Each and every day, with the exception of Monday’s (off days for all minor league baseball teams), Dave Mullen will be picking the top three stars from the minor leagues from the day prior. Today we feature prospects from the Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees.
The minor leagues are some of the most important and sometimes most ignored leagues. An organizations best prospects and even role players are throughout four or five different levels. With so much baseball happening on a daily basis, stars will emerge. Some of the names, you will know. Some of the names you will not know. We can guarantee that you will be more knowledgeable about your teams prospects if you are a daily reader.
Ryan Vilade – 23 years old – OF – Albuquerque Isotopes – Colorado Rockies
Ryan Vilade is still young enough to be considered a prospect and does not have enough major league service time to be excluded from this list. Although he is not on many top prospect lists, Ryan Vilade has an opportunity to carve out a major league career for the Colorado Rockies.
Last night, Vilade showed off some of that promise for Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes. In six plate appearances, Vilade racked up three hits. Two of the three hits went for a round-tripper and Vilade ended with a total of 4 RBI. The versatile outfielder did not stop there and was a hit by a pitch and worked a walk in his other plate appearances.
Since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft out of high school, Vilade has shown he can hit at all levels. Despite not playing in 2020, the Colorado Rockies decided to have Vilade skip a level. He went from playing Single-A baseball to Triple-A baseball without a stop in between from 2019 to 2021. In 2021, Vilade hit .284/.339/.749 over 518 plate appearances including a nice showing of power (seven homeruns, 28 doubles).
2022 has been more of a struggle for this Colorado Rockies prospect. Through 232 plate appearances, Vilade is slashing .245/.345/.682. The most obvious reason for the struggle is Vilade is facing more off-speed and secondary pitches. This takes time for a hitter to adjust to especially making the jump from Double-A to Triple-A. However, skipping an entire level will require more patience with prospects.
Luis Medina – 23 years old – SP – Somerset Patriots – New York Yankees
Another prospect that does not exactly light up lists but could have a bright future is New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Medina. Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Luis Medina impressed enough in 2021 to earn a Futures Game appearance. That is not easy invitation to receive. The 6’1” starting pitcher pitched across two levels last year; High-A and Double-A. His success came much easier in High-A (2.76 ERA in 32 2/3 innings pitched) than Double-A but he still experienced success (4.28 ERA in 73 2/3 innings pitched). The first half of the season in High-A earned him the initiation to the Futures Game.
Last night, however, Medina came out firing. Across six innings and a respectable 84 pitches, Medina struck out 10 batters while walking only one opponent. Medina was able to scatter two hits while throwing 68% of his pitches for strikes. The New York Yankees may be seeing an additional piece for their rotation this year or next.
In his second stint in Double-A, Medina has increased his strikeout rate while maintaining a respectable walk right. Last year, Medina walked 5.1 batters per nine innings and it is the same this year. His strikeout rate increased by more than one from last year (10.1 K/9 compared to 11.8 K/9). Medina offers two plus-plus pitches: fastball and curveball with a third (changeup) that has the potential to reach that level. Medina has a ceiling as a possible number two starter but more than likely he will stick as a number three starter for the New York Yankees.
Kyle Harrison – 20 years old – SP – Richmond Flying Squirrels – San Francisco Giants
At 20 years old and playing in Double-A, Kyle Harrison is facing opponents that are almost five years older than him. In light of that, Harrison has found little success since recently being promoted to Double-A. In four starts at the new level, Harrison has pitched 19 1/3 innings with a 30/12 K/BB ratio. Unfortunately, he has already given up a career high in homeruns (five) this year. Harrison is a former third round pick out of high school in the 2020 draft.
The San Francisco Giants have moved Kyle Harrison through the system aggressively. It appears he has hit a bit of a buzz saw in Double-A. Since facing stiffer competition, Harrison is giving up more hits and homeruns per nine innings while walking more and striking out less. The Giants obviously believe Harrison can overcome adversity which says a lot about the pitchers mental strength at such a young age.
Last night could have been Kyle Harrison’s turning point. Harrison delivered a six inning performance while only surrendering one run on three hits while striking out eight. With his command no better than average, four walks across six innings is more or less expected. Although some scouts have graded Harrison’s command as above average, it just has not shown out in his performance on the field yet.
The lefty does possess a tough arsenal, however. Harrison’s fastball sits in the mid-90’s but he has rocked that pitched up to 97 miles per hour previously. His slider and change-up sit in the mid-80’s which can absolutely torture hitters with such a big delta between fastball velocity and of speed velocity.