Prospect Roundup: Games of Aug. 21

Varsho homers before, after eclipse; Robles goes inside the park

Daulton Varsho ranks fifth in the Northwest League with an .861 OPS over 41 games this season. (Jared Ravich/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | August 22, 2017 1:10 PM

Pirates RHP Nick Kingham, Triple-A Indianapolis: 8 2/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 110 pitches, 73 strikes -- The Pirates' No. 9 prospect was just one out from his second nine-inning complete game in his last three outings but was understandably pulled after a season-high 110 pitches. He'd also just given up an RBI double to Darnell Sweeney for Louisville's only run in the Indianapolis win. Still, that longevity is huge for the 25-year-old right-hander, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and threw only 46 innings last season as a result. Though this was supposed to be his first fully healthy season since the procedure, he missed all of April with an ankle injury. But the further he's gotten into the season, the stronger he's looked. In fact, July 19 was the last time Kingham allowed more than two earned runs. Over his six starts since then, he owns a 1.19 ERA and 0.90 WHIP with 29 strikeouts and five walks over 45 1/3 innings. Those aren't killer K numbers, but Kingham has been effective at limiting hard contact and consistently throwing in the strike zone. A member of the 40-man roster, he's almost assuredly looking at a Major League debut in September, if not sooner, though a potential Indianapolis postseason run could affect that timeline if the Pirates fall too far out of the National League playoff picture.

Video: Indianapolis' Kingham notches his fifth K

Nationals OF Victor Robles, Double-A Harrisburg: 3-for-5, HR, 2B, RBI, R, SB -- The Nationals' top prospect showed the power and speed combo that's made him one of the most exciting players in the Minors. OK, well, mostly the speed. The homer, which led off Harrisburg's 13-5 loss to Akron, was inside the park as Robles smacked a ball that bounced off the wall behind center fielder Todd Hankins. The fact that the 20-year-old outfielder can fly is no surprise. His run tool is easily his most impressive, checking in with a 70 grade on the 20-80 scale, according to MLB.com. But he's proving to be more than just a frequent flyer since being promoted to Double-A Harrisburg. Robles collected multiple hits for the seventh time in his last eight games and has a 10-game hitting streak overall. Over 26 Eastern League contests, MLB.com's No. 5 overall prospect owns a .320/.375/.505 line with three homers, one triple, eight doubles and eight steals. This comes after he hit .289/.377/.495 in 77 games at Class A Advanced Potomac. Add his impressive glove and arm in center, and Robles might have the most five-tool potential in the Minors right now. A 2018 Major League debut is likely in the cards, and an outfield with him, Bryce Harper and a healthy Adam Eaton should be tantalizing for any Nationals fan.

Video: Harrisburg's Robles leads off with inside-the-parker

Twins SS Royce Lewis, Class A Cedar Rapids: 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, R -- The first overall pick in this year's Draft has gotten off to a hot start again at a new level, this time with Class A Cedar Rapids. Lewis has gone 15-for-39 (.385) through his first nine games since making the jump from the complexes of the Gulf Coast League, but there might've been a critique that he hadn't shown much power. Only one of his 14 hits with the Kernels had gone for extra bases, and that was a double. He answered that Monday with his first Class A home run -- a three-run shot to left center in the fifth inning of Cedar Rapids' 5-4 win over Beloit. Power is unsurprisingly Lewis' quietest tool at present as he relies more on his speed and ability to hit for average. He's shown that off with a .297/.389/.430 line and 17 steals in 45 games between both of his professional stops so far. Even though he's already performing well in a small sample at Class A, don't expect him to jump another level at the start of 2018. This move is allowing him to get a taste of Cedar Rapids before an expected return trip next April. But if he can come back with some confidence knowing he's already succeeded at the level, then all the better.

Video: Kernels' Lewis hits first Class A homer

D-backs C Daulton Varsho, Class A Short Season Hillsboro: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R, K -- Monday's game in Salem-Keizer was nationally known as the first to experience an eclipse delay, but the D-backs' No. 16 prospect also put on a show at Volcanoes Stadium on Monday. Varsho hit a two-run homer in the top of the first inning before the eclipse delay, then went deep again five frames later, post-totality, for his first career two-homer game. Taken 68th overall in June out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the 21-year-old catcher has shown few issues adjusting to the pro game with a .307/.358/.503 line, five homers, two triples, 13 doubles and even seven steals in 41 contests for the Hops. He's already got an All-Star notation on his resume as well after representing the Northwest League against the Pioneer League on Aug. 1. Varsho has a chance to be a solid hitter and shows more speed than is typical for his position. The biggest questions surround his arm behind the plate, but he has thrown out 32.3 percent of attempted basestealers this summer.

Yankees RHP Jorge Guzman, Class A Short Season Staten Island: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HBP, 70 pitches, 46 strikes -- Looking for a Yankees pitcher to buy stock in? Look no further than the system's No. 10 prospect. Guzman, who touches triple digits with some frequency, continued to dominate the New York-Penn League with six scoreless innings Monday night. The 21-year-old right-hander leads the New York-Penn League with 78 strikeouts -- no one else has more than 64 -- while sitting second with a 1.01 WHIP and third with a 2.03 ERA over 57 2/3 innings. Though control has been an issue in the past, he's walked only 7.1 percent of the batters he's faced with Staten Island. Because of those control improvements, Guzman has jumped from the No. 28 spot in MLB.com's preseason ranking of Yankees prospect to his current spot at No. 10 in a notably crowded system.

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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