Prospect Roundup: Games of May 31

Winker enjoys perfect day; Tucker tees up first Double-A homer

Reds No. 3 prospect Jesse Winker has hit .309 in 154 career games at the Triple-A level. (Ken Inness/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | June 1, 2017 12:40 PM

Reds OF Jesse Winker, Triple-A Louisville: 3-for-3, 2B, 4 RBI, R, 2 BB -- It was a perfect day at the plate for the Reds' No. 3 prospect, who reached base in all five of his plate appearances during a 7-5 win over Gwinnett. Winker is 13-for-26 (.500) with a homer, three doubles and five walks in his last eight games, boosting his season average and OPS to .322 and .814 -- their highest marks since the first week of the season. The 23-year-old made his Major League debut during a two-game cameo in April, but Cincinnati hasn't had much need since then. Reds outfielders rank ninth in the Majors with a collective 3.5 WAR, giving Winker more time to develop in Triple-A, and he's making the most of it. He'll likely be the first call the Reds make should Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler or Adam Duvall go down to injury. 

Astros OF Kyle Tucker, Double-A Corpus Christi: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, RBI, R, K -- It didn't take long for the Astros' No. 2 prospect to show off his offensive skills in the Texas League. The left-handed slugger doubled off Cardinals No. 9 prospect Dakota Hudson in the sixth inning for his first Double-A extra-base hit and added his first home run two innings later off lefty Chandler Hawkins. The dinger might seem even more notable given it came off a fellow left-hander, but Tucker actually performed better against southpaws (.319/.405/.623, five homers in 69 at-bats) than righties (.269/.362/.509, four homers in 108 at-bats) for Class A Advanced Buies Creek before getting promoted this week. His homer Wednesday was his 10th in 50 games across both levels and set a career high, beating out the nine he hit over 117 contests last season.

Video: Corpus Christi's Tucker hits first Double-A homer

Brewers 1B Jake Gatewood, Class A Advanced Carolina: 4-for-5, 2 2B, R, K, CS -- The Brewers' No. 25 prospect continued his breakout season Wednesday, matching a career high with four hits in a 9-8 win over Buies Creek. Gatewood extended his Carolina League lead in doubles with his 19th and 20th of the season as well -- no one else in the circuit has more than 16. The 21-year-old slugger, who owned a .659 OPS at Class A Wisconsin last year, is hitting .306/.380/.518 with seven homers in his first 52 games at Class A Advanced. He's credited his offensive turnaround to contact lenses that have helped him see the ball better as well as general improvements in approach, and if he can keep this performance going into the second half, he could take another big jump in reputation on top of the gains he's already made these first two months.

Red Sox 1B Josh Ockimey, Class A Advanced Salem: 3-for-3, 2B, R, IBB, CS -- With three knocks Wednesday, the No. 8 Red Sox prospect extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest active string in the Carolina League. He ranks among the top four in the circuit in average (.321, fourth), OBP (.427, second) and OPS (.948, third). That's all well and good, but it's worth pointing out that Ockimey entered June 2016 hitting .308 with a 1.016 OPS for Class A Greenville. He finished the season with a .226 average and .792 OPS after a dismal second half. The question about Ockimey's 2017 is how he would hold up over the long haul in his second turn at a full-season affiliate. He's certainly doing his part so far, but for his stock to truly take a jump he'll need to carry this run deeper into the second half.

Blue Jays SS Bo Bichette, Class A Lansing: 3-for-4, HR, RBI, 2 R -- There isn't much to add from Tuesday's story naming Bichette as the Midwest League Player of the Week, other than a quick update. In two games since that announcement, the Blue Jays' No. 9 prospect has gone 4-for-7 with two homers and two walks. He leads the Midwest League in all three slash-line categories (.381/.458/.619), and at 1.077, he's the only hitter in the circuit with an OPS above 1.000. There might never be a better time to get on the 19-year-old shortstop's bandwagon.

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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