Luis Urias (SD, #4)
Last 10 days (AAA): 18 for 40, 5 doubles, 3 triples
Urias went on an absolute tear this week with a whopping four 3-hit games and a .680 total OBP for the week. It’s these kind of weeks that have me ranking Urias as an easy top 20, and most likely top 15 prospect heading into 2019, where he will probably get the call 2 weeks into the season if he doesn’t in 2018. Urias’ feel to hit is immaculate, and he plays a pretty damn good second base as well. Although he’s very small I believe he was the swing and feel to grow into near average power, which could make him quite an incredible player. Urias SLG over the past 3 seasons is .424, which is currently 15 points above MLB average.
Bryse Wilson (ATL, #13)
This week (AAA): 8 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 BB, 13 K
It’s not outrageous to call this start from Wilson one of the best in the minors this season. Through 3 levels this year, Wilson has a 3.27 ERA and 139 K in 23 starts, giving him an extremely solid 250+ IP over the last 2 seasons. Wilson is one of the more divisive prospects in baseball, being ranked as high as #44 in baseball by Keith Law in his midseason update, but being completely left off Fangraphs Top 131 midseason update. Personally, I lean heavily towards Fangraphs’ ranking of him; after watching a few of his starts, I came away underwhelmed with the breaker, and I think it’s closer to average than it is plus, and a guy with a 60 fastball, 50 breaker, and 45 change doesn’t get me fired up, especially when he has averaged just 5.1 IP per start this season. Nonetheless, FG’s Eric Longenhagen recently put a Michael Fulmer comp on him, which can be taken as nothing but a compliment, however unsexy it may be. The Braves rewarded Wilson’s fantastic year with a call up, reported just minutes ago:
#Braves have called up hard-throwing Bryse Wilson from Triple-A. Not announced yet if he’ll start.
— David O’Brien (@DOBrienATL) August 20, 2018
Nick Solak (TB, #11)
Last 10 days (AA): 11 for 30, 4 HR, 7 XBH, 1 SB
Solak, who was received by the Rays in the 3-way trade that included Arizona and New York, has had another successful campaign of getting on base and hitting for a little power while contributing on the bases with 60 grade speed. This jump to AA was the jump I was concerned about for Solak, who not only has managed to almost identically replicate his OBP and SLG from 2017, but has managed to increase his SB and HR totals by 50%. Sprinkle in decent defense at 2B, and Solak is looking like a future everyday second baseman.
Kyle Wright (ATL, #2)
This week (AAA): 2 starts, 14 IP, 1.29 ERA, 6 H, 3 BB, 14 K
Throughout the past year, Wright has been a divisive guy for me. His stuff is fantastic – below is a video taken from a 2080 Baseball report by John Eshelman, in which Wright flashes all of his pitches. The full report can be found here. Wright’ delivery was a bit off to begin the season, something Braves’ writer Jason Gold and I agreed on, and it showed as he walked 30 batters in his first 63 innings to start the year. But Jason pointed out a fix in the middle of the summer, and the results for Wright have been flawless. Since the middle of June, Wright has a 2.50 ERA with a 73/21 K/BB ratio. He is still more control > command at this point, and based on his delivery I would guess the command will never be elite, but I’m all in on the stuff. He should miss plenty of bats at the Major League level.
#ATL Kyle Wright dismantling #MIL Lucas Erceg on an outside FB, backdoor curve, back foot slider sequence, courtesy of @2080_John a week ago. Really good stuff in this AB and perhaps a glimpse of a typical one should it all come together. Which is nasty. pic.twitter.com/VgGnD7wMwH
— Kurcon (@ckurcon) July 20, 2018
Keibert Ruiz (LAD, #2)
Last 10 days (AA): 15 for 30, 3 HR, 1 double, just 2 K
For a lot of people, Ruiz is the #2 catching prospect in all of baseball for a good reason. Still just 19 years old and more than holding his own at AA, Ruiz has just 29 strikeouts on the season, which is only 5 away from the number of walks he has. His current 7.9% K% would be the best mark for a 19 year old at AA in the past 15 years, beating Ruben Tejada’s 10.7% mark in 2009. He defense behind the plate still needs work here and there, but his receiving and framing has drawn rave reviews from those who have seen him frequently, and he has the tools to develop into possibly a very good defensive catcher as well. Pair that with a potential plus or better hit tool and you’ve got yourself a stew going.
Adonis Medina (PHI, #3)
This week (A+): 7 IP, 1.29 ERA, 4 H, 0 BB, 12 K
Man crush alert. Rhys and I were joining by Jason Woodell on a recent episode of 80 Grade (which you can hear here) which only cemented my love for Medina, who at his best can show you 3 plus pitches and good control. His command will get lost at times, and Eric Longenhagen recently hypothesized that he doesn’t pitch well after long outings, which lines up well with his game logs, but Medina could be a top 10 pitching prospect in baseball at this point. After a 6.67 ERA to start the season, Medina has settled in and has a 3.41 ERA in his last 13 starts, which even included a 2.2 IP, 7 ER implosion. With that in mind, Medina has a 2.59 ERA with an incredible 86/16 K/BB ratio in 12 of those 13 starts in the more recent 2/3rds of the season.
Alex Kirilloff (MIN, #2)
Last 10 days (A+): 17 for 41, 7 doubles, 1 HR
Not much more I or anyone else can say about Kirilloff; the dude can flat out hit. His offensive upside is immense.
