By Ben Harris
In his first full season in the Minnesota Twins farm system, OF LaMonte Wade is tearing up the Class A Midwest League. The star of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wade, the Twins’ 27th ranked prospect, leads the league with a .433 on-base percentage to go along with a .309 batting average. After starting the season on a 12-game hitting streak (18-for-44), his presence both in the outfield and at the plate has fueled the Kernels.
He’s made just one error in the field, ranks 13 in the league in batting average and sixth in OPS (.869) and sits tied with a team-high five stolen bases. His outstanding plate discipline—40 walks to just 23 strikeouts—continues to drive his success. Wade will represent the Kernels in the Midwest League All-Star Game on June 21, and participate in the Home Run Derby.
— Cedar Rapids Kernels (@CRKernels) June 10, 2016
After an early May promotion for LHP Adam Kolarek to Tampa Bay’s Triple-A Durham Bulls, the southpaw has posted a 4.20 ERA in 15 innings of work out of the bullpen. Kolarek projects as a lefty-specialist in the bigs, and has held left-handers to a .158 batting average with 14 strikeouts and seven walks during his time in Durham.
Also in the Rays system is 2015 third round draft pick 2B Brandon Lowe. In his first professional season, Lowe started slowly but has raised his batting average nearly 90 points and his OBP from .200 to .364 over the last two months. According to MLB.com, he is ranked as the Rays’ 29th best prospect. Lowe has reached base safely in 36 of his 46 games on the year, including 11 multi-hit games. His .261 batting average is sixth-best on the team, while his OBP ranks fourth.
In 10 starts for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Chicago Cubs advanced-A ball), RHP Jake Stinnett is 4-3 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Opponents are hitting just .233 against him, with 43 strikeouts and 19 walks. He’s come back down to earth after jumping out to a 1.99 ERA in his first four starts with a 0.75 WHIP and .156 batting average against.
In short-season A ball in the New York-Penn League, RHP Kevin Mooney is two-for-two in save opportunities for the Auburn Doubledays. He’s held opponents scoreless in nine of 15 appearances this season, with a 5.40 ERA overall and 4.00 ERA in his last nine innings.
In 31 innings this season, LHP Zach Morris’s 3.48 ERA ranks fourth-best of any reliever on the Lakewood BlueClaws in the Class A South Atlantic League.
In eight starts, LHP Jake Drossner has posted a 4.70 ERA and 1-5 record for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers while striking out 9.63 per nine innings.
LHP Alex Robinson, a member of the Minnesota Twins short-season rookie ball affiliate in Elizabethton, Tennesee, will begin his season on June 23. He is ranked 26th by MLB Pipeline, one spot ahead of Wade.
After transitioning into a full-time reliever role for Toronto, LHP Brett Cecil posted an ERA under 2.90 for three consecutive seasons. In his first game in 2016, he tied Craig Kimbrel’s MLB-record with 38-straight appearances without allowing an earned run, dating back to June 24, 2015. Since then, however, his ERA has more than doubled to 5.23 from last year’s mark. Cecil was placed on paternity leave in May following the birth of his daughter before suffering a torn lat. He has missed the last month and recently began throwing on flat ground. No return date has been set.