pitches for strikes and generated 9 groundball outs. It was the first time that the Fisher Cats had been shutout in 2018.
King has now made 13 starts between A-Advanced and AA ball in 2018. He’s posted a 3-4 record with a 1.85 ERA and 87:19 K:BB ratio in 87.1 innings. His FIP in 6 Eastern League starts is 2.71.
Dylan Cease (CWS)
2 GS, 11.2 IP, 14 K, 4 BB, 12 H, 6 ER
JoJo Romero (PHI)
2 GS, 1 W, 11 IP, 13 K, 5 BB, 10 H, 3 ER
Touki Toussaint (ATL)
1 GS, 7 IP, 11 K, 3 BB, 2 H, 0 ER
Justin Dunn (NYM)
1 GS, 7 IP, 10 K, 1 BB, 5 H, 1 ER
Ramon Rosso – Clearwater Threshers (Phillies)
This 22 year-old Dominican righty made 2 starts this week, 1 for the A-Full Season Lakewood BlueClaws and 1 for the A-Advanced Clearwater Threshers. He won both games, with a combined line of 13 K, 1 BB, 6 hits, and 0 ER in 12 innings pitched. But his first start in the A-Advanced ball was even better than his last start of A-Full Season. On July 1 Rosso made his A-Advanced debut against the St. Lucie Mets. He worked 6 innings, scattering 2 hits and a walk while punching out 9 batters. He threw 53 of his 85 pitches for strikes. Rosso started the game with a bang, punching out 4 of the first 5 batters he faced.
Rosso is now 6-1 with a shiny 1.22 ERA in 13 total starts in 2018. He posted a 31% K-rate and 8% BB-rate in A-Full Season ball with a 0.96 WHIP. He could reach AA this summer if he continues to dominate.
Matt Milburn (OAK)
2 GS, 1 W, 16 IP, 15 K, 1 BB, 10 H, 0 ER
Jace Vines (KC)
2 GS, 13 IP, 13 K, 4 BB, 8 H, 2 ER
Jason Bahr (SF)
2 GS, 2 W, 12 IP, 10 K, 1 BB, 7 H, 0 ER
Phillip Diehl (NYY)
2 G, 4 IP, 10 K, 1 BB, 1 H, 0 ER
Jordan Balazovic – Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins)
Tons of strong A-Full Season pitching performances to choose from this week, but Jordan Balazovic’s 6-inning gem on June 30 led him to PotW honors. Balazovic is a lanky 19-year-old righty out of Mississauga, Ontario, a town generally known for pumping out hockey players like John Tavares. Balazovic is making his name on the diamond, not the ice, and he has pitched well in the Midwest League as a teenager in 2018. This week he stifled the Burlington Bees, striking out 10 batters over 6-innings of shutout ball. He scattered 2 walks and 1 hit in the process. He was named Midwest League pitcher of the week for his efforts. The Cedar Rapids Kernels have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in the MiLB this season thanks to Alex Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, and Akil Baddoo, but Balazovic has given fans another reason to tune in.
Brian Shaffer (ARI)
2 GS, 1 W, 13 IP, 14 K, 0 BB, 8 H, 1 ER
Kyle Johnston (WAS)
2 GS, 2 W, 12 IP, 12 K, 3 BB, 9 H, 2 ER
Chad Donato (HOU)
2 GS, 1 W, 11 IP, 12 K, 2 BB, 9 H, 1 ER
Anthony Kay (NYM)
1 GS, 1 W, 6.2 IP, 11 K, 0 BB, 5 H, 2 ER
Luis Oviedo – Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Indians)
Oviedo is a tall (6’4″) Venezuelan teenager who set the Mahoning Valley Scrappers single-game record with 12 strikeouts in his start this week. Oviedo struck out 6 straight batters in the 2nd and 3rd innings, picking up a win while allowing 2 hits and an unearned run. He’s at or near the top of the pitching leaderboards in pretty much every NY-Penn League category so far this season:
Mahoning Valley Scrappers RHP Luis Oviedo NYPL ranks after 3 starts:
1) FIP 0.90
1) xFIP 1.24
1) SO 27
1) SO% 47.4%
1) SO/BB% 42.1%
1) SwStr% 17.2%
1) WHIP 0.50
2) SO/BB 9.00
2) SO/9 15.2
2) AVG .093
3) ERA 0.56 pic.twitter.com/Hw6ZVogg6m
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) June 30, 2018
Scouting reports have his fastball sitting 91-94 and touching 96 at times. He also throws both a slider and a curveball which are effective out pitches. And Cleveland’s system has been excellent at developing pitchers in recent years. So keep your eye on this kid.
Alex Mauricio (NYY)
1 GS, 5 IP, 10 K, 2 BB, 3 H, 0 ER
Marcelo Martinez – Burlington Royals (Royals)
Marcelo went on a strange tour of Kansas City’s rookie ball system this week, pitching for both the Idaho Falls Chukars and the Burlington (North Carolina) Royals this week. Between the 2 outings he punched out 19 batters over 9 innings, the most strikeouts of any minor leaguer this week.
Martinez is a 21-year old lefty out of the Mexican League’s Sultanes de Monterrey. According to Clint Scoles of Baseball Prospectus, he’s got a low-90s fastball and above-average baseball IQ:
Nice line from Marcelo Martinez 5 IP 1 H 1 ER 1 HR 0 BB 12 K – JJ told me he has an above average pitching IQ with FB that works in the low 90s.
Mexican pitchers often have a good IQ having played older competition at younger ages but Martinez has a tad more stuff too.
