Two more Chicago prospects were named Player of the Week for their league yesterday, and I suspect neither of them are a name you are expecting.
From High A Myrtle Beach, outfielder Kevin Brown picked up Player of the Week accolades for the Carolina League. A left handed hitter, Brown slugged .810 while going 9 for 21 last week over six games. At 24 Brown is older than we normally expect for a High A prospect, but he was only drafted in 2013 out of a college in Rhode Island. He has already had a short stint in each of Iowa and Tennessee, though, and hit fairly well at both stops.
An atypical prospect, at least as far as age is concerned, and certainly not one of the best in the organization, Brown is a guy who probably deserves as little more of the spotlight than he typically gets. Hopefully he can build on this hot stretch and hit his way back onto the Tennessee roster soon.
The Cubs’ other honoree is also an outfielder. The Midwest League Player of the Week is Yasiel Balaguert, a 22 year old right handed hitter. Balaguert has been playing in the US since 2012, but so far has not made it out of Low A. He has only 125 games over two seasons at that level, though, and so is just now coming up on roughly one normal season worth of work. And thanks in part to his incredible week, he is having a pretty good season. On May 21 Balaguert went 0 for 4 and finished the game with a line of .200/.270/.333. Starting the next day he launched an eight game hitting streak at the end of which he was batting a robust .298/.338/.492. Over those eight games he homered three times … in three consecutive games.
Balaguert has drawn some praise for his bat, but like Brown he is not exactly a prospect that gets much attention. He is at about the right spot on the age curve, though, and looks like he should soon be ready for his first taste of High A. If he gets that chance and handles it well we may well be talking about Balaguert as one of the season’s surprises and a candidate to break out in a big way next year.
Also, he’s really strong. Look at where this pitch is, and then look at how far he hits it: