Prospect Roundup: Games of August 7
Cubs OF Albert Almora Jr., Double-A Tennessee: 3-for-4, 2B, R -- Almora posted his third straight multi-hit performance and now has nine knocks over his last four games for the Smokies. The 2012 first-round pick has boosted his average from .234 to .251 over that span and had a hand in Tennessee's five-run first inning on Friday night, reaching on a bunt single and later scoring. After batting .241 in June and just .217 in July, Almora is raking at a .367 clip through his first seven games in August. A sleek fielder with possible Gold Glove potential, Almora is both healthy and productive as his first full Double-A season reaches its final stages.
Twins OF Max Kepler, Double-A Chattanooga: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R -- German-born outfielder Kepler shows zero signs of slowing down in his breakout campaign for the Lookouts. Lauded for his makeup and tools, Kepler is putting them all together this season and blasted his fourth home run in his last nine games on Friday night. In 31 games since the All-Star break, Kepler is batting .321/.430/.545, actually bettering his first-half OPS of .972. Kepler plays with solid grades in all scouting categories and looks to be developing the power to match his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame. He's also continued to be a steady presence in the heart of the order for a Chattanooga team that has lost Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano to promotions this year.
Giants RHP Tyler Beede, Double-A Richmond: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K -- Though it came in a losing effort, Beede's showing on Friday exhibited some encouraging signs. The right-hander pitched without allowing an earned run for the first time since his Double-A debut all the way back on June 5. Beede was also more efficient with his arsenal. Through his six frames, the 22-year-old needed just 81 pitches, throwing 44 of them for strikes. The Giants would benefit from seeing Beede go deeper into starts as his build and athleticism suggest he can. The Vanderbilt product would also be well served to rein in his command: Beede has walked at least three batters in five of his last six starts.
Dodgers 1B Cody Bellinger, Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R - Bellinger swooned for much of June and July, posting month-long averages of .206 and .200, but the big first baseman is putting things together so far in August. Bellinger blasted his second and third home runs in seven games this month on Friday and put up his second multi-homer game in 10 days, last accomplishing the feat on July 28. Bellinger's highest graded hit tool is his power, which ranks as a 60 on MLB.com's 20-to-80 scouting scale. The 6-foot-4 left-handed hitter is still just 20 years old.
Red Sox 3B Michael Chavis, Class A Greenville: 2-for-8, HR, 4 RBI (DH) - After posting a .250 average in July, his best mark of any month this year, Chavis mashed a grand slam for his first August home run on Friday night in Greenville's doubleheader sweep of Lexington. Boston's 2014 first-round pick has struggled to get acclimated to full-season ball at times this season, and he recently discussed the changes from high school and the Gulf Coast League to his position on Greenville's roster. However, his power numbers are coming along the deeper he gets into the season. Chavis has bashed five homers in 34 games since the All-Star break, just one fewer than he hit in 52 games before it.
Marlins LHP Michael Mader, Class A Greensboro: 7 1/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K -- For Mader, it has been something of a long season. The southpaw got a chance to forget much of that frustration during his Friday night outing. Pitching into the eighth for just the second time this year, Mader came within one strikeout of matching his season high while earning his first victory since July 11 and just his second since May 29. In order to climb in the Miami system, Mader will have to do more of what worked Friday: strike out more batters and walk fewer. Through 22 starts this season, the lefty has fanned 69 but walked 51 in 112 innings.
Athletics SS Richie Martin, Class A Short Season Vermont: 1-for-2, 3 SB, 2 R, 2 BB -- Though he recorded just two official at-bats on Friday night, Martin made every plate appearance count. The 2015 first-rounder swiped second base after a single in the third inning, then stole second and third after walking to lead off the seventh. The University of Florida product is likely to stick at shortstop in his professional career which isn't often the case with athletes who play the position in college. In addition to his defensive acumen, Martin has speed and is graded as a 60 baserunner.
Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.