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 five names that are currently streaking and need to be on all radars:
Royce Lewis – Shortstop – Minnesota Twins
In his first seven games after being promoted to High-A he didn’t look overmatched, hitting .357 with 1 HR, 6 RBI and 6 R. At 19-years old the overall numbers are highly impressive, as he’s hitting .315 with 10 HR (and 25 doubles) and 22 stolen bases. Even better is his overall 9.8% SwStr%, which he’s improved upon in his brief time since his promotion (7.4%).
- There’s no question the speed…
- The power is still developing, but the 25 doubles shows it’s in there…
- He’s already showing a strong approach (though better than a 7.5% walk rate would further benefit him)…
The potential is there for it all to come together quickly, and seeing him do it at High-A is highly promising.
Julio Pablo Martinez – Outfielder – Texas Rangers
On July 4 he was hitting .179, but he’s exploded over the subsequent 11 games:
.326 (16-46), 4 HR, 8 RBI, 11 R and 3 SB
He homered in three straight games from July 18-20 (6-14, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, 1 SB) and if you include the game on July 21 he’s now scored at least 1 R in six straight. Obviously 39 K over 126 AB is a little bit more than we’d like to see, especially having come courtesy of an 11.6% SwStr% and playing in Low-A at 22-years old. At the same time you need to give him time to adjust, and what he’s been showing of late is eye opening.
Lucas Erceg – Third Baseman – Milwaukee Brewers
After going 4-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R on July 16, Erceg had put together a few impressive home run streaks:
- HR in back-to-back games
- 4 HR in his past six games
- 5 HR in his past nine games (6 HR since July 6)
At 23-years old he could finally be growing into his power potential, but even more impressive is that he’s now gone 10 straight games without striking out (1 K in his past 13 games). Maybe you want to see a few more walks, but if the power surge is for real that type of ability to avoid striking out could make him into an impressive bat as he further advances.
Kyle Isbel – Outfielder – Kansas City Royals
He went 4-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R in his final game in Rookie Ball, but he’s kept things rolling since being pushed to Single-A (3-8, 1 HR, 1 RBI and 4 R in three games). In 113 AB overall this season he’s managed 17 K vs. 18 BB, courtesy of a 7.3% SwStr%. You can argue that since he’s 21-years old he’s simply overmatching younger competition, but that’s why the 2018 third round pick has been pushed up rather quickly. So far so good, and while it’s a small sample size it’s promising all the same.
Bailey Ober – Right-Handed Pitcher – Minnesota Twins
His name isn’t well known, but if the 6’8” 23-year old keeps going along this path his value is going to rise significantly. Just look at the strikeout totals over his past three starts at Single-A:
- July 5 – 12 K
- July 12 – 10 K
- July 20 – 12 K
That’s 34 K, and he’s allowed just 1 ER on 12 H and 2 BB over 21.2 IP over this stretch. Sure his 3.88 ERA isn’t going to catch your eye, but overall he has 86 K vs. 9 BB over 72.0 IP (courtesy of a bloated 16.6% SwStr%). We’d like to see a few more groundballs (43.5%), but that strikeout-to-walk rate simply can’t be ignored.
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Midseason Rankings: