The first weekend of the Minor League season is in the books, and there were certainly some stand out performers.
There was no pitcher with better numbers than the 12th overall pick from last year, Kodi Medeiros. Medeiros didn’t put up great numbers in his debut last season, going 17.2 innings in the Arizona League and putting up an ERA of 7.13, but his full season debut was a beauty. Medeiros went six innings of no hit ball with just a single walk while striking out seven Spokane Chiefs. The St. Louis Cardinals affiliate bounced back once Medeiros left the game, scoring 11 runs in the final two innings to win 11-1. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers may have lost the game, but they will certainly be a fun team to watch for Brewers fans. In addition to Medeiros, a well polished lefty for a high school draftee last year and eight ranked prospect according to MLB.com, they also feature MLB.com’s fifth and third ranked Brewers prospects in Jake Gatewood and Monte Harrison. Gatewood was probably the biggest name, and biggest in size at 6’5”, but there may not have been a player with a better defensive profile in the Arizona last year than Harrison.
Medeiros projects as a mid-rotation lefty, who has touched 95 mph with his fastball but should work more in the high-80s to low-90s and rely on control, change of speed, and movement. Gatewood has real power in the bat and will only fill out as he is very lean with just 190 lbs. on the tall frame, but will probably end up at third base rather than short and strikeouts will be an issue for him throughout his career. Harrison can play an excellent centerfield and can really run to go along with an elite throwing arm. At the plate, he is a real work in progress. His defense will carry him early in his career, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him develop in to a .275 hitter that can hit 20 home runs in time and could move to the top prospect in the Brewers system before long.
The minor league leader in steals after Sunday was Wes Rogers, who stole seven bags in the team’s first four games, including five in a single game on Friday. The fourth round JC draft pick by the Rockies last season flashed his speed right away by stealing 15 of 16 bags in 30 games in the Pioneer league last season. He is a solid center fielder who has a lot of development ahead of him to become a quality prospect, but he could pretty easily advance into a solid fourth outfielder or defense first starting center fielder in time.
The home run leader after the weekend was not Kris Bryant or Joey Gallo, although Bryant does have a pair of home runs already, but instead that distinction belongs to Mike Bianucci, an outfielder for the Kansas City Double-A club. He clubbed two in the opener, then hit another on Sunday.
Several pitchers managed to record double digit strikeouts in their first outing, but none have a brighter future than Jose Berrios, who is playing third fiddle for Chatanooga as Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are the two biggest names on the club. Eleven of the 19 outs Berrios recorded were via the strikeout, while allowing just a single run on a solo home run in just over six innings.
It was a fantastic weekend across Minor League Baseball and the season is just getting started. Make sure to come check back with Baseball Essential regularly as we improve our coverage of all things MiLB.