Nikhazy makes Prospect Team of the Week

17 minutes ago

After no team posted multiple selections on last week’s Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week, two boast such a designation this week with one organization notching its first honorees of the season. Young talents from the 2021 Draft and players making their full-season debuts highlight this week’s selections, as do players making bold first impressions at new levels in the Minor Leagues.

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 June 6-June 12:

Catcher: Edgar Quero, Inland Empire 66ers (Single-A)
Angels No. 8
.389/.560/.833, 5 G, 7-for-18, 2 HR, 2 2B, 8 RBI, 9 R, 7 BB, 3 K

The Angels hadn’t had a single Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week selection this season until this week, when they nabbed two spots. The first belongs to Quero, who was outstanding over five games behind the dish for Inland Empire. The backstop has hits in eight of his nine games in June with five multihit performances for the month, just one shy of his April and May totals combined. Against visiting Modesto last week, Quero doubled on Wednesday and Friday while adding homers on Friday and Sunday and driving in eight runs over the series. He also commanded the strike zone efficiently, walking seven times while striking out only three. After batting .214/.313/.357 in 16 April games, the 19-year-old hit .268/.406/.341 in 23 May contests and sits at .444/.545/.972 through nine June contests.

1B: Spencer Horwitz, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double-A)
Blue Jays No. 30
.450/.577/.900, 6 G, 9-for-20, 2 HR, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 4 R, 6 BB, 6 K

The last ranked prospect in Toronto’s Top 30 continues to showcase why the Blue Jays were pleased to get him out of Radford University in the 24th round of the 2019 Draft. After scuffling at the plate in May, Horwitz is on a tear to open June with a nine-game hitting streak entering this week. At Binghamton last week, the 24-year-old notched an extra-base hit in all but one game, and in in the one he didn’t, Horwitz singled twice. The first baseman had just two homers in April and two in May before adding two over five games from Wednesday through Saturday, and, like Quero, had a good eye while matching his strikeout total with six walks. Last month, Horwitz batted .216/.337/.365 in 23 games. So far in June, he’s a .400/.571/.733 hitter in 10.

2B: Eguy Rosario, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)
Padres No. 6
.346/.414/.885, 6 G, 9-for-26, 3 HR, 1 3B, 3 2B, 9 RBI, 8 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 SB

After going 4-for-25 to open June, Rosario matched that hit total in his second game alone of last week’s home-and-home slate with Albuquerque. In that Wednesday contest, the infielder went 4-for-5 with two homers, a double and six RBIs, one of his best games of the year on the road, where he’s batting .220/.304/.366 compared with a .278/.366/.433 line at hitter-friendly El Paso. He followed with a homer among his two hits on Thursday before doubling Friday and adding another double among his two Sunday knocks. Rosario is in his first season at Triple-A and bumped his line for the year to .245/.332/.395 with his big week.

3B: Brett Baty, Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Double-A)
Mets No. 3, MLB No. 23
.400/.500/.700, 6 G, 8-for-20, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R, 4 BB, 3 K

It seems like every week, the Mets’ top prospect trio in Binghamton (featuring their No. 1/MLB No. 7 Francisco ?lvarez and No. 3/MLB No. 69 Ronny Mauricio) has a player take center stage. Last week, it was Baty, who racked up a trio of two-hit performances and bookended his series with homers on Wednesday and Sunday. Baty already has 12 hits through nine games in June, just two knocks shy of his total through 18 games in May. After striking out three times in the Rumble Ponies’ first two games, he walked four times with no more K’s the remainder of the week. Baty owns a .274/.370/.439 slash line in June.

SS: Jordan Westburg, Norfolk Tides (Triple-A)
Orioles No. 6
.455/.478/.909, 5 G, 10-for-22, 2 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Last Monday, Westburg’s left-side infield mate Gunnar Henderson earned a Prospect Team of the Week nod at third base for his work with Double-A Bowie and then got the bump to Triple-A alongside Westburg. This week, it’s the third baseman getting the nod after his first Triple-A week featured hits in nearly half his at-bats. Westburg kicked off his International League stay with two hits, including a double, in his debut and three more in his second game, featuring another double and his first Triple-A homer. The Mississippi State product still has yet to go hitless at the Minors’ highest level and finished on two more two-hit games, homering and tripling on Saturday before throwing out a pair of singles on Sunday.

