Welcome to our new weekly feature on Prospect1500, the Prospects of the Week! Each week, we will pick the hitting prospect and pitching prospects from each level (AAA, AA, High-A, Low-A) who, in our opinion, had the best week. We are always on the lookout for candidates, so tweet us (@Prospects1500 or @PhilOfSports) when you see a great performance.
Here are our Prospects of the Week for the week of May 14 – May 21, 2017:
Hitter: Willie Calhoun (Prospects1500 overall #74, Dodgers #6)
2B – Oklahoma City Dodgers
The diminutive 2B prospect showed some pop in a fantastic week for the Oklahoma City Dodgers. On Wednesday night, Calhoun hit a walk-off solo home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Sacramento River Cats. Then, in his next game on Friday, Calhoun hit a leadoff homer against El Paso. Calhoun has flashed some promising power in AAA this season, hitting 3 HR on the week while also posting a .357 batting average. Calhoun also did not strike out this week. A nice run for this promising Dodgers prospect.
Pitcher: Marco Gonzales (Cardinals #30)
LHP – Memphis Redbirds
Once a top prospect, this lefthander with a devastating change-up has bounced back well after missing 2016 due to TJS. Gonzales fooled PCL hitters all week. On the 14th, Gonzales went 7 innings, only allowed 1 earned run, and posted a glowing 6:1 K:BB ratio. On the 20th, Gonzales turned around and picked up the win at Fresno, scattering 4 hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings. At one point, Gonzales retired 11 batters in a row. Gonzales’s PCL ERA now stands at a minuscule 0.68, not bad for a hitters league. He should probably be moved up the Cardinals prospect rankings, and if he stays healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him called up to the Majors at some point this year.
Hitter: Ryan McBroom (Blue Jays #40)
1B – New Hampshire Fisher Cats
A big 1B power hitter, McBroom flashed that power this week to the dismay of Eastern League pitchers. On the 17th, McBroom went 3-for-5 with a solo HR. The next day, McBroom went 1-for-4 with a 2-run tater. On the 20th McBroom rounded out his week by going 1-for-3 with another 2 run bomb. McBroom also tallied 7 RBIs for the week. While he’s old for his level (25), McBroom’s hot streak is still impressive.
Pitcher: Michael Kopech (Prospects1500 overall #22, White Sox #5)
RHP – Birmingham Barons
Kopech made 2 starts for the Barons this week, flashing the stuff that made the White Sox willing to part with Chris Sale in the offseason. Kopech struck out 17 batters across 12.1 innings in the 2 starts, showing the ability to overpower AA hitting. His start on Friday, May 19th against the Tennessee Smokies was a dominant outing. Kopech wobbled in the first inning, walking two batters and throwing a wild pitch en route to giving up a run. But Kopech locked it down after that, taking a no-hitter into the 6th inning, finishing with a win and 7 strikeouts over 7 innings. He struck out the final batter he faced on a 99-mph fastball. Kopech’s week brought his season record to 3-2, while posting a 2.76 ERA and 1.04 WHIP for AA Birmingham.
Hitter: Shed Long (Reds #28)
2B – Daytona Tortugas
Long only had 1 game this week where he failed to register a hit, batting .500 for the Tortugas. He also scored 6 runs, drove in 5, hit a HR, and stole a base. The athletic 2B was the Cincinnati Reds Minor League Hitter of the Year last season and has the ability to become a multi-category fantasy contributor down the road for your dynasty team.
Pitcher: Peter Lambert (Rockies #18)
RHP – Lancaster JetHawks
Colorado’s 2015 2nd round pick had a nice 2-start week for Lancaster. On the 15th, he earned a win vs. Stockton, striking out 9 batters in 6 innings of solid work. On the 20th, Lambert worked 7 scoreless innings against Inland Empire, striking out 6 batters while only allowing 1 walk. The 20 year-old righty has been doing great work inducing groundball outs and getting ahead of the count. To that point, Lambert threw 16 first-pitch strikes and 63 0f his 89 pitches overall for strikes against Inland Empire.
Hitter: Fernando Tatis, Jr. (Prospects1500 overall #129, Padres #37)
SS – Fort Wayne Tincaps
Fernando Tatis, Jr., son of former big-leaguer Fernando Tatis, came over to the Padres organization when the White Sox traded him as part of a package for James Shields in the 2016 deal which will live in infamy with White Sox fans. Tatis Jr. has looked great for the Tincaps this season and is tearing up Midwest League pitching to the tune of a .290/.369/.490 slash line. Tatis Jr. when bananas last week, registering hits in every game en route to a .521 batting average for the week. Tatis Jr. also tallied 3 home runs, 8 runs scored, and 6 RBI. Still only 18 years-old, it is probably time for the P1500 crew to adjust his ranking in the Padres organization.
Pitcher: Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks #29)
RHP – Kane County Cougars
A big (6-4, 225) righthander who played his college ball at Rice, Jon Duplantier has owned Midwest League hitters for the Cougars so far this season. On May 19 he pitched 6 scoreless innings in a win against the Quad Cities River Bandits, striking out 6 hitters on the way. The start brought Duplantier’s season ERA down to 0.64 over 42.1 innings of work. He’s gone 4-0 with an excellent 54:11 K:BB ratio. It is probably time for the D’backs to move this rising prospect up the ladder.
Article featured image of Willie Calhoun – courtesy of ocrregister.com. Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG