Mengden, Urias among top prospect performers Friday
By Mike Rosenbaum
Opponents have had trouble scoring runs off Daniel Mengden this season, both at the Double- and Triple-A levels. That trend continued on Friday as the A's No. 14 prospectimproved to 4-0 with seven innings of one-run ball for Triple-A Nashville in a win over Sacramento.
Mengden scattered five hits and walked one while tallying eight strikeouts in the outing, matching his season high, and he's now punched out exactly eight hitters in five of his eight starts on the year. More impressive, the 23-year-old righty has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any start this season, and, overall, he's yielded just four earned runs across 50 frames (0.72 ERA).
Acquired from Houston last July in the Scott Kazmir trade, Mengden began 2016 at Double-A Midland where he posted a 0.78 ERA with a 28/12 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 23 innings (four starts). He moved up to Nashville in early May and has been even better there, recording a 0.67 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP and a 23/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27 innings (four starts).
Though it's still early in the season and he has little upper-Minors experience, Mengden has made an undeniably strong case to get a look in the big leagues sooner rather than later, especially given the mixed results from Sean Manaea so far.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Friday
• No. 12 overall prospect Blake Snell (Rays' No. 1) worked a season-high six scoreless innings and fanned nine hitters for a second straight turn for Triple-A Durham in a win over Rochester. In his first scoreless Minors start since making his big league debut on April 24, Snell allowed three hits and walked two while throwing 63 of his 93 pitches for strikes. It shouldn't be long until the 23-year-old lefty gets another chance with the Rays.
• No. 20 overall prospect Franklin Barreto (A's No. 1) turned in his fifth three-hit performance of the season for Double-A Midland, going 3-for-5 with a double in a loss to Corpus Christi. Matt Chapman (No. 6) homered for a second straight day and extended his hitting streak to nine games in the process.
• No. 24 overall prospect Clint Frazier (Indians' No. 2) powered Double-A Akron to a win over Binghamton, going 3-for-4 with his sixth home run of the season, two runs scored and two RBIs. The 21-year-old outfielder has been red hot of late, with a .462 average (18-for-39), three homers and 14 runs scored in his last 10 games, and three hits in three of his past four contests for the RubberDucks. Overall, Frazier owns a .312/.392/.539 slash line with 22 extra-base hits and 37 runs scored through 38 games.
• No. 51 overall prospect Jake Thompson (Phillies' No. 2) established a pair of new season highs with eight strikeouts in eight innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in a no-decision against Toledo. After a shaky start to his season, Thompson has posted a 1.33 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over his last 27 innings (four starts) for the IronPigs.
• Padres No. 8 prospect Jacob Nix had a forgettable season debut for Class A Fort Wayne on April 10, when he allowed four runs on five hits and lasted just 1 2/3 innings. Since then, however, the 2015 third-rounder has given up just two earned runs in 24 frames (0.75 ERA) over his last seven starts.
• Twins No. 17 prospect Fernando Romero dominated in his first start in nearly two years, firing five no-hit innings for Class A Cedar Rapids in a shutout over Quad Cities. The 21-year-old right-hander last pitched on June 22, 2014, before undergoing Tommy John surgery and subsequently missing all of '15. Romero struck out four in the outing behind a fastball that reportedly touched 99 mph.
• Cardinals No. 17 prospect Austin Gomber had another strong showing for Class A Advanced Palm Beach, tossing seven innings of one-run ball in a win over Clearwater. After going 15-3 with a 2.67 ERA in 22 starts for Class A Peoria last season, the 22-year-old southpaw has opened 2016 by winning four of his eight starts while posting a 2.64 ERA over 47 2/3 innings in the Florida State League.
• A's No. 24 prospect Daniel Gossett paced Class A Advanced Stockton in a 7-0 shutout of Visalia with seven innings of two-hit ball and nine strikeouts, matching his career high. The 23-year-old righty had a shaky full-season debut in 2015 but has seemingly turned the corner this year in the California League, as he's now 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings (eight starts) after Friday's performance.
• Royals No. 24 prospect Brandon Downes blasted a grand slam and collected a season-high four hits to pace Class A Advanced Wilmington's offense in a win against Carolina. The four-hit performance raised the toolsy 23-year-old outfielder's average 20 points, from .239 to .259, and he's now driven in 18 runs in 38 games for the Blue Rocks.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.