Prospect Roundup: Games of July 10

Mets' Gimenez remains hot in July; Yanks' Florial swipes three bags

Andres Gimenez has 28 extra-base hits and 26 steals for Class A Advanced St. Lucie this season. (Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | July 11, 2018 12:00 PM

Theme of the day

Nothing Rookie-level about these bats: With both Triple-A circuits and the Eastern League in the midst of their All-Star breaks, the attention of the Minor Leagues turned toward the lower levels, and it was the Rookie-level Appalachian and Pioneer Leagues that stood up the most. Reds prospect Jonathan Willems hit for the cycle for Greeneville on the Appy League side, while Royals prospect Reed Rohlman plated seven runs in Idaho Falls' 15-8 win over Helena in the Pioneer circuit. Even Mets first-rounder Jarred Kelenic, who was making his debut with Kingsport, joined in on the fun, going 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs in his first game outside the Florida complexes, which happened to be the same contest as Willems's feat.

Who stayed hot

Mets SS Andres Gimenez, Class A Advanced St. Lucie: 3-for-5, 3B, 2B, 2 RBI, R -- This was Gimenez's second straight three-hit game and extended his hitting streak to nine games. Coming off a rough June in which he hit .202 over 25 games, the Mets' top prospect has produced a .410/.425/.590 line through 10 games in July. Already possessing a solid hit tool, the 19-year-old shortstop has begun to develop power this season. With two extra-base hits Tuesday, Gimenez now has 28 through 80 games in 2018, up from only 17 in 92 contests last year at Class A Columbia, and his slugging percentage has appropriately jumped from .349 to .434. With a more complete offensive profile to build on his already steady defensive work at short, Gimenez, who will participate in Sunday's Futures Game, could jump higher from his current spot at No. 68 in MLB.com's overall rankings.

Who needed this one

Yankees OF Estevan Florial, Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Yankees East: 1-for-1, RBI, 2 BB, 2 R, 3 SB -- The Yankees' top prospect is rehabbing from hamate surgery, so it would have been preferable to see him test his hand and wrist by swinging the bat more. But still, this performance boded well for Florial's return to full-time action. The 20-year-old outfielder is prone to striking out, so it was encouraging to see him either make contact for a single or take his walks Tuesday. Also despite possessing plus-plus speed, Florial was just 5-for-9 in stolen base attempts in the Florida State League before the injury. His three steals Tuesday not only matched a career high, but they also showed a willingness to run and run smartly for MLB.com's No. 37 overall prospect.

The unexpected

Braves OF Cristian Pache, Class A Advanced Florida: 2-for-5, HR, 3B, 2 RBI, R, K -- In the micro sense, Pache's performance may not stand out that much. It helped build on what's been a strong offensive July for the Braves' No. 8 prospect -- one in which he's hitting .346 with six extra-base hits and a 1.162 OPS over eight games. But in the macro sense, it speaks to just how much Pache has grown in his third Minor League season. The 19-year-old outfielder did not hit a home run over 176 games in his first two pro campaigns. He's now gone deep seven times in 78 games this season, and like Gimenez, seen his slugging percentage jump from .343 at Class A to .436 one level higher. The Braves always believed Pache wouldn't be completely powerless, and he proved them right by famously going deep twice in the spring during an exhibition game at SunTrust Park. Atlanta's dream of seeing Pache paired long-term in a toolsy outfield with Ronald Acuña Jr. remains alive.

Best matchup

Mitch Keller vs. Franklin Perez: This spot is typically designated for pitcher vs. hitter matchups, but when two top-50 overall prospects cross paths, that's too good to ignore. Perez, who is rehabbing a strained lat, had yet to suit up for a full-season affiliate before taking the mound for Class A Advanced Lakeland, while Keller headed to Bradenton to maintain his regular pitching schedule with Triple-A Indianapolis out during its All-Star break. It's no surprise Keller lasted the longer of the two right-handers, giving up one earned run on seven hits and a walk over four frames. He was lifted after throwing 73 pitches. Perez lasted three innings for the third straight rehab start and gave up two earned runs on three hits (including a homer) and two walks while fanning two. He threw 63 pitches in his outing. Given Perez's progression, there's hope, albeit small, that the two could see each other again when Toledo and Indianapolis play two series against each other next month.

Who strengthened their promotion case

Dodgers RHP Tony Gonsolin, Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 87 pitches, 66 strikes -- The Dodgers' No. 22 prospect set a career high with 11 strikeouts at home against Lancaster. He now ranks third in the California League in ERA (2.69), WHIP (1.17) and strikeouts (106) through 83 2/3 innings. Gonsolin has been in Class A Advanced since April 2017 but spent all of last season working as a reliever. With four above-average pitches in his fastball, curve, slider and splitter, the 24-year-old right-hander has seamlessly transitioned to a starting role. The Dodgers have been cautious with their handling of him -- Gonsolin has thrown more than five innings only four times in his 17 starts -- but he's ready to be tested against better hitters in the Texas League.

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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