Prospect Roundup: Games of Aug. 8

Nationals' Garcia continues to pop off; Guerrero bests Wright

Luis Garcia has collected 31 extra-base hits in 105 games between two levels this season. (Gary Dize/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | August 9, 2018 12:30 PM

Theme of the night

Ball tricks: Willians Astudillo and Carlos Correa are known for different things. Astudillo pushed his way to the Majors this season after years of being the Minors' low-strikeout, low-walk, put-everything-in-play king. Correa is an All-Star shortstop and defending World Series champion currently rehabbing from back soreness with Double-A Corpus Christi. On Wednesday, they both made news for doing wacky things with the baseball itself. Astudillo, playing at the hot corner for Triple-A Rochester, pulled off the hidden-ball trick to nab Toledo's Dawel Lugo at third base. Correa fouled off a ball to right that just happened to find his fiancee Daniella Rodriguez. Just a quirky night in the Minors for tricks with the 180-stiched cowhide.

Video: Astudillo pulls off hidden-ball trick for Red Wings

Who stayed hot

Nationals SS/3B Luis Garcia, Class A Advanced Potomac: 2-for-3, HR, RBI, 3 R, BB -- The Nationals' rate of success in pushing their talented teenagers has continued with Garcia, who moved up to the Carolina League last month. Washington's No. 3 prospect has gone 8-for-13 (.615) with a homer, a double, five RBIs and a stolen base over his last three games, pushing his line to .322/.352/.470 in 27 games with the P-Nats. The infielder, who turned 18 in May, was the youngest player in the South Atlantic League on Opening Day but has had no issues offensively in his first full season. He's hitting .304/.340/.421 with six homers and 10 steals overall this season. The move to Potomac has also allowed Garcia to concentrate fully on shortstop after splitting time there in Hagerstown with No. 9 Nats prospect Yasel Antuna. He has the arm to make it work at third base, but if he can stick at short and still maintain his offense, Garcia will have as high a ceiling as any prospect in the Washington system.

Who needed this one

Mets OF Jarred Kelenic, Rookie-level Kingsport: 2-for-5, 3B, 2B, R -- This year's No. 6 overall pick burst out of the gate, hitting .413/.451/.609 in 12 games in the Gulf Coast League, prompting the Mets to promote him to the Appalachian League just a month after he was drafted. It's been much tougher sledding for Kelenic with Kingsport, however. This was the first of his 27 games with the K-Mets in which the left-handed slugger collected multiple extra-base hits in a game, and he's still hitting just .173/.295/.356 in the Appy League. Part of that could be a severe turnaround in luck; Kelenic had an astronomically high .514 BABIP in the GCL and has seen that stat fall to a comically low .195 at the higher level. In any event, there's no reason for concern. The 19-year-old outfielder still has the potential to be an above-average hitter with decent power and good speed.

The unexpected

Yankees LHP Erik Swanson, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 99 pitches, 65 strikes -- There were a number of reason not to expect this gem from the Yankees' No. 22 prospect. Swanson was coming off a Aug. 1 start in which he gave up six earned runs on eight hits and a walk in just 4 1/3 innings, sending his Triple-A ERA to 5.14. He hadn't had a seven-inning outing since May 10 with Double-A Trenton, in part due to a groin injury that caused him to miss a month. But he hit that mark in what was easily his best Triple-A start. Swanson, who throws a low-90s fastball with plenty of movement and also sports an average slider and change, has always had good control, and that trend continued in his 11th straight start with no more than one walk. The 24-year-old right-hander has a 4.41 ERA with 53 strikeouts and eight walks in 49 innings with the RailRiders. He's eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason, and with the Yankees facing a roster crunch, he might need a few more gems in the season's final month to earn a 40-man roster spot.

Best matchup

Kyle Wright vs. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.The Braves' No. 2 prospect was coming off throwing 5 2/3 no-hit innings (that also featured four walks) in his Triple-A debut last Friday but had the unfortunate assignment of facing the game's top prospect in his second Gwinnett start. Guerrero nearly cycled off Wright with a double in the first, single in the third and his first Triple-A homer in the fifth. (More on the Buffalo slugger's big night in Gerard Gilberto's story here.) Wright finished with five runs allowed (four earned) on seven hits and a walk and struck out six over six innings in his side's 6-1 loss.

Video: Guerrero belts first Triple-A homer for Bisons

Who strengthened their promotion case

Nationals OF Victor Robles, Triple-A Syracuse: 2-for-2, 2B, SB -- This performance isn't technically official yet -- Wednesday's game between Syracuse and Charlotte was suspended after four innings and will be resumed Thursday at 4:35 p.m. But before rain and wet grounds sent both sides home for the night, Robles picked up a double, a single and a stolen base as the Chiefs leadoff hitter. Including those two knocks, he's 12-for-46 (.261) with a homer, two doubles, seven walks and seven steals in 12 games since returning to Triple-A three months after suffering an elbow injury. Given his five-tool skill set, Robles is likely headed to the Majors when rosters expand in September, with the Nats needing all the help they can get to track down the Phillies and Braves in the NL East. As he did last year, he might be most valuable as a late-inning pinch runner or defensive replacement, but he could earn some starts as well.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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