by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Which prospects are tearing it up down on the farm? Obviously we can’t name them all, but here are six names that are currently streaking and need to be on all radars:
Alex Kirilloff – Minnesota Twins – Outfielder
It’s easy to forget about Kirilloff, a 2016 first round draft pick who was forced to miss all of 2017 and has continually battled injuries. However when he’s been on the field he’s produced, and he’s really picked up the pace recently. Currently on a seven game hitting streak he’s gone 13-31 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R, helping him to a .333 average with 13 HR and 56 RBI over 252 AB at High-A.
We will have to watch his strikeout rate, as a 12.8% SwStr% is a bit bloated given the level, but he’s showing plenty of power (he’s added 20 doubles and 5 triples) and enough walks (8.5%). That’s a strong combination, and at 20-years old (he won’t turn 21 until after the season) and with his missed time it’s easy to give him a pass on the strikeout rate (and he’s shown significant improvements of late, with 9 K over 67 AB in June).
Ryan Noda – Toronto Blue Jays – Outfielder
Over his past 10 games he’s hitting .395 (15-38) with 7 HR and 14 RBI. Those are eye popping numbers, especially the power, and while he’s hitting .253 overall at Single-A the approach indicates even more upside:
- Strikeouts – 57 K
- Walks – 58 BB
- SwStr% – 12.3% (entering play on Sunday)
He needs to cut down on the strikeouts, given the level that he’s playing out, but since being drafted (392 AB) he’s racked up 30 doubles, 3 triples and 15 HR. Couple that with the walks (he has 117 BB vs. 117 K since being drafted) and some speed (15-for-21 in SB attempts) and the upside is there.
Let’s see how the 22-year old produces as he continues to advance, but right now there’s enough to get excited about (and it could get even better if he cuts down on the strikeouts even a little bit).
Josh James – Houston Astros – Pitcher
James hasn’t missed a beat since being promoted to Triple-A, with a 2.36 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 53 K and 11 BB over 34.1 IP. If those weren’t impressive enough, just look at what he’s done overall (56.0 IP):
- ERA – 2.41
- WHIP – 1.07
- Strikeouts – 14.63 K/9
- Control – 3.38 BB/9
- SwStr% – 18.0%
He doesn’t bring an impressive groundball rate (40.7%), and that could lead to home run issues at the next level. It becomes even more of a concern when you look at the Triple-A number, albeit in a small sample size, as he owns a 31.8% groundball rate. Overall he’s shown a bit more than that (1.19 career GO/AO), but it’s something to watch.
That said he has 24 K over his past two starts (13.0 IP) and 33 K over his past three (20.0 IP). If opponents can’t make contact, can they hit the ball out of the ballpark?
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com
Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings? Make sure to check it out by clicking here. Also don’t miss all of our 2018 Preseason Positional Prospect Lists: