Kopech, Rodgers among top prospect performers Thursday

Boston's No. 5 fans career-high 11 for second straight start; Rockies' top prospect goes deep twice in big game

Kopech, Rodgers among top prospect performers Thursday

The strikeouts just keep on coming for Red Sox No. 5 prospect Michael Kopech.

After setting a career high with 11 strikeouts in his last outing, Kopech matched that number in six innings with Double-A Salem on Thursday.

The right-hander threw 65 of his 93 pitches for strikes and gave up one run on three hits and no walks.

"He's getting a lot more consistent with having an overpowering fastball," Salem pitching coach Paul Abbott told MiLB.com. "His command, his location is getting a lot better, his confidence is growing and he's just evolving as a pitcher as he's logging innings."

MLB Pipeline's No. 77 overall prospect has posted a 1.29 ERA through 10 starts across two levels after his season got off to a late start.

Kopech has also been piling up the strikeouts. The Red Sox prospect struck out seven in a row from the second to the fourth Thursday night and has fanned a total of 75 through 48 2/3 innings this year.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Thursday:

• Brendan Rodgers (Rockies' No. 1) did a little bit of everything for Class A Asheville. The No. 7 overall prospect hit a pair of homers and scored four runs as part of a 3-for-3, four-RBI night. The power display was Rodgers' second two-homer game of the season. The 2015 first-round selection has two or more hits in three consecutive games.

• A pair of Indians' prospects had good showing in Class A Advanced Lynchburg's doubleheader. Bobby Bradley (Indians' No. 3, No. 76 overall) went 2-for-6 with a homer and two RBIs in the two games, while Tyler Kreiger (Indians' No. 16) went 4-for-7 with two RBIs. Bradley has hit four homers in his past seven games and has a career-high 93 RBIs.

• Taylor Ward (Angels' No. 3) hit his fifth and sixth homers of the season in his first career multi-homer game. The Angels' 2015 first-round pick went 2-for-3 and drove in four runs for Class A Advanced Inland Empire.

Cubs' No. 3 prospect Jeimer Candelario has reached base in 25 consecutive games for Triple-A Iowa. The 22-year-old hit a home run, his second in as many games, and went 2-for-4.

Marlins' No. 4 prospect Brian Anderson put together his second four-hit game of the season for Double-A Jacksonville. Anderson went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and has hits in seven of his past eight games.

• Home runs are starting to come in bunches for Nationals' No. 5 prospect Carter Kieboom. Washington's first-round selection went 1-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs for the Rookie-level GCL Nationals. Kieboom has hit all four of his professional in the past six games.

Orioles' No. 12 prospect D.J. Stewart had a perfect day at the plate for Class A Advanced Frederick. Stewart hit his seventh home run -- his first since July 11 -- and put together his seventh three-hit game of the season with a 3-for-3 day.

Phillies' No. 18 prospect Nick Pivetta struck out a season-high nine in just his second start with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 23-year-old was recently promoted and has impressed so far. Pivetta fired 64 of his 101 pitches for strikes and scattered three hits across six scoreless innings.

• Jose Trevino (Rangers' No. 22) continued his hot August with hits in both halves of a doubleheader for Class A Advanced High Desert. Trevino combined to go 4-for-6 with a double, a homer and four RBIs in the two games and now has hits in 11 of 15 contests this month.

• After some rough starts to begin the month, Royals' No. 25 prospect Corey Ray appears to be back on track. The 23-year-old was charged with just one unearned run in seven innings with Class A Advanced Wilmington and has now given up just the one earned run over his past 12 frames.

• Aristides Aquino (Reds' No. 20) is making a habit of jogging around the bases. The 22-year-old went deep in both halves of Class A Advanced Daytona's doubleheader, bringing his season total to 23. Aquino has homered in three consecutive games and hit seven long balls in his past eight contests.

Red Sox No. 13 prospect Roniel Raudes has given up one earned run or fewer in four consecutive starts after spinning seven scoreless frames for Class A Greenville. The 18-year-old struck out four and gave up four hits in his longest outing of the year.

• Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox No. 21) hit a pair of homers for Class A Short Season Lowell. The 2-for-4, three-RBI game was the first multi-homer performance of Dalbec's professional career.

"The first one was a little higher," Dalbec told MiLB.com. "The second one was mid-thigh, first one around the belt. I overswung on a fastball inside, worked the count to 3-2 and just told myself to be easy, use my hands and really focus on seeing the ball as deep as I can. [Gutierrez] had a fastball a bit more flat [than Chavez's], so I had to adjust my approach -- swinging for the middle of the ball instead of the bottom of the ball. He left one middle-out, and I put it out over the right-field fence."

• Fernando Romero (Twins' No. 7) fired another gem for Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Romero fanned eight and gave up just three hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings. The right-hander hasn't allowed an earned run in either of his past two starts and has struck out 19 in that span.

White Sox No. 25 prospect Luis Martinez continues to put zeros on the board for Class A Kannapolis. Martinez set a career high with nine strikeouts in five scoreless innings and has now given up just one earned run over his past three starts (17 total innings).

 

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.