The first half of the Minor League season is coming to an end, and teams are already securing playoff spots in some leagues. Across all circuits, top prospects continue to flex their muscles and display their diverse skills.
This week, two Triple-A prospects from the Rockies took advantage of their team’s big week at the plate for Pipeline’s prospect team of the week while two Yankees prospects were also named. A fast Seattle receiver was able to stretch his legs and race his first team. while an Atlanta shortstop was a run-producing machine.
To be eligible for Pipeline’s Team of the Week Prospects, minor league players must be ranked in their club’s top 30 prospects on Pipeline’s rosters. (Those in the Majors are not qualified.)
Here is the Prospect Team of the Week for June 13-19:
Receiver: Harry Ford, Modesto Nuts (Single-A)
Mariners No. 3, MLB No. 81
.421/.500/.842, 5 G, 8 for 19, 1 HR, 2 3B, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 SB
Seattle’s first round of 2021 showcased its wide array of tools last week and led them to its first-ever Prospect of the Week selection by posting a five-game OPS of 1.342 for the Nuts. Ford entered the week on a high with a 4-on-5 performance with a home run, two triples and five RBIs in his team’s June 12 series finale at Inland Empire. Back at home against Lake Elsinore, he continued his momentum. The Safety Net recorded hits in all five games it played with another 4-for-5 performance on Friday. In that game, Ford homered and drove in three. After failing to score a hat-trick in his first 57 career games, the backstop now has four in his last six played.
1B: Elehuris Montero, Albuquerque isotopes (Triple-A)
.471/.500/1.059, 5 G, 8 for 17, 2 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B, 9 RBI, 7 R, 6 BB, 2 K, 1 SB, 2 HBP
Although Montero has played the majority of his time at third base this year (31, down from 16 at the start), he has made half of his starts through the diamond last week. Over five games played, including a start as Albuquerque’s designated hitter, Montero pushed his hitting streak to 14 games and started his team’s series against Sugar Land in style. In his first two games against the Space Cowboys, Montero went 5-for-9 with one home run, two doubles and five RBIs. At the start of his hitting streak, the cornerman was a .284/.358/.465 hitter. Coming into play this week, Montero increased that line to 0.327/0.395/0.563 for the season, including a 0.429/0.463/0.829 streak in its first nine games in June.
2B: Eddinson Paulino, Salem Red Sox, (Single-A)
Red Sox No. 19
.480/.581/.960, 6 G, 12 for 25, 2 HR, 2 3B, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 8 R, 6 BB, 2 K, 5 SB
Paulino took a few chunks to adjust to the Single-A level in his first month, batting .194 / .268 / .375 in 17 games. Since then, he has been on the rise. After hitting .279/.367/.442 in the May 26 contests, the infielder is off to a better start in June. Paulino had at least one hit in his team’s six games against visiting Delmarva and racked up four multi-hit performances, including three days of hits on Thursday and Sunday, while adding five stolen bases on five attempts. In 15 games this month, Paulino has batted .333/.452/.650 with three homers — more than his first two months of the season combined — and 13 RBIs. And on top of all that, it’s perhaps his discipline at the plate that has impressed the most over the past two months. Paulino struck 23 times against just six walks in April. In May it was 15K and 13BB. So far in June, the 19-year-old is even with 13 apiece.
3B: Curtis Mead, Montgomery Biscuits (Double-A)
Rays No. 4, MLB No. 90
.421/.450/1.158, 5 G, 8 for 19, 4 HR, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
The Montgomery resident Australian surged in a road series at Rocket City, winning four homers in five games, more than a third of his tally coming into the week, which was at 11. After leaving the court in the opening the series on Tuesday, Mead doubled twice on Wednesday. , went 1-for-3 on Thursday, then homered as part of a two-hit game on Saturday before scoring a pair of dingers in Sunday’s final. The native of Adelaide, South Australia has been hitless just twice in 16 games this month and is batting .344/.414/.705 for June. The performance follows a May in which he hit .250/.347/.375 in 17 games played. This week marks Mead’s second selection of the 2022 season, joining his bubbly Week 3.
SS: Vaughn Grissom, Rome Braves (The High)
Braves No. 6
.516/.559/.871, 6 G, 16 for 31, 2 HR, 5 2B, 17 RBI, 14 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 3 SB
If professional baseball was a video game, Grissom might have put it in “Rookie” mode last week based on his searing stat line. With more hits, doubles, RBIs and runs scored than anyone on this week’s roster, the Atlanta shortstop prospect has impressed for High-A Rome. Grissom had two or more hits in five of his team’s six games last week, hitless in the other. The 21-year-old started with three-hit nights on Tuesday and Wednesday before posting back-to-back four-hit projections on Thursday and Friday. As part of Rome’s 22-run, 23-hit assault on Thursday, Grissom led the way, going 4-for-7 with two Grand Slams, a brace, eight RBIs and five runs scored. He doubled twice and led three more in a 4-on-5 performance on Friday. Like others on this week’s list, Grissom is having a resurgent June after a tough May. Last month he hit .239/.330/.432 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 22 games. Through 16 so far in June, Grissom is hitting .382/.440/.603 with three home runs and 19 RBIs.
