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 seventh week of the season, May 14 thru May 20, 2018:
Shane Bieber – Columbus Clippers (Indians)
The Beliebers are out in full force this week, as Shane dominated a 2-start performance with the Columbus Clippers. As usual, Bieber allowed no walks this week. In fact, he’s only allowed 3 walks in 58.1 innings this season. He only walked 10 batters in 173.1 innings last season. So he’s walked 13 guys in his past 37 starts. This week, he scattered 5 hits over 6.2 innings against a good Gwinnett lineup on May 15, and then toyed with a bad Charlotte lineup on May 20, working 8 innings of 3 hit ball, striking out 8, allowing 0 earned runs. Obviously, Cleveland’s MLB staff is deep. But if the team needs another spot starter this summer, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bieber get it. He’s got the best command in the minors right now.
Dennis Santana (LAD)
2 GS, 1 W, 10.2 IP, 14 K, 4 BB, 7 H, 3 ER
Stephen Gonsalvez (MIN)
1 GS, 1 W, 5.1 IP, 11 K, 4 BB, 4 H, 0 ER
Taylor Widener – Jackson Generals (Diamondbacks)
A 23-year old righty from the University of South Carolina via Aiken, SC, Widener’s week was a tale in effective contrasts. On May 14, he squared off against the Mississippi Braves, pitching 6 comfortable innings. Against Mississippi, Widener picked up the win by pitching to contact, scattering 2 hits, walking none, and striking out 4 batters while allowing 0 earned runs. On May 19 against Pensacola, he dominated, punching out 11 batters, walking none, and allowing 1 earned run over 7 innings. His plus fastball pairs well with a slider which can be a plus offering at times. He also throws in a changeup which is around average at this time, but flashes plus as well. His 12.9 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, and 3.05 FIP through 9 starts at AA this year should make dynasty owners take notice.
Mitch Keller (PIT)
2 GS, 2 W, 13.2 IP, 14 K, 4 BB, 9 H, 3 ER
Cionel Perez (HOU)
2 G, 2 W, 9.1 IP, 14 K, 2 BB, 3 H, 2 ER
Nick Neidert (MIA)
1 GS, 1 W, 6.2 IP, 11 K, 2 BB, 2 H, 0 ER
Emilio Vargas – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks)
This 21-year-old prospect out of the Dominican is dominating the hitter-friendly California League this season, posting a 3-0 record along with a 0.98 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 9 appearances (8 starts). This week, he started 2 games for the Rawhide. In his first start, he worked 6.2 innings, scattered 2 hits, allowed 2 free passes, punched out 8, and finished with the win. In his second start, he was limited to 4.2 innings, but he managed to punch out 9 batters against a Modesto Nuts lineup featuring Kyle Lewis and Evan White. Vargas is a big (6-3, 200) right-handed prospect who is showing a lot of promise at the moment. Put him on your watch list.
Trevor Stephan (NYY)
1 GS, 1 W, 7 IP, 11 K, 0 BB, 5 H, 2 ER
Jonathan Hernandez (TEX)
1 GS, 6 IP, 11 K, 1 BB, 5 H, 2 ER
Brusdar Graterol – Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins)
Brusdar The Great was fantastic again this week, making hitters look foolish while racking up 16 strikeouts over 10.2 innings of work in 2 starts. Here’s a montage of all his strikeouts in his May 14 start against the Quad Cities, courtesy of the fantastic @prospectgifs:
— Prospect Gifs (@prospectgifs) May 15, 2018
He also gains bonus points in the PotW ranking system for 1) being only 19 2) being Venezuelan and 3) having the first name Brusdar. He’s struck out 27 batters in 19.1 innings this season.
Cory Abbott (CHC)
2 GS, 11 IP, 18 K, 5 BB, 4 H, 2 ER
Ramon Rosso (PHI)
1 GS, 6 IP, 11 K, 1 BB, 5 H, 0 ER
Joey Meneses – 1B – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies)
This power-hitting Mexican 1B continued to look too good for AAA this week, hitting safely in all 6 games, racking up 4 multi-hit games, and launching 4 home runs on the week. He’s been working his way up the minor league ladder since 2011. Now 26, he’s obviously a bit old to get a top-prospect tag, but these ‘Bull Durham’ type prospects can still provide plenty of value. Meneses is now slugging .658 on the season, supported by a .301 ISO. The Phillies are jammed up with 1B/DH types (Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco) at the moment, but an injury could open the door to some playing time in the MLB for Meneses this season.
Patrick Wisdom (STL)
Hit safely in all 6, 4 multi-hit games, 20 TB, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R, 1 SB, .909 SLG
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays)
Growing up in the late 80s/early 90s, I played little league baseball on my neighborhood team. The best player in the league (named Corey, of course) was so much better than everyone else that it was silly. We would concentrate on putting the bat on the ball or fielding grounders. Corey would show up to the game late, riding up on his BMX, chomping on some pizza-flavored Combos. He’d stride up to the team wearing a backward hat and some Skidz pants, and the coach would immediately sub him into the game. Whoever was previously in at shortstop got bounced from the lineup, and Corey would drill a no-doubt home run. We would jump up and down celebrating with Corey while the other outfielders were still chasing down his ball (no fences of course). It happened all summer long, like clockwork.
Vlad Jr. is Corey. He’s that talent that’s so good he makes other players wonder why he’s still playing on the same field with them. His week (which was actually pretty standard for his time in AA so far):
4 multi-hit games, 28 TB, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 3:3 BB:K, 2 SB, .903 SLG, 1 walk-off HR Sunday
Come on Toronto, cut the shit. Call the kid up already.
Corey Ray (MIL)
2 multi-hit games, 23 TB, 4 HR, 5 RBI, 8 R, 2 SB
Luke Raley (LAD)
Hit safely in all 7, 3 multi-hit games, 23 TB, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R,
Forrest Wall – 2B – Lancaster JetHawks (Rockies)
The Lancaster JetHawks love to run, and Colorado Rockies prospect Forrest Wall has been taking advantage of his green light this season. This week, Wall swiped 5 bags, bringing his season total up to 19 steals. He’s stealing bases at a 76% clip this season. Wall also hit for some power this week as well, logging 19 total bases, 2 HRs, and 5 RBI. He also had 4 multi-hit efforts in 7 games played. A competitive balance pick in 2014, Wall is now slashing .317/.400/.472 as a 22 year-old in the California League this season.
Vince Fernandez (COL)
4 multi-hit games, 24 TB, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 8 R, .888 SLG
Luis Torrens (SD)
5 multi-hit games, 21 TB, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R
Jo Adell – OF- Burlington Bees (Angels)
Adell has been showing his top-prospect pedigree so far this season, adding another strong week of performances to an impressive record in 2018. Adell, 19, was the Angels 1st round pick last summer. This week, he hit safely in all 7 games he played in, racking up 28 total bases, hitting 5 home runs, driving in 10 runs, scoring 6, posting an excellent 4:4 BB:K ratio, and even stealing a base for good measure. A true stat sheet stuffer. Adell is now posting a 1.009 OPS in 25 games, and he’s doing it in the early spring in the Midwest League, which is probably one of the toughest hitting environments in the minor leagues. Look for him to gain at least one level this season.
MJ Melendez (KC)
3 multi-hit games, 25 TB, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R, 1.041 SLG
Alexis Garcia (DET)
3 multi-hit games, .384 AVG, 1 RBI, 4 R, 6 SB
Travis Jones (KC)
Hit safely in all 6, 5 multi-hit games, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 7 R, 3 SB, .833 SLG