Prospect Roundup: Games of May 9

Bucs' Meadows collects three hits; Cards' Fernandez goes distance

Austin Meadows is 7-for-25 (.280) with three doubles and five RBIs over six games in May. (Stephen Pelligrino/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | May 10, 2017 12:45 PM

Pirates OF Austin Meadows, Triple-A Indianapolis: 3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, SB -- This could be the breakout many have been expecting from the Pirates' top prospect, who put together his first three-hit and just his fourth multi-hit performance over 27 games this season. Also notable, the double gave him as many extra-base hits in May (three) as he had in April over 57 fewer at-bats. His slash line now sits at .215/.274/.290 with one homer and five doubles, and it'll take a few more showings like this before those numbers become palatable. But Meadows, who turned 22 on May 3, remains young for the Minors' highest level and needs more experience there before he can become a Major League option.

Video: Indianapolis' Meadows delivers clutch RBI single

Tigers OF JaCoby Jones, Triple-A Toledo: 3-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, R, BB -- The Tigers optioned their No. 9 prospect back to Toledo on April 29 after posting a .150/.244/.300 line in the Majors as their primary center fielder. He's done his best to force a return with hits in nine of his 10 games for the Mud Hens -- with Tuesday's three-hit night perhaps his best yet. The 25-year-old is 11-for-38 (.289) with one homer, three doubles and two steals in the International League but will need to make those numbers hold a bit longer before he can once again be considered a better option than Tyler Collins and Andrew Romine in Detroit's center field.

Video: Mud Hens' Jones hits two-run double

Reds RHP Vladimir Gutierrez, Class A Advanced Daytona: 5 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 89 pitches, 53 strikes -- The Reds' No. 11 prospect is becoming a Roundup mainstay and for good reason. In his latest gem, Gutierrez set a career high with 10 strikeouts, trumping the nine he accrued in his previous start. His 11.9 K/9, 32.3 percent strikeout rate and 1.52 FIP are all tops in the Florida State League. Since allowing six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings on April 14, the 21-year-old righty owns a 1.61 ERA with 33 strikeouts and only one walk over his last four outings (22 1/3 innings). The Reds signed Gutierrez with a $4.75 million bonus out of Cuba last September because of his plus fastball and curve, and he's impressing all with his control in his first pro season. Expect Gutierrez to make a big climb in midseason rankings, if these types of performances spill into June and July.

Cardinals RHP Junior Fernandez, Class A Advanced Palm Beach: 9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 97 pitches, 65 strikes -- Staying in the FSL, it's rare that Class A Advanced pitchers achieve a nine-inning complete game because of pitch counts, but the Cardinals' No. 10 prospect was efficient enough Tuesday for his first career complete game. The 20-year-old righty has been touch-and-go in his return to Palm Beach with five runs or more allowed in three outings and one run or fewer in the other three. Tuesday's gem dropped his ERA from 4.20 to 3.46 to go with 26 strikeouts and 13 walks in 39 innings on the season. Fernandez has the upper-90's fastball to carve up the lower levels but has lacked the secondary offerings to put up eye-popping numbers. Tuesday was be a big step in the right direction.

Brewers RHP Trey Supak, Class A Wisconsin: 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 1 HBP, 90 pitches, 60 strikes -- The Brewers' No. 29 prospect set a career high for strikeouts for the third straight start, trumping his nine on May 4 and eight on April 24. The 20-year-old started 2015 and 2016 in Rookie ball and looks to be more than ready for the full-season challenge. He's second in the Midwest League with a 37.8 percent strikeout rate and ranks third with a 1.92 FIP over six appearances (30 innings). The 6-foot-5 righty earned above-average grades for his fastball and curve from MLB.com last offseason, and with the way he's getting whiffs of late, a look at Class A Advanced Brevard County might be in the plans in the second half of the season, if not sooner.

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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