Theme of the dayWelcome, Juan: Once news broke that the Nationals were promoting No. 2 prospectJuan Soto to Double-A Harrisburg, it was clear what the day's theme would be. After all, he's a 19-year-old outfielder who started out the season at Class A, was promoted to Class A Advanced on
Theme of the dayWelcome, Juan:
Once news broke that the Nationals were promoting No. 2 prospectJuan Soto
to Double-A Harrisburg, it was clear what the day's theme would be. After all, he's a 19-year-old outfielder who started out the season at Class A, was promoted to Class A Advanced on April 23 and then bumped up once more 18 days later. And he hit 12 homers and posted a 1.278 OPS -- highest among active Minor Leaguers -- along the way. Soto did not disappoint -- he homered and doubled in his Double-A debut. (More on that here
.) This hype train has no brakes, and with Soto facing New Hampshire's Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
-- the Eastern League's only other 19-year-old -- each of the next three days, it won't be slowing down anytime soon.
Who stayed hotRoyals OF Seuly Matias, Class A Lexington: 2-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R --
The Royals' No. 3 prospect went deep twice in a game for the second time this season, with the first coming on Opening Day. He now leads the South Atlantic League with 10 homers, a .663 slugging percentage and .984 OPS through 26 games. The 10 homers are already a new career high, trumping the nine he hit in the Arizona League in 2016. This is the type of foundation on which breakout seasons are built. The power potential was always evident for the 19-year-old outfielder, but it's now turning into game results.
Who needed this oneGiants OF Heliot Ramos, Class A Augusta: 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, BB --
It's been a rough start for the Giants' top prospect, but Ramos reached three times -- he was also hit by a pitch -- and hit his first homer since April 25 in a 15-1 win over Rome. The 2017 first-rounder is hitting .212/.294/.345 with three homers and a 29.4 percent strikeout rate through 29 games. Part of the issue could be the adjustment to Class A arms. Part of it could be the Puerto Rico native adjusting to a cooler spring. In any event, it's too early to panic about the outfielder, who won't turn 19 until September, and with good power and a plus run tool, he's more than capable of producing better results.
The unexpectedDodgers 2B/SS Drew Jackson, Double-A Tulsa: 3-for-4, HR, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 2 R --
The Drillers lineup is laced with boppers DJ Peters
, Yusniel Díaz
and Peter O'Brien
, so it was a little surprising that Jackson -- the No. 8 hitter with a career .397 slugging percentage in the Minors -- led the club in extra-base hits Thursday, his first game with multiple extra-base hits since last July 30. Then again, Jackson has shown signs of increasing power with a .284/.353/.557 line, five homers and nine doubles through 26 games. Known primarily for his plus speed and strong arm, Jackson also got his first start of the season in center field Thursday, a sign that the Dodgers are trying to find creative ways to get their No. 25 prospect's tools (and improving pop) into the lineup.
Best matchupSandy Alcantara vs. Willie Calhoun:
It was power vs. power in the Pacific Coast League with the No. 2 prospects in the Marlins and Rangers systems squaring off at Round Rock. Calhoun, batting from the left side, singled the other way off the right-handed Alcantara, who typically sits in the upper-90s with his fastball, in the second inning, but didn't leave the infield in his other two at-bats, popping out to short in the third and grounding out to second in the fifth. Alcantara was charged with four earned runs on nine hits in five innings in a no-decision while Calhoun finished 1-for-4 with a run scored as the Express cleanup hitter. It might not be long until either see each other; Round Rock and New Orleans have a four-game series next from Thursday to Sunday, although Alcantara might next pitch Tuesday in Iowa.
Who strengthened their promotion caseMariners 1B Daniel Vogelbach, Triple-A Tacoma: 3-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R --
Minor League Twitter's favorite Large Adult Son started out the season with the big club but was optioned to Tacoma on April 26 when Ryon Healy
came off the disabled list. Vogelbach has done nothing but hit and walk ever since. Seattle's No. 11 prospect has a .314/.446/.627 line with four homers, four doubles and a 6/13 K/BB ratio through his first 14 games back with the Rainiers. The facts that Healy is hitting well (six homers in 19 games), Nelson Cruz
is untouchable at DH and Vogelbach is limited to first base are the only reasons why the left-handed slugger remains in the PCL.
Others of noteOrioles OF Austin Hays, Double-A Bowie: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R --
At last the power is coming on. The O's top prospect has now gone deep as many times in May (three) as he did in April, and the month is only a third of the way completed. He's still only hitting .233/.275/.426 through 31 games, however.Dodgers 1B/OF Luke Raley, Double-A Tulsa: 4-for-4, HR, 3B, RBI, 2 R --
Playing in the same game as Jackson's breakout, Raley flirted with the cycle, but this wasn't as unexpected. The left-handed slugger is hitting .302/.385/.560 with seven homers, three triples and three doubles in 29 games.Astros LHP Cionel Pérez, Double-A Corpus Christi: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K --
The Astros have brought their No. 6 prospect along slowly but effectively. Thursday marked the first time this season that Perez completed five innings for the Hooks. He hasn't allowed an earned run in four of his last five starts and now owns a 1.85 ERA over 24 1/3 innings.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.