We can officially say goodbye to Wander Franco. The Tampa Bay phenom left Bowling Green behind sporting a .318/.506/.896 split with 6 HR, 14 SB and a BB:K ratio of 20:14 — at age 18. Simply put, we’re not likely to see a prospect that young perform so well across the board in Single-A for a while.
We will, however, see a plethora of quality prospects pass through in the coming months, as nearly all of the 2019 MLB Draft selections have been signed. Basically, any advanced college first-round pick could be thrown into Single-A, depending on how aggressive his drafting organization is with his development. It’s unlikely, but it’s possible. At the same time, guys like Andrew Vaughn, Adley Rutschman and J.J. Bleday could rise quickly to this level — like within a month.
That said, let’s look at some of the guys who starred/struggled in Single-A in June:
The Midwest League has seen some of its more popular names play their way to a promotion to High-A just before the conclusion of June. Still, there are a number of prospects who have not been able to produce as hoped.
After fast starts to the season, Alek Thomas (Arizona), Brice Turang (Milwaukee) and Nolan Gorman (St. Louis) have slowed down considerably. In fact, after combining for 15 home runs in April and May, the three prospects managed to hit just three dingers in June. Part of the reason was that Gorman, despite hitting .138 through the first 20 days of June, was called up to High-A anyway. Still, this is quite the dry spell for power.
A number of big-name prospects have struggled all season: Anaheim’s Jordyn Adams (.240/.333/.662, 4 HR) can’t get it going. Neither can fellow 2018 first-round pick Connor Scott of Miami (.229/.344/.630, 4 HR). It also seems as even though he’s only 19, Kevin Maitan is truly lost. The once highly-touted international signing is scuffling in the Angels’ org, slashing a paltry .211/.305/577 with 5 HR with a strikeout rate of 30.79%.
There are some prospects who are meeting or exceeding expectations: Xavier Edwards (San Diego) has put together another solid month. So far in 2019, the speedy Edwards has been impressive with the bat (.337/.408/.800) and on the basepaths (19 SB) all while keeping his walk rate acceptable (8.74%) and K rate fantastic (11.0%). Remember, there isn’t any projection for power here, but there is always a place for a speedy infielder who can get on base. Edwards should be promoted sometime after the break.
Bo Naylor (Cleveland) had a rough start to the season, but has since picked it up, slashing .286/.529/.870 in 19 June games. He had three dingers and three stolen bases too. The 2018 first rounder has potential starting upside but given his struggles to start the year, he likely won’t be promoted until the very end of 2019 or to start 2020.
As far as pitching is concerned, some of the best names left Single-A in June, Aaron Ashby (Milwaukee) and Shane McClanahan (Tampa Bay), but the class of the league so far has been Joey Cantillo (San Diego). While not on many prospect outlet’s radars, Cantillo flashed some potential with a plus 12-6 curveball, a plus changeup, despite less-than-elite fastball velocity (sitting 91). Still, this kid is just 19 and 6-feet-4-inches tall. It is possible he adds velocity in the next year or so. He’s been fantastic so far at Fort Wayne, striking out 82 batters in 63 innings with a 1.71 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. In June, he gave up one run in 25 innings.
South Atlantic League
Jarred Kelenic (Seattle) was probably the South Atlantic’s highest-profile prospect before being called up in June. Now that title falls on Triston Casas (Boston) the power-hitting third baseman who seems to have found his stroke in Greenville. The 19-year-old, who will probably have to move to first base by Double-A, is slashing .271/.533/.878 with 14 dingers. The K-rate of 26.76% is a little concerning for the low minors, but there is still time to bring that down.
Sherten Apostel (Texas) may have figured something out in June, after a horrendous start to the season. In 19 June games, the Hickory third baseman slashed .297/.688/1.074 with eight dingers. He also posted a BB:K ratio of 8:12. Another month like that and the Rangers will have to promote him.
Coming out of nowhere — and by nowhere, I mean the 17th round of last year’s draft — is Mason Martin (Pittsburgh). Right now the first baseman is lighting up the South Atlantic with 20 HR in 76 games. Now, at the same time, Martin is striking out 31.56% of the time, but all that power has to come from somewhere, and the 20-year-old is making a case for a call-up soon.
As far as pitching is concerned, the South Atlantic is Luis Gil‘s world. The Yankees prospect has front-line stuff and is putting it to use for the RiverDogs, with a 1.92 ERA and 90 Ks over 65.2 innings. It’s only a matter of days before Gil goes to High-A. After all, the kid has one of the smoothest deliveries you’ll see. He sits at 95 with a plus slider, an average curveball, and a rough changeup. An improvement on either the curveball or the changeup will jump him into the top 50 prospect lists, if he’s not already there by the end of the season.
Yerry Rodriguez (Texas) is also making a case to get out of Hickory. So far, the righty has punched out 78 batters in 67.2 innings while posting a 2.13 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. The 21-year-old has a plus changeup and a borderline plus fastball and a work-in-progress curveball.