Prospect Roundup: Games of May 21

Lopez rolling for Charlotte; Funkhouser fans 10 in Lakeland debut

Reynaldo Lopez has struck out 23.9 percent of the batters he's faced in nine starts for Triple-A Charlotte. (David Monseur/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | May 22, 2017 12:15 PM ET

White Sox RHP Reynaldo Lopez, Triple-A Charlotte: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 85 pitches, 53 strikes -- The No. 4 White Sox prospect saw his ERA dip below 3.00 for the first time this season (2.94) following his fifth straight outing with two earned runs allowed or fewer. Since April 30, he owns a 1.57 ERA with 28 strikeouts and a .184 average-against over 28 1/3 innings. Control woes troubled the 23-year-old right-hander early on this season, but he's issued only four walks over his last three starts (17 innings). With a plus fastball and good curve, Lopez has the tools to pitch in the Majors, as he did last season for the Nationals, but he's showing with each outing that he's more likely to do so in a starting role than a relieving one.

Indians RHP Triston McKenzie, Class A Advanced Lynchburg: 6 1/3 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 99 pitches, 61 strikes -- This was technically a quality start for the Indians' No. 3 prospect, but the season-high five walks take away some luster. McKenzie doesn't usually struggle with control, but he's averaged 4.8 BB/9 over his last five starts. Still, MLB.com's No. 50 prospect has been untouchable when he's found the plate. His .154 average-against is lowest in the Carolina League, and his 33 percent strikeout rate is second among the circuit's 36 qualified hurlers. The walks might be enough reason to pump the brakes on the hype train of the 19-year-old right-hander, but we're not at Tyler Glasnow-style control worries yet.

Pirates 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes, Class A Advanced Bradenton: 3-for-5, 3B, 4 RBI -- Sunday brought a season-high four RBIs and the third straight multi-hit game for the Pirates' No. 4 prospect. After hitting .263 with a .659 OPS in April, Hayes has been impressive this month with a .328/.431/.379 line and 6/9 K/BB ratio through 16 games. The 20-year-old third baseman has shown good bat-to-ball skills as well, dropping his strikeout rate from 18.5 percent over 65 games last season to 13.4 percent in 35 games this year. The one offensive tool he's yet to develop is power. Sunday's triple was just his sixth extra-base hit of the season, and he's yet to go deep in 157 plate appearances. But with Hayes' hit tool and above-average defensive skills at the hot corner, the Pirates should be pleased with the way their 2015 first-rounder is coming along.

Tigers RHP Kyle Funkhouser, Class A Advanced Lakeland: 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, HR -- Making his Florida State League debut, the Tigers' No. 6 prospect set a career high with 10 strikeouts and did not issue a free pass -- something he did not do in his seven starts with Class A West Michigan. Funkhouser ranks fourth among all Minor Leaguers with a 37.1 percent strikeout rate in 39 innings this season, and the fact that he was able to rack up this many K's in his first Class A Advanced start only pushes the idea that he should have been there all along. The 23-year-old right-hander will be more accurately judged at this higher level, and there's already reason to believe his stock will continue to climb.

Mets C/1B Patrick Mazeika, Class A Advanced St. Lucie: 1-for-4, HR, 5 RBI -- The No. 26 Mets prospect set a career high with his sixth homer of the season Sunday and did so in style with a grand slam in St. Lucie's 10-4 win over Dunedin. Mazeika's six long balls in 68 games surpass the three he hit in 70 contests for Class A Columbia last season and his five in 62 games with Rookie-level Kingston in 2015. Mazeika has been one of the FSL's best hitters through the season's first two months with a .343/.429/.569 line and a .998 OPS that ranks second in the Class A Advanced circuit. He's also walked more times (15) than he's struck out (14), adding another level intrigue to his offensive profile. The 23-year-old continues to split time between catcher and first base, but his 28.6 percent caught-stealing rate ranks ninth among the 10 qualified backstops in the circuit. The Mets will take the bat for now with the hope the defense develops into something more serviceable over time.

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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