Pipeline preview: Russell, Midland face San Antonio

Oakland's top prospect looks to get going after returning from disabled list

Pipeline preview: Russell, Midland face San Antonio

A strained right hamstring forced A's No. 1 prospect Addison Russell to spend much of the first half of the season on the disabled list. But he is healthy again and returned to Double-A Midland's lineup this week, just in time to face two of the best prospects in the Texas League.

Russell's first game back with Midland came Tuesday against Frisco and Rangers' No. 4 prospect Joey Gallo, the reigning Minor League home run king. Now, this weekend, he is leading Midland against San Antonio and Padres' No. 1 prospect Austin Hedges.

The series opened Friday and Hedges and San Antonio won the first game, 3-2. Russell and Midland will look to even the series when the series continues Saturday at 8:05 p.m. ET. The game can be seen on MiLB.TV.

Russell, ranked No. 11 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, has flown through the Minor Leagues since the A's selected him 11th overall in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He spent his first full professional season with Class A Advanced Stockton where he was the youngest player in the California League on Opening Day. He held his own, hitting .275/.377/.508 with 17 home runs and earned a spot on the U.S. team in the All-Star Futures Game.

This season, Russell strained his hamstring in the second game, slowing his progress towards the Major Leagues. At 20-years old, he is once again one of the youngest players in his league and should be able to make up for the lost time now the he is back in action.

Hedges, ranked No. 20 on the Top 100, was drafted a year before Russell, but the 21-year old is still one of the younger players in the Texas League. He is known for his defense and has held his own at the plate this season. He is hitting .244/.291/.389 with five home runs and 31 RBIs in 63 games.

The Missions' lineup also features outfielder Hunter Renfroe, the Padres' 2013 first round pick. He was promoted to San Antonio this week after beginning the season in Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. The Padres' No. 5 prospect was leading the California League with 16 home runs when he was promoted and is 2-for-10 in his first three games with San Antonio.

Saturday's Minor League slate is also highlighted by several pitchers scheduled to start who are ranked on the Top 100, including Noah Syndergaard (No. 10), Lucas Giolito (No. 36), Lucas Sims (No. 50), Justin Nicolino (No. 67), Jimmy Nelson (No. 69), Matt Barnes (No. 72), Trey Ball (No. 82) and Pierce Johnson (No. 86). Fans can watch Syndergaard, Barnes, Nelson, Nicolino and Ball on MiLB.TV, beginning with a Red Sox-Yankees clash in Triple-A as Barnes and Pawtucket visit Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Johnson, the Cubs' No. 7 prospect, is beginning a rehab assignment for Class A Kane County as he returns from a strained left calf that landed him on the disabled list at Double-A Tennessee last month. He also suffered from hamstring tightness during Spring Training and missed the first three weeks of the season. When he was healthy, he pitched in six games for the Smokies, posting a 4.39 ERA. He struck out 22 batters and walked 24 in 26 2/3 innings.

Top prospect probables
Chris Anderson (Dodgers' No. 5), Rancho Cucamonga vs. Inland Empire
Cody Anderson (Indians' No. 3), Akron at Harrisburg
Alec Asher (Rangers' No. 10), Frisco at Corpus Christi
Trey Ball (Red Sox's No. 7), Greenville vs. Savannah
Matt Barnes (Red Sox's No. 6), Pawtucket at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Tim Berry (Orioles' No. 6), Bowie vs. Binghamton
Corey Black (Cubs' No. 15), Tennessee vs. Chattanooga
Aaron Blair (D-backs' No. 3), Visalia vs. San Jose
Ian Clarkin (Yankees' No. 7), Charleston vs. Kannapolis
Michael Clevinger (Angels' No. 10), Inland Empire at Rancho Cucamonga
Alex Colome (Rays' No. 5), Durham vs. Syracuse
Tim Cooney (Cardinals' No. 9), Memphis at Las Vegas
Jonathon Crawford (Tigers' No. 4), West Michigan vs. Fort Wayne
Chase De Jong (Blue Jays' No. 13), Lansing vs. Bowling Green
Ryan Eades (Twins' No. 19), Cedar Rapids at Kane County
Michael Fulmer (Mets' No. 15), St. Lucie vs. Fort Myers
Brian Flynn (Marlins' No. 7), New Orleans vs. Sacramento
Drew Gagnon (Brewers' No. 16), Huntsville at Pensacola
Jarlin Garcia (Marlins' No. 20), Greensboro vs. Hagerstown
Lucas Giolito (Nationals' No. 1), Hagerstown at Greensboro
Joan Gregorio (Giants' No. 12), Augusta vs. Asheville
Luis Heredia (Pirates' No. 10), West Virginia at Lakewood
Brian Johnson (Red Sox's No. 12), Portland vs. Altoona
Pierce Johnson (Cubs' No. 7), Kane County vs. Cedar Rapids
Jorge Lopez (Brewers' No. 19), Brevard County at Dunedin
Michael Lorenzen (Reds' No. 4), Pensacola vs. Huntsville
Steven Matz (Mets' No. 10), Binghamton at Bowie
Trevor May (Twins' No. 12), Rochester at Buffalo
Adalberto Mejia (Giants' No. 3), Richmond at Erie
Bryan Mitchell (Yankees' No. 13), Trenton vs. New Hampshire
Francellis Montas (White Sox No. 16), Winston-Salem vs. Salem
Jimmy Nelson (Brewers' No. 1), Nashville at Salt Lake
Justin Nicolino (Marlins' No. 4), Jacksonville vs. Birmingham
Victor Sanchez (Mariners' No. 6), Jackson at Mississippi
Lucas Sims (Braves' No. 1), Lynchburg vs. Potomac
Chris Stratton (Giants' No. 7), San Jose at Visalia
Eric Surkamp (White Sox No. 20), Charlotte vs. Toledo
Noah Syndergaard (Mets' No. 1), Las Vegas vs. Memphis
Jake Thompson (Tigers' No. 3), Lakeland at Clearwater
Chris Reed (Dodgers' No. 6), Chattanooga at Tennessee
Joely Rodriguez (Pirates' No. 19), Altoona at Portland
Trevor Williams (Marlins' No. 10), Jupiter vs. Bradenton

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