Since publishing last week’s installment of stock watch, a pair of top-10 prospects made their respective debuts in the major leagues.
On Tuesday afternoon, outfielder Wil Myers got the call for the Tampa Bay Rays and went 1-for-7 in a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. The focus then shifted to Atlanta that evening for right-hander Zack Wheeler’s debut against the Braves. The 23-year-old fared much better than Myers, as he notched the first win of his promising career with six shutout innings.
Here’s an updated look at how the rest of Prospect Pipeline’s top prospects have performed over the last week.
1. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
2013 Stats: .306/.341/.462, 17 XBH (5 HR), 5 SB, 22/9 K/BB (46 G)
Although Taveras still ranks as the best pure hitter in the minor leagues, the 20-year-old has endured a shaky first half of the season.
After spending nearly a month on the disabled list with an ankle sprain in May, the left-handed hitting outfielder finally returned to the field in early June. However, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that he left Sunday’s game due to ongoing soreness in his right ankle and is likely to be sidelined for some time until the injury significantly improves.
Considering that he’s blocked at all three outfield positions at the major-league level, it’s likely that organization will proceed cautiously.
2. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
2013 Stats: .341/.431/.559, 68 R, 33 XBH (8 HR), 55 RBI, 32 SB, 56/44 K/BB (68 G)
I’m almost out of superlatives to describe Buxton’s performance this season at Low-A Cedar Rapids. The 19-year-old has without a doubt been the most impressive prospect in the game this year and shows no signs of slowing down.
After dominating on both sides of the ball in the Midwest League during the first half of the season, MiLB.com's Jake Seiner writes that the Twins recently promoted the toolsy outfielder to High-A Fort Myers—a team that recently lost both Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario.
He won’t put up the same type of numbers in the Florida State League, but don’t expect him to be overmatched.
3. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox
2013 Stats: .295/.389/.492, 27 XBH (9 HR), 40 RBI, 6 SB, 62/39 K/BB (66 G)
After an impressive start to the 2013 season for Double-A Portland in which he posted an .892 OPS with 23 extra-base hits (six home runs) and showcased improved plate discipline (51/35 K/BB), Bogaerts was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-June.
Although he’s batting only .205 at the more advanced level, the 20-year-old has hit three home runs in his first 10 games. And expect the batting average to rise as he adjusts to pitching in the International League.
4. Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins
2013 Stats: .262/.340/.512, 24 XBH (6 HR), 47/20 K/BB (41 G)
Yelich didn’t make his Double-A debut until April 19 after spending the first three weeks of the season on the disabled list with a foot injury.
Through May 16, the sweet-swinging outfielder was batting .337/.409/.705 and seemingly on pace for a promotion—possibly even to the major leagues—by the All-Star break, but fell into an ugly slump and batted just .159 (11-for-69) with 21 strikeouts over the next 18 games.
To make matters worse, Yelich suffered an abdominal strain during a game against Double-A Mobile on June 3 and is yet to return from the disabled list.
5. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
2013 Stats: .307/.405/.618, 57 R, 36 XBH (18 HR), 56 RBI, 9 SB, 74/37 K/BB (67 G)
Sano torched opposing pitchers in the Florida State League during the first half of the season, as the 20-year-old batted .330/.424/.655 with 51 runs scored, 35 extra-base hits (16 home runs), nine stolen bases and 61/29 K/BB through 56 games.
As a result of his overwhelming success at the challenging level, the Twins promoted Sano to Double-A New Britain in early June.
And even though he’s batting just .171 (6-for-35) through his first 11 games, the fact that the right-handed hitter has launched two home runs and posted an 13/8 K/BB is encouraging.
6. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners
2013 Stats: 84 IP, 2.46 ERA, .195 BAA, 96/30 K/BB (14 GS)
After struggling at times last season as a 19-year-old in the Double-A Jackson rotation, Walker has dominated this year in his second tour of the Southern League.
In general, the right-hander’s improved control and command have made him more effective and allowed him to work deep into games.
Additionally, Walker is allowing fewer baserunners this season, as he’s trimmed his walk total while missing more bats. Speaking of missing bats, he fanned a season-high 12 batters against Mobile on June 20 and has amassed 28 over his last 20 innings.
7. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
2013 Stats: .311/.380/.417, 21 XBH (5 3B), 18 SB, 30/29 K/BB (68 G)
The 19-year-old is enjoying an outstanding season for High-A Carolina (Carolina League), showing an impressive bat and plate discipline in addition to his usual plus-plus defense at shortstop.
After batting .341/.406/.505 during the first month of the season, Lindor slowed down to an extent in May, as he batted .283/.361/.377 over 27 games.
However, he’s certainly picked up the pace since the start of June, as the switch-hitter is batting .313/.378/.358 through 17 games. Furthermore, Lindor has been on a tear over his last seven games, with a .433 batting average (13-for-30), eight runs scored and four stolen bases.
8. Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
2013 Stats (MLB): .267/.267/.400, HR, 7/0 K/BB (7 G)
The Wil Myers era has officially begun.
Myers went 1-for-7 with a pair of strikeouts in his debut last Tuesday in a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. Since then, however, the 22-year-old outfielder has collected a hit in six consecutive games, highlighted by a 3-for-4 performance with a grand slam—the first home run of his career—on Friday against the Yankees.
Over his first week in the major leagues, Myers has fallen behind in the count often, but has made the most of his at-bats by looking to drive the ball to the opposite field.
9. Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets
2013 Stats (MLB): 1-0, 6 IP, 0.00 ERA, .190 BAA, 7/5 K/BB (1 GS)
Wheeler made his highly anticipated debut last Tuesday in the nightcap of a double-dip against the Braves and was forced to follow another dominant performance from Matt Harvey.
After battling his nerves in the early going, the 23-year-old settled in nicely to toss six scoreless frames. Still, Wheeler’s command was inconsistent, as he threw 102 pitches (only 55 strikes) and issued five walks.
Luckily, the right-hander’s pure stuff was good enough to hold the Braves to four hits while piling up seven strikeouts.
10. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
2013 Stats: 87.2 IP, 1.95 ERA, .212 BAA, 103/37 K/BB (15 GS)
Bradley received a promotion from High-A Visalia to Double-A Mobile in early May and went on to register a 0.79 ERA and 37/16 K/BB in 34 innings during his first month at the more advanced level.
While he’s pitched well in June, the 20-year-old right-hander has cooled off with a 4.32 ERA over his last four starts. Bradley turned in his worst outing of the year on Saturday in, allowing a season-high six earned runs on seven hits over five innings.
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