Throughout the season, the MLBPipeline.com staff will name Pipeline Prospects of the Week -- one hitter and one pitcher who excelled over the previous seven days. To qualify for selection, a player must rank among their organization's Top 20 Prospects, as listed on our Prospect Watch.
Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Week: Joey Gallo, 3B, Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Rangers' No. 4 prospect), 7 G, 9-for-17 (.529/.714/1.529), 2.244 OPS, 5 HR, 8 RBIs, 9 R, 9 BB, 1 K
Thanks to a three-homer game on Friday -- his second of the season -- Gallo was the clear choice for this week's honor. Gallo went 4-for-4 in that game, scoring four runs and driving in five.
The No. 80 overall prospect had homered on Tuesday, then added one more on Saturday to bring his week's total to five. The 2013 Minor League home run champion leads the Minors in homers once again, with 18. Gallo also tops all Minor Leaguers with his .795 slugging percentage.
One thing scouts have been concerned with is Gallo's propensity for striking out and how that might impact his ability to tap into his prodigious raw power. The third baseman struck out 172 times in 2013, though he did draw 50 walks en route to his 40-homer season. Gallo is still striking out more than once per game (44 Ks in 42 games), but his strikeout rate has dipped from 37 percent a year ago down to 23.8 percent so far this year. His walk rate is up to 17.1 percent from 10.8 percent in 2013. This past week's eight-walk, one-strikeout performance certainly helped.
Gregory Polanco, OF, Indianapolis Indians (Pirates' No. 1 prospect), 6 G, 13-for-22 (.591/.654/1.000), 1.654 OPS, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 6 R, 2 SB
Alex Yarbrough, 2B, Arkansas Travelers (Angels' No. 9 prospect), 6 G, 10-for-26 (.385/.484/.885), 1.368 OPS, 3 HR, 14 RBIs, 9 R, 1 SB
Christian Walker, 1B, Bowie Baysox (Orioles' No. 13 prospect), 6 G, 11-for-24 (.458/.500/.833), 1.333 OPS, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 R
Pipeline Pitching Prospect of the Week: Josh Hader, LHP, Lancaster JetHawks (Astros' No. 15 prospect), 1-0, 0.90 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 10 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 15 SO
A no-hitter, even a combined one, is an impressive feat. Doing it in the hitting-friendly California League makes it even more impressive. That's why Hader was this week's choice for Pitching Prospect of the Week.
Hader combined with two relievers for a no-no at home in Lancaster, typically a launching pad. He went the first six hitless frames, walking four and striking out six, before turning it over to the bullpen. Pitching in a piggyback system, Hader threw four innings of relief on Sunday, allowing one run on four hits while striking out nine.
Hader, who came to the Astros from the Orioles in last year's Bud Norris Trade Deadline deal, has a 2.53 ERA on the year, good for fourth in the California League. His 54 strikeouts put him second in the circuit.
Parker Bridwell, RHP, Frederick Keys (Orioles' No. 15 prospect), 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 8.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, o ER, 2 BB, 8 SO
Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Nashville Sounds (Brewers' No. 1 prospect), 1-0, 0.69 ERA, 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 14 SO
Kyle Hendricks, RHP, Iowa Cubs (Cubs' No. 15 prospect), 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO
Shae Simmons, RHP, Mississippi Braves (Braves' No. 18 prospect), 0-0, 4 SV, 0.00 ERA, 4 G, 4 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 SO
Paul Blackburn, RHP, Kane County Cougars (Cubs' No. 14 prospect), 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO