Theme of the day
Deep in the heart of Texas: Houston and Texas prospects took center stage Thursday. In the Astros system, first-rounder Seth Beer crushed his first career grand slam for Class A Advanced Buies Creek while top prospect Kyle Tucker picked up four hits in his second game since returning to Triple-A Fresno. For the Rangers, No. 6 prospect Jonathan Hernandez fanned eight over six scoreless innings in a rebound performance for Double-A Frisco and Tanner Gardner picked up four hits (including a grand slam) and a career-best eight RBIs for Class A Short Season Spokane. That's burning big and bright for you.
Video: Fresno's Tucker homers
Who stayed hot
Tigers RHP Matt Manning, Class A Advanced Lakeland: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 91 pitches, 63 strikes -- This was the first time Manning hit double-digits in strikeouts in the Florida State League and the first time he fanned 10 for any Tigers affiliate since his season debut with Class A West Michigan on April 20. Since reaching Class A Advanced on July 4, Detroit's No. 3 prospect owns a 2.98 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 65 strikeouts and 19 walks in 51 1/3 innings. No other pitcher at the level has fanned more than 59 batters over that time. The 6-foot-6 right-hander is still working on finding the strike zone with regularity, but there's his 9.4 percent walk rate with Lakeland is the lowest of his career with a full-season club. With a plus fastball in the mid-90's and a plus curveball, Manning has the stuff to get swings and misses -- and wins.
Who needed this one
Giants OF Heliot Ramos, Class A Augusta: 3-for-6, 2 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K, SB in doubleheader -- The Giants' No. 2 prospect reached base in both ends of Augusta's twinbill against Kannapolis, but the superior performance came in the nightcap, where he picked up two triples, two RBIs and two runs scored. It was the latest strong showing in a solid August for the outfielder, who turns 19 on Sept. 7. Ramos is hitting .300/.315/.586 with 10 extra-base hits (six of which were triples) in 18 games this month. The 2017 first-rounder opened August with a .236/.311/.369 line but has now improved to .246/.311/.403. That's only a little better than league-average in the South Atlantic League. While Ramos has struggled to stand out statistically in his first full season, he still possesses the potential for above-average power, a plus run tool and solid skills in the outfield. Given his age, he has plenty of time to mature and grow into the rigors of the full-season pro game.
A's SS Richie Martin, Double-A Midland: 2-for-3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, BB, K -- The A's No. 12 prospect's last homer came on July 28, giving him a stretch of 21 straight games without a long ball, and he had hit just three dingers all season over 109 games with Midland. So no, he wasn't expected to go deep twice in the RockHounds' 5-0 win at Corpus Christi. Martin is known primarily for his glovework at shortstop and as his speed, but outside of the low power numbers, he's been a solid offensive contributor with a .290/.360/.412 line with 21 steals this season. He'll be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason, but his performance in 2018 should help his case to be added to Oakland's 40-man roster.
Video: RockHounds' Martin belts two homers
Touki Toussaint vs. Austin Meadows: This game between Gwinnett and Durham offered a matchup between two first-rounders with Major League experience already under their belts, and in this instance, the Stripers right-hander had no issues handling his Bulls counterpart. Toussaint got Meadows to fly out to left in the first inning and then struck him out swinging in the fourth and looking in the sixth. Meadows accounted for two of Tousaint's eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in his side's 5-0 road win. More on the Braves prospect's gem in Michael Avallone's story here.
Video: Gwinnett's Toussaint notches eighth strikeout
Who strengthened their promotion case
White Sox OF Eloy Jimenez, Triple-A Charlotte: 4-for-5, 2B, RBI, R -- Earlier in the day Thursday, the Players' Tribune published a piece about the top White Sox prospect in which he stated, "Chicago, I'm ready! Right now. I'm ready to go." He then backed it up by picking up four hits in a matinee at Norfolk, lifting his line to .360/.402/.611 through 46 games with Triple-A Charlotte. He's hitting .337/.384/.582 with 21 homers overall and really is ready. More on Jimenez's big day in Chris Tripodi's story here.
Video: Eloy singles for fourth hit against Norfolk
Others of note
D-backs OF Kristian Robinson, Rookie-level Missoula: 2-for-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, BB -- The 17-year-old Bahamian has had no problems in the Pioneer League since a promotion from the Arizona League last Friday -- he's 6-for-18 (.333) with two homers, a double, six RBIs and three stolen bases in his six games. The D-backs' No. 12 prospect hit .272/.341/.414 with four homers and seven steals during his 46-game stay in the AZL.
Blue Jays 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Triple-A Buffalo: 2-for-5 -- Singles in the eighth and ninth inning were enough to hold Guerrero's season average at .390 over 85 games this season. There are 12 games left on the Buffalo schedule as MLB.com's top overall prospect chases .400.