Prospects of the Week captures the best performances across all levels of the minor leagues. Because this covers a huge pool of players, its focus will generally favor prospects considered among the top of each organization.
This week includes games played July 22-28. You can read previous Prospects of the Week articles here:
It’s a PCL World and We’re Just Living in It
Sean Murphy, 24, C, Las Vegas (OAK), Triple-A
(7-for-18, .389 avg., 5 HR, 9 RBI, 7 R, 5 BB)
Oh, PCL. Never change. Murphy smashed two of Las Vegas’ 11 record-setting home runs against El Paso on Friday. Yes, that is the most home runs by a team in a single game in Pacific Coast League history. Murphy finished with five long balls on the week, a good sign for the one of the top catching prospects in the minors who is working his way back after missing more than two months with a torn left meniscus.
Jorge Mateo, 24, 2B/SS, Las Vegas (OAK), Triple-A
(12-for-28, .429 avg., 4 HR, 7 RBI, 12 R, 4 BB, 2 SB)
Mateo wore out El Paso pitching this week, collecting 10 hits over a four-game span, including reaching base six times on Saturday. He actually received four free passes in that game, which is telling for a hitter with just a 4.8% walk rate on the year. In what is a repeat season at Triple-A, Mateo has made huge improvements across the board, including a bump in his wRC+ from 65 to 106 in 2019. There are still flaws in his profile for sure, but he’s certainly in the conversation to get a look at second base with the A’s in the near future.
Dustin May, 21, RHP, Oklahoma City (LAD), Triple-A
(2 W, 12 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 10 K)
Despite all the crooked numbers being put up in the PCL right now, the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect managed to secure two wins this week, giving up just one run in 12 innings. May now owns a 2.30 ERA in his first 27.1 innings since earning a promotion to Oklahoma City, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s called upon should the Dodgers need a spot start or two down the stretch.
Sixto Sanchez, 21, RHP, Jacksonville (MIA), Double-A
(1 W, 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 9 K)
If you remove an ugly start against Charlotte on July 2 where Sanchez surrendered eight runs, the Marlins’ top minor league arm has a 1.34 ERA over his last six starts. He didn’t issue a walk in his seven shutout innings against Biloxi on July 23, continuing a trend of stellar command that lowered his BB/9 to just 1.66 on the year.
Trevor Stephan, 23, RHP, Tampa (NYY), High-A
(1 W, 7 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 9 K)
After excelling through the lower minors and reaching Double-A in 2018, it’s been a mostly forgettable season for Stephan (5.97 ERA, 1.46 WHIP), who battled a back injury in May and just hasn’t looked the same. But he took a step in returning to form against Jupiter on Friday, hurling seven no-hit innings with a season-high nine strikeouts.
Can’t Get No Respect
Randy Arozarena, 24, OF, Memphis (STL), Triple-A
(12-for-25, .480 avg., 1 HR, 4 RBI, 7 R, 2 SB)
The Cuban outfielder hit for the cycle against Oklahoma City on Friday, and he only needed five innings to do it. Arozarena has quietly been a hit machine in the minors this year (.346/.433/.551) and now has a 1.011 OPS in 42 games at Triple-A, albeit in the hitter-friendly PCL. While Dylan Carlson has received a lot of the Cardinals’ prospect love this year (and deservedly so), Arozarena remains overlooked and is primed to make an appearance in St. Louis should a spot open up in the outfield.
Josh Fleming, 23, LHP, Montgomery (TAM), Double-A
(2 W, 18 IP, 1 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 12 K)
Fleming threw not one, but two, complete games this week, capped off by a three-hit shutout against Birmingham on Sunday. He’s now given up just three runs in his last 30 IP, lowering his ERA to 3.25 on the year. While he’s not a high pedigree guy and his 18.4% K rate is a bit modest, Fleming is on quite the run in the Southern League.
Daniel McGrath, 25, LHP, Portland (BOS), Double-A
(8 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K)
Full disclosure – I had not heard of Daniel McGrath before this week. But the dude has not allowed an earned run in the Eastern League since May 28, which spans a ridiculous 40 innings (he did allow a run in a spot appearance with the Triple-A Pawtucket club on June 16). The Australian native began the year in a relief role but transitioned to a starter in late June and threw a season-high eight innings on Thursday. If nothing else it’ll be fun to see how long he can keep the zeroes coming.
The Future is Bright
Gabriel Arias, 19, 3B/SS, Lake Elsinore (SDP), High-A
(11-for-30, .367 avg., 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, 1 BB, 1 SB)
A red-hot Arias homered in three straight games this week and now has eight multi-hit efforts in his last 11 games. The young Venezuelan has been overshadowed by more highly-touted prospects coming up the Padres’ system but he’s enjoying a nice bounce back year offensively (.290/.333/.445) after a flat showing in A-ball last year. Arias has also shifted to third base at Lake Elsinore to make room for shortstop Xavier Edwards.
Brailyn Marquez, 20, LHP, South Bend (CHC), Class A
(6 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, O BB, 14 K)
It’s been an up-and-down season for Marquez (3.49 ERA, 1.49 WHIP), but Thursday was definitely a high note as the lefty struck out a career-best 14 batters over six shutout innings. His fastball reportedly hit 101 mph multiple times in the first inning, showing why at just 20 years old he’s one of the Cubs’ most intriguing prospects.
Nasim Nuñez, 18, SS, GCL Marlins (MIA), Rookie – Gulf Coast
(9-for-25, .360 avg., 8 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 7 SB)
Nuñez was hyped more for his glove than his bat in this year’s amateur draft, where he went in the second round to the Marlins. And while he hasn’t shown any power yet, the speed was on full display this week, including a four-steal game against the Mets’ rookie club on Saturday. He now has 16 SBs (out of 17 attempts) in just 27 games in the GCL.
Seth Brown, 27, 1B, Las Vegas (OAK), Triple-A
(12-for-25, .480 avg., 8 HR, 13 RBI, 12 R, 5 BB)
DJ Peters, 23, OF, Oklahoma City (LAD), Triple-A
(9-for-24, .375 avg., 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R, 3 BB)
Nolan Jones, 21, 3B, Akron (CLE), Double-A
(10-for-29, .345 avg., 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB, 1 SB)
Nate Pearson, 22, RHP, New Hampshire (TOR), Double-A
(5.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 8 K)
Grayson Rodriguez, 19, RHP, Delmarva (BAL), Class A
(1 W, 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 10 K)
(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)