Rays prospect LHP Blake Snell pitched his best game of the season Tuesday, allowing three hits and two walks with three strikeouts in six scoreless frames for Low-A Bowling Green.
The 21-year-old left-hander has jumped out to a promising start this season, as he owns a 1.84 ERA and 15/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 14 2/3 innings. Snell struggled with his control during a disappointing 2013 full-season debut at Bowling Green, posting a 4.27 ERA and 106/73 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 99 innings (23 starts). The 6-foot-4 southpaw has big upside, but he's still very raw and will likely require a few more years of seasoning in the minor leagues.
Cardinals prospect LHP Marco Gonzales allowed one run on three hits Tuesday in six innings for High-A Palm Beach.
Gonzales, the No. 19 overall pick in the 2013 draft, walked one batter and struck out seven in the outing. The 22-year-old left-hander struggled his last time out, allowing five runs (three earned) on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings, so it was good to see him bounce back with a purpose Tuesday. Overall, Gonzales owns a 2.04 ERA and 19/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 2/3 innings this season. If he can continue to build on his success, the southpaw should reach Double-A by midseason, putting him on pace for an MLB debut at some point in 2015.
Nick Franklin is starting in right field for the Mariners on Wednesday.
Franklin played some in the outfield in spring training and played two innings there in Tuesday's game, but this is his first ever start in the outfield as a professional. It's the 23-year-old's fourth start in seven games since being promoted. Franklin has just one hit in his first 13 at-bats, but he certainly has the potential to hit his way into the lineup more often if he can prove to be adequate in the outfield.
Reds prospect RHP Ben Lively continued his outstanding start to the season Tuesday, allowing a hit and walk with 10 strikeouts in six scoreless innings for High-A Bakersfield.
Lively's outing was his second straight with zero runs and 10 strikeouts, and he now owns a 0.39 ERA and 33/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 23 innings this season. Lively hadn't allowed a walk this year before issuing a free pass to begin Tuesday's game, and he's held opposing hitters to a .105 batting average. The 22-year-old right-hander profiles as a mid-rotation starter thanks to his command of a deep arsenal, and his stock is on the rise with his overwhelming early-season success.
Rangers prospect 3B Ryan Rua was 2-for-4 with a home run on Tuesday for Double-A Frisco.
Ryu enjoyed a power surge in 2013, as the 24-year-old third baseman slugged .525 with 26 doubles and 32 home runs in 525 plate appearances between two levels. Rua is back at Double-A Frisco this year after playing there the final month of the 2013 regular season, and he’s handled the level well in the early going, with a 1.094 OPS, eight extra-base hits and 8/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 games.
Padres prospect OF Hunter Renfroe was 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI on Tuesday for High-A Lake Elsinore.
The home run was Renfroe's sixth of the season, and he's now batting .260/.353/.562 with four doubles, six homers and 20 RBI through 19 games. Selected with the No. 13 overall pick last June, Renfroe, 22, got off to a slow start at Inland Empire but has been one of the more productive hitters in the minors over his last 10 games, with a 1.146 OPS, four home runs and 15 RBI. Renfroe has cut back on the strikeouts during that span, but he's still fanned 28 times already this season and will need to refine his approach before moving up the organizational ladder.
Pirates prospect OF Gregory Polanco had another big game on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 with a home run, stolen base, three runs and four RBI for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Polanco, 22, has played out of his mind to begin the season, and he's now batting .419/.456/.649 with nine extra-base hits and 20 RBI through 18 games. The Pirates have no immediate need for Polanco given Travis Snider's modest production thus far, but it's hard to envision the organization holding their top-ranked prospect in the minor leagues for much longer. Expect him to arrive in the major leagues around June, if not earlier.
Freddie Freeman has been dealing with some dryness in his eyes.
Freeman is hitless in back-to-back games, which qualifies as news given the hot stick he's been swinging. However, he's treating his eyes with drops and gel he puts in before he goes to sleep and is feeling well enough to be back in the lineup Wednesday. "Everything is all right - nothing on the corneas," Freeman said Wednesday. "I had some little abrasions on the whites of my eyes, and it was dry, so I had to clean my lids out and my tear ducts and get them going again. He said I should be fully healthy by Friday. I’ve got to deal with it a little bit today, but I’ll be good."