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:
Eloy Jimenez – Chicago White Sox – Outfielder
He had his 10 game hitting streak snapped yesterday, going 21-36 with 5 HR, 11 RBI and 8 R. Even more important, perhaps, is that he’s struck out just 4 times during this stretch and he now has 12 K over 101 AB to open his Triple-A career. Can he maintain that type of mark? That remains to be seen, but he entered Sunday with an 11.9% SwStr% at the level, so it’s hard to imagine.
Even with a slight regression there, he’s continuing to prove that his power is for real (8 doubles and 8 HR over his first 27 Triple-A games). Maybe we have to wait for September for him to arrive, but if he keeps hitting like this he’s going to force the White Sox hand sooner rather than later.
Adolis Garcia – St. Louis Cardinals – Outfielder
The Cardinals are deep in outfielders (though they thinned things out yesterday at the Trade Deadline), but Garcia could be emerging as one of their best and could soon force his way into the MLB picture. Playing at Triple-A he’s hitting .266 with 19 HR (as well as 21 doubles and 3 triples), 61 RBI, 52 R and 9 SB. He’s been even better of late, going 20-47 with 7 HR, 17 RBI and 14 R over his current ten-game hitting streak. Included in this streak was a 3 HR, 8 RBI day and he’s homered in five of his past seven games.
The red flag is going to be his approach, as he has a 22.0% strikeout rate and minuscule 3.8% walk rate thus far. With a 15.2% SwStr% entering play on Sunday and just 1 BB over his current hitting streak, it’ll be something that could potentially be exploited at the next level.
Mark Vientos – New York Mets – Third Baseman
The 2017 second round draft pick erupted on Friday going 3-5 with 2 HR, 7 RBI and 2 R, but that was just the exclamation point on what has been a very good run. Over his past nine games he’s gone 13-33 with 5 HR, 13 RBI and 8 R while also drawing more walks (6) than striking out (4). He’s only 18-years old playing Rookie Ball, so there’s no doubt that he’s a very long ways away. That said the early results are promising and he could quickly emerge as a power hitting 3B with a good approach at the plate.
Kevin Cron – Arizona Diamondbacks – Third Baseman
The brother of the Rays’ C.J. Cron, Kevin is making a statement at Triple-A this season hitting .330 with 18 HR and 77 RBI over 285 AB. He erupted on Sunday, going 5-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R, and before we chalk this up to a Pacific Coast League inspired power surge remember that he hit 25 HR (with 35 doubles) over 515 AB at Double-A a year ago.
Of course the thing to watch is his strikeout rate, as his SwStr% entered Sunday at 15.7% after posting a 14.3% mark in ’16. Ultimately we’d expect advanced pitching to exploit that aggressiveness, with the strikeout rates growing significantly. He may not have enough power to overcome that issue, and at 25-years old we also can’t expect a significant improvement coming. It’s possible he reaches the Majors this season, especially with Jake Lamb hurt/struggling, and if he does the power could play and he could provide a short-term surge.
Josh James – Houston Astros – Right-Handed Pitcher
He’s struck out 11+ batters in three of his past five starts and now has 147 K over 93.0 IP on the season (including 109 K over 71.1 IP at Triple-A). The key is going to be if he can avoid walking batters, as he owns a 4.15 BB/9 (matching the mark he’s posted since his Triple-A promotion). If he can just keep that where it is, if not improve upon it slightly, he has the potential to be a difference maker at the next level (and could potentially be a bullpen factor later this season).
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs
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