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Rays Minors: Five Guys, Week Two

Our peek at minor league top performers continues.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Week two was rough on the power front across the Rays farm system, but the pitching really showed its worth. From LoA through AAA, the starters were dominant and showcased an array of skills.

This week's edition includes the stats from 11 April through 16 April, 2016.

The 5 best hitting performances

The following Rays minors hitters came out swinging and knocking this week:

Wk 11 - 17 Apr Lvl PA H 1B 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG
Michael Russell LoA 20 6 2 3 1 0 2 3 3 2 0 0.353
Mikie Mahtook AAA 28 8 4 2 1 1 4 3 5 2 0 0.320
Willy Adames AA 17 5 2 2 0 1 2 2 1 0 0 0.333
Thomas Milone HiA 19 6 5 1 0 0 1 1 4 2 2 0.333
Brett Sullivan LoA 21 6 4 1 0 1 4 2 2 0 0 0.316

5 runner ups

The following hitters came close, but fell a little short: Johnny Field (OF-AA, Grand Slam), Jake Cronenworth (SS-LoA, .350, 1 double), Joe McCarthy (1B-LoA, .313, 1 SB), Justin Williams (OF-HiA, 5 hits), Manny Sanchez (LF-LoA, 5 hits)

The 5 best Pitching performances

The following Rays minors hurlers came chucking accurately and/or effectively this week:

Date Team GS W L ERA IP TBF H R ER HR BB WP SO
Brent Honeywell HiA 2 0 0 0 12 42 7 0 0 0 2 0 14
Austin Pruitt AAA 1 0 0 1.29 7 23 3 1 1 1 0 0 11
Henry Centeno LoA 0 1 0 0 9.1 32 3 0 0 0 3 0 10
Cameron Varga LoA 1 1 0 1.5 6 23 4 1 1 1 1 0 10
Jaime Schultz AAA 1 1 0 0 6 21 2 0 0 0 1 0 4

5 runner ups noted

The following hurlers came close, but fell short of the top 5: Jacob Faria (AA, 7 IP, 0 ER, 7 Ks), Chih-Wei Hu (AA, 5 IP, 0 ER, 6 Ks), Taylor Guerrieri (AA, 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 Ks), Alexis Tapia (LoA, 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 Ks), Greg Harris (HiA, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 Ks)

Relativity Baseball noted one of Honeywell's performances:

The top 5 hitters so far in 2016

The following Rays minors hitters have been swinging and knocking the ball all over the field in 2016:

Player POS AB 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG OPS
Jake Cronenworth 2B 36 3 1 0 6 20 8 4 1 0 0.523 0.556 0.417 1.078
Thomas Milone CF 35 2 0 1 4 16 3 8 3 4 0.415 0.457 0.314 0.872
Jake Hager SS 30 4 1 0 6 14 3 4 1 0 0.353 0.467 0.267 0.820
Michael Russell SS 29 4 1 0 4 17 4 5 3 1 0.455 0.586 0.379 1.041
Mikie Mahtook CF 46 2 3 1 4 25 4 12 2 0 0.360 0.543 0.304 0.903

5 Runner Ups noted:

Mac James (HiA), Johnny Field (AA), Angel Perez (LoA), Willy Adames (AA), Justin Williams (HiA)

The top 5 pitchers so far in 2016

The following Rays minors hitters have been swinging and knocking the ball all over the field in 2016:

Player W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR HB BB SO WHIP
Brent Honeywell 0 0 0.5 3 3 18 11 1 1 0 0 2 19 0.72
Austin Pruitt 1 0 1.38 2 2 13 6 2 2 2 1 0 22 0.46
Jacob Faria 0 1 2.84 2 2 12.2 5 4 4 0 0 3 15 0.63
Hunter Wood 1 0 0 2 2 12 6 0 0 0 0 3 10 0.75
Henry Centeno 1 0 0 3 0 12.1 5 0 0 0 0 5 13 0.81

5 Runner Ups noted:

Chih-Wei Hu (AA. 9 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 14 Ks). When you do this well and don't make it, you realize just how awesome this system's pitching is!! Chris Pike (HiA), Chris Kirsch (AA), Blake Snell (AAA), Cameron Varga (LoA)

Varga's latest performance was noted by Lansing's announcer:

The 5 biggest surprises of the week and thus far in 2016

The following are noteworthy performances, some well above - or below - expectations for this week and/or this season:

RHP Henry Centeno, LoA, spent last season getting acclimated to the demands of full season ball and is now showing he may not be far from a  promotion to HiA Charlotte. The 6'2" 200 lbs Venezuelan should draw more attention as the season wears on if he keeps this up. He's walking few, striking out many, and has been one of the hardest to hit in 2016.

RHP Austin Pruitt, AAA, caught our attention last week and he hasn't missed a step since. He now has 22 strike outs to his credit in 2 games and no walks. I'll write that again, just in case you missed it: 22 strike outs, and no walks. In those games he's only allowed 6 hits in 13 IP. He's found something this season, folks, and he's worth the wait if this keeps up.

SS Michael Russell, LoA, is a 23 year old who was drafted in the 5th rd of the 2014 draft. Though few Rays fans likely know his name right now, he should get noticed for his work so far in 2016. Russell's hitting the cover off the ball right now, stealing bases (3), and has 4 BB to go with only 5 SO. His base stealing skills are impressive:  in 2015 he was perfect in 22 attempts.

RHP Greg Harris, HiA, is someone I hold in higher regard than most. I had him ranked 22nd on my Top 50 Rays Prospects list, and so far he's proving me right. With 10 IP, he's allowed 8 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 9 Ks. He's showing everyone that his promotion to HiA should be a fairly smooth one and that he's ready to put himself on the map with a full season of HiA ball. Obtained from the LAD in return for LHP Adam Liberatore and RHP Joel Peralta, it could prove to be a fruitful deal down the road.

SS Jake Hager, AA, is doing well, and it's not really a surprise. It's nonetheless noteworthy, as he could well have started off slowly after missing 2015 to injury. Instead, he's come out of the gates hitting and doing his best to earn a promotion to AAA when a spot becomes available. He's seeing the ball well and making outstanding contact, as shown by his mere 4 strike outs in 30 AB.

Hager's efforts have been a highlight often this season:

Week's Overall Thoughts

Overall it's been a good week across the system. There were a number of highlights on the pitching front, a grand slam from Johnny Field, and continually impressive individual performances. With the system standings now over .500 when added up, things are looking bright in 2016.

Here's a rundown of how each team is faring.

Durham is one game above .500 and has had their ups and downs this season. Some of the hitters have lost some steam, but with Pruitt, Snell, and Schutlz firing on all cylinders, the season looks bright. Montgomery has been one of the better teams in AA this year and are now 2 games above .500.  Charlotte is now 1 game over .500 on the back of the strongest pitching performances of the year.  Bowling Green has slipped to just below the .500 level, but they're still getting some impressive pitching performances.

Look for this post again next week, as we aim to keep you all up-to-date with the best Five Guys we have to offer!