Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Prospect Roundup: Games of Aug. 16

Kopech turns in another Knights gem; Urias adds to hot August
Michael Kopech leads qualified Triple-A pitchers with a 31.3 percent strikeout rate this season. (Ken Inness/
August 17, 2018

Theme of the dayDrama from AL East prospects: The Red Sox might be running away with the division on the Major League side, but in the Minors, two other American League East clubs are providing excitement. Yankees prospects Janson Junk, Austin DeCarr and Daniel Alvarez combined on Class A Charleston's

Theme of the day

Drama from AL East prospects: The Red Sox might be running away with the division on the Major League side, but in the Minors, two other American League East clubs are providing excitement. Yankees prospects Janson Junk, Austin DeCarr and Daniel Alvarez combined on Class A Charleston's first nine-inning no-hitter since 1994. Two levels higher, Blue Jays No. 9 prospectCavan Biggio notched his second two-homer game of the season for Double-A New Hampshire, with the second blast giving the Fisher Cats a 7-6 walk-off win.

Who stayed hot

White Sox RHP Michael Kopech, Triple-A Charlotte: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 93 pitches, 67 strikes -- Make that quality starts in six of Kopech's last seven outings, allowing his season ERA to drop a full run from 4.70 to 3.70. That nine and zero in the strikeouts and walks columns, respectively, should look familiar -- it was the third straight start in which the No. 2 White Sox prospect posted those exact numbers. Since the Triple-A All-Star break, Kopech owns a 1.84 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with 59 strikeouts and four walks in 44 innings. His 170 strikeouts still lead the Minor Leagues, putting him 10 clear of runner-up Josh James, but it's the control improvement that has been most notable. When Kopech arrives with Eloy Jiménez on Chicago's South Side in 2019, it will be a sign that the White Sox's rebuild project nearing fruition.

Who needed this one

Pirates RHP Steven Jennings, Rookie-level Bristol: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 85 pitches, 61 strikes -- Following the departure of Shane Baz earlier this week, Jennings became the top-ranked Pirates prospect (No. 12) on the Bristol staff, and he certainly pitched like it. The 2017 second-rounder had allowed 13 earned runs combined over 17 1/3 innings in his previous three starts but put up a zero in that column at Burlington in his longest start of the season. The 19-year-old right-hander has posted a 4.58 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 24 walks in 57 innings this season, all in the Appalachian League. Those are rather pedestrian numbers, but with a plus fastball, good slider and average curve and change, Jennings has the arsenal to stick as a starter.

The unexpected

Indians C Eric Haase, Triple-A Columbus: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, K -- The No. 24 Indians prospect's best offensive tool by far is his power. That said, he had hit just two homers over his previous 22 games, so the fact he picked up two blasts against Syracuse came as a minor surprise. Coming off a 27-homer campaign last season, the 25-year-old backstop has gone deep 18 times and produced a .241/.296/.453 line in 108 games with Columbus this year. He's also thrown out 49.2 percent of attempted basestealers, the highest caught-stealing rate in the International League. This is the first season Haas has spent on the 40-man roster and Francisco Mejía's move to San Diego clears Haase's path to the Majors.

Best matchup

Tony Santillan vs. Monte Harrison: It was power vs. power with Santillan's 70-grade fastball taking on Harrison's elite bat speed when Jacksonville faced Pensacola, but the results were anything but powerful. Harrison bounced out softly to first base against Santillan in the first inning but followed it up with a groundball single to right in the second and a soft flyball single to center in the fourth. Harrison has gotten the better of his Blue Wahoos counterpart this season, going 3-for-6 against him in their two meetings. Harrison finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in his side's 9-1 win while Santillan struggled, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits in three-plus innings.

Who strengthened their promotion case

Padres INF Luis Urías, Triple-A El Paso: 3-for-4, 3B, 2B, 2 R -- This performance against Las Vegas marked Urias' third straight multi-hit game. Over 15 games this month, he's hitting .389/.433/.630 with nine extra-base hits. The 21-year-old infielder, who has played mostly second base this season but started at third base Thursday, has produced a .281/.386/.425 line in 111 games, resulting in a 118 wRC+ -- pretty good for a player who began the year as the PCL's youngest player. San Diego fans have long dreamed of a Major League double-play partnership of Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr., and they won't have to wait long to see the first half of that tandem.

Others of note

Blue Jays RHP Eric Pardinho, Rookie-level Bluefield: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 73 pitches, 49 strikes -- Speaking of players young for their levels, the 17-year-old right-hander was dominant in his longest and best start of the season in the Appy League. The No. 7 Blue Jays prospect has a 2.93 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 13 walks in 46 innings for Bluefield.
Phillies LHP David Parkinson, Class A Advanced Clearwater: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 81 pitches, 49 strikes -- The Phillies' No. 20 prospect now has a 1.00 ERA in his first three Florida State League appearances, and with a 1.43 ERA on the season, he trails only Cardinals prospect Alex Fagalde (1.42) for the full-season Minor League lead.
Angels LHP Patrick Sandoval, Double-A Mobile: 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K -- Following two promotions and a trade from the Astros to the Angels, this was the fourth Minor League club that Sandoval has pitched for in 2018. He made another solid first impression in his Double-A debut for Mobile. The Angels' No. 20 prospect hasn't allowed a run in four starts in the Halos system (19 1/3 innings) while striking out 27 and walking nine.

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