Prospect Roundup: Games of June 5

Loaisiga makes push to Bronx; Contreras breaks out with power

Jonathan Loaisiga has walked only three batters in 23 innings since joining Double-A Trenton. (David Monseur/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | June 6, 2018 1:00 PM

Theme of the day

Opposite ends of the Draft: With rounds 3-10 of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft being held Tuesday, the Minor Leagues presented a nice reminder that good talent can come from anywhere. Royce Lewis, the top overall pick in last year's Draft, hit a grand slam for Class A Cedar Rapids on his birthday. In the same game, Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota's first-rounder in 2016, also hit a grand slam. Meanwhile, Astros No. 30 prospect Josh James represented the low-round picks. The 2014 34th-rounder set a career high with 13 strikeouts in a seven-inning gem for Triple-A Fresno. It's always good to see first-day picks show off their potential, but it may be even more fun to see late-rounders prove their doubters wrong.

Video: Kernels' Lewis clubs first pro grand slam

Who stayed hot

Braves C William Contreras, Class A Rome: 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB, K -- By going deep in the second inning of Rome's 11-6 loss to Asheville, the Braves' No. 17 prospect extended his hitting streak to eight games. By homering again in the fifth, he notched his first career two-homer game. The 20-year-old backstop is 12-for-30 (.400) with the two homers, three doubles and six walks during his streak, pushing his season line up to .290/.376/.449. His five homers are already a career high. The brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras is known more for his arm behind the plate, but he's showing he has the capability to be a well-rounded offensive player.

Who needed this one

Rangers OF Pedro Gonzalez, Class A Hickory: 3-for-4, HR, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 3 R, BB, K -- It's been a bumpy spring for the Rangers' No. 9 prospect. Gonzalez's average has been in the low .200's for much of the season, and he missed 18 days due to an undisclosed injury last month. Tuesday was his second three-hit performance of the season and his first game with multiple extra-base hits, never mind three. The right-handed slugger also set a season high with five RBIs, his highest since plating seven for the Dominican Summer League Rockies on June 2, 2015. Gonzalez is now hitting .243/.294/.435 with four homers, two triples and six doubles in 32 games with the Crawdads. Standing at 6-foot-5, he has power potential, but it's taking time for that tool to emerge. His four homers are already a career high.

The unexpected

Braves 2B Derian Cruz, Class A Rome: 3-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 K -- This is the second Rome Brave featured here, and perhaps that shouldn't be a surprise as the club's game was in the bandbox that is Asheville's McCormick Field. But no matter where the game was played, Cruz wouldn't have been a pregame candidate to miss the cycle by just a triple. The Braves' No. 19 prospect is hitting just .224/.257/.344 over 48 games on the season, and before his homer Tuesday, the last time he went deep was April 29 at Hagerstown. With plus plus speed, Cruz is capable of adding value to any low-level team, but with a career .540 OPS in 77 games at Class A dating back to last season, he'll need a few more performances like this to maintain his prospect standing in a crowded Braves system.

Best matchup

Michel Baez vs. Inland Empire: Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Jahmai Jones -- pick any one for a big battle against the Padres' No. 5 prospect. And yet it was the Lake Elsinore starter that came out on top every time. Baez kept the Angels trio hitless over a combined six at-bats and finished with just one hit allowed and eight strikeouts over six scoreless innings. MiLB.com's Gerard Gilberto has more on the start here.

Who strengthened their promotion case

Yankees RHP Jonathan Loaisiga, Double-A Trenton: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 77 pitches, 51 strikes -- There were hints that the Yankees planned to use their No. 13 prospect in a spot start Monday had their Sunday game in Baltimore not been postponed by rain. Loaisiga, who is on the 40-man roster, hadn't pitched since the previous Sunday (May 27) in an attempt to keep his arm fresh. When Sunday's postponement pushed the Yankees rotation back a day, there was never a need to make an official transaction. When Loaisiga finally did take the mound Tuesday, he gave New York a lot to think about. Loaisiga's only hit and run allowed were on a solo homer by Dylan Davis in the Thunder's 8-1 win over Richmond. Now fully healthy after undergoing Tommy John surgery two years ago, Loaisigia has posted a 2.30 ERA with 54 strikeouts and only four walks in 43 innings between Trenton and Class A Advanced Tampa. With his special control and above-average fastball and curveball, the 23-year-old right-hander is looking worthy of a big league promotion.

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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