— Clint Scoles BP (@ClintScoles) July 1, 2018
It’s probably time to advance him to full-season ball and see what he can do against some stiffer competition. Marcelo could have some more frequent flier miles in his future…
Omar Cruz (SD)
2 GS, 8 IP, 14 K, 2 BB, 4 H, 1 ER
Ignacio Feliz (CLE)
2 GS, 2 W, 10 IP, 11 K, 3 BB, 7 H, 1 ER
Kevin Cron – 1B – Reno Aces (Diamondbacks)
It’s the 2nd PotW award of 2018 for this slugger who is obviously enjoying his time in Reno this year. Cron hit homers and drove in runs in bunches this week, with a 3-for-5, 3 home run, 7 RBI effort on June 27 and a 3-for-4, 2 home run, 6 RBI effort on June 30. Cron has now hit 13 bombs and driven in 54 runs while slugging .559 in the hitter-friendly confines of the PCL this season. We’d love to see what he can do against MLB hitting. He’s 25 years-old this season, so the time is right to move him up the ladder if the Diamondbacks had anywhere to play the guy.
Brandon Lowe (TB)
5 multi-hit games, 29 TB, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 9 Runs, 8:7 BB:K, .935 SLG
Francisco Mejia (CLE)
Hit safely in all 7, 6 straight multi-hit games, 25 TB, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 8 Runs, 4:2 BB:K, .925 SLG
Jordan Patterson (COL)
23 TB, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 6 Runs, 1.000 SLG
Jacob Robson (DET)
Hit safely in all 5, 18 TB, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 7 Runs, 5:4 BB:K, 3 SB, 1.058 SLG
Bobby Bradley – 1B – Akron RubberDucks
Akron slugger Bobby Bradley cruised to AA PotW honors this week by logging 22 total bases in 6 games, lauching 4 home runs, driving in 10, and slugging a robust .846. Bradley struggled immensely at the beginning of the year, starting 10-for-79 (.127). He’s got tons of raw power (16 HR, .442 SLG, .242 ISO in 2018), but also has his share of contact issues (25.4% K-rate). However, he’s also posted encouraging BB-rates over 10% at every stop of his minor league career. So don’t freak out over his .201 batting average this season. Watch as his plate presence continues to develop, and hope that he can push that OBP upwards toward the .350 range.
Osvaldo Duarte – UTIL – Buies Creek Astros (Astros)
A stat-sheet stuffing week for this 22-year-old Dominican utility-man. Duarte hit safely in all 7 games he played in this week and logged 4 multi-hit games in the process. He racked up 26 total bases, hitting 2 home runs and stealing 2 bags. Both stolen bases came in a combo meal effort on July 1. He also scored 9 runs and slugged .926 this week.
Duarte’s defensive versatility makes him a more intriguing prospect. This year he’s played LF (27 games), SS (20), 2B (15), CF (11), and RF (7). The Astros have had some good luck with multi-position players in recent years (Marwin Gonzalez is a great example), and this flexibility will obviously help Duarte’s path to playing time as he continues to rise up the Astros system.
Ronaldo Hernandez – C – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays)
One of the top young catching prospects in the game, Hernandez took home PotW honors this week on the back of flashing some elite contact skills. Hernandez hit safely in all 6 games this week and only struck out once in 23 at bats. He also flashed some pop, hitting 3 home runs on the week (13 on the season) and slugging .913 (.564 on the season).
Hernandez is still only 20 years old. Remember that catching prospects face a long road to the show, as they need to develop defensively a ton while also managing their offensive development in the process. That being said, Hernandez is very advanced for his age as a backstop and has shown that he can definitely handle full-season ball so far this year.
Ernie De La Trinidad (KC)
20 TB, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 8 Runs, 3:2 BB:K, .869 SLG
Akil Baddoo (MIN)
4 multi-hit games, 19 TB, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 8 Runs, 3:3 BB:K, 1 SB
Royce Lewis (MIN)
17 TB, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 8 Runs, 5:3 BB:K, 3 SB, .500 AVG, .850 SLG
Curtis Terry – 1B – Spokane Indians (Rangers)
He’s a big (6’2″, 255) power-hitting slugger that the Rangers took out of high school in the 13th round in 2015. This week, Terry showed off his raw power potential, racking up 4 home runs, 22 TBs, and a .916 slugging average in 6 games in the Northwest League this week. Terry now leads the NWL with 7 home runs in 15 games this season. He’s still relatively young (21), but he’s too old for the level he’s playing at. And this is also the third time that he’s repeated A-Short Season ball in his career. Look for the Rangers to push him up at least one level this season to see if the power keeps playing as he moves up the ladder.
Robinson Medrano (SF)
19 TB, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 9 Runs, 3:3 BB:K
Jonah Davis – OF – Bristol Pirates
Davis led all of the Minors with 30 total bases this week, adding in 3 home runs, 5 RBIs, and 9 runs scored. He managed a .541 batting average while logging 5-straight multi-hit games, and he slugged 1.250 for the week. His OPS through 7 Appy League games is now 1.500. He was taken in the 15th round in this June’s draft.
Henderson De Oleo (CLE)
Hit safely in all 6, 23 TB, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 9 Runs, .821 SLG
Jason Pineda (SD)
Hit safely in all 6, 22 TB, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 Runs, 3:2 BB:K, .545 AVG, 1.000 SLG
4 multi-hit games, 21 TB, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4 Runs, 3:3 BB:K, 1 SB