Prospect Roundup: Games of Aug. 29

Alford builds case for big league return; Mateo adds more triples

Anthony Alford has an .838 OPS over 67 games with Double-A New Hampshire this season. (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | August 30, 2017 12:55 PM

Angels RHP Jaime Barria, Triple-A Salt Lake: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HBP, 85 pitches, 52 strikes -- The Angels' No. 8 prospect continued to impress in his second Triple-A start. Barria has yet to allow an earned run over 10 innings with Salt Lake, striking out nine without a walk while scattering six hits. The 21-year-old right-hander has climbed three levels this season after starting at Class A Advanced Inland Empire and has put up solid numbers at each stop. Though he has an above-average fastball and changeup, Barria thrives because of his control, walking only 28 batters in 137 innings this season. The stuff isn't downright dominant, but because he fills up the zone with regularity, he's been effective against all opposition in 2017 and continues to look like a potential back-end starter in the Majors, perhaps as early as next summer.

Video: Barria records his seventh punchout

Blue Jays OF Anthony Alford, Double-A New Hampshire: 3-for-5, RBI, 3 R, K, 2 SB -- If anyone is still doubting that Alford is both healthy and productive enough to head back to Toronto in September, he made a strong case for himself Tuesday night. Not only did he collect three singles, but he also stole multiple bases for the first time this season. The Blue Jays' No. 3 prospect is hitting .297/.401/.407 with nine steals in his last 34 games since returning to New Hampshire on July 21 from a left-hamate fracture suffered during his brief spell in the Majors. What's more, all nine of those steals have come in his last 18 contests, signaling that Alford is clearly feeling comfortable enough to aggressively use his plus-plus speed on the basepaths. Toronto is sitting too far out of the American League playoff picture to not test out Alford's productivity when rosters expand in September. If he can hit the ground running, a place in the Major League outfield at the start of 2018 would certainly be a possibility.

Video: Fisher Cats' Alford drives in one

Orioles SS/3B Ryan Mountcastle, Double-A Bowie: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R, K -- Following a breakout stint at Class A Advanced Frederick (.314 average, 51 extra-base hits in 88 games), the Orioles' No. 3 prospect hasn't found the same level of success with Bowie, hitting just .213 with a .589 OPS over 33 games, but there are signs of life of late. Mountcastle matched a career high with four RBIs on Tuesday -- two on a fourth-inning homer and two more on a sixth-inning double -- in Bowie's 8-3 win over Trenton. The 20-year-old infielder is 8-for-24 (.333) with two homers, a double and five RBIs in his last six games. That's not a lengthy hot streak yet, but if it extends into next week, it could go a long way toward making Mountcastle's first Eastern League experience a more positive experience entering the offseason. No matter what, the right-handed slugger showed enough with the bat early in 2017 to alleviate some of the concerns about his future defensive position.

Video: Mountcastle goes yard for Baysox

Athletics SS Jorge Mateo, Double-A Midland: 3-for-6, 2 3B, RBI, 2 R, K -- The A's No. 4 prospect showed he doesn't need stolen bases alone to show off his top-end speed. His two triples Tuesday give him 17 on the season, second-most among all Minor Leaguers. (Yes, he also ranks third with 50 steals.) The 22-year-old speedster started the season scuffling at the plate at Class A Advanced Tampa in the Yankees' system, hitting just .240 with a .688 OPS in 69 games, but has found new life at both Double-A stops with a .285/.354/.504 line, 29 extra-base hits and 22 steals in 54 games between Trenton and Midland. An improved bat should help his stock in the A's system following his deadline move in the Sonny Gray deal. The A's have notably kept Mateo at shortstop with the RockHounds after he also got time at second base and center field with the Yankees, and it'll be interesting to see how that develops in a system with prime shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto.

Video: Midland's Mateo triples home the tying run

Phillies OF Jhailyn Ortiz, Class A Short Season Williamsport: 3-for-4, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R -- The Phillies' No. 20 prospect hadn't played for the Crosscutters since Aug. 23 but settled back in nicely Tuesday night with a home run and four RBIs from the third spot in the lineup. The homer was his eighth of the season through 47 games, putting him in a three-way tie for second in the New York-Penn League. His .560 slugging percentage for Williamsport leads all NYPL batters, while his .961 OPS places second and his .401 OBP fourth. The 18-year-old outfielder has shown plenty of pop in his first two seasons -- he ranked third in the Gulf Coast League with eight homers in 2016 -- but has made some gains toward becoming a better all-around hitter in his second stateside campaign. He'll no doubt be ready for full-season ball next spring, and it should be fun to see his power potential over 100-plus games.

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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