Prospect Roundup: Games of July 3

Padres' Naylor tees off twice; Jays' Pardinho stays hot at the start

Josh Naylor ranks ninth in the Texas League with an .868 OPS through 79 games with Double-A San Antonio. (Shawn E. Davis/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | July 4, 2018 12:00 PM

Theme of the day

Pitching, pitching and more pitching: This is meant to be the week of fireworks across the United States, and in baseball, fireworks are most closely associated with offense -- and lots of it. Except no one told some prominent pitchers across the Minor Leagues on Tuesday. No. 20 overall prospect Jesus Luzardo (Midland) and No. 21 Triston McKenzie (Akron) each threw one-hit outings for their respective Double-A clubs. (Read about McKenzie's seven-inning gem here and Luzardo's five-inning start here.) And D-backs prospect Joel Payamps piled on with his 14-strikeout effort for Double-A Jackson in just his fifth start after transitioning back from a bullpen role. Maybe the big fireworks will come on the Fourth of July.

Video: Akron's McKenzie seals gem with a K

Who stayed hot

Blue Jays RHP Eric Pardinho, Rookie-level Bluefield: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K, 68 pitches, 46 strikes -- Speaking of one-hit performances, the Blue Jays' No. 7 prospect turned in one of his own in his longest start of the young Appalachian League season. Signed by Toronto for $1.4 million out of Brazil a year ago, the 17-year-old jumped over the complex leagues to make his pro debut with Bluefield and had few issues over his first three starts. He's yet to allow more than one earned run in a start, and he's held hitters to a .111 average over his 13 frames. His nine strikeouts Tuesday set a (very early) career high, trumping the five he had in each of his first two outings. Pardinho owns a 1.38 ERA and 0.54 WHIP with 19 strikeouts and only two walks with Bluefield, drawing raves for his fastball and curveball, though he has been knocked for his size at 5-foot-10. That obviously hasn't been an issue yet as the former World Baseball Classic qualifier participant couldn't have gotten his pro career off to a much better start.

Who needed this one

Padres 1B/OF Josh Naylor, Double-A San Antonio: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 K -- There was a time back in the season's opening weeks when it looked like the Padres' No. 14 prospect had really turned on the power. He hit seven homers in April, tied for second-most among Double-A hitters in the season's opening month. But entering Tuesday, he had gone deep only four times since May 1 and hadn't done so at all since June 10, a stretch of 18 straight games without a dinger. His two-homer game Tuesday at Arkansas -- his third multi-homer game of the season -- turned around that narrative nicely. Naylor has still shown an improved hit tool with a .313/.390/.478 line through 79 games on the season, and his 12 homers already match a career high. But he needs to show even more muscle to provide value to his overall profile, especially as the Padres continue to give him time in left field, where he's been below-average at best.

Video: Josh Naylor hits second blast

The unexpected

Braves RHP Bryse Wilson, Double-A Mississippi: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K, 97 pitches, 73 strikes -- The Braves' No. 12 prospect could have gone in the category above for his performance Tuesday at Pensacola. After being promoted from Class A Advanced Florida on May 8, the 20-year-old right-hander hadn't tossed a scoreless outing for Mississippi yet and carried a 6.25 ERA through his first 10 starts with the M-Braves entering Tuesday. After lasting just a combined five innings in his previous two outings, he was actually quite efficient in his seven-inning gem, despite racking up a season-high nine strikeouts. There's no doubt that Wilson needed an impressive performance like this one to get on track, and with his plus sinking fastball and solid slider, it was always likely that he would turn things around at some point. But for things to click as well as they did and as quickly as they did is certainly notable. Wilson now owns a 5.40 ERA with 56 strikeouts and 20 walks in 51 2/3 Double-A innings.

Best matchup

Michel Baez vs. Kyle Lewis: Lewis, MLB.com's No. 58 overall prospect, carried a six-game hitting streak into his matchup with No. 33 Baez, who hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in a start since May 17. As the adage goes, good pitching usually beats good hitting, and that was the case Tuesday in Modesto. The Lake Elsinore right-hander got Lewis to strike out swinging in the second inning, fly out to center in the fourth and line out to right in the fifth. Baez ended up yielding two earned runs on five hits and two walks while fanning seven, but it was Lewis' Nuts that eventually earned a walk-off, 4-3 win in 10 innings. It might not be long before these two see each other again. Lake Elsinore hosts Modesto for a three-game set from July 18-20.

Who strengthened their promotion case

Angels OF Michael Hermosillo, Triple-A Salt Lake: 4-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 4 R, BB -- Hermosillo has been up with the Angels several times this season to provide outfield cover but hasn't stuck because he's gone just 5-for-38 (.132) in his limited looks. On Tuesday, however, the Angels' No. 8 prospect, playing in his third game since being optioned back to Triple-A, showed he's ready whenever he gets the call next. Hermosillo's four hits in a 14-12 win at Las Vegas matched a season high, and his home run was his first at any level since May 30. Yes, this came in a slugfest in a very hitter-friendly park, but few in the Bees or 51s lineups took advantage quite like Hermosillo did. The 23-year-old is hitting .282/.406/.506 with eight homers and eight steals in 45 games with Salt Lake and has experience at all three outfield spots. It won't be long before he gets big league time again.

Others of note

Mets RHP Justin Dunn, Double-A Binghamton: 7 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 104 pitches, 69 strikes -- The Mets' No. 4 prospect has struck out 19 batters over his last two outings and owns a 2.41 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 38 K's in 33 2/3 innings since being promoted to Double-A on June 10.

Nationals LHP Seth Romero, Class A Hagerstown: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 79 pitches, 51 strikes -- It's been a bumpy beginning to the 2017 first-rounder's Washington career for many reasons, but his outing Tuesday was the best of his young career so far. His eight strikeouts and five innings were both career highs. Romero owns a 4.24 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 31 strikeouts and eight walks in 23 1/3 innings after joining Hagerstown a month ago.

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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