Kelly homers twice to lead top prospect performers

Kelly homers twice to lead top prospect performers

Carson Kelly hasn't shown much in the way home-run power in his career, totaling 35 home runs in 474 games over parts of six seasons. But the Cardinals' No. 2 prospect's power stroke was on full display Tuesday, as he connected on a pair of solo home runs to power Triple-A Memphis past Colorado Springs, 5-1.

Kelly, MLBPipeline.com's top-ranked catching prospect and No. 36 on the Top 100, led off the top of the second with line-drive shot to the opposite field off of left-hander Josh Hader (Brewers' No. 3, No. 35 overall). It marked the Redbirds' second straight inning with a leadoff homer after Harrison Bader (Cardinals' No. 5) accomplished the feat in the first inning.

In the sixth inning, Kelly turned around an offering from reliever Michael Blazek, depositing it well over the wall in left field en route to the first multi-homer performance of his career.

"Running around the bases, I was actually thinking about the time I had two homers in high school, and then immediately, I switched over to thinking about the next inning, catching-wise, because that's how I am. I can flip a switch," Kelly told MiLB.com. "But it was very enjoyable. I really think it was something special." 

Kelly, 22, finished the game 2-for-4 at the plate, giving him a .313 average through four games to begin the season.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Tuesday

• No. 33 overall prospect Tyler O'Neill (Mariners' No. 2) homered in his first at-bat in Triple-A Tacoma's home opener -- a 7-0 win over El Paso. He also hit a double and scored a pair of runs in the contest, finishing 2-for-4 at the plate.

• No. 60 overall prospect Dominic Smith (Mets' No. 2) connected on his first Triple-A homer -- a solo shot in the seventh inning -- as part of a 4-for-6 performance for Triple-A Las Vegas that included four runs scored and three RBIs. No. 3 overall prospect Amed Rosario (3-for-5, 2 RBIs) and Mets' No. 6 Gavin Cecchini (2-for-4, HR, 4 RBIs) also turned in big offensive performances for the 51s, who, as a team, collected 19 hits in a 21-6 rout of Fresno.

• No. 80 overall prospect Forrest Whitley (Astros' No. 5) fired five scoreless frames in his full-season debut for Class A Quad Cities. The 6-foot-7 right-hander, whom Houston selected with the No. 17 overall pick last June, allowed just one hit after carrying a no-hit bid for 3 1/3 innings while walking two and fanning six.

Angels' No. 1 prospect Jahmai Jones hit his first home run of the season and later added an RBI single to lead Class A Burlington to a 3-1 victory over Wisconsin in game one of a twin bill. He went 2-for-4 in the contest and also recorded his first stolen base.

Jack Flaherty dominated for the second time in as many starts for Double-A Springfield. The Cardinals' No. 8 prospect allowed one earned run on four hits in seven innings, striking out four and throwing 58 of his 91 pitches for strikes. The 21-year-old right-hander has won both of his starts for the Cardinals, posting a 0.66 ERA over 13 2/3 innings in that span.

Reds' No. 9 prospect Sal Romano received a no-decision despite hurling seven scoreless innings for Triple-A Louisville against Toledo. The 23-year-old righty threw 55 of his 80 pitches for strikes, scattering four hits and striking out five. He's recorded a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings across two starts to open the season.

• Mariners' No. 3 prospect Nick Neidert allowed just one hit with eight strikeouts in six scoreless innings as Class A Advanced Modesto shut out Stockton, 6-0. The 2015 second-rounder carried a no-hit bid for 5 1/3 innings before yielding his lone hit.

• Mariners' No. 4 prospect Andrew Moore tossed his second scoreless performance in as many starts for Double-A Arkansas. The Mariners' No. 4 prospect held San Antonio to just two hits in six innings, also striking out five and walking one while throwing 54 of his 90 pitches for strikes.

• Ryan Mountcastle and Jomar Reyes, the Orioles' Nos. 4 and 10 prospects, both hit home runs and combined to go 5-for-10 with seven RBIs as Class A Advanced Frederick rolled through Potomac, 16-6. Mountcastle also tallied a double as part of a 2-for-5 performance, while Reyes finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored.

Padres' No. 8 prospect Luis Urias connected on a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the seventh inning to power Double-A San Antonio past Arkansas in Game 2 of a doubleheader. The home run was already the second of the season for the 19-year-old second baseman, who hit a career-high six homers in 123 games last season between the Class A Advanced and Triple-A levels.

• After he struggled in his season debut for Double-A Frisco, Rangers' No. 11 prospect Connor Sadzeck bounced back to permit one unearned run on one hit in a no-decision versus Tulsa. The right-hander notched nine strikeouts without issuing a walk in the outing -- he did hit two batters -- all the while finding the strike zone with 59 of his 85 pitches.

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.