Pirates OF Austin Meadows, Triple-A Indianapolis: 3-for-5, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R, K -- The Pirates' top prospect showed important signs of life Wednesday with one of his better offensive performances of the year. Meadows missed almost two months of action with Indianapolis after a hamstring injury put him on
Pirates OF Austin Meadows, Triple-A Indianapolis: 3-for-5, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R, K -- The Pirates' top prospect showed important signs of life Wednesday with one of his better offensive performances of the year. Meadows missed almost two months of action with Indianapolis after a hamstring injury put him on the disabled list June 22 and sent him on rehab assignments in the Gulf Coast and New York-Penn Leagues, and his Aug. 15 return to the International League hit a hitch when he missed several more days with oblique tightness. But on Wednesday, Meadows matched his Triple-A season high with three hits and collected multiple extra-base hits for the first time at any level since June 4. Beyond the injuries, Meadows needed the pick-me-up as he's hit just .248/.309/.361 over 69 games with Indy this season. When healthy, the 22-year-old hits well from the left side and uses his plus speed as an asset in any of the three outfield spots, but his health has been a major question. Meadows has played more than 100 games only once since being drafted ninth overall in 2013. He's up for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason -- a 40-man roster spot is a given due to his talent level -- but it's not a guarantee that he'll get a Major League look this September, especially if the Pirates don't want to risk further injury.
Astros OF Ramón Laureano, Double-A Corpus Christi: 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 K -- The Astros' No. 15 prospect has lost some of his shine following a breakout 2016 in which he hit .319 with 15 homers, 43 steals and a .955 OPS between Class A Advanced Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi, but he showed Wednesday that he's still capable of a big game. Laureano went deep twice for the first time since July 15, 2016 in the California League and was the Hooks' lone bright spot in an 8-4 loss to Midland. He now has three long balls in his last two games, and in his last four contests the 23-year-old outfielder is 7-for-17 (.412) with three homers, a triple and six RBIs. This recent run is sorely needed after Laureano went 0-for-25 over an eight-game stretch from Aug. 8-17. The right-handed slugger's numbers aren't nearly as rosy this season -- .213/.288/.352, nine homers and 24 steals in 112 games back in the Texas League -- but he's still got value as a speedster with a good arm. His 16 outfield assists lead the league.
Angels RHP Grayson Long, Double-A Mobile: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 98 pitches, 65 strikes -- The Angels' No. 9 prospect not only threw his longest scoreless outing of the season Wednesday in a 2-0 win at Biloxi, but also moved into the Southern League lead with a 2.62 ERA over 116 2/3 innings, nipping second-place Deck McGuire (2.63). He also ranks fifth with a 1.14 WHIP. After being limited to 65 innings in his first full season, the 2015 third-rounder out of Texas A&M has been a much more stable arm this campaign. He usually sits around the low-90s but has an above-average slider and solid changeup that have proven effective against Double-A hitters. While the Angels seem to be rebuilding their system around toolsy outfielders like Jo Adell and Jahmai Jones, Long, teammate Jaime Barria and 2017 second-rounder Griffin Canning are showing there's some hope when it comes to arms as well.
Brewers 3B Lucas Erceg, Class A Advanced Carolina: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, 2 R, BB, K -- The Brewers' No. 10 prospect continues to catch fire at the tail end of 2017. He collected multiple hits for the fourth time in his last seven games Wednesday, and over that stretch he's gone 12-for-28 (.429) with a homer and four doubles. Power has not been much of an issue for Erceg during his first full season. The 22-year-old third baseman is tied for fourth in the Carolina League with 45 extra-base hits (14 homers, one triple, 30 doubles) this season. But his other numbers, namely his .251 average and .298 on-base percentage, aren't as rosy, especially for a player who was lauded for his bat entering the season. The Brewers will take the positives found in their 2016 second-rounder's pop, however, and hope that a continued strong finish builds a foundation for more sustained offensive success in his second full season in 2018.
Twins SS Wander Javier, Rookie-level Elizabethton: 4-for-5, HR, 2B, RBI, 2 R -- There might not be a hotter hitter in the Appalachian League right now than the Twins' No. 5 prospect. Javier set a career high with four hits Wednesday, the latest impressive performance in a seven-game hitting streak during which he's gone 16-for-29 (.552) with two homers and three doubles. No other Appy Leaguer is batting higher than .458 since that streak began Aug. 14. The 18-year-old shortstop's .933 OPS over 35 games this season would rank third in the Rookie-level circuit, if he wasn't just a few at-bats shy of the qualifying mark. No matter. Signed for a club-record $4 million bonus out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Javier is shining with the bat in his stateside debut, and considering he won't turn 19 until Dec. 29, there's likely a lot more to come in the years ahead.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.