February 3, 2023

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Barber makes Prospect Team of the Week

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Familiar names dot the latest edition of the Prospect Team of the Week with multiple previous 2022 honorees reclaiming spots on this week’s roster. No organization boasts more than one selection to the squad, but four systems placed players among the group from outside of their top 20 prospects.

A Miami first baseman rolled up 15 hits in six games while an Astros outfielder clubbed five homers for his week and a Twins 19-year-old walked seven times in five contests to continue a season trend of impressive strike zone command.

To be eligible for the Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week, Minor League players must be ranked among their club’s Top 30 prospects on Pipeline’s lists. (Those in the Majors do not qualify.)

This is the Prospect Team of the Week for May 30-June 5:

Catcher: Logan O’Hoppe, Reading Fightin Phils (Double-A)
Phillies No. 4
.313/.425/.938, 5 G, 5-for-16, 3 HR, 1 2B, 8 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K

After a week’s hiatus, O’Hoppe returns to the Prospect Team of the Week following another stellar series for Reading. While his hit total doesn’t rival some of the rest of this week’s selections, his power and run production certainly do. Over five games the backstop tallied five hits, and four went for extra bases with three leaving the yard. O’Hoppe went 0-for-3 in his team’s first game of the week at Hartford before stringing together hits in his next four. The backstop homered and doubled on Wednesday and then added homers on Saturday — a grand slam — and Sunday.

1B: Troy Johnston, Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Double-A)
Marlins No. 25

.625/.633/1.292, 6 G, 15-for-24, 4 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B, 11 RBI, 9 R, 3 BB, 3 K

If there was an overall Player of the Week pick on the Prospect Team of the Week, Johnston might get the nod for his absurd level of production. The first sacker had four more hits than anyone else on this week’s squad and tallied seven for extra bases, nearly half his total. Johnston had hits in all six games he played against visiting Biloxi including multihit performances in his first five. The Gonzaga product tripled on Tuesday, doubled on Wednesday, homered and doubled on Thursday, homered again on Friday, added two homers on Saturday and finished his weekend by going 1-for-4 with a single on Sunday. Nine of his 11 RBIs for the week came over three straight three-RBI games from Wednesday-Friday, and the 24-year-old walked in each of his final three games.

2B: Thomas Saggese, Hickory Crawdads (High-A)
Rangers No. 26

.455/.500/.773, 5 G, 10-for-22, 2 HR, 1 2B, 8 RBI, 7 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 4 SB

Saggese had hits in four of the five games he played last week, and all of those performances were of the multihit variety. Texas’ infielder continued a strong run at the High-A level after batting .313/.348/.446 through 22 games in May and owns a .288/.337/.441 slash line for the season. His two homers so far in June are the same as his May total and just one shy of his total through the first 40 games of his season. While Saggese earned this nod at second base, having played four of his five games there last week, the 20-year-old has seen action at second, third and short this season.

3B: Gunnar Henderson, Bowie Baysox (Double-A)
Orioles No. 3
, MLB No. 46
.476/.500/.857, 5 G, 10-for-21, 1 HR, 1 3B, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB, 7 K

On the day he made his second Prospect Team of the Week (joining a 2021 selection), Henderson got some even better news: he’s headed to Triple-A. Henderson started his week with eight hits in his first 13 at-bats, including a homer and three doubles, and drove in six runs. He finished with a hit in each of his last two games of the week, racing to his third triple of the season on Sunday afternoon at Altoona. After hitting .250/.435/.450 in 19 April games at Double-A, Henderson conquered the level in May with a .333/.462/.617 line over 24 contests. The lefty hitting infielder is feasting on right-handed pitching this year, batting .358/.485/.683 against righties.

SS: Blaze Alexander, Amarillo Sod Poodles (Double-A)
D-backs No. 24

.444/.500/.889, 5 G, 8-for-18, 2 HR, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K

Alexander has been discovering his power stroke over the last few weeks. While he homered twice in the award period, the shortstop also homered on May 27 and has pushed his total for the season to seven. Alexander’s biggest performance of last week came on Friday when he went 3-for-4 with a homer, a double and a pair of RBIs. The 2018 11th-round pick now has hits in 11 of his last 13 games and has found his home environs in Amarillo especially friendly. At HODGETOWN, the Sod Poodles’ 22-year-old is batting .329/.402/.634 with six of his seven homers, five of his eight doubles and his only triple in 22 games.

