Here’s a look at Sunday’s top Minor League performers from each team’s Top 30 Prospects list:
Marlins: JJ Bleday, OF (MLB No. 13), Double-A Pensacola
Bleday scored three runs and drove in three on a 2-for-5 performance, including a two-run triple in the bottom of the second, his second three-bagger of the year. The Marlins’ No. 2 prospect has collected two multihit games in his past three contests and has reached base safely in nine of his past 10. Bleday is slashing .290/.450/.677 in that 10-game stretch with two homers, six RBIs and seven walks.
Astros: Hunter Brown, RHP (No. 3), Triple-A Sugar Land
Brown twirled six one-run innings in his Triple-A debut, giving up just three hits and walking one while racking up seven strikeouts. The 22-year-old has surrendered two or fewer runs in seven consecutive starts, including one run or less six times. Brown’s seven punchouts pushed his season total to 83 in 55 1/3 innings, an average of 13.5 per nine. His hot stretch has lowered his ERA from 6.20 on June 18 to 3.74.
Pirates: Liover Peguero, SS (No. 4), High-A Greensboro
Pegeuro has been on a power kick lately. The 20-year-old has launched five homers in his last four games, capped off by a two-homer performance on Sunday, his second such effort of the season. Peguero drove in four runs and added a walk to his 2-for-4 day, giving him a career-high 32 RBIs on the season to go with 11 home runs, 17 stolen bases and a .266 batting average.
Royals: Nick Loftin, SS (No. 8), High-A Quad Cities
A lot of things went Loftin’s way in the River Bandits’ 14-12 marathon win. First, he set a new career-high in hits, going 5-for-6 at the plate after never recording more than three hits in a game. Second, he hit for the cycle, the first of his young career. Third, he completed said cycle on a walk-off two-run homer in an at-bat that was supposed to result in a bunt to advance the runners before a wild pitch changed the course of the game. Yeah. It was certainly the best game of Loftin’s career, and the 2020 Draft pick is now batting .268 with seven homers, 14 doubles and only two more strikeouts (39) than RBIs (37).
Rangers: Ezequiel Duran, 2B/SS (No. 8), High-A Hickory
Duran is a new addition to the Rangers’ farm, having come from the Yankees in the Joey Gallo trade, and he wasted no time getting acquainted with his new team on a 3-for-6, four-RBI day in Hickory’s 12-7 win. Duran got the scoring started in the bottom of the first, cashing in on a leadoff double with a two-bagger of his own. A two-run single in the bottom of the third made it 6-0 Crawdads, and a sharp single in sixth extended the lead to 11-5. The 22-year-old is hitting .295 with a .905 OPS across three teams (two levels) this season with 12 homers and 54 RBIs.
D-backs: Luis Frías, RHP (No. 9), Double-A Amarillo
Frias was unhittable for the Sod Poodles in their victory over Mississippi as he fired a seven-inning no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader. It was the first hitless outing of Frias’ career and the second time in three starts that he went seven innings. The 23-year-old only allowed two baserunners — the first coming on a wild pitch third strike that allowed the runner to take first, and the second a four-pitch walk in the sixth. Frías struck out four of the first seven batters he faced and added a strikeout in the sixth and the seventh to give him six on the day. He threw 62 of his 90 pitches for strikes.
Reds: Riley O’Brien, RHP (No. 13), Triple-A Louisville
After a rough month of June that saw his ERA jump from 2.86 to 5.40, O’Brien picked it up in July and started August off strong with five hitless innings in relief in Louisville’s 2-0 win. The 6-foot-4 righty struck out six and allowed only one baserunner on a four-pitch walk in the fourth; the threat was promptly taken care of when O’Brien induced a double-play ball five pitches later. O’Brien threw 33 of his 50 pitches for strikes and has lowered his season ERA to 4.12 with 78 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings.
Giants: Casey Schmitt, 3B (No. 15), Low-A San Jose
Schmitt flirted with a cycle in San Jose’s victory, falling a homer shy while collecting his second three-hit performance in three games. The 22-year-old picked up right where he left off in July when he batted .290/.371/.376 with eight doubles in 93 at-bats. Selected in the second round of the 2020 Draft, Schmitt is batting .258/.327/.428 with 22 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs in 58 games.
Phillies: Jhailyn Ortiz, OF (No. 21), Double-A Reading
Ortiz shook off a hitless debut with Reading on Saturday to blast his first Double-A homer while tallying three hits and a walk. The 22-year-old certainly earned his promotion from High-A Jersey Shore after posting an .852 OPS, 30 extra-base hits, 19 homers and 48 RBIs in 74 games. Ortiz is coming off a July in which he went deep 13 times and drove in 25 runs in 90 at-bats.
Indians: Jose Tena, SS (No. 23), High-A Lake County
Tena collected the second multihomer game of the season on a 3-for-4, two-RBI day at the plate. The power wouldn’t come until the top of the fifth, after he started his day with a single in the first. His first solo shot broke a 1-1 tie, and his second dinger in the eighth extended Lake County’s lead to 7-1. After hitting only one homer in each of his last two Minor League seasons, Tena has nine long balls in 2021 to compliment his .288./339/.469 slash line.