Prospect Roundup: Games of June 27

Reds' Greene heating up on mound; O'Neill keeps slugging

Hunter Greene has struck out 28.3 percent of the batters he's faced with Class A Dayton. (Travis Berg/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | June 28, 2018 12:20 PM

Theme of the day

Dingers on dingers in Reno: There was no topping the absolute slugfest that took place at Greater Nevada Field. The 14-4 Aces win featured nine homers in total, and Reno's Kevin Cron and Salt Lake's Jabari Blash provided three apiece. In other words, 15.4 percent of all three-homer performances in the Minor Leagues this season came in the same game. Wednesday's theme could also have been promotions, with top-100 prospects Mitch Keller, Matt Manning and Sandy Alcantara all moving up a level, but promotions happen often. The home-run derby between Cron and Blash is something you don't see every day.

Video: Blash smacks third homer of game for Bees

Who stayed hot

Reds RHP Hunter Greene, Class A Dayton: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 78 pitches, 47 strikes -- The Reds' No. 2 prospect finished up his best month as a pro with his second career quality start. Greene, who touched triple-digits multiple times with his fastball Wednesday, hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in a single start since May 18. He posted a 2.33 ERA and 0.96 WHIP with 31 strikeouts and five walks over five starts (27 innings) in June after beginning the month with a 7.18 ERA. The No. 2 overall selection in last year's Draft remains a project, but with his elite heater and above-average breaking ball, he has the stuff to take off. Depending on when he hits his innings limit, it will be fun to see what the improved Greene can do in July and August.

Video: Greene picks up his seventh K for Dayton

Who needed this one

Braves LHP Joey Wentz, Class A Advanced Florida: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 69 pitches, 44 strikes -- Out from May 11 to June 13 for undisclosed reasons, The Braves' No. 10 prospect has been building his stamina, and his outing against Dunedin was perhaps his best of the season. The 20-year-old left-hander was efficient by walking no Dunedin batters and needing only 69 pitches to match his season high with six frames. Wentz has still yet to throw more than 87 pitches in a single start this season, but that that doesn't necessarily mean he can't work deep into games. His command has improved -- after walking 14 over last three starts before his extended absence, he issued only two free passes in 12 1/3 innings in June. Wentz now owns a 2.85 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 21 walks in 41 innings.

The unexpected

Giants C Aramis Garcia, Double-A Richmond: 2-for-3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB -- The Giants' No. 6 prospect has power -- he homered 17 times in just 81 games with Class A Advanced San Jose last year -- but began this week with only three homers in his first 49 contests with Richmond. Then, he hit a homer Sunday against Bowie and went deep two more times Wednesday in Hartford. This latest effort was the third two-homer performance of the 2014 second-rounder's career and his first since June 26, 2017 in the California League. Playing in his second Double-A season, Garcia is hitting just .220/.265/.370 with his six homers, one triple and 10 doubles in 52 games during his first season on the 40-man roster.

Video: Garcia smacks his second homer for Richmond

Best matchup

Michel Baez vs. Gavin LuxThe Padres' No. 5 prospect tossed five scoreless innings and lowered his California League ERA to 2.53 through 53 1/3 innings in Lake Elsinore's 5-0 loss to Rancho Cucamonga, but he may have found his kryptonite in Lux, who ranks fourth in the circuit with a .907 OPS. The Dodgers' No. 12 prospect walked against Baez in the first inning, singled the other way to left in the third and flew out in the fifth. Lux is now 3-for-7 with a triple and two walks in three games against Baez this season, though he does have the advantage as a left-handed batter going up against a right-handed hurler -- even one as talented as the Storm starter. There's a chance for a fourth matchup when the two sides cross paths July 31 to Aug. 2 in Rancho Cucamonga.

Who strengthened their promotion case

Cardinals OF Tyler O'Neill, Triple-A Memphis: 1-for-4, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB, 2 K -- The Cardinals yo-yoed their No. 2 prospect between Memphis and the Majors for parts of April and May but in June have kept him in the Pacific Coast League, where he's shown promising growth. The power, of course, continues to be there. O'Neill's homer Wednesday gave him two in his last two games and pushed his Triple-A total to 17, tied for third-most in the PCL despite all the time missed while in the Majors. But he's also begun taking free passes. After walking only three times for Memphis in April and May, O'Neill has drawn 14 in 17 games in June and to post a .429 OBP. He's also making more contact -- his 23.9 percent Triple-A strikeout rate is his lowest since 2013. O'Neill was sent down because there just aren't many at-bats with Marcell Ozuna, Tommy Phamm, Dexter Fowler and Harrison Bader working a four-man outfield rotation in St. Louis, but if the Cards are buyers at this year's Trade Deadline, O'Neill will an enticing trade chip for a selling club looking for a Major League-ready bat in return.

Video: Memphis' O'Neill goes deep 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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