Prospect Roundup: Games of May 14

Rogers finally goes deep; Melendez continues to surprise

Jake Rogers has hit 22 home runs over 183 career games in the Minor Leagues. (Patrick Cavey/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | May 15, 2018 12:15 PM ET

Theme of the day

These guys again?: Mobile's no-hitter against Birmingham was the second time the BayBears had held an opposing Southern League team hitless in 2018, and in both feats, Griffin Canning was the starter and Ryan Clark was the closer. More on that milestone from Vincent Lara-Cinisomo here. The category also fits a pair of Cardinals prospects in Alex Reyes and Tyler O'Neill. Reyes, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, returned to Class A Peoria for the first time since 2014 and struck out 12 Clinton batters in just five innings. The Pacific Coast League might have thought it was done with O'Neill when he was promoted to the Majors on April 19, but the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect has returned with a vengeance. He homered twice in a Monday matinee and has gone deep four times in his last three games and 13 times in 27 PCL games overall. 

Video: Clark gets last out of no-hitter

Who stayed hot

D-backs RHP Brian Shaffer, Class A Kane County: 5 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K, 94 pitches, 65 strikes -- Arizona's No. 24 prospect allowed one earned run or fewer in his fifth straight start and struck out a career high 11. The double-digit strikeout total helped keep him from pitching deeper into the Cougars' 5-0 win at Burlington, but that's a small quibble. Taken in the sixth round last year out of the University of Maryland, Shaffer owns a 2.45 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with 42 strikeouts and 11 walks in 36 2/3 innings. His slider is his only above-average offering, according to MLB.com, but the 21-year-old right-hander has the impressive control to make his three-pitch mix work against Class A bats.

Who needed this one

Tigers C Jake Rogers, Double-A Erie: 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, K -- Detroit's No. 5 prospect has struggled mightily in his first trip to Double-A. He was 14-for-87 (.161) through 24 games, and none of those 14 hits had gone for extra bases. His .398 OPS was second-worst in the Eastern League, but Monday provided some relief. Rogers cranked his first homer of 2018 and notched his second three-hit game of the season. The 23-year-old backstop is known primarily as one of the best defensive catchers in the Minors -- both with his glove and arm -- and he's thrown out 14 of 25 attempted basestealers. But he still needs to produce something at the dish to push his way to Detroit. After hitting 18 homers in 2017, Rogers may at last be on the right track.

Video: Erie's Rogers slugs his first Double-A homer

The unexpected

Royals C MJ Melendez, Class A Lexington: 2-for-3, HR, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB, K -- A second-round pick last year out of a Miami high school, the Royals' No. 4 prospect wasn't drafted for his power or speed tools, but he now leads the South Atlantic League with five triples and ranks fourth in the circuit with a .527 slugging percentage through 25 games. Much of that has to do with Melendez playing his home games at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, where he's hit all four of his homers and has a .654 slugging percentage over 14 games, compared to .359 on the road. But it's still noteworthy that the 19-year-old is taking advantage of the opportunities his park gives him.

Best matchup

Adbert Alzolay vs. Willie Calhoun: The Cubs' top prospect was humbled in his roughest outing of 2018, with five earned runs allowed on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings, and MLB.com's No. 49 overall prospect played a role in that. Calhoun doubled to right off the Triple-A Iowa starter to lead off a four-run second inning for Round Rock, which went on to win 11-4. That was his only hit of the contest against Alzolay as he flew out to right in the third and popped up to third base in the sixth. Alzolay entered the day with a 2.91 ERA through his first four Triple-A starts but saw that number jump to 4.10 thanks to Calhoun and the rest of the Express.

Who strengthened their promotion case

Blue Jays 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Double-A New Hampshire: 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, R, K -- MLB.com's No. 2 overall prospect caused a lot of Internet confusion Monday when he posted a picture of himself on Instagram at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York a day before his parent club would be starting a series against the Mets. He later removed the geotag on the post, and Internet sleuths determined that it was a repost of a picture from the offseason. In fact, Guerrero was with Double-A New Hampshire all along, ready to begin a series of his own in Hartford. The 19-year-old slugger's play continued to prompt a promotion, with a third straight multi-hit game pushing his season average to .405. More on that in Michael Avallone's story here.

Video: New Hampshire's Guerrero slugs a solo homer

Others of note

Marlins OF Monte Harrison, Double-A Jacksonville: 2-for-5, HR, RBI, 3 R, 2 K, SB -- After struggles early in the season, Harrison is hitting .248/.321/.454 with 18 extra-base hits and four steals in 37 games. However, his 59 strikeouts and 37.8 percent K rate both lead the Southern League.

Dodgers OF Starling Heredia, Class A Great Lakes: 3-for-4, HR, 3B, 3 RBI, 2 R -- The Dodgers' No. 17 prospect has had difficulty figuring out Class A before Monday, when he had his first three-hit game of 2018. He's now hitting .192/.248/.308 with two homers in 30 games.

Yankees RHP Dillon Tate, Class A Advanced Tampa: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 99 pitches, 61 strikes -- With the departure of Justus Sheffield, Tate became the most noteworthy hurler on the Trenton staff, delivering his longest scoreless outing of the season. The 2015 first-rounder owns a 3.82 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 10 walks in 35 1/3 innings.

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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