Who strengthened their promotion case
Pirates RHP Nick Kingham, Triple-A Indianapolis: 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K -- Pittsburgh's surprising 8-3 start has been driven by its league-leading offense -- it's tops in the NL in batting, OBP, slugging and runs scored -- but the pitching staff owns a 5.03 ERA, which is third-worst in the circuit. That presents an opportunity for the 26-year-old Kingham, who is beginning his ninth season in the Bucs system. Wednesday marked his second strong outing of 2018: he's now racked up 16 strikeouts while allowing one run on four hits over 11 innings. That sort of performance should soon earn the Pirates' No. 13 prospect a long-awaited call to the Majors.
Video: Indianapolis' Kingham whiffs sixth batter
Who stayed hot
Angels RHP Griffin Canning, Class A Advanced Inland Empire: 4 2/3 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K -- A second-round pick out of UCLA last June, the Angels held Canning back from making his pro debut until this spring. He's proven to be worth the wait, having tossed 8 2/3 scoreless innings while fanning 12 in his first two starts for the 66ers. With a low-90s fastball, plus changeup and two average breaking balls, the right-hander, who turns 22 next month, has the feel for pitching to move quickly through the Angels farm system.
Who needed this one
Yankees RHP Chance Adams, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 5 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K -- Adams is coming off a 15-win season that saw him post a 2.45 ERA in 27 starts, but was roughed up last week in his first outing of 2018. The Dallas Baptist product, who is 31-7 in just over three Minor League seasons, rebounded Wednesday with five scoreless frames in the RailRiders' 2-0 loss to arch-rival Lehigh Valley. In a highly talented and crowded Yankees system, Adams needs to continue his winning ways to get a shot at the Show.
Royals C MJ Melendez, Class A Lexington: 2-for-4, 2 3B, RBI, R, K -- The 19-year-old Melendez is by no means unathletic -- he's an outstanding defender -- but, well, he's a catcher. The 2017 second-round pick tripled only three times in 47 games for the AZL Royals last summer, so collecting a pair of triples in a single game qualifies as unusual. The power displayed by the Royals' No. 4 prospect is more in line with expectations -- he has four extra-base hits in his first four Sally League games and is slugging .769 for the Legends.
Domingo Acevedo vs. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette: Batting second and third, respectively, for 6-1 New Hampshire, Bichette and Guerrero are likely to feature in this section all season long. Yankees 6-foot-7 righty Acevedo was the latest to battle the duo and did about as well as anyone has this season, but still took the loss. He held Bichette hitless in three at-bats, notching a strikeout in the fifth inning, but yielded a double to Guerrero. Limiting the heralded Blue Jays youngsters to a 1-for-6 outing counts as a success.
Others of note
Blue Jays 2B Samad Taylor, Class A Lansing, 2-for-4, 3B, HR: Toronto's No. 13 prospect collected his first two extra-base hits of the season, leading off the game with a triple and belting his first homer of the year in the seventh inning. A 10th-round pick in 2016, Taylor raised his average to .278 and his OBP to .458 over five games in his full-season debut.
Angels OF Brandon Marsh, Class A Burlington, 3-for-5, 2 2B, 3B, BB, 3 RBI (doubleheader): Los Angeles' fifth-ranked prospect was a major contributor in the Bees' twin bill against Beloit. Entering the game with just a single in his first 11 plate appearances, the 2016 second-rounder knocked in first runs of the campaign while picking up three extra-base hits in the process.
Brewers RHP Luis Ortiz, Double-A Biloxi: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 0 ER, W - The Brewers' No. 5 prospect picked up his first victory of the season in his home debut. The 2014 first-round pick -- part of the Jonathan Lucroy deal in 2016 -- had more strikeouts on Wednesday than he did in any of his 20 starts last season.
Indians RHP Aaron Civale, Double-A Akron: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 0 ER, W - Cleveland's No. 10 prospect bounced back from a relatively short outing in his season debut, striking out seven in his first win at Binghamton. The 2016 third-round pick has 11 strikeouts and has allowed just one earned run in 9 2/3 innings this season.
Yankees RHP Trevor Stephan, Class A Advanced Tampa: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7 K, 0 BB - Stephan, New York's third-round pick last summer out of Arkansas, certainly pitched well enough to pick up his first win of the season but exited in a scoreless game that St. Lucie took on a walk-off wild pitch in the ninth. The 6-foot-5 right-hander struck out seven for the second straight outing and has allowed two earned runs and one walk with 14 strikeouts in 10 innings this year.
Orioles OF Austin Hays, Double-A Bowie, 2-for-4, HR: Despite a conservative Opening Day assignment to the Baysox, Baltimore's top prospect has been sluggish out of the gate but hopes Wednesday can provide a kick-start. The 22-year-old enjoyed his first multi-hit game of the young season and his second homer, a game-tying solo shot in the eighth inning.
Video: Bowie's Hays hammers solo shot
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.