FROM: Everson Pereira, Hudson Valley Renegades (High A)
Yankees No. 10
.483/.500/1.000, 6 G, 14-for-29, 4 HR, 3 2B, 13 RBI, 11 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 SB
Holding center field for Hudson Valley for most of his season, Pereira broke out with his best week of the year at the plate. On the road at Greensboro, the outfielder had four multi-hit games, with his best showing on Friday. That night, Pereira went 4-for-6 with two home runs, a double and seven RBIs as the Renegades rolled up 22 runs on 23 hits. Friday’s performance was Pereira’s second multihomer of the week after also scoring a pair in Tuesday’s series opener. Those two games were the 21-year-old’s first four-hit games since last August. Pereira entered the week hitting .241/.336/.330 and came away with a .273/.356/.418 line for the season.
FROM: Dominic Fletcher, Reno Aces (Triple-A)
.563/.652/.938, 5 G, 9 for 16, 1 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 7 R, 6 BB, 2 K
Over three pro seasons, Fletcher has been a consistent lifter for D-backs, and now he’s knocking on the big leagues door. In his last stellar week, the outfielder posted a pair of three-hit games for the Aces against a visiting Oklahoma City, kicking off the series with a 3-for-4 performance on Wednesday that included a circuit and a triple. Fletcher not only had five hits in his final two games of the week, but also displayed a steady eye with six walks against just two strikeouts. The former Arkansas Razorbacks star conquered Double-A earlier this year with a .346/.408/.591 slash in 32 games. In his first 26 Triple-A matches, Fletcher was even better, batting .363/.438/.588.
FROM: Ryan Vilade, Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A)
.500/.565/.850, 5 G, 10 for 20, 2 HR, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 12 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP
It was a big offensive week for Albuquerque, which led its winning streak to seven games with a six-game sweep at Salt Lake. Against the Bees, the Isotopes had 65 points, including a 20-point outburst on Wednesday in their biggest offensive performance of the year. Vilade was on point throughout. Oklahoman hit two homers Wednesday night, part of a franchise-record eight for the ‘Topes, leading in four runs while scoring five. He then amassed seven more hits over his next four games and scored seven more points. Vilade started June just 6 for 42 (.143) in his first 10 games played before breaking out against Salt Lake. Wednesday’s three-hit game was his first since a 5-on-6 night against Sacramento on May 1.
LHP: Robert Gasser, Fort Wayne TinCaps (High A)
Padres No. 8
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2G, 2GS, 12IP, 4H, 0R, 3BB, 12K, 0.58WHIP
In the modern Minor League Baseball schedule, most starting pitchers only take to the mound once a week. Gasser’s rotation lined up for him to face Lansing twice last week, and the southpaw took advantage. Gasser went five scoreless innings on Tuesday, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out four, then threw a gem five days later. After his team gave him eight points of support at the top of the first, Gasser walked the first man in the bottom half, then did not see another base runner for the rest of the day. The 23-year-old has retired 21 straight, eight via strikeouts, more than seven innings without a hit in what is tied for his longest start of the year. Since allowing five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 at Great Lakes on June 2, Gasser has dominated. In his last three starts, the southpaw has gone 2-0 with a .47 ERA, allowing just one run on eight hits while striking out 23 and walking three in 19 innings.
RHP: Luis Medina, Somerset Patriots (Double-A)
Yankees No. 11
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1G, 1GS, 6IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 10K, 0.50WHIP
Medina has been good all season for Somerset but finally landed his first quality start of the year in the opener of a doubleheader on Wednesday in New Hampshire. In six innings, the right-hander faced only three over the minimum and had an efficient fly ball with 57 strikes among his 84 throws. Medina’s outing was just his second scoreless appearance of the year and the first since handing out five shutout frames against visiting Portland on April 29. The right-hander’s six innings was the first time he’d hit that mark since Sept. 19, 2021, at Akron, and his 10 strikeouts were a season high and his first time in double digits since Sept. 2 of the last year at Bowie.
PR: Eric Orze, Syracuse Mets (Triple-A)
Dishes no. 17
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1G, 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 6K, 0.33WHIP
Orze’s season got off to a rocky start with the reliever recording an 11.05 ERA in six games in April. Since then, he has continued to improve. In his lone appearance last week in Norfolk, Orze went a season-high in three innings and was dominant, tying a season-high with six strikeouts and allowing just one hit. The right-hander rebounded from his tough April by posting a 3.75 ERA in seven appearances in May. So far in June, Orze boasts a 2.08 mark and has limited opponents to a .172 batting average.