Pirates RHP Tyler Eppler, Triple-A Indianapolis: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 102 pitches, 73 strikes -- The Pirates' No. 26 prospect continued to put himself firmly on the map with his most impressive Triple-A start yet. Eppler set season highs for strikeouts and innings pitched and once
Pirates RHP Tyler Eppler, Triple-A Indianapolis: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 102 pitches, 73 strikes -- The Pirates' No. 26 prospect continued to put himself firmly on the map with his most impressive Triple-A start yet. Eppler set season highs for strikeouts and innings pitched and once again showed impressive control with no walks issued for the third time in his six starts. The 24-year-old owns a 2.36 ERA with 29 strikeouts over 34 1/3 innings, ranking third in the International League with a 0.87 WHIP and fifth with a 4.6 percent walk rate. Eppler wasn't projected to be more than a future back-end starter in the Majors entering this season, and even if that evaluation hasn't changed all that much, he looks far more likely to hit that ceiling than he did two months ago.
Braves OF Ronald Acuña Jr., Double-A Mississippi: 3-for-4, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB, SB -- Double-A one again didn't catch up to the Braves' No. 7 prospect, who's gone 3-for-4 with a homer and a stolen base in each of his first two games for the M-Braves. Atlanta got aggressive with the 19-year-old by pushing him after only 68 games of full-season ball the last two years, but he's responded extraordinarily well so far. MLB.com's No. 92 overall prospect has the makings of a five-tool player with his power perhaps his weakest tool, though no one would know that based on this week. He'll undoubtedly be tested as Double-A hurlers see him more -- it's noteworthy that he struck out 31.7 percent of the time at Class A Advanced Florida -- but this introduction to the Southern League hasn't stopped the momentum of his increasingly impressive profile.
D-backs RHP Taylor Clarke, Double-A Jackson: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 86 pitches, 58 strikes; 2-for-2 -- Arizona's No. 5 prospect has tossed quality starts in his last three outings and hasn't allowed a run in his last 12 frames following Wednesday's gem. Using a plus fastball to go with an average slider and changeup, the 23-year-old ranks third in the Southern League with a 1.95 FIP, fifth with a 0.94 WHIP and sixth with a 1.85 ERA over 34 innings. He doesn't need to do more than that to catch anyone's attention, but hey, notching two hits in his only two at-bats Wednesday didn't hurt either.
Cardinals RHP Zac Gallen, Class A Advanced Palm Beach: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K, 86 pitches, 63 strikes -- St. Louis' No. 24 prospect entered with a 2.17 ERA but had yet to toss a scoreless outing until Wednesday's gem in Fort Myers. His nine strikeouts matched a career high, first set April 7, and he now sits in a three-way tie with Domingo Acevedo and Tyler Pike for the Florida State League lead with 45 in 35 innings. A third-round pick out of the University of North Carolina last year, Gallen is best known for his control, and he's exhibited that by walking only 4.3 percent of the batters he's faced. That helps explain why his 1.80 ERA is bettered by a 1.71 FIP that trails only Vladimir Gutierrez's 1.50 in the FSL. As a college pitcher with three above-average pitches in his fastball, cutter and changeup, Gallen always had a chance to thrive at the lower levels before settling in at the back end of higher rotations, but an opening stretch like this shouldn't be discounted.
Padres SS Javier Guerra, Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 5 RBI, R, K -- There was a time when Guerra was a top-100 prospect and considered a key piece in the Craig Kimbrel trade. After hitting .202/.264/.325 for Lake Elsinore in 2016, he's fallen to the No. 25 spot in the Padres' system and hasn't done much this campaign to help his dropping stock -- until Wednesday. His homer was a three-run, walk-off shot in the 11th that gave the Storm a 7-5 win over Stockton. It was just his second multi-hit game of the season and the first time he collected multiple extra-base hits since July 27, 2016, though he's still only hitting .175/.252/.298 over 30 games in his return to the California League. Guerra was always thought to be a defense-first shortstop, but he's looked too lost at the plate to stand out in a talented San Diego system.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.