Cardinals OF Harrison Bader, Triple-A Memphis: 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, R, 2 K -- The Cardinals' No. 6 prospect is enjoying perhaps his hottest stretch of the season. Tuesday marked his third straight multi-hit performance as he extended his hitting streak to a modest eight games. Over that span, however,
Cardinals OF Harrison Bader, Triple-A Memphis: 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, R, 2 K -- The Cardinals' No. 6 prospect is enjoying perhaps his hottest stretch of the season. Tuesday marked his third straight multi-hit performance as he extended his hitting streak to a modest eight games. Over that span, however, he is 14-for-31 (.452) with three homers, one triple, two doubles and nine RBIs, raising his average from .288 to .305 and his OPS from .828 to .881. That's the improvement the Cardinals were hoping to see after the 23-year-old hit just .231/.298/.354 in 49 games with Memphis last season. The biggest improvement might be in the power department with his .217 isolated slugging percentage representing his highest mark at a full-season affiliate and his 15 homers quickly closing in on his career high of 19 with two months left to go. Bader, who has played mostly center field this year but is capable of getting time in the corners, isn't yet on the 40-man roster, but he could force the Cardinals to give him a Major League shot, especially if they continue to get little production out of Randal Grichuk in left and if Dexter Fowler's heel spur keeps him out longer than expected.
Pirates SS Kevin Newman, Double-A Altoona: 3-for-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R -- There's more on Newman's trend line in Wednesday's Toolshed, but this performance deserves a Roundup shout-out as well. Even when Newman has been on, it's been because of his hit tool, not his power. On Tuesday, he collected multiple extra-base hits for just the third time in 232 Minor League games. As explained in Toolshed, the Pirates' No. 3 prospect looked like he was about to turn his season around after hitting just .225 through April and May, and the Bucs hope his Independence Day performance is the start of even more.
Indians RHP Triston McKenzie, Class A Advanced Lynhcburg: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K -- Starts don't get much much more dominant than this. Tuesday's outing marked the third time this season that the Indians' No. 2 prospect had hit double digits in K's and pushed his season total to 115 through 89 2/3 innings. His 31.5 percent strikeout rate is tops among all Class A Advanced pitchers. What's more, his control seems to be improving. The 19-year-old right-hander didn't allow a walk in only one of his first 13 starts with the Hillcats but has done so in two of his last three outings. With a plus fastball and above-average offerings in his curve and changeup, McKenzie has the stuff to do well in his first trip to Class A Advanced, but there were questions about how his 6-foot-5, 165-pound frame would hold up over a full season. Well, McKenzie set a career high for innings pitched in a season on Tuesday night, and his next outing should come Sunday at the Futures Game.
Pirates RHP Mitch Keller, Class A Advanced Bradenton: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 72 pitches, 45 strikes -- The Pirates' No. 2 prospect tossed his longest outing both in terms of innings and pitches since back tightness knocked him out from May 16-June 19. The 21-year-old right-hander surged up prospect boards last season when he posted a 2.46 ERA, struck out 131 batters and walked only 18 in 124 1/3 innings at Class A West Virginia, thanks to impressive offerings in his fastball and curve. He's shown flashes of the same in the Florida State League, recording a 2.57 ERA with 46 strikeouts and nine walks in 49 frames, and it'll be interesting to see how those numbers hold as the reins continue to be loosened. Keller has had injury issues in the past, including a forearm strain that limited him to only 19 2/3 innings in 2015, and the Bucs would like to see this latest malady be a one-off rather than another chapter of a larger health issue.
Yankees LHP Ian Clarkin, Class A Advanced Tampa: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HBP, 88 pitches, 64 strikes -- Keller wasn't the only prospect to toss a gem in the FSL on Tuesday. The Yankees' No. 19 prospect threw his longest scoreless start of the season in a 2-1, 14-inning win over Fort Myers. Shoulder soreness put him on the disabled list for 18 days back in May, and the Yankees have been slowly allowing Clarkin to build back up -- he's tossed at least six frames in each of his last two starts. A first-round pick back in 2013, the 22-year-old left-hander has had trouble staying on the field as a professional and has yet to reach 100 frames in any of his five seasons in the Minors. But with 60 1/3 innings under his belt thus far, he's a candidate to reach that mark this summer. He's held his own in his third trip to Tampa, posting a 2.54 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 12 appearances, and the Yankees could have a 40-man decision to make this November when he's eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.