Monday's best: Baez continues scorching start to career

Monday's best: Baez continues scorching start to career

Save for Sixto Sanchez, there isn't a pitching prospect generating more buzz this season than Class A Fort Wayne's Michel Baez.

Baez, San Diego's No. 7 prospect, certainly supported that claim on Monday by tossing seven scoreless innings to lower his Midwest League ERA to 0.74 and pace the TinCaps in a 3-1 over Great Lakes.

Baez once again missed plenty of bats, recording nine strikeouts and one walk in the outing, all while scattering four singles. It marked the third straight performance with at least nine strikeouts for the 6-foot-8 right-hander, who set a career high by striking out 14 in his previous start.

Signed for $3 million last December, the 21-year-old Cuban has dazzled to begin his professional career, going 5-0 and posting a 0.63 WHIP in his first six starts with Fort Wayne, with two earned runs or fewer allowed in each.

What's more, Baez owns a 56-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 36 2/3 innings in that span (13.8 strikeouts-per-nine, 1.0 BB/9), and his consistent mid- to upper-90s fastball has been a nightmare on opposing hitters, who've collectively produced a .148 average against him.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Monday

No. 16 overall prospect Francisco Mejia (Indians' No. 1) connected on his 12th home run on Monday in a 2-for-5 performance for Double-A Akron. The homer, a fifth-inning solo shot, marked a new career high for the 21-year-old catcher, who hit 11 homers in 102 games across two levels in 2016. Beyond the power, the switch-hitting Mejia has produced a .316/.368/.529 batting line over 74 games in the Eastern League.

No. 23 overall prospect Brendan McKay's (Rays' No. 3) one hit for Class A Short Season Hudson Valley was a big one, as the 2017 No. 3 overall Draft pick delivered a game-tying three-run homer with two outs in the ninth. It was his third home run in 17 games as a professional. The 21-year-old lefty has fared better on the mound so far, allowing one hit over five scoreless innings spanning two starts.

No. 48 overall prospect Jay Groome (Red Sox's No. 2) turned in his second straight scoreless start for Class A Greenville, tossing five innings of three-hit ball in a win over Kannapolis. Throwing 56 of his 90 pitches for strikes, the 18-year-old lefty walked two, struck out six and generated five ground-ball outs. He's allowed just four hits while striking out 14 in 11 innings across his past two starts.

No. 64 overall prospect Ryan McMahon (Rockies' No. 3) continued his hot hitting for Albuquerque by going 1-for-4 with a two run homer, his seventh at the Triple-A level. Overall, the 22-year-old infielder has smashed 19 homers and 37 doubles in 106 games across two levels this season, all while hitting .355 and posting a vastly improved strikeout rate.

Marlins No. 3 prospect Brian Anderson improved his Triple-A average to .310 with a 3-for-6 performance that included a solo homer. He's gone deep five times in 20 games with New Orleans and 19 times this season, far and away a new career-high for the 24-year-old third baseman. Already on Miami's 40-man roster, Anderson could conceivably get a crack at the Major Leagues late this season.

Tigers No. 8 prospect Isaac Paredes came through with a go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the 10th inning for Class A West Michigan in their 9-5 win over Lake County. The 18-year-old shortstop has been on a tear since joining the Tigers organization in the Trade Deadline deal that sent Alex Avila and Justin Wilson to the Cubs. In his first 10 games with the Whitecaps, Paredes is hitting .382 with three homers and 11 RBIs.

Rockies No. 14 prospect Pedro Gonzalez tallied three extra-base hits in a 3-for-4 effort for Rookie-level Grand Junction. He started the scoring with an RBI double in the third inning, hit a solo homer in the fifth and then added another double in the following frame. Through 39 games, the 19-year-old outfielder is batting .305 with 20 extra-base hits and 26 RBIs.

Marlins No. 14 prospect Thomas Jones connected on his first professional home run in his 61st career game. The 19-year-old outfielder went 2-for-3 for Class A Short Season Batavia, also tallying two RBIs, two runs scored and his fourth stolen base.

Twins No. 14 prospect Brent Rooker went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fourth in 21 games with Class A Advanced Fort Myers. The 2017 Competitive Balance Round A pick was promoted directly to the Florida State League from Rookie-level Elizabethton, where he slashed .282/.364/.588 with seven homers in 22 games.

Tigers No. 18 prospect Jose Azocar helped pace Class A Lakeland in a rout of Bradenton by going 2-for-4 with a home run, a triple and three RBIs. The 21-year-old outfielder's homer, a two-run shot, was his third this season in 98 games. The multi-hit performance, meanwhile, was his first since July 26.

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.