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Daily Prospect Notes: 7/8/21

These are notes on prospects from Tess Taruskin. Read previous installments here.

Keibert Ruiz, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Oklahoma City Age: 22 Org Rank: 2  FV: 50
4-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI
Ruiz’ four-hit night wasn’t enough to make up for the fifteen runs scored by the opposing El Paso Chihuahuas, but it certainly bolstered confidence in the young catching prospect’s overall 2021 performance. His approach at the plate continues to impress; Ruiz’s 11% K-rate is the third lowest in all of Triple-A (10th lowest in all of the minor leagues), and he’s only struck out twice in the past twelve games, walking 11 times over that span.

Nick Plummer, DH/OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Level & Affiliate: Double-A Springfield Age: 24 Org Rank: NR  FV: 40
3-for-5, 3 HR, K, 5 RBI
The line says a lot, but not quite everything. Plummer hit three home runs last night, but most notable was when they came and where they landed. His first four-bagger didn’t come until the bottom of the seventh, when he banged an opposite-field bomb off of the left field foul pole. His second dinger came the following inning, when he sent one over the wall in left center. Finally, as if filling out his bingo card, he walked it off in the 10th on an absolute rocket over the right field wall.

Here’s a look at all three:

Jake Gatewood, SS, Los Angeles Angels
Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Salt Lake Age: 25 Org Rank: NR  FV: 40
4-for-5, HR, 2B, K, 3 RBI
Drafted by the Brewers in 2014, Gatewood spent several years in Milwaukee’s system before becoming a free agent in 2020 and signing with the Angels in April of this year. His four-hit night on Thursday was a reminder of the production the infielder is capable of, but on its own, it isn’t enough to negate the concerns about his approach that have plagued his time in the minors. So far this year, in 206 at-bats, Gatewood has struck out 82 times and drawn only 15 walks — a 36.4% strikeout rate against a walk rate of 6.7%.

Derek Hill, CF, Detroit Tigers
Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Toledo Age: 25 Org Rank: NR  FV: 40
2-for-5, 2 HR, K, 4 RBI
Coming into Thursday’s game, Hill had only homered twice all season, but he doubled that by the end of the night. The centerfielder, who played a handful of games with the big league squad last month, wasted no time causing damage against Omaha pitcher Daniel Lynch. He sent the first pitch of the game out of the ballpark, an absolute no-doubter that cleared the left field bleachers entirely.

He homered again in the eighth and did little of much note between the two bombs, but his display of power is quite welcome, considering his defense is widely considered his best contribution on the field. If he’s able to continue peppering power into that profile, it’ll be easier to picture him as a more consistent big-league bench piece.

Austin Wells, C, New York Yankees
Level & Affiliate: Lo-A Tampa Age: 21 Org Rank: 12  FV: 45
3-for-3, HR, 2B, 2 BB, 6 RBI
Trevor Hauver, 2B, New York Yankees
Level & Affiliate: Lo-A Tampa Age: 22 Org Rank: 29  FV: 40
3-for-5, 3B, BB, 2 K, 4 RBI
Everson Pereira, CF, New York Yankees
Level & Affiliate: Lo-A Tampa Age: 20 Org Rank: 18  FV: 40+
3-for-5, 3B, BB, 3 RBI
The heart of the Tampa Tarpons’ order was deadly in the first game of yesterday’s double-header against Dunedin Blue Jays, as Wells, Hauver, and Pereira combined for nine hits and 13 RBI, all in just seven innings.

Wells and Hauver, both 2020 draftees (Wells in the first round, Hauver in the third), have put up good overall numbers this year; the former has a 142 WRC+, the latter boasts one of 165. But their more recent success rates are much more distinct. Over the last two weeks, Wells’ numbers took a dip across the board, as he slashed just .161/.297/.355. If there’s a silver lining to be gleaned from this lackluster fortnight, it’s that he still walked quite a bit during that time (a 16.2% rate). That he found time to walk twice in his three-hit, six-RBI outing makes his performance all the more impressive, and hopefully enough to break him out of his rut.

Hauver, meanwhile, will probably prefer viewing his Thursday afternoon as a continuation of his ongoing hot streak. Over the same two-week span that saw Wells’ numbers tumble, Hauver’s went the opposite way; he was 14 for his last 30 heading into Thursday, slashing .467/.585/.600, and walking more often than he struck out (24.4% and 17.1%, respectively).

While Wells and Hauver have been at Lo-A Tampa all season, Thursday’s game was Pereira’s first with the team, having been called up from the FCL earlier this week. Any time a player moves up a level, it’s fair to allow some wiggle room as they adjust to the increase in competition, but he seemed determined to prove he didn’t need any such leniency. His ability to put the ball in play and his speed on the base paths were both on display, but so was a knack for hard knocks; Pereira had three of the four highest exit velos for the game, with a triple that went 106.6 mph of his bat and one of his singles coming in at 110.9 (the third was a groundout in the sixth at 106.9).

FanGraphs Baseball