OF: Colin Barber, Asheville Tourists (High-A)
Astros No. 5

.524/.583/1.286, 6 G, 11-for-21, 5 HR, 1 2B, 9 RBI, 8 R, 3 BB, 1 K

Barber’s pro career didn’t start in the easiest of ways when the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 season and he underwent labrum surgery on his non-throwing right shoulder in 2021. This year, he’s showing why the Astros nabbed him in the fourth round of the 2019 Draft. Home to face Hickory last week, Barber had hits in five of his six games played with multiple knocks in four of them. After homering just once in his first 31 games of the season, Barber’s power surged over his last six with five dingers. The outfielder homered on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday with a pair of blasts in his last game of the week for his first professional multihomer game. Limited to 16 games at High-A last year, Barber batted just .214/.365/.452 with Asheville before undergoing surgery. This year his line sits at .328/.436/.520 through 37 games.

OF: Emmanuel Rodriguez, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (Single-A)
Twins No. 17

.583/.700/1.500, 5 G, 7-for-12, 2 HR, 2 3B, 1 2B, 9 RBI, 8 R, 7 BB, 2 K, 1 SB

With an eye-popping 2.200 OPS last week thanks in large part to seven walks and five extra-base hits among his seven total knocks, Rodriguez started his June on a tear. The 19-year-old tallied hits in each of his five games played, including a three-hit showing on Thursday that featured two triples. After going hitless in six straight games from May 17-22, the outfielder now has hits in nine of his last 10 games. Rodriguez has been especially impressive in his command of the strike zone this year. Last week’s seven walks against just two strikeouts ran his season totals to 54 walks and 51 K’s on the season.

OF: Jackson Chourio, Carolina Mudcats (Single-A)
Brewers No. 9

.440/.462/.920, 6 G, 11-for-25, 3 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, 8 RBI, 4 R, 1 BB, 11 K

Chourio extended his hitting streak to 12 games with knocks in all six contests on the road at Lynchburg, registering six multihit games over the streak, including back-to-back three-hit performances to close the series. Just 18 years old, Chourio made his full-season debut this spring and has dominated the Carolina League with a .371/.417/.595 slash line through 28 games. Against the Hillcats, he homered on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday while also doubling on Wednesday and adding a triple on Saturday. Chourio’s eight RBIs for the week were nearly half of his total (17) from the season’s first 22 games.

Also receiving votes: Travis Swaggerty, Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A, PIT)

LHP: DJ Herz, South Bend Cubs (High-A)
Cubs No. 9

0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 12 K, 0.20 WHIP

After finishing the 2021 season with three appearances at High-A South Bend, Herz is back there in 2022 and starring. The southpaw didn’t have an outing with more than seven strikeouts this year until Wednesday when he fanned 12 without issuing a walk and went five scoreless, one-hit innings for the second straight start. After allowing a leadoff double, the 21-year-old retired 14 straight hitters, including eight straight and 11 of 12 via strikeout at one point, before hitting Dayton’s Garrett Wolforth with a two-out offering in the fifth. Herz rebounded to strike out Nick Quintana for the final out of his night. Over his last two starts, Herz has dropped his ERA from 1.98 to 1.45. In 10 outings this season, the North Carolina native boasts 53 strikeouts against 17 walks across 37 1/3 innings.

RHP: Stephen Kolek, Arkansas Travelers (Double-A)
Mariners No. 29

1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K, 0.50 WHIP

Kolek got roughed up by Northwest Arkansas for eight runs on 11 hits over five innings on May 21. Seven days later, he steadied himself with seven innings of one-run ball against Amarillo. In his first June start, he was even better. Seattle’s righty prospect dealt six shutout frames, allowing just two hits, and struck out a season-high nine against one walk to earn a win in his second straight decision. Kolek threw 95 pitches (60 for strikes) and distributed five outs on the ground and five on the fly in addition to his nine K’s. The Texas A&M product, the younger brother of 2014 second overall pick Tyler, went to the Mariners from the Dodgers last year and has worked as both a starter and a reliever in his four pro seasons, coming out of the bullpen 34 times in 78 appearances.

RP: Adrian Hernandez, Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A)
Blue Jays No. 18

0-0, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 0.00 WHIP

Hernandez worked three perfect innings over a pair of appearances to join the Prospect Team of the Week for the second time this season as he continues his dominant work for Buffalo. The right-hander struck out three over two frames on Monday, needing just 20 pitches (and 16 strikes) to do so. On Sunday, he wrapped up his week by striking out one of the three men he faced and throwing eight of 12 total pitches for strikes. Hernandez started the year with three appearances for Double-A New Hampshire and put up a 2.25 ERA while striking out six in four innings. Since his promotion to Buffalo, the 22-year-old has been lights out. Hernandez has allowed just one earned run on three hits over 15 innings with the Bisons, striking out 22 against four walks and posting a 3-0 record to go along with his 0.60 ERA and 0.47 WHIP.

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