Prospects of the Week – August 28 thru September 3

This week is our final #POTW list of the season. Thanks for following the action! But stay tuned on Twitter (@Prospects1500) and Prospects1500.com where we will be nominating players starting Tuesday, September 5, for our Prospects of the Year team! Four prospects will be nominated per field position, plus sixteen starting pitchers and four relievers. Then, we will turn it over to the fans to vote for the Prospects1500 Prospects of the Year Team!

Each week we have picked a hitting prospect and pitching prospect from each level (AAA, AA, A-Advanced, A-Full, A-Short, and Rookie ball) 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.

We’d also like to give a shout-out to Chip Bourne (@ccbournejr) who compiles weekly MiLB stats on his site, which we use to help compile our POTW list: Hitters and Pitchers.

Here are our Prospects of the Week for the week of August 28 – September 3, 2017:

AAA

Hitter: Tyler O’Neill (Cardinals)

RF – Memphis Redbirds

Canadian power-hitting prospect pummeled PCL pitching this week to run away with POTW honors. O’Neill launched 5 bombs in 6 games this week, pushing his 2017 minor league total to 31 home runs. O’Neill drove in an impressive 13 total runs this week. He also hit safely in every game. With a week like this, O’Neill may have hit his way into a Prospect of the Year nomination (stay tuned!)

Pitcher: John Simms (Nationals – unranked)

RHP – Syracuse Chiefs

Simms has the makeup of a journeyman minor league pitcher, but in his one start this week for Syracuse, he spun a gem. Simms took on a tough Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs squad on 8/29 and dominated. He pitched 7 innings in the start, allowing 0 earned runs. Simms also racked up 9 strikeouts while holding the Iron Pigs to 3 hits and 3 walks on the night. He only went 2-4 with a 5.63 ERA at AAA Syracuse this season, but his last start on the year was one to remember.

AA

Hitter: Yusniel Diaz (Dodgers #7)

RF – Tulsa Drillers

This Cuban phenom scorched Texas League pitching this week en route to POTW honors. Diaz is still only 20 years old, but brought an advanced plate approach, logging 3 multi-hit efforts this week while only striking out 3 times. Diaz batted .416 on the week, hitting 2 HR, driving in 6 runs, and scoring 6 runs. His batting average across all levels in 2017 is now up to .291.

Pitcher: Freddy Peralta (Brewers #15)

RHP – Biloxi Shuckers

Southern League batters got sick of seeing Peralta this week, because Peralta struck out an incredible 20 batters over 12 innings of work in 2 starts for the Shuckers. He cruised to a dominant win over Jacksonville on the 8/28, pitching 6 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts, while only issuing 2 hits and 1 walk. Peralta punched out 8 more batters in a 6-inning start against Mobile on the 9/2. The 21-year old is now a hard luck 3-8 on the season despite posting a 2.63 ERA and totaling 169 Ks in 120 IPs.

A-Advanced

Hitter: Mitch Longo (Indians #17)

RF – Lynchburg Hillcats

A 14th-round pick in the 2016 draft, Longo was promoted this week to Lynchburg of the A-Advanced Carolina League. And he did not disappoint. He was almost impossible to get out in his first 4 Carolina League games, posting an absurd .750 OBP. On September 1 at Wilmington, Longo went 4-for-4, walked his other time up, and scored 5 runs! His 2017 OPS across all levels now sits at an even 1.000.

Pitcher: Lewis Thorpe (Twins #12)

LHP – Ft. Myers Miracle

Aussie lefty who has bounced back from TJS to post good numbers as a 21 year-old in the Florida State League this season. Thorpe earned POTW honors this week on the back of a very strong start on 8/31 at Jupiter. Thorpe worked 7 innings, only allowing 1 earned run on 5 scattered hits. He also punched out 11 batters on the night. He’s now tallied 91 strikeouts in 83 innings of work in the minors this season.

A-Full Season

Hitters: CO-WINNERS
Nick Banks (Nationals #41, RF – Hagerstown Suns) AND David Jacob (Blue Jays – unranked, 1B – Lansing Lugnuts)

Banks, Washington’s 4th round pick in 2016, put together a mediocre first full season in pro ball but he’s finishing off the year with a very strong performance.  In 5 games this past week the 22 year old was 7-17 (.411) with 2 HR, 8 RBI, 15 total bases and 3 SB.  Jacob, hitting over .300 since his promotion to Lansing on August 14, tallied 11 hits and 18 total bases this week, including 2 HR, 6 RBI and 6 R.  He finished the week with a .478 AVG and .782 SLG.

Pitcher: Connor Grey (Diamondbacks – unranked)

RHP – Kane County Cougars

The Cougars are the only Chicagoland area affiliated minor league team, and on September 1 they treated local baseball fans to something which hasn’t happened in the Midwest League in 17 years – a perfect game. Grey took the bump against the Clinton Lumber Kings and never looked back, pitching a 9-inning perfect game and striking out 8 batters. It capped a great season for the unheralded 20th round draft pick. Grey is now 9-4 with a 2.87 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. And for the first time this century, a Midwest League pitcher was perfect.

A-Short Season

Hitter: CO-WINNERS
Chris Torres (Mariners – unranked, SS – Everett AquaSox) AND Jared Young (Cubs – unranked, 2B – Eugene Emeralds)

A great week for our two winners Torres and Young who were both on fire this week.  Torres, the young (19) Dominican prospect, hit safely in each game with 4 multi-hit efforts in 6 games. He also displayed some power potential this week, launching 3 HRs and racking up 23 total bases en route to a .793 slugging percentage this week. He also flashed some speed, stealing his 14th base of the season.  Young didn’t show the same power but killed it this week going 15-23 (.652/.913) with 1 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R and 21 total bases.

Pitcher: Adam Oller (Pirates – unranked)

RHP – West Virginia Black Bears

This big right-hander from Texas spun a gem for the Black Bears this week. Oller pitched a gem to earn the win against Auburn on 9/2. He went 5.2 innings, only allowing 2 hits and 1 walk, striking out 10 batters. He had an impressive run in the New York-Penn League this summer, posting a 1.59 ERA in 45.1 innings of work.

Rookie

Hitter: Jake Fraley (Rays – unranked)

CF – GCL Rays

Left-handed hitting 2016 draft pick out of LSU was hot at the plate this week in spot duty for the GCL Rays. Fraley went 2-for-3, 2-for-5, and 2-for-4 in his 3 games this week. He also added a home run, a stolen base, scored 4 runs, and drove in 2. This 22-year old had a rough year, but a performance like this can turn things around for him heading into 2018.

Pitcher: Diosward Gonzalez (Astros – unranked)

RHP – GCL Astros

Venezuelan righty racked up 12 Ks in 7.1 innings of work across 2 appearances in the Gulf Coast League this week. Diosward did not allow an earned run in either appearance. He finished with a 4-4 record and 2.00 ERA in Rookie ball this summer.

Article featured image of Freddy Peralta – courtesy MiLB.com

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