OF: Logan Cerny, Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Single-A)
Astros No. 24
.476/.500/1.000, 5 G, 10-for-21, 3 HR, 2 2B, 13 RBI, 7 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 3 SB

Just like Westburg, Cerny was preceded on this list by an organizational teammate when Colin Barber of High-A Asheville was selected a week ago. This time, it’s Cerny’s turn after his best stretch of the season. The 22-year-old has hits in eight of 10 June games so far and put up a trio of three-hit performances last week, beginning with a homer and double among three knocks on Tuesday. Cerny also homered in his other three-hit games on Friday and Sunday while adding another double in Fayetteville’s weekend finale at Delmarva. His four homers in June already surpass his totals from both April and May (three each), and his 20 RBIs or scored for the week are three more than anyone else on this week’s selections.

OF: Esteury Ruiz, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)
Padres No. 29
.440/.533/.880, 6 G, 11-for-25, 3 HR, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 9 R, 4 BB, 6 K, 4 SB

Ruiz crushed Double-A pitching with a .344/.474/.611 line, nine homers and 37 RBIs in 49 games to begin the season in San Antonio. That earned him a promotion to El Paso, where the outfielder only got better in his first week. After going 1-for-8 in his first two games, Ruiz took off with two homers and a double as part of a 4-for-5 performance on Thursday and doubled again on Friday. The 23-year-old surged to finish the weekend with five singles between his Saturday and Sunday performances. Acquired by the Padres in a Trade Deadline deal with the Royals in 2017, Ruiz is in Triple-A for the first time and now boasts an overall line of .356/.481/.644 for the season.

OF: Kevin Alcantara, Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Single-A)
Cubs No. 7
.417/.482/.958, 6 G, 10-for-24, 3 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B, 11 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 6 K

Alcantara’s Myrtle Beach hitting coach Steven Pollakov described the outfielder as “entertainment” and “everything fans are going to want to see at Wrigley on a daily basis” after a monster Sunday that capped the young star’s latest stellar week. Alcantara ran his hitting streak to seven games with a 4-for-6 performance featuring eight RBIs and two homers — his first career multihomer game– in Myrtle Beach’s series finale at Carolina. The 19-year-old has been impressive in his first full-season campaign. After signing with the Yankees in 2018, Alcantara played just 82 games between that season and 2019. With no Minor League season in 2020, he was back in short-season ball last year for just nine games before the Yankees dealt him to the Cubs as part of the trade involving big league first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Being tested at the full-season level for the first time, Alcantara is now batting .285/.371/.528 with nine homers and 45 RBIs in 50 games.

LHP: Doug Nikhazy, Lake County Captains (High-A)
Guardians No. 20
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K, 0.30 WHIP

A second-round pick in last year’s Draft, Ole Miss product Nikhazy made his pro debut in April and has hit his stride over his last handful of outings. His Saturday start was his best yet. Nikhazy went five innings in his June 4 outing for the first time as a pro and then blew by that mark in his next appearance. The lefty dealt 6 2/3 of shutout ball at Fort Wayne, setting a new career high with 10 strikeouts and facing just three batters over the minimum. Since seeing his ERA spike to 5.29 after giving up three runs on four hits over two innings against Great Lakes on May 14, Nikhazy has dropped that mark to 3.35 by allowing just four earned runs over 20 2/3 innings in his last four starts for the Captains.

RHP: Landon Marceaux, Tri-City Dust Devils (High-A)
Angels No. 14
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, 0.29 WHIP

An SEC product like Nikhazy, former LSU righty Marceaux went to the Halos in the third round of last year’s Draft. Also like Nikhazy, Marceaux has set new career-long outings of late. Following six innings of one-run ball at Eugene on May 26, the right-hander turned in seven shutout frames while scattering five hits against Hillsboro on June 2. Six days later, he was even better by limiting Vancouver to two hits over seven scoreless frames with seven strikeouts and no walks. Through two June starts, Marceaux has fanned 11 over 14 scoreless innings with no walks and seven hits allowed and has dropped his ERA every single outing since he gave up two runs on four hits in his season debut on April 12.

RP: Matt Brash, Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A)
Mariners No. 4, MLB No. 86
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 0.00 WHIP

Brash made his big league debut with five starts for the Mariners between April 12-May 4. Since returning to the Minor Leagues, the right-hander has been coming out of the bullpen, much to the misery of opposing hitters. Brash hasn’t allowed a run since he gave up five on two hits in one inning at Sacramento on May 22 and hasn’t surrendered a hit since June 3. Against Salt Lake and Round Rock last week, Brash was perfect for three innings over three appearances. The 2019 fourth-rounder struck out all three men he faced on Wednesday at Salt Lake. Combined across his three games, Brash needed just 38 pitches, throwing 25 for strikes.