At 20 years old, shortstop Francisco Lindor, the Indians' No. 1 prospect, is the youngest player in the International League. Just a year older, third baseman Maikel Franco, the Phillies' No. 3 prospect, is the fourth youngest.
Lindor and Franco were teammates on the World Team in the 2013 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, but this week have found themselves facing each other as Triple-A Columbus hosts Lehigh Valley in a four-game set. They will meet one more time Thursday in the series final, which begins at 7:05 p.m. ET. Fans can watch on MiLB.TV as Lindor and the Clippers go for the series victory.
Lindor, ranked No. 4 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, began the season with Double-A Akron. After playing in his third straight Futures Game, Lindor was promoted to Columbus last month. In 21 games with the Clippers, Lindor is hitting .231/.271/.352 with three home runs and two stolen bases.
Outfielder James Ramsey, the Indians' No. 5 prospect, also recently joined the Clippers. The Indians acquired Ramsey from the Cardinals in exchange for Justin Masterson at the Trade Deadline. Ramsey has played 12 games since the deal and is hitting .239/.327/.391 and has scored five runs.
Franco, No. 60 on the Top 100, began the season in a prolonged slump. Franco hit .209/.267/.318 with five home runs in the first three months of the season. But since the calendar flipped to July, Franco has found much more success. After homering in Wednesday's loss, Franco is hitting .322/.342/.548 with six home runs in his past 36 games.
Thursday's Minor League slate will also be highlighted by a few pitchers ranked in the Top 100 who are scheduled to start, including Jon Gray (No. 14), Alex Meyer (No. 30), C.J. Edwards (No. 59), Matt Wisler (No. 68) and Lucas Sims (No. 70). Fans can watch all of their starts on MiLB.TV, beginning with Sims and Class A Advanced Lynchburg visiting Winston-Salem at 7 p.m. ET.
Wisler, the Padres' No. 3 prospect, will take the mound for Triple-A El Paso against Nashville. Like Lindor and Franco, Wisler is one of the youngest players in Triple-A and struggled at first when the Padres promoted him from Double-A San Antonio. But the 21-year old has settled in at his new level and has won his past five decisions. Wisler will put that streak on the line when he takes on right-hander Michael Blazek and the Sounds at 9:05 p.m. ET.
Top prospect probables
Cody Anderson (Indians' No. 12), Akron at Portland
Matt Barnes (Red Sox's No. 14), Pawtucket at Gwinnett
Chris Beck (White Sox No. 11), Charlotte at Syracuse
Scott Blewett (Royals' No. 11), Burlington vs. Danville
Edwards (Cubs' No. 7), Tennessee vs. Huntsville
Jarlin Garcia (Marlins' No. 12), Greensboro vs. Kannapolis
Gray (Rockies' No. 1), Tulsa vs. Midland
Mike Kickham (Giants' No. 19), Fresno vs. Oklahoma City
Austin Kubitza (Tigers' No. 6), West Michigan vs. South Bend
John Lamb (Royals' No. 20), Omaha vs. Salt Lake
Ben Lively (Reds' No. 6), Pensacola vs. Mobile
Cory Mazzoni (Mets' No. 14), Las Vegas at Iowa
Meyer (Twins' No. 4), Rochester vs. Durham
Nick Pivetta (Nationals' No. 19), Hagerstown at Lakewood
Chris Reed (Dodgers' No. 8), Albuquerque vs. Memphis
Felipe Rivero (Nationals' No. 17), Harrisburg vs. Reading
Sal Romano (Reds' No. 16), Dayton at Lake County
Lucas Sims (Braves' No. 2), Lynchburg at Winston-Salem
Chris Stratton (Giants' No. 8), Richmond at New Hampshire
Blake Treinen (Nationals' No. 9), Syracuse vs. Charlotte
Vincent Velasquez (Astros' No. 8), Lancaster vs. High Desert
Luke Weaver (Cardinals' No. 6), Palm Beach at Charlotte
Trevor Williams (Marlins' No. 6), Jupiter vs. Bradenton
Wisler (Padres' No. 3), El Paso vs. Nashville