Mike Shawaryn (BOS, #9)
This week (AAA): 2 appearances, 10.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 3 BB, 11 K
Shawaryn makes the Rundown this week because one of his appearances was very notable. After making his first 54 appearances in his pro career as a starter, Shawaryn came out of the bullpen for the first time in his career Sunday afternoon, pitching 3.1 innings of shutout baseball. Shawaryn’s arm slot – and thus potential troubles in getting out LHH – have made him a bullpen candidate ever since he was drafted. The move is likely not permanent, as Shawaryn has been very good in a starters role in between AA/AAA this season, but the Red Sox bullpen has struggled in the last month, so getting Shawaryn some innings could be beneficial in the short term.
MJ Melendez (KC, #5)
Last 10 days (A): 13 for 35, 6 XBH, 2 SB
As the MiLB season winds down, it’s safe to call MJM’s rookie campaign a success. The second round prep catcher hit a little, got on base a little, and showed some big power with a current .488 current SLG mark, all while logging [what should be] close to 600 innings behind the plate. Melendez struggled in July, with some theorizing that the backstop was beginning to fatigue a bit, something not uncommon for first year catchers adjusting to the rigors of catching so many innings. Melendez is small, however, so monitoring his fatigue (or lack thereof) next season will be big. Melendez has since bounced back in August, OPSing .935 on the month and bringing his season mark back above .800.
Eric Pardinho (TOR, #7)
This week (Rk): 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 BB, 6 K
I’ve said it before, but I’m not sure I’ve put it into writing quite yet. Pardinho’s year has been one of the most impressive thus far, as a 17 year old pitching extremely well in the Appalachian League. He is, of course, being heavily overshadowed by another 17 year old in the same league, but what he has done has not been seen for some time and deserves every ounce of recognition. Through 10 starts (46 IP), Pardinho has a 2.93 ERA, an 11.2 K/9 and just a 2.5 BB/9. Listed at just 5’10”, I do think Pardinho’s upside is limited assuming his stuff doesn’t somehow jump a grade or two; he isn’t Sixto Sanchez. But he does have a low to mid 90s fastball with good life, a plus breaker, and a change that has gotten universally positive remarks. His feel for pithing may help everything play up and he is an atypically safe gamble for a 17 year old to be a mid rotation starter somewhere down the line.
Drew Ellis (ARI, #9)
Last 10 days (A+): 10 for 29, 3 HR, 5 XBH
Ellis has been hot and cold for much of the 2018 season as the second rounder looked to rebound from a lackluster first taste of pro ball in 2017. Ellis has some real power in his swing, fueled by a quick bat and aided by a good path, but there have been some reports that he struggles against velocity and his hit tool will really need to max out to be able to get to all of that power in games. At third, he’s fine but nothing special and a lack of first step quickness limits the range. He most likely maxes out at an optimistic average defensively. Ellis is still looking for his first real success with wood bats.
J.B. Bukauskas (HOU, #8)
This week (A+): 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 1 BB, 5 K
It has been a year of ups and downs for Bukauskas, who has been moved between 4 levels and put on the DL twice – once because of a car crash. In between stints, reports on JBB have been less shiny than his season numbers. He still has significant upside based on stuff, but his high effort delivery and injury history create risk of reaching that ceiling. Hopefully with a healthy stretch – and maybe a trip to the AzFL, we can see the 2017 15th overall pick start next season in AA.
Isan Diaz (MIA, #8)
Last 10 days (AAA): 4 for 36, 1 HR
After an April and May in which Diaz struggled mightily (.664 OPS), he rebounded in June, OPSing .922 with lots of doubles and a slightly decreased K rate. Diaz was promoted to the PCL in mid July, and after a great initial 15 games, he has fallen back into a big slump with a sub-400 OPS in his last 50 PA. After a 2017 season in which Diaz “struggled”, his 2018 numbers with his new team look nearly identical, and my fear is that this is the player Diaz truly is and not the power hitting middle infielder that showed himself in 2016.
Matt Tabor (ARI, #20)
This week (A-): 2 starts, 10 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K
Tabor was one of my sleepers coming into 2017, as I’m a fan of both Northeast arms and good changeups, both of which Tabor has. So far, that hasn’t panned out like I had hoped, as Arizona elected to start their 2017 3rd rounder in XST instead of full season ball, but the early results in his short season stint have been good, now down to a 3.31 ERA with just 12 BB and 4 HR surrendered through 50+ IP. Tabor has been up to 95 with his FB in the past and he also has a breaker which changed to a slider in pro ball from a curve in high school, and the pitch has flashed plus here and there but is inconsistent. 2019 breakout candidate for sure.
Cristian Santana (LAD, #24)
Last 10 days (A+): 17 for 38, 4 HR, 2 doubles
Santana was one of my more interesting follows heading into this season, as he churned out a decently impressive 2017 campaign after the organization quieted his swing and he immediately saw results. A true 3B with a plus arm – and some plus glove grades – Santana is a big free swinger, with fantastic bat speed and good raw power. But his approach and barrel control lack immensely, and as a result, he’s walked just 18 times all year compared to 135 strikeouts in just over 500 PA. The glove/arm/power leave Santana with everyday player upside, but the approach will have to change and the hit tool will need to max out for that to happen.
Yefri Del Rosario (KC, #24)
This week (A): 2 starts, 11 IP, 0.00 ERA, 4 H, 6 BB, 8 K
Del Rosario, one of the Braves’ prospects released as a result of the team scandal, has pitched well since being signed by the Royals, holding a 3.68 ERA through 13 starts at A ball this year. Rosario, who is largely projection at this point, is an athletic 6’2” with a good arm action, two pitches which flash plus in the FB/CV and a changeup which he has the arm speed for.
Myles Straw Stolen Base Counter: 63/71 SB in 120 games
Photo credit: Shawn E. Davis/MiLB.com