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3 red-hot prospects to watch this week

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BREAKING: Francisco Mejia can hit

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-All Star Game Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a look at three red-hot prospects that deserve all eyes on them this week.

Francisco Mejia, Columbus Clippers (Indians)

Right here on Minor League Ball, yours truly wrote a piece on June 16th about three disappointing prospect starts to 2017. Francisco Mejia was one of them.

Since that piece, Mejia has hit in 14-of-15 games. He’s had eight-straight multi-hit games, and has had two or more hits in 10 of his last 11 games. Man, this crow sure tastes weird.

Mejia’s bat has always been a beautiful thing and right now he’s really gelling. When Mejia goes on these runs, it’s almost ridiculous what he can do. You know, like 50-game hitting streak ridiculous. He hit .455 in June, with four of his seven home runs and a 1.193 OPS.

Let’s see what he does in July for an encore.

Brandon Lowe, Durham Bulls (Rays)

Lowe was not friendly to baseballs in June. He hit seven home runs in his last 11 games. He, too, has been a multi-hit machine, with seven in his last ten after going 3-for-4 on Saturday night.

Our own John Sickels had the 23-year-old left-fielder at No. 18 on the Rays prospect list entering 2018. Here’s why:

Age 23, third round pick in 2015 from University of Maryland; hit .311/.403/.524 with 47 walks, 65 strikeouts, 34 doubles, nine homers in 315 at-bats in High-A, but just .253/.270/.389 with two walks, 26 strikeouts in 95 at-bats in Triple-A; strike zone got away from him against advanced pitching; plate discipline has always been one of his best attributes and he can probably make the needed adjustments to get it back; more power than the typical 6-0 second baseman; defense just average and he has a lot of competition in this system so he needs to stand out in ’18 or get lost in the pack; ETA 2020.

Not a bad job of standing out so far. He does face a Gwinnett staff that has allowed the least amount of home runs in 2018 (47) to start the week, but does have a Norfolk rotation that has allowed the third-most (71). It’s worth tuning in to see if Lowe can keep the homer happy streak alive this week.

Zac Lowther, Frederick Keys (Orioles)

We’re entering July and Lowther has a 0.96 ERA, albeit a FIP just north of two, and a 76-to-17 strikeout to walk rate over 56.1 innings. He’s worth watching.

The 22-year-old is slated to start Sunday, which means he’s likely in line for another start this week. He has been a bit less effective in the strikeout department since his promotion to the Carolina League, but still highly efficient in limiting runs, stranding over 90 percent of his runners during the season. He allowed just one earned run in June while striking out 23 and walking five, which is pretty dominant. His game isn’t perfect, but he has solid command and an ability to strike people out when he needs it most.

It will be interesting to see how the Orioles handle him. With college experience and a successful run in the NYPL and now full-season ball, he may be a quick riser.

One more to watch:

Freddy Tarnok, Rome (Braves): Tarnok has been filthy in relief this season and is slated to make his first start of the season on Sunday. If he succeeds, he may get another start this week.