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Prospect Roundup: Games of May 30

Dunning shines in Rickwood Classic; Moniak starting to hit
Dane Dunning leads all White Sox prospects with 71 strikeouts in 63 innings this season. (Michael Wade/Birmingham Barons)
May 31, 2018

Theme of the dayIt's Ronny Rodríguez's world: Ronny Rodriguez has played 811 games in the Minor Leagues, 281 of them at Triple-A. None were more memorable than his performance for Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday. The 26-year-old not only homered twice in the Mud Hens' 12-7 win at Syracuse but he also

Theme of the day

It's Ronny Rodríguez's world: Ronny Rodriguez has played 811 games in the Minor Leagues, 281 of them at Triple-A. None were more memorable than his performance for Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday. The 26-year-old not only homered twice in the Mud Hens' 12-7 win at Syracuse but he also hit for the cycle, capping the feat with a triple in the ninth inning. (It should be noted the three-bagger was the result of a missed catch by the Syracuse second baseman, but a cycle is a cycle.) As if the day couldn't get any better for the veteran Minor Leaguer, the Tigers announced Wednesday night that they were purchasing his contract and calling him up for his Major League debut.

Who stayed hot

Phillies OF Mickey Moniak, Class A Advanced Clearwater: 3-for-5, 2B, K, SB -- It's tough to say that a player with a .560 OPS is "hot," but the 2016 No. 1 overall pick has had a promising stretch. Moniak has hits in six straight games, matching his longest hitting streak of the season, and has collected multiple hits in three straight contests. He's 10-for-26 (.385) with five doubles, five RBIs and two stolen bases during the streak. His season line has risen to a still-meek .243/.261/.299, but he's managed to double his two-bagger output in these last half-dozen games alone. The No. 4 Phillies prospect's stock has fallen to the point where he's no longer a top-100 prospect, but the last week has shown that there's still potential.

Who needed this one

D-backs 1B Pavin Smith, Class A Advanced Visalia: 2-for-4, HR, RBI, R -- It took until the penultimate day of May for the D-backs' No. 2 prospect to hit his first home run of the month. Smith's long ball Wednesday was just his fourth of the season and 12th extra-base hit in 45 games with Visalia. After being taken seventh overall last year, the 22-year-old first baseman is hitting just .216/.324/.346 -- a rough line for his position, where the offensive demands are higher. Smith has carried over his impressive plate discipline from his days at the University of Virginia -- he's walked more times (25) than he's struck out (23), helping his OBP remain respectable.

The unexpected

Mariners 3B Joe Rizzo, Class A Advanced Modesto: 4-for-4, HR, 2B, RBI, 2 R -- A player with a .244 average and .294 slugging percentage is a longshot candidate to have a perfect day at the plate with two extra-base hits, but Rizzo did just that. The four hits matched the total from his previous seven games combined, and Wednesday's performance included his first homer of the season and first game with multiple extra-base hits. The Mariners' No. 6 prospect is now hitting .261/.337/.332 with 10 doubles. 

Best matchup

Dane Dunning vs. Chattanooga: Normally, this spot is reserved for one pitcher and one hitter. But Wednesday wasn't a normal day in the Minors. It was the day of the Rickwood Classic, an annual game in which Double-A Birmingham plays at 108-year-old Rickwood Field while wearing throwback uniforms. The 2018 edition featured a top-100 prospect on the mound for the Barons in No. 67 Dunning. The 23-year-old right-hander had no issue with the special conditions and allowed just one earned run on five hits while fanning nine over seven innings. He now owns a 3.03 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 15 walks in 38 2/3 innings since joining Birmingham on April 26.

Who strengthened their promotion case

Yankees OF Billy McKinney, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 3-for-4, HR, 3B, 2B, RBI, 2 R -- New York's No. 17 prospect has already gotten a taste of the Majors, but it didn't last long. McKinney got in two games with the Yanks back in March before suffering a left shoulder sprain when he banged into the left-field wall at Rogers Centre in Toronto -- an injury that forced him on the disabled list for a little more than a month. He had rehabbed with Class A Advanced Tampa and Double-A Trenton before arriving in the International League early last week, and after a slow start, he's starting to hit in earnest. After finishing a single shy of the cycle Wednesday, the 23-year-old outfielder is 5-for-8 with two homers, a triple and a double in his last two games. The Yankees outfield is obviously crowded enough with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks all rotating through for playing time, but in his first season on the 40-man roster, McKinney is ready at a moment's notice.

Others of note

Phillies LHP JoJo Romero, Double-A Reading: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 110 pitches, 70 strikes -- This was Romero's longest outing of the season by far, trumping his 6 1/3-inning effort back on May 4, and the fourth quality start in his last five appearances. After posting a 7.20 ERA in April, the Phillies' No. 6 prospect has a 3.68 ERA with 37 strikeouts and 12 walks over 36 2/3 innings in May.
Braves 3B Austin Riley, Triple-A Gwinnett: 2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, R, BB, 2 K -- The Braves' No. 8 prospect is 7-for-18 with a homer and a double in his last four games and is hitting .310/.365/.483 with four homers over 22 games since making the jump to Triple-A.
Blue Jays OF Anthony Alford, Triple-A Buffalo: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, SB -- This was just Alford's third multi-hit game in 23 appearances for Buffalo. After opening the season on the DL with a right hamstring strain, Toronto's No. 3 prospect has produced a .169/.233/.193 line over 90 plate appearances.

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