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Prospect Roundup: Games of April 24

Tigers' Faedo stays in control; Collins starts hitting in Sox system
Alex Faedo has allowed only 18 batters to reach base through 23 innings for Lakeland. (Mark LoMoglio/
April 25, 2018

Theme of the dayThe time has come: The news came late, but once it did, little else in the Minors felt as notable. The Braves are officially calling up No. 2 overall prospectRonald Acuña Jr. for his Major League debut Wednesday against the Reds. After a rough start at Triple-A

Theme of the day

The time has come: The news came late, but once it did, little else in the Minors felt as notable. The Braves are officially calling up No. 2 overall prospectRonald Acuña Jr. for his Major League debut Wednesday against the Reds. After a rough start at Triple-A Gwinnett, the 20-year-old outfielder went 11-for-33 (.333) with a homer, double and three stolen bases in his final eight games with the Stripers. With his five tools, he'll become one of the game's most promising young stars the second he takes the field in Cincinnati, and there's a real possibility this is the last time (outside of a rehab appearance) that he appears on as a Minor League prospect.

Who stayed hot

Tigers RHP Alex Faedo, Class A Advanced Lakeland: 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 97 pitches, 63 strikes -- It's safe to say the Tigers have taken the training wheels off their No. 3 prospect. Faedo pitched into the seventh inning for the first time as a pro and threw a career-high 97 pitches, up from 87 in his last outing. The 22-year-old right-hander has been incredibly efficient in his first full season -- he's walked only one batter while striking out 21 over 23 innings through four starts for the Flying Tigers, and his 0.70 WHIP is best in the Florida State League. Faedo's 2.74 ERA isn't too shabby either; he has yet to allow more than three earned runs in a start. Considering the 2017 first-rounder didn't pitch at all in the Minors last year, this first month could scarcely have gone better.

Who needed this one

White Sox C Zack Collins, Double-A Birmingham: 2-for-4, 2 2B, 4 RBI, R, BB, SB -- There's no way around it -- the No. 9 White Sox prospect hasn't hit. Collins entered the game in Pensacola 2-for-37 (.054) with 19 strikeouts in his first 13 games of the season. The 2016 first-rounder has always faced questions about his hit tool, but matters were getting extreme. On Tuesday, he showed what he's capable of when everything clicks. The two doubles were just his second and third extra-base hits of the season and speak to his above-average power potential. He also added another walk, giving him 14 on the season. Even when the balls in play aren't falling, Collins has at least shown an ability to reach base through free passes; his 25 percent walk rate leads the Southern League. He now owns a .098/.321/.220 line over 56 plate appearances with the Barons.

The unexpected

Cubs RHP Cory Abbott, Class A South Bend: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 78 pitches, 54 strikes -- Just one ranked prospect completed seven innings Tuesday. That it was a Class A pitcher to do so was surprising; hurlers at the lower levels typically have shorter leashes, especially in April, but maybe the Cubs' No. 28 prospect isn't a typical Class A pitcher. Taken in the second round last year out of Loyola Marymount, Abbott has impressive control that allows him to work quickly, as he did Tuesday by averaging just over 11 pitches per frame. The 22-year-old right-hander threw 112 innings last season between college and the Minors, so he doesn't need to be brought along slowly. His assignment to South Bend isn't particularly aggressive, and he seems poised to move up quickly. Abbott owns a 2.12 ERA and 0.71 WHIP with 16 strikeouts and only two walks in three starts (17 innings) in the Midwest League.

Best matchup

Justin Dunn vs. Jesús Sánchez: The Mets' No. 3 prospect continues to show promise in his return to the Florida State League, but he ran into a tough matchup against a hot top-100 prospect. Dunn allowed two earned runs on eight hits while fanning six over 5 2/3 innings in St. Lucie's 5-3 win over Charlotte, improving to 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 25 strikeouts in four starts (20 innings). One of those earned runs, however, came off the bat of Sanchez, who launched a solo homer to right in the third inning. The Rays' No. 4 prospect popped out to first and struck out in his other two at-bats against the right-hander, but after going 2-for-4 in the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader, he now owns a .338/.356/.592 with four homers in 18 games for the Stone Crabs. Despite hitting from the left side, he's put up slightly worse numbers against right-handers like Dunn (.289 average, .875 OPS) than he has against southpaws (.423, 1.077), but Tuesday's long ball was a step toward normalizing those splits.

Who strengthened their promotion case

Stephen Gonsalves, Double-A Chattanooga: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 91 pitches, 60 strikes -- Another day, another reason for the Twins to promote one of their top four prospects out of the Southern League. Gonsalves, who pitched 87 1/3 innings for Chattanooga last season, improved to 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 25 strikeouts and 10 walks in 20 1/3 innings. The only thing holding's No. 79 overall prospect back from a return to Triple-A Rochester at this point might be his command, but with Gonsalves fanning 17 over his last two starts, a move to the more challenging International League surely can't be too far away.

Others of note

Braves OF Dustin Peterson, Triple-A Gwinnett: 3-for-5, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, R -- Despite the attention paid to Acuña, Atlanta's No. 16 prospect did plenty to stand out in his own right. The 23-year-old outfielder hit only one homer last season, partly because of a hamate injury, so it'll be interesting to see how his power progresses in 2018.
Cardinals RHP Ryan Helsley, Double-A Springfield: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 96 pitches, 66 strikes -- The Cardinals' No. 8 prospect saw his ERA drop from 7.47 to 5.82 in his first legitimate gem of the season. He impressed in six starts for Springfield in 2017 (2.67 ERA, 41 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings), so expect more outings like this.
Rays 1B Jake Bauers, Triple-A Durham: 3-for-5, 2 2B, R -- Tampa Bay's No. 5 prospect is heating up. Bauers is 7-for-17 with four extra-base hits over his last four games and has his line up to .263/.354/.439.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.