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:
Francisco Mejia – Cleveland Indians – Catcher/Outfielder
Mejia was miserable over the first two months of the season, and perhaps that is putting it mildly:
- April – .187 with 2 HR and 10 RBI
- May – .192 with 1 HR and 7 RBI
The easy excuse would’ve been the experiment of playing outfield, though he’s still seeing time in LF as a way to facilitate more playing time in the Majors. That said he’s turned things around in a big way in June, hitting .457 with 4 HR and 21 RBI. He had 12 doubles over the first two months combined, but he has 12 doubles in June alone.
Through Friday he had a seven game hit streak, with at least 2 hits in each game (and has multi-hit games in nine of his past ten). It all coincides with a reduction in his strikeouts (13 K over 94 AB in June), which makes sense. He’s one of the premier hitters in the minors, regardless of position, and it was only a matter of time.
Brandon Lowe – Tampa Bay Rays – Second Baseman
Lowe has split his time between Double and Triple-A in ’18, and surprisingly his performance has improved as he’s advanced up the organizational ladder:
- Double-A – .291 (58-199), 8 HR, 41 RBI, 37 R, 8 SB
- Triple-A – .313 (25-80), 8 HR, 18 RBI, 16 R, 0 SB
All told he’s hitting .297 with 16 HR, adding 23 doubles and 1 triple. All 8 HR he has hit at Triple-A have come in his past 10 games.
It’s not to say that there aren’t concerns, as he entered Friday with a bloated fly ball rate (54.5%) and far too many swings and misses (12.6% SwStr%) while at Triple-A. The former doesn’t resemble what he had done at Double-A (38.6% fly ball rate) and could be due to a small sample size, but the latter is right on (12.4% SwStr%). That could ultimately cap his value, but it’s impossible to argue with what he’s done of late.
Brent Rooker – Minnesota Twins – First Baseman
His April was miserable (.250 with 1 HR)… He started to show off his power in May, but it still wasn’t a great month (.231 with 6 HR)… In June he’s erupted, hitting .322 with 6 HR and 18 RBI over 90 AB. It’s impressive, and there’s no questioning his power and ability to hit the ball hard (30.0% line drive rate entering Friday). The problem is his overall 15.1% SwStr%, and it’s not like it’s disappeared in June (27.45% strikeout rate). He’s needed a .411 BABIP to post the average, so don’t go and assume this is the type of player he is. It’s far more likely he posts months similar to May than that of June moving forward.
Ian Hamilton – Chicago White Sox – Relief Pitcher
We don’t talk about relievers very often, but Hamilton was recently promoted to Triple-A and has quickly assumed the closers role. Just look at the numbers thus far:
- Double-A (25.1 IP) – 1.78 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 34 K, 12 BB
- Triple-A (3.1 IP) – 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 6 K, 1 BB
He’s converted 14 of 15 save opportunities, including 2 at Triple-A. While it’s unlikely he assumes the closers role this season, he’s a potential closer of the future for a rebuilding team and should be on all radars.
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: