Prospect Roundup: Games of July 30

Jimenez continues scorching stretch; Cease posts more zeros

Eloy Jimenez has hit 18 homers over 79 games between Triple-A and Double-A this season. (Ken Jancef/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | July 31, 2018 12:15 PM

Theme of the day

The transactions page: Monday saw its share of trades, with pitching prospects going to Los Angeles, Toronto and Texas, but the biggest moves in the Minors were the multiple internal promotions of top-100 prospects. Jo Adell continued his climb through the Angels system by joining Double-A Mobile. The Braves bumped up two of their best pitching prospects by sending Kolby Allard to the Majors and Kyle Wright to Triple-A Gwinnett. First-rounder Jonathan India continued his tour of the Cincinnati system with a move to Class A Dayton. These promotions will likely have a bigger impact on the rest of the 2018 Minor League season than the handful of trades that went down Monday.

Who stayed hot

White Sox RHP Dylan Cease, Double-A Birmingham: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 101 pitches, 63 strikes -- The No. 5 White Sox prospect has posted zeros in three of his last four starts and now owns a 2.34 ERA with 49 strikeouts in six outings (34 2/3 innings) since making the jump to Double-A a month ago. His 131 strikeouts with Birmingham and Class A Advanced Winston-Salem are tied for ninth-most in the Minors -- he continues to get swings and misses while honing his control. Cease's 9.5 percent walk rate with the Barons is the lowest he's posted in his career. The 22-year-old right-hander has earned impressive grades for his mid-to-high-90s fastball and his curveball, and with that improved control, he looks like a legitimate long-term starter.

Video: Birmingham's Cease rings up seventh strikeout

Who needed this one

Yankees RHP Chance Adams, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 7 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 102 pitches, 65 strikes -- It hasn't been a banner year for the 23-year-old right-hander. Having started the season as the Yankees' No. 6 prospect, he's since fallen to the No. 13 spot after posting a 4.50 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 98 innings with the RailRiders. With his Rule 5 eligibility coming up this offseason, Adams could have forced his way to the Majors with a solid 2018 but instead those opportunities went to Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa (both 40-man roster members already) while New York also just dealt for J.A. Happ for rotation help. This outing, in which Adams restarted a suspended game and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, should provide a confidence boost for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter. 

Video: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Adams with the whiff

The unexpected

Red Sox 3B Brandon Howlett, GCL Red Sox: 4-for-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R, BB -- Howlett could have been a high pick coming out of high school in Florida last month, but a rough senior year caused him to drop all the way down to the 21st round. The Sox gambled that they could talk him out of a Florida State commitment, and won that bet with a $185,000 signing bonus. On Monday, he reached base five times and collected a career-high four hits while flirting with the cycle. Howlett is hitting .346/.436/.568 with three homers and nine doubles in 23 games. He's ranked as Boston's No. 30 prospect, and though that may say more about the state of the Red Sox farm system than Howlett himself, he's certainly improving his stock.

Best matchup

Touki Toussaint vs. Brandon LoweThe Braves' No. 7 prospect continues to thrive in Triple-A, even against one of the level's hottest hitters. Toussaint walked Lowe, who has produced a 1.005 OPS in 45 games with Durham, in the first inning but got him to strike out swinging in the third. That's a step in the right direction as the left-handed hitting Lowe was previously 2-for-3 with a double against the Gwinnett right-hander. Toussaint allowed just one earned run on four hits over his five innings and now owns a 1.78 ERA through his first four Triple-A starts.

Who strengthened their promotion case

White Sox OF Eloy Jimenez, Triple-A Charlotte: 2-for-2, HR, RBI, R, 2 BB -- MLB.com's No. 3 overall prospect is batting .583 with five homers, five doubles and only three strikeouts during a 10-game hitting streak. Read that sentence again. One of the game's best hitting prospects has picked up more hits than outs and three-times as many extra-base hits as K's. Since joining Charlotte on June 21, the 21-year-old outfielder is hitting .396/.443/.729 with eight homers and eight doubles in 26 games. His 1.173 OPS over that span is tops among qualified International League hitters. If he was playing for any team close to contention, the baseball world would be begging to see Jimenez in the Majors. Instead, general manager Rick Hahn can still say publicly that the organization is being patient with the right-handed slugger to reap long-term benefits (read: delay free agency by another year by calling him up next April rather than now).

Video: Charlotte's Jimenez homers in second straight

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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