But McKinney also went into a lengthy slump after fouling a ball off his right knee in August 2015, resulting in a hairline fracture of his kneecap. He batted just .246/342/.336 in 2016 and didn't exactly start this year off on fire, going 9-for-65 (.138) in Double-A. He had a solid May, started to heat up in June and has flat out raked since moving to Triple-A at the end of that month.
McKinney is hitting .353/.391/.697 with nine homers in 31 Triple-A games. After earning Prospect Team of the Week recognition last week, he does so again this week after going 8-for-21 (.381) with three homers in six contest. Cubs catcher Victor Caratini is the only player to repeat in consecutive weeks this year, doing so in May.
Caratini also makes this week's PTOW, which spotlights games from July 31 through Aug. 6. The complete team:
C: Victor Caratini, Iowa Cubs (Triple-A)
(Cubs' No. 6 prospect)
.467/.500/1.000, 4 G, 3 R, 7 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, R RBI, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB
He spent more than a month with the defending World Series champions before they sent him back to Triple-A after acquiring Alex Avila from the Tigers. Caratini immediately began making a case for a recall by going for 7-for-15 with four extra-base hits in as many games at Iowa, boosting his Triple-A line to .349/.389/.563 with 10 homers in 73 contests. His three PTOW honors this year ties him for second place with Royals first baseman Ryan O'Hearn, one behind Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers.
1B: Peter Alonso, St. Lucie Mets (Class A Advanced)
(Mets' No. 10 prospect)
.500/.654/.833, 6 G, 4 R, 9 H, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 7 BB, 3 SO
After missing most of the first two months with a broken bone in his left hand and batting .143/.200/.257 with two homers in his first 19 games of the year, Alonso has hit .347/.428/.641 with 12 homers in 48 games since. He doubled three times on Wednesday and went deep on Thursday, moving into a tie for fourth in the Florida State League in homers despite his missed time and frigid start. This is Alonso's second appearance on PTOW in the past seven weeks.
2B: Max Schrock, Midland RockHounds (Double-A)
(A's No. 19 prospect)
.455/.500/.682, 6 G, 5 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 1 SO
Schrock has hit .300 at every level of the Minors, and five multihit games last week pushed him to third in the Texas League batting race. He's hitting .319/.378/.444 with seven homes in 84 contests. This is his second PTOW accolade in the last three weeks.
3B: Nolan Jones, Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Short-Season)
(Indians' No. 5 prospect)
.526/.640/.789, 5 G, 5 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 BB, 4 SO
Jones is beginning to show the pure hitting ability that earned him a $2.25 million bonus as second-rounder in the 2016 Draft. He had a streak of five consecutive multihit games (including one from the previous week) and is now hitting .275/.405/.405 with two homers in 38 contests. He leads the New York-Penn League with 28 walks and ranks fifth in on-base percentage.
SS: Franklin Barreto, Nashville Sounds (Triple-A)
(A's No. 1 prospect/MLB No. 37)
.444/.464/.852, 6 G, 6 R, 12 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB
His skein of six straight multihit games (including one from last week) ended on Sunday, but that couldn't take away from a week that included more extra-base knocks (six) than strikeouts (four). Barreto, who homered in his first big league game on June 24 and delivered a walk-off blast to beat the White Sox on July 4, is batting .282/.329/.449 with 13 homers in 91 Triple-A games as the Pacific Coast League's second-youngest regular.
OF: Billy McKinney, Scranton/Wilkes-Barres RailRiders (Triple-A)
(Yankees' No. 25 prospect)
.381/.391/.857, 6 G, 3 R, 8 H, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 5 SO
Known for his hitting ability more than his power, McKinney already has established career highs with 15 homers and 46 extra-base hits. His combined line between Double-A and Triple-A is .285/.356/.521, helping him stand out in an organization loaded with outfield talent.
OF: Renato Nunez, Nashville Sounds (Triple-A)
(A's No. 24 prospect)
.389/.500/1.056, 5 G, 8 R, 7 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 2 SO
Like McKinney, Nunez also is trying to get noticed in one of baseball's deepest farm systems. He homered in the final three games of the week to hold onto the overall Minor League lead with 30. He's hitting .254/.312/.551 in 104 Triple-A games.
OF: Brett Phillips, Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Triple-A)
(Brewers' No. 12 prospect)
.522/.593/.739, 6 G, 9 R, 12 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 7 SO
Phillips also has some similarities to McKinney in that he faces an outfield logjam in his organization, and he's trying to put a disappointing 2016 season behind him. He has five multihit games last week and reached base three times in the other contest, pushing his Triple-A line to .310/.380/.591 with 17 homers in 85 contests.
LHP: Ryan Yarbrough, Durham Bulls (Triple-A)
(Rays' No. 23 prospect)
2-0, 0. 00 ERA, 2 GS, 13 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0.44 WHIP
Acquired from the Mariners in January as part of the package for Drew Smyly, Yarbrough threw more scoreless innings than any Minor Leaguer last week. The Double-A Southern League's pitcher of the year in 2016, Yarbrough is making a case for the same award this season in the International League, where he ranks first in wins (12-5, 3.27) and is one off the strikeout lead (131 in 135 innings).
RHP: Michael Kopech, Birmingham Barons (Double-A)
(White Sox No. 3 prospect/MLB No. 12)
1-1, 0.64 ERA, 2 GS, 14 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 19 SO, 0.64 WHIP
He made the PTOW two weeks ago and received serious consideration last week, so Kopech just missed joining then-Rangers outfielder Lewis Brinson as the only players to make the squad three straight times in the three years we've put it together. He spun a pair of seven-inning games on Monday and Saturday and has permitted just three earned runs while posting a 44/5 K/BB ratio in 34 innings over his last five starts. He's now 8-7, 3.04 and leads the Southern League in strikeouts (145, fourth in the Minors, in 112 1/3 innings) and opponent average (.187, second in the Minors).
RP: Bryan Garcia, Erie SeaWolves (Double-A) & Toledo Mud Hens (Triple-A)
(Tigers' No. 21 prospect)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 G, 1 SV, 4 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO, 0.23 WHIP
Miami's career saves leader with 43, Garcia has jumped from the sixth round of the 2016 Draft to Triple-A. He struck out nine of the 14 batters he faced last week and has a 1.44 ERA, 17 saves and 71 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings between four levels this season.