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It had been a little while since we'd seen Cincinnati prospect Hunter Greene, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft and one of the more well-hyped prep stars in recent memory. Greene underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2019, then, like most unfinished-yet-promising young players, he did his work at an alternate training site last summer.
To this point in 2021, things have gone exceedingly well for Greene. He's been utterly dominant at Double-A Chattanooga, going 5-0 in seven starts with a 1.98 ERA and 60 Ks in 41.0 innings. Have a look at his triple-digit fastball and the obscene movement on his slider and change:
Let the record show that Greene doesn't just occasionally touch 100 mph. He opened a game this spring with three pitches clocked at 101, 102, then 103. His velocity is weapons-grade.
Greene will make his next start for Triple-A Louisville following a richly deserved promotion, so he's just one step away from the majors. He's a good bet to finish his season in Cincinnati if he continues to embarrass opposing batters. If you happen to have an empty NA roster slot, Greene is a priority stash.
Oneil Cruz rides the roller coaster
Cruz has drilled a series of recent coaster shots for the Double-A Altoona Curve, raising his season slash to .299/.360/.575. Here's the latest blast:
Cruz is now up to eight homers and 17 extra-base hits, plus he's swiped seven bags. We can't assume that Pittsburgh is in any great rush to get him to the big leagues, but he's building a pretty decent case. Altoona seems like kind of a party these days, because the team also features this gentleman ...
Roansy Contreras, still dominating Double-A
Contreras kept up the brilliance on Tuesday, striking out 10 batters and walking only one over 7.0 frames, allowing one earned run and two hits. He's now thrown 40.0 innings on the season, piling up 57 Ks and delivering a WHIP of 0.80. I'm pretty sure we've discussed him in every Farm Report so far because he just keeps producing gems. His velocity is up this year and he's elevated himself a tier or two (or three) in the prospect ranks. Contreras didn't enter the season with massive hype, so he might very well be hanging around the free-agent pool in your dynasty leagues.
Janson Junk is dealing
Here's another un-hyped pitcher who seems to be breaking out. Junk's numbers weren't anything special across multiple levels in 2018 and 2019, but he's feasting at Double-A this year. He's struck out 39 batters over 29.0 innings, allowing just 17 hits and three runs. His most recent start produced a career-high nine Ks, along with elite post-strikeout mound exits:
He's plenty fun, another interesting young Yankees arm on the way.
Spencer Torkelson promoted to Erie
Torkelson was last year's top overall pick in the MLB draft and he opened the current season with a monstrous 31-game performance at Single-A West Michigan. He hit .312/.440/.569 with five homers, three steals, 17 XBHs, and nearly as many walks (24) as strikeouts (28). Torkelson fully earned his recent promotion to Double-A, and we could see the 21-year-old level up again this season. He was an elite power/average/on-base bat at Arizona State and he now ranks near the top of every prospect list. Expect him to make a splash in Detroit in 2022.
Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez, together again
Rodriguez is one of baseball's best pitching prospects and Rutschman is the game's consensus top catching prospect, so it's plenty fun that both players are now at Double-A Bowie. Those two were also together (briefly) at Single-A Delmarva in 2019. On Tuesday, Rodriguez made his home debut for the Baysox, striking out six in 4.2 innings and reaching 100 on the gun. He's whiffed 209 batters over 151.1 career minor league innings, including 60(!) in 38.0 frames this year while allowing just 10 walks.
Meanwhile, Rutschman is feasting as well. He's up to 10 home runs with 30 runs scored and he's reaching base at a silly clip (.423). Rutschman is a switch-hitter with scoreboard power from both sides ...
... and he's a gifted defensive backstop as well.
Here's hoping one or both of these guys actually reach Baltimore this year. The team isn't exactly in win-now mode, but O's fans deserve a treat.
Let's finish with yet another Wander Franco clip
What's more fun than a triple? Not much, honestly. Here's the best prospect in baseball hammering a pitch to the wall during a 3-for-4 performance:
You don't need us to tell you about Franco, of course. He has pop, speed and he's hit for average at every level (currently .321 with a .970 OPS). We'll be drumming our fingers all season waiting for the Rays to promote him, so please keep returning for his Durham highlights, which are of the highest quality.