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Prospect Roundup: Games of July 25

Rangers' Crouse fans 12; Giants' Canario tees off twice
Hans Crouse has averaged 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings this season. (Jared Ravich/
July 26, 2018

Theme of the dayLong and strong outings: Wednesday was a day for pitching across the Minor League landscape. No. 40 overall prospectDylan Cease was the most dominant of the bunch, retiring the first 20 batters he faced before finishing with 12 strikeouts in a gem for Double-A Birmingham. Padres No.

Theme of the day

Long and strong outings: Wednesday was a day for pitching across the Minor League landscape. No. 40 overall prospectDylan Cease was the most dominant of the bunch, retiring the first 20 batters he faced before finishing with 12 strikeouts in a gem for Double-A Birmingham. Padres No. 9 prospect Chris Paddack had a great Double-A start of his own with eight K's in 5 2/3 innings for San Antonio, while No. 10 Braves prospect Touki Toussaint was even better with eight zeros for Triple-A Gwinnett. Strong outings by Hans Crouse, Kyle Wright, Jesus Luzardo and Triston McKenzie featured below added to a day of impressive pitching performances.

Who stayed hot

Rangers RHP Hans Crouse, Class A Short Season Spokane: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 K, 92 pitches, 66 strikes -- On July 13, the Rangers' No. 4 prospect struck out double-digit batters for the first time when he fanned 11 against Eugene. Twelve days and two starts later, he set a new career high by fanning a dozen against Tri-City. Crouse has now struck out 41 over 33 innings in the Northwest League, where he also sports a 2.45 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. In both of those double-digit-strikeout performances, the 19-year-old right-hander didn't walk a batter. The Rangers have taken it easy with the 2017 second-rounder, who is doing everything right in his short-season assignment. More on what makes the Texas righty unique in Josh Horton's feature here.

Who needed this one

Blue Jays OF Anthony Alford, Triple-A Buffalo: 3-for-4, HR, RBI, R, CS -- It hasn't been a fun summer for the Blue Jays' No. 3 prospect, who began the day hitting just .194/.267/.254 in July. Then, he homered to left off Louisville starter Justin Nicolino in the second inning -- his first long ball since July 7 -- and finished off his fifth three-hit game of the season with singles in the sixth and ninth. Alford is now hitting .224/.299/.329 with five homers and 13 steals in 69 games with Buffalo. He played seven games with the big club in May but hasn't been back since, in large part because of his offensive slump. He's still a plus-plus runner who can cover lots of ground in the outfield, so he'll likely rejoin the Jays when rosters expand in September.

The unexpected

Giants OF Alexander Canario, AZL Giants Black: 3-for-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, K, SB -- Scouting reports rave about the No. 11 Giants prospect's bat speed, but only five of his 23 hits in the AZL had gone for extra bases before yesterday's games -- and only of those was a homer. The 18-year-old outfielder tripled his dinger total with his first career two-homer game in an intra-organization game against the AZL Giants Orange. After a strong Dominican Summer League campaign in 2017, Canario is off to a solid stateside start with a .283/.405/.424 line, three homers and eight steals through his first 22 games. He also has an above-average arm in center field that has already helped him pick up five outfield assists. With added power, Canario could become one of the most well-rounded prospects in the San Francisco system.

Best matchup

Triston McKenzie vs. Ke'Bryan HayesTwo of's top 100 prospects squared off at Akron's Canal Park. McKenzie got Hayes to fly out to center field in all three of their matchups before departing after 5 1/3 innings, having allowed one earned run on three hits and three walks. The right-handed-hitting Hayes is now 1-for-6 with a triple against the RubberDucks starter this season, and while it's a small sample, it's notable because he's actually done well against righties this season, hitting .310 with an .870 OPS. These two could see each other again soon during a three-game series from Aug. 3-5. 

Who strengthened their promotion case

Braves RHP Kyle Wright, Double-A Mississippi: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 93 pitches, 56 strikes -- The Braves made a bold move by assigning the 2017 fifth overall pick straight to the Southern League for his first full season, and he's looking ready for another promotion to Triple-A. This eight-inning outing was the longest of his career and an efficient one at that. The 22-year-old right-hander hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in a start since June 8 and sports a 2.33 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 13 walks in seven starts (46 1/3 innings) over that span. (He also appeared in the Futures Game earlier this month, hitting 96.8 mph with his fastball.) Wright's ERA has dropped in each of the four months he's spent with Mississippi, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Atlanta, which has a history of being aggressive with its prospects, send Wright to the International League in August.

Others of note

A's LHP Jesus Luzardo, Double-A Midland: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 62 pitches, 43 strikes -- Luzardo's run of 28 scoreless innings came to a close when he gave up a homer to Juremi Profar to lead off the third, but it was another impressive outing for the 20-year-old left-hander. The most important development might have been the debut of a pitch called the "turkey sub" -- a low-60s Eephus pitch that can really throw hitters off his otherwise impressive velocity. 
Padres RHP Luis Patiño, Class A Fort Wayne: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 73 pitches, 50 strikes -- Yet another exciting young Padres pitcher, Patiño has been on fire for the TinCaps, adding five no-hit innings yesterday. He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in a start since May 22 and now owns a 2.08 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 16 walks in 56 1/3 innings on the season.

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