Minor league baseball weekly cultivation for week ending May 22, 2021
As we open coverage of the 2021 minor league baseball season on Baseball Farm, we’ll do such by opening a weekly column that will highlight the statistical leaders around the minors as well as mentioning a few top performers in the past week. Be on the lookout for potential scouting reports to come on highlight players throughout the week!
Statistical Leaders (stats through May 22)
AVG – Jesus Sanchez, Jacksonville (Mia), .467
OBP – Ronnie Dawson, Sugar Land (Hou), .541
SLG – Jesus Sanchez, Jacksonville (Mia), .933
HR – Five with 7
SB – Yonny Hernandez, Round Rock (Tex), 9
IP – Kirk McCarty, Columbus (Cle), 23 2/3
ERA – Alek Manoah, Buffalo (Tor), 0.50
WHIP – Alek Manoah, Buffalo (Tor), 0.56
SV – Luis Garcia, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (NYY), Ryan Buchter, Reno (Ari), and Kaleb Ort, Worcester (Bos), 5
K – Jackson Kowar, Omaha (KC), 32
AVG – Jacob Robson, Erie (Det), .435
OBP – Jacob Robson, Erie (Det), .545
SLG – Romy Gonzalez, Birmingham (ChW), .775
HR – Johan Mieses, Portland (Bos), 7
SB – Dairon Blanco, Northwest Arkansas (KC), 8
IP – Tylor Megill, Binghamton (NYM), 21 2/3
ERA – Kyle Bradish, Bowie (Bal), Roansy Contreras, Altoona (Pit), and Elvin Rodriguez, Erie (Det), 0.00
WHIP – Matt Frisbee, Richmond (SF), 0.38
SV – Junior Garcia, Amarillo (Ari) and Ivan Pelaez, Montgomery (TB), 4
K – Tylor Megill, Binghamton (NYM) and Hunter Greene, Chattanooga (Cin), 33
AVG – Brian Rey, Dayton (Cin), .423
OBP – Spencer Horwitz, Vancouver (Tor), .529
SLG – Brian Rey, Dayton (Cin), .904
HR – Four with 6
SB – Delvin Zinn, South Bend (ChC) and Cameron Eden, Vancouver (Tor), 12
IP – Chris McMahon, Spokane (Col), 22
ERA – Peyton Battenfield, Bowling Green (TB) and Ken Waldichuk, Hudson Valley (NYY), 0.00
WHIP – Kyle Brnovich, Aberdeen (Bal), 0.32
SV – Five with 3
K – Ethan Elliott, Fort Wayne (SD), Caleb Kilian, Eugene (SF), and Luis Medina, Hudson Valley (NYY), 32
AVG – Logan Driscoll, Charleston (TB), .429
OBP – Francisco Alvarez, St. Lucie (NYM), .590
SLG – Alex McGarry, Daytona (Cin), .960
HR – Trevor Hauver, Tampa (NYY), 6
SB – Braulio Vasquez, Augusta (Atl), 13
IP – Mike Ruff, Fresno (Col), 21
ERA – James Proctor, Daytona (Cin), 0.53
WHIP – John Doxakis, Charleston (TB), 0.47
SV – Juan Mejia, Fresno (Col), and Chris Wright, San Jose (SF), 4
K – Taylor Dollard, Modesto (Sea) and Ryan Smith, Inland Empire (LAA), 29
Sorting through the weeds:
Owen Miller, SS – Originally a third round selection in 2018 by the San Diego Padres, Miller was a guy that many prospect evaluators had an eye on early on in his pro career. Owen was acquired by Cleveland as part of the Mike Clevinger deal and was the talk of spring training with his excellent hitting. He’s not slowed down in AAA, earning a call-up to the majors on Sunday. Season line: .406/.457/.609, 64 AB, 2 HR, 5/14 BB/K.
Jason Martin, OF – Originally drafted out of high school by the Houston Astros in 2013, Martin was one of the pieces of the Gerrit Cole deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Texas Rangers acquired the center fielder as a minor league free agent this winter, and he’s shown surprising power this year in the early going. At only 25 years old, Martin could get a shot at the center field job in Texas. Season line: .293/.431/.732, 41 AB, 5 HR, 10/11 BB/K.
Brett Conine, RHP – A college closer at Cal State-Fullerton, Conine was never a guy with great control, but he had the ability to sequence multiple pitches. The Astros drafted him in the 11th round in 2018 and turned him into a starter, and he’s had success with his offspeed stuff showing as plus when his command allows. He has the chance to play up to a backend starter or a multi-inning reliever. Season line: 10 2/3 IP, 0.84 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 4/9 BB/K.
Tony Santillan, RHP – Santillan was originally drafted in the second round by the Reds out of high school in Texas, and he’s always had the same profile the whole way – big frame, big fastball. Santillan’s secondary stuff has been inconsistent, but the righty has a high floor as a potential backend bullpen piece with his fastball if he doesn’t work as a starter long-term. Season line: 14 IP, 0.64 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 4/20 BB/K.
Tony Santillan’s slider last night 🔥 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Xc9XTAQecA
— OnBaseMachine (@RedsFan_Brandon) May 19, 2021
Alek Thomas, OF – The son of a big league trainer, Thomas came into spring with a significant improvement in his physicality, and while Diamondbacks fans may be lamenting the loss of Corbin Carroll for the 2021 season, Thomas is showing that he’s got plenty to offer as well, with an excellent eye and the ability to hit the ball to all fields as well as flash above-average speed even with added strength to his frame. Season line: .315/.424/.519, 54 AB, 1 HR, 1 SB, 11/15 BB/K.
Jacob Robson, OF – The Canadian outfielder was drafted by the Tigers out of Mississippi State in 2016, and he’s hit for good average at every level in his pro career, but a change in his swing has allowed him to show significantly more power to open the 2021 season with Erie. His future may be as a 4th/5th outfielder as Robson is already 26, but if his improvement at the plate can stick, he’ll have opportunities with Detroit. Season line: .435/.545/.742, 62 AB, 2 HR, 4 SB, 14/21 BB/K.
Alec Marsh, RHP – Many can recite the Singer/Bubic/Kowar/Lynch portion of the excellent 2019 Kansas City Royals college pitching draft, but Marsh is part of multiple more excellent arms also grabbed in that year’s draft. Marsh was a competitive balance selection out of Arizona State, and he’s in his first full-season league in 2021, showing very well. Marsh’s fastball reaches the upper 90s, and he gets impressive late movement on the pitch. He pairs the fastball with a plus slider and a loopy curveball along with an above-average change. The overall repertoire certainly has the look of a mid-rotation arm. Season line: 16 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 4/27 BB/K.
Luis Gil, RHP – Typically, the New York Yankees are the ones who trade away young talent to acquire depth for a playoff run, but in the case of Gil, they acquired him from the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Jake Cave. Gil works in the upper 90s with his fastball deep into starts and mixes in a slider and change that he has developed his command on to the point where it’s at least average, if not better. Gil’s introduction to upper minors with Somerset has gone very well thus far, and he could finish the year knocking on the door of the Bronx. Season line: 15 1/3 IP, 1.76 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 5/28 BB/K.
Victor Vodnik, RHP – A day three grab by the Atlanta Braves out of high school in California, Vodnik was a guy who was not well-known ahead of the draft, but the Braves saw something and were pleased to sign him in the 14th round. Vodnik has a similar approach to Braves starter Huascar Ynoa, using a dominant upper-90s fastball and a wicked slider to keep hitters off base. The Braves attempted to stretch Vodnik out in 2019 as a starter, but injury prevented it. His first action as a starter is coming in the upper minors, and all signs are positive thus far. Season line: 14 IP, 2.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 7/19 BB/K.
A one-man wrecking crew!… Korry Howell connects on his 6th home run of the season in game 2 of the doubleheader.
Exit Velocity: 104mph ⚡️
Distance: 420ft 💣 pic.twitter.com/7UihA9917y
— Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (@TimberRattlers) May 22, 2021
Korry Howell, OF – Returning to familiar settings in Wisconsin but moving up a level in the new minor league arrangements, Howell is having much more success this go-round with the Timber Rattlers. The Brewers snagged Howell out of community college in Iowa in the 12th round in 2018. He has shown power and speed this year and could find himself moving up to the upper minors before season’s end. Season line: .322/.423/.695, 59 AB, 6 HR, 7 SB, 9/15 BB/K.
Tyreque Reed, 1B – Reed is a large, large man. Listed at 6’1″ tall and 250 pounds, it would not surprise if he’s actually larger. That said, he certainly packs the power into his right-handed swing. The Boston Red Sox claimed Reed off waivers this offseason from the Texas Rangers. He’s going to have to keep supplying the stats to have a chance to succeed farther up the line, but the raw power is there to do that. Season line: .286/.423/.667, 42 AB, 5 HR, 8/16 BB/K.
Diego Rincones, OF – With the depth of the Giants hitting prospects, Rincones can get lost in the shuffle, but he has an impressive bat in his own right. He’s opened the 2021 season by hitting for both average and power. Rincones has shown the ability to put bat to ball previously, but he’s struggled to tap into his raw power before this season. With those impressive bats nipping at his heels, he’ll need to keep this up! Season line: .353/.424/.667, 51 AB, 4 HR, 4/11 BB/K.
