We’re nearing the stretch run for the minor league season. With roster expansion right around the corner, let’s look at the prospects who made a good impression with their parent clubs this past week.
RHP Luis Gil (Yankees No. 6) – While Gil’s last week of work came in the majors instead of the minors, he’s still considered a prospect, so he’s eligible for this list. Called up to make a few spot starts while Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery were on the COVID IL, Gil responded with something the Yankees haven’t seen in over a century. When Gil ended his Sunday afternoon with five shutout innings against the Mariners, he became just the second Yankees pitcher ever to allow no runs in each of his first two Major League starts, following Slow Joe Doyle in 1906. Granted he faced the Orioles and the Mariners, not exactly the highest Major League competition, but the results stand. While he was a placeholder at first, Gil might have forced his way into the Yankees’ rotation.
SS Bobby Witt Jr (Royals No. 1) – Expected to mash his was through the Kansas City farm system the moment he signed, Witt Jr has done just that. Much like his teammate Nick Pratto, who we highlighted a couple weeks ago, Witt Jr has marched his way up the minor league ladder. Any Triple-A pitcher hoping to slow him down this past week had a rough go of it. The second overall pick in the 2019 draft, Witt Jr crushed the ball, hitting four home runs with 11 RBIs. Royals fans have to be excited to see a new core mashing their way to the big leagues.
SS Noelvi Marte (Mariners No. 4) – While he doesn’t have the lofty expectations of Witt Jr, Marte has been quietly climbing his way up the Seattle top prospects list. He even outdid Witt Jr’s performance this past week, belting five homers and adding 13 RBIs. He might be overshadowed by other Seattle prospects like Julio Rodriguez, George Kirby and Emerson Hancock, but make no mistake, Marte can hit the baseball and pick it at shortstop. He’s currently at Low-A Modesto, so a long road still awaits him, but Marte has the tools to be a fast riser.
RHP Cole Winn (Rangers No. 3) – Winn makes this week’s list not for one amazing performance, but his overall consistency. The 15th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Winn worked 5.1 scoreless frames and adding eight strikeouts to his ledger Friday night. That outing made it five straight outings with two runs or fewer allowed, two of those outing being scoreless completely. Winn struggled early in his professional career but is starting to develop into the pitcher Texas hoped they nabbed. The 21-year-old is sporting a 2.59 ERA in his 15 starts with Double-A Frisco this season.
RHP Hunter Greene (Reds No. 2) – Cincinnati fans have every right to be excited about their top prospect, LHP Nick Lodolo, and what he can bring to their rotation. But their second ranked prospect made sure to keep his name in the conversation too. Toeing the rubber Thursday night, Greene threw 6.1 scoreless innings with ease, using his triple-digit fastball to add ten strikeouts on the night for Triple-A Louisville. The second overall pick in the 2017 draft, Greene breezed his way through Double-A competition to start the year, and has found his groove in Triple-A ball as of late. Lodolo might be ahead of him on the charts, but Greene is primed to make his mark in Cincinnati first.
OF Je’Von Ward (Brewers NR) – In a back and forth 15-13 slugfest win over High-A Beloit, Ward made history for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The 2017 12th-round pick tripled to lead off the game, doubled in the third, singled in the fourth and homered in the fifth to complete the cycle, the first in Timber Rattlers history. Wisconsin needed his help too. Despite taking a 7-2 lead off Ward’s homer, Beloit fought back to a 15-13 score with two out in the bottom of the ninth, a man on second, and Connor Scott in the box. Scott was a triple away from his own cycle, but couldn’t complete it, striking out to end the game.
Honorable Mention – 1B Will Matthiessen (Pirates NR) – Matthiessen was probably not expecting to pitch Friday night, but with an eight-to-eight tie heading into the top of the 12th, Matthiessen got his chance. It was not a memorable outing. Matthiessen gave up six runs with his High-A Greensboro club down 14-8 heading into the bottom of the 12th. Matthiessen’s lucky stars shown bright in the night sky, as the Grasshoppers rallied and put him into the box with the bases loaded down three. Matthiessen completed every kid’s dream, launching a walk-off grand slam to send the fans home happy. His night on the mound was forgettable, but Matthiessen surely made up for it.