All-Prospect Team For July
C Tom Murphy • Rockies Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast) While Murphy batted just 70 times in July, he made those plate appearances count by leading all catchers with eight home runs and all minor league batters with a .540 average, 1.665 OPS and .540 isolated slugging percentage. Of course, if the 25-year-old Murphy hadn't spent the first three months of the season hitting .208/.227/.456—with some disabled-list time mixed in—he probably would be in the big leagues today.
1B Dominic Smith • Mets Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Smith hit .260 with just four home runs in his first 64 games, so a power spike was just what he needed. In 35 games since June 21, he hit .323/.400/.575 with eight homers, and he appeared in the Futures Game. Smith wins this distinction in a photo finish against the Blue Jays' Rowdy Tellez (159 OPS+ at Double-A New Hampshire) and the Phillies' Rhys Hoskins (153 OPS+ at Double-A Reading).
2B Ozzie Albies • Braves Double-A Mississippi (Southern) Albies is the youngest position player in the Southern League despite being demoted from Triple-A Gwinnett at the end of June. Since rejoining Mississippi, the 19-year-old has teamed with shortstop Dansby Swanson to give the M-Braves the best double-play combo in the league, while also hitting .348/.429/.478 with eight steals, 13 walks and 16 strikeouts in 29 games.
3B Rafael Devers • Red Sox High Class A Salem (Carolina) The 19-year-old Devers hit just .233 and slugged .335 in 69 games through the end of June before finding his footing in the Carolina League in July. Only Triple-A Reno outfielder Mitch Haniger (25) struck more extra-base hits than Devers did (22) in July.
SS Franklin Barreto • Athletics Double-A Midland (Texas) The Brewers' Isan Diaz (220 OPS+ at low Class A Wisconsin) and the Blue Jays' Richard Urena (151 OPS+ at high Class A Dunedin) played well in July, but Barreto actually appeared in the same number of games at shortstop (12) as either player while also excelling at Double-A at the tender age of 20. The key prospect received by Oakland when they traded Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays, Barreto has ripped the ball since June 1, batting .333/.402/.541 with 21 extra-base hits and 10 steals in 45 games.
OF Mike Gerber • Tigers Double-A Erie (Eastern) The Tigers snagged the Creighton senior in the 15th round of the 2014 draft, and Gerber has delivered on his amateur promise of plus power with 13 home runs in 2015 and 15 thus far in 2016. The Tigers challenged him with a promotion from high Class A Lakeland to Erie on July 22, and he hit .353 with six extra-base hits through his first nine games in the Eastern League.
OF Mitch Haniger • Diamondbacks Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast) The D-backs acquired both Haniger and lefthander Anthony Banda when they traded Gerardo Parra to the Brewers in July 2014, and now both prospects rank among the top performers in the Arizona system. Haniger, a 25-year-old whom Milwaukee selected out of Cal Poly in the supplemental first round of the 2012 draft, collected a minor league-leading 25 extra-base hits in 28 July games. In fact, he now leads the minors with a .620 slugging percentage. "I changed my mechanics a lot this winter," Haniger told MiLB.com in July. "I opened up my power to all fields, and I'm generating bat speed deeper in the zone." His spray chart indicates that he, in fact, now possesses power to all fields.
OF Christin Stewart • Tigers High Class A Lakeland (Florida State) Plus loft power to all fields has been Stewart's calling card since his high school days, and the 2015 first-rounder from Tennessee has delivered on that promise in pro ball. He leads the Florida State League in home runs (23), RBIs (65), on-base percentage (.404), slugging (.534) and walks (74). Stewart, whose patient approach yields many deep counts, collected more walks (18) than strikeouts (15) in July for the first time this season.
LHP Ty Blach • Giants Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast) With Jake Peavy (5.47 ERA in 21 starts) and Matt Cain (5.53 ERA in 14 starts) rounding out the big league rotation, the Giants—even with the acquisition of the Rays' Matt Moore—could soon begin looking at internal options, especially after going 4-11 to begin the second half. Blach, a control-oriented starter with a good changeup, is arguably the best of those internal options. He leads the Pacific Coast League with 130 innings while ranking sixth with a 3.54 ERA and seventh with a walk rate of 1.87 per nine innings.
LHP Austin Gomber • Cardinals Double-A Springfield (Texas) A 2014 fourth-round pick from Florida Atlantic, Gomber is a three-pitch lefty who has improved his curveball as a pro. He began July at high Class A Palm Beach but finished at Springfield, tossing seven one-hit innings on July 30. Gomber turned in an average game score of 70 for the month—which is outstanding—though note that he missed more bats in the Florida State League (10.2 strikeouts per nine innings) than in the Texas (5.5 per nine).
RHP Sean Reid-Foley • Blue Jays High Class A Dunedin (Florida State) A 20-year-old high school righthander from Jacksonville, Reid-Foley owns two plus pitches in his fastball and slider and has gone 6-1, 1.95 in nine starts since being promoted to Dunedin. Improved control has made all the difference for the 2014 second-rounder, for he has cut his walk rate to 2.9 per nine innings this season. Reid-Foley ranks among the minor league leaders with 127 strikeouts (third), a 0.95 WHIP (seventh) and a .179 opponent average (fourth).
RHP Luke Weaver • Cardinals Double-A Springfield (Texas) Weaver combines above-average velocity, an outstanding changeup and a new-in-2016 cutter to dominate Texas League competition with a 1.29 ERA and strikeout rate of 10.2 per nine innings through 11 starts. The emergence of Weaver and Austin Gomber at Double-A helps the Cardinals cover for injury-wracked seasons by Triple-A lefties Marco Gonzales and Tim Cooney.
RHP Brandon Woodruff • Brewers Double-A Biloxi (Southern) An uptick in velocity has Woodruff sitting in the mid-90s, which helps his average to slightly above slider and changeup play up. An 11th-round pick from Mississippi State in 2014, he ran up a 5.68 ERA through his first eight starts at Biloxi before shining in the Southern League in July, when he struck out nearly twice as many batters (42) as he allowed to reach base (23).
Steven Matz Trade: Mets Acquire Three Prospects From Blue Jays
The Blue Jays added another pitcher late Wednesday night, acquiring Steven Matz from the Mets.