Ethan Elliott, LHP – The Padres nabbed Elliott in the 10th round of the 2019 draft. He was an upper 80s fastball pitcher with multiple other offerings at draft, but coming into 2021, the stuff ticked up. He’s shown a fastball that ranged 90-93 along with more snap on his slider. Elliott has baffled high-A hitters thus far, but he will need to continue his command upon moving to the upper minors. Season line: 19 2/3 IP, 1.83 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 4/32 BB/K.
Troy Miller, RHP – The Toronto Blue Jays signed Miller as an undrafted free agent. Miller is a fastball-dominant pitcher that is likely ticketed for the bullpen if he can get his control of his loopy curve and change to work along with the strong heater. Miller has opened the season strong for Vancouver. Season line: 14 2/3 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 8/17 BB/K.
Cade Cavalli, RHP – One of the top arms in the 2020 draft, Cavalli may move through the Washington Nationals system quickly, especially if he continues his early season showing. Cavalli has an impressive pitch mix, with a mid-90s fastball, a pair of breaking pitches that can be graded as plus and a change that’s at least an average pitch. Add in that Cavalli has shown above-average command of his collection of pitches, and Cavalli could climb prospect rankings as soon as midseason. Season line: 16 IP, 2.25 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 6/27 BB/K.
Gunnar Henderson, 3B/SS – With a strong arm and smooth hands, Henderson has always been assumed to stay on the left side of the infield, though whether that’d be as a shortstop or a third baseman was yet to be determined. The Orioles nabbed Henderson in the second round of the 2019 draft and he’s quickly developed into the hitter that many assumed he would become when he was rumored as a potential first-round pick coming out of high school in Alabama. His impressive athleticism could allow him to move quickly up the Baltimore system in 2021. Season line: .339/.417/.661, 62 AB, 5 HR, 3 SB, 9/17 BB/K.
Jordan Walker, 3B – While his size may move Walker off third base eventually, the St. Louis Cardinals nabbed the power hitter in the first round in 2020 due to his impressive bat. That bat has shown up already in his pro debut, as Walker shows up all over the top players in exit velocity in the minor leagues in 2021. He will have work to do in refinement offensively and defensively, but the raw tools are incredibly impressive. Season line: .333/.474/.600, 45 AB, 2 HR, 10/12 BB/K.
Noelvi Marte, SS – Considered by some among the top 10-15 prospects in the entire game entering the 2021 season, Marte certainly has shown no reason why he could not finish the year in that range with his impressive play in his first exposure to full-season ball. He reached base six times in a game this week and continues to impress with both his power and his baserunning, yet he will be 19 until October. The Seattle Mariners could graduate two elite prospects in 2021 and have yet another atop prospect lists in 2022. Season line: .362/.436/.594, 69 AB, 4 HR, 4 SB, 9/19 BB/K.
Noelvi Marte now 2-for-3 tonight: pic.twitter.com/MUg3bJpFGd
— Jason A. Churchill (@ProspectInsider) May 22, 2021
John Doxakis, LHP – In a 2019 draft with extra selections, the Tampa Bay Rays used their finances to snag Texas A&M lefty John Doxakis, considered one of the top college arms in the draft, in the second round. Doxakis is making his full-season debut in low-A, but likely will move quickly toward the upper minors. He’s shown impressive control thus far with all of his pitches. Doxakis isn’t going to blow anyone away, but he is very smart with his sequencing of his low-90s fastball and his above-average change and slider. He’s not a future ace, but coming from the left side, he could work from the back of a rotation or be a multiple-inning reliever. Season line: 17 IP, 1.06 ERA, 0.47 WHIP, 2/26 BB/K.
Cristian Hernandez, RHP – After Hernandez pitched well in the Dominican Summer League in 2018, he didn’t pitch at all in 2019 in the Philadelphia Phillies system. His fastball has worked up to the mid-90s this year, and he’s shown excellent command thus far on the year. The development of his secondary pitches will determine how quickly Hernandez moves through the Philadelphia system. Season line: 13 IP, 2.77 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 2/22 BB/K.
Ryan Smith, LHP – Drafted out of Princeton by the Los Angeles Angels in the 18th round of the 2019 draft, Smith pitched out of the bullpen in his pro debut. Moving to the starting rotation in 2021, Smith has shown the ability to work his upper-80s fastball and secondary stuff to generate swing and miss. Because he’s working with a lower velocity fastball, Smith will have to be sharp with his location and his sequencing, as he’s allowed two home runs already this year, so when he is hit, he can get hit hard. Season line: 15 1/3 IP, 1.76 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 6/29 BB/K.