Keep an eye on these three prospects in the coming week.
Joey Wentz, Florida Fire Frogs (Atlanta Braves)
Wentz went on the disabled list after a May 11 start and didn’t pitch again until June 13. Since June 13, he’s been on absolute fire.
The 20-year-old lefty has not allowed an earned run over his last five starts, striking out 21 and walking just three in the 27.6 innings over that span. He’s gone deep into ball games as well, pitching into at least the sixth in his last four starts.
Wentz is an exciting young lefty, armed with an ever-improving fastball, curve and changeup. This is very similar to last season in Rome, where he was a much different pitcher in the second half, focused on the weaknesses he saw in the first half. If he’s ready for another end run like last season, every one of his starts become must-watch baseball.
Willie Calhoun, Round Rock Express (Texas Rangers)
Calhoun, a long-time Minor League Ball favorite, is on fire, and when he gets into one of his streaks, he is fun to watch.
The 5-foot-8 former second baseman is amid an 18-game hitting streak entering Sunday’s action. He’s raised his average from .274 to .305 and his OBP from .319 to .352. Everything is clicking for Calhoun right now.
Eleven of the games have been multi-hit games during the streak, including the last three in a row. Surprisingly, he’s been more of a hit machine, not uncorking a lot of that power he has become known for with just five doubles and two home runs over the span. Still, Calhoun didn’t seem too far away from the big leagues as it was, his arrival should be getting that much closer with his current run.
Wander Franco, Princeton Rays (Tampa Bay)
Watch out Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. If Franco keeps up his torrid pace, you may have company at the top.
Ok, perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch but young Wander, who is son to the elder Wander Franco and brother to not one, but two Wander Francos, is on absolute fire. The switch-hitter out of the Dominican Republic is currently slashing .392/.433/.701 with a 1.134 OPS.
It’s hard to figure out what’s more impressive. Of his 38 hits, 14 are extra bases (four doubles, four triples, and six home runs). The 17-year-old has little problem recognizing Appalachian pitches with an 8:6 K:BB ratio over 97 career at bats. Maybe his 19-game hitting streak will win you over, or simply the fact that he’s registered at least one base hit in 22 of his first 23 professional games. Oh, and Saturday night he went 5-for-6 with two home runs, six RBI and hit for the cycle. He did it against the New York Yankees top-five prospect Luis Medina (at least started it off against him).
If none of that has yet to wow you, let me remind you; he’s only 17. We may be watching something very special in Princeton. Make sure you keep your eyes on him.