Prospect Roundup: Games of June 25

Tucker forcing Astros' hand; Giants' Shaw goes deep twice

Kyle Tucker has posted a 135 wRC+ over 70 games with Triple-A Fresno this season. (Jesus Sepulveda/Fresno Grizzlies)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | June 26, 2018 12:30 PM

Theme of the day

Eastern League steals headlines: The best individual performances in the Minor Leagues took place in the Double-A Eastern League on Monday. Pirates top prospect Mitch Keller allowed only one hit in an eight-inning gem for Altoona. Blue Jays No. 2 prospect Bo Bichette went 3-for-4 for New Hampshire to move into the circuit lead with 85 hits. No. 4 Indians prospect Bobby Bradley homered twice and plated three in Akron's 12-5 win over Bowie.

Video: Keller picks up his sixth K for Curve

Who stayed hot

Reds OF Jose Siri, Double-A Pensacola: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB -- The Reds promoted their No. 7 prospect to the Southern League last Thursday despite the fact that he hit just .261/.280/.395 with one homer in 30 games at Class A Advanced Daytona. Siri has caught fire in his brief time with the Blue Wahoos. On Monday, he homered in his third straight game and reached base four times for the first time this season. (It's notable that he walked only four times in Daytona.) In five total games with the Blue Wahoos, Siri is 5-for-16 (.313) with the three homers and five RBIs. Siri drew notice with last year's 39-game hitting streak for Class A Dayton, but his stock also got a boost from his career-high 24 homers. It'll be fun to see just how far he can take this latest power surge against Double-A pitching.

Video: Jose Siri slams homer

Who needed this one

Giants OF Chris Shaw, Triple-A Sacramento: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R -- The Giants' No. 2 prospect hadn't gone deep in nine games before breaking out with two homers at Albuquerque. It was the second two-homer game of the season for the left-handed slugger. Power hasn't been a problem for Shaw in his second Triple-A season; he's hit 14 homers and has produced a .530 slugging percentage over 53 games. However, it's the only trick in his bag at this point. Shaw is batting just .260 with a .303 on-base percentage, and he's struck out 36.4 percent of his plate appearances while walking in only 3.9 percent. With Brandon Belt signed long term and in the midst of a career year as the organization's Major League first baseman, Shaw has played exclusively in left field with the River Cats this season, though he doesn't provide much value out there. The 24-year-old needs to keep showing plus power to reach the Majors.

Video: Shaw smacks three-run homer for Sacramento

The unexpected

Red Sox INF Chad De La Guerra, Double-A Portland: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, K -- This was the first career two-homer game for the No. 24 Red Sox prospect, who MLB.com considers to have 35-grade power on the 20-80 scouting scale. If that isn't enough to prove that this performance was a surprise, consider that De La Guerra opened the season at Triple-A Pawtucket but was sent back down in early May after hitting just .137 with a .363 OPS in 22 games. De La Guerra has been much steadier in his return to Portland, hitting .269/.366/.467 with eight homers in 42 games, but the 25-year-old, who has played second, short and third this season, will need to be more than that to get back to Triple-A.

Best matchup

Michael Kopech vs. Brandon LoweMonday's game between Charlotte and Durham pitted the International League's top pitching prospect against its reigning Offensive Player of the Week, and it was the former who came out on top. Kopech got Lowe to fly out to center in the first inning and then struck him out in both the third and sixth frames. The Knights right-hander ended up striking out nine over six innings in his first scoreless start since May 18. More on that outing in Michael Avallone's story for MiLB.com here. Durham and Charlotte next cross paths from July 12-15 right after the Triple-A All-Star break.

Who strengthened their promotion case

Astros OF Kyle Tucker, Triple-A Fresno: 2-for-3, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB -- Speaking of reigning Players of the Week, Tucker won the award last week in the Pacific Coast League and celebrated by homering and reaching base three times. The Astros' top prospect has hits in 14 straight games while batting 508/.545/.763 with three homers and five doubles. His .907 OPS is now at its highest level since early April. After Tucker's strong spring in Major League camp, it looked like Houston was just counting down the days until it could work the 21-year-old outfielder into its big league lineup. Marwin Gonzalez and Tony Kemp are ably covering left-field duties right now, but it might not be long before the defending World Series champs acknowledge that Tucker is both the future and the present of the position.

Video: Grizzlies' Tucker leaves yard

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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