Let’s take a look at three prospects that you should keep an eye on this week.
Randy Cesar, Corpus Christi (Houston Astros)
Cesar won’t jump off the page on top prospect charts, but anyone with a 40-game hitting streak is certainly worth watching. He set the Texas League record two days ago and just keeps rolling.
Cesar is the Astros 23-year-old, right-handed hitting, first base prospect. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and it took him four years to get out of Rookie ball. He tore up the NYPL in his debut and put together a nice 2017 split between Low and High-A. He made his second spring training trip this season (this one longer than one at bat) and has really shown an improved plate approach. He came into this season a bit bigger and it’s showing with a career high eight home runs and 17 doubles, well on pace to shatter his 23 set last year.
Alex Kirilloff, Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins)
Kirilloff is coming off a lost season, sitting out all of 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery. The 20-year-old lefty came out guns blazing making Midwest League pitching look easy. He slashed .333/.391/.601 with a .999 OPS before getting promoted to the Florida State League.
That was three days ago. In his debut, he had a hit. In his second game, he added four more. In his third game, he went 3-for-3.
Alex Kirilloff really in over his head after his promotion from @CRKernels:— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 24, 2018
3-for-3, 2B, RBI tonight
4-for-6, HR, 5 RBI last night
8-for-15 with @MiracleBaseball
10-game hit streak
The #MNTwins No. 3 prospect is No. 71 on @MLB Top 100 list: https://t.co/TuTZgdnqLq pic.twitter.com/D3S39yyFPF
Kirilloff’s smooth left-handed swing and plus-hit tool in both contact and power made him one of the more exciting prospects before his injury. Now that it looks like he’s fully healthy, he’s showing he’s ready to meet, and likely surpass, those expectations.
Jesus Luzardo, Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics)
Luzardo was one of the “it” prospects heading into 2018, one that was kind of on the radar for a big season. Well, he has responded this June.
The 20-year-old lefty has now gone three-straight starts without allowing a run. He’s tossed 15 innings, striking out 14 and walking just three. Luzardo became the A’s top pitching prospect in 2018 by default once A.J. Puk went down for the year, but right now he’s delivering like he should. John Sickels had him ranked No. 5-overall in the preseason:
Age 20, third round pick from high school in Florida by the Nationals in 2016, though he had just had Tommy John surgery; traded to Oakland in Doolittle deal; performed well in rookie and short-season ball this past summer, posting 1.66 ERA with 48/5 K/BB in 43 innings; can hit mid-90s, throws strikes, both curveball and change-up draw positive reviews; main issue now is building up stamina and proving health; possible comp: Gio Gonzalez. ETA 2020
He’s still not going incredibly deep into ball games, but is starting to show the command and ability to do so.