Lipcius makes Prospect Team of the Week

Detroit Tigers

While the upper echelon of ranked prospects often dominates selections to the Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week, this time around, things are different.

Just one MLB Top 100 Prospect takes a spot on this edition of the Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week with five picks coming from outside the top 10 in their systems. The Dodgers placed yet another middle infielder on the squad this week while lengthy hitting streaks abound from Orioles, Cardinals and Phillies prospects. An Astros hurler getting some work out of the bullpen gets a nod for his relief role while a Mets prospect dominated in his final Single-A outings before a promotion.

To be eligible for the Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week, Minor League players must be ranked among their club’s Top 30 prospects on Pipeline’s lists. (Those in the Majors do not qualify.)

This is the Prospect Team of the Week for May 16-22:

Catcher: Logan O’Hoppe, Reading Fightin Phils (Double-A)
Phillies No. 5
.550/.640/1.350, 6 G, 11-for-20, 5 HR, 1 2B, 8 RBI, 8 R, 3 BB, 2 K

O’Hoppe had started the month of May a bit slowly, but he’s put everything together over the last eight games, including his six over the award period. The backstop now has hits in eight straight and put up three straight multihit games to open Reading’s six-game series at Somerset. More impressively than the streak was O’Hoppe’s power surge that gave him homers in four straight from Tuesday-Friday including a pair of blasts in the opener. The 22-year-old had just three long balls for the season entering his five-homer stretch. Over the course of his hitting streak, O’Hoppe is batting .542 (13-for-24) with a .667 on-base percentage and 1.333 slugging percentage.

1B: Vinnie Pasquantino, Omaha Storm Chasers (Triple-A)
Royals No. 4
.417/.444/.875, 6 G, 10-for-24, 2 HR, 5 2B, 13 RBI, 7 R, 1 BB, 4 K

An 11th-round pick out of Old Dominion in 2019, Pasquantino has impressed at every stop along his trek toward Kansas City, and his Triple-A time is no different so far. After going 0-for-3 in Omaha’s series opener against St. Paul, Pasquantino tallied multiple hits in four of the next five games while rolling up five extra-base hits. The first baseman’s best showing came on Sunday as he went 3-for-4 with a homer, double and five RBIs, which matched a season high he set on April 17 against Louisville. Pasquantino has especially liked hitting at his home park, batting .325/.430/.688 in 23 games in Omaha compared to marks of .210/.310/.452 in 17 on the road.

2B: Jorbit Vivas, Great Lakes Loons (High-A)
Dodgers No. 9
.560/.607/.920, 6 G, 14-for-25, 1 HR, 2 3B, 2 2B, 8 RBI, 5 R, 3 BB, 0 K

The Dodgers continue to dominate middle infield selections on the Prospect Team of the Week as Vivas makes his first. Vivas joins organizational teammates Michael Busch, Jacob Amaya and Eddys Leonard as the seventh selection for a Dodgers second baseman or shortstop to be named to the weekly squad in 2022. Vivas performed well at Great Lakes last year after reaching the High-A level for 23 games to conclude his season. He’s currently in the midst of his hottest stretch there this year with hits in his last 10 games. Vivas’ eight multihit performances over that time include every game of the award period to help lead the Loons to four wins over visiting Lansing. Vivas drove in at least one run in four games and scored at least one in four, as well. Over 20 games in May, he’s now batting .342/.412/.500 with six extra-bases hits, 15 RBIs and 6 walks against four strikeouts.

3B: Andre Lipcius, Erie SeaWolves (Double-A)
Tigers No. 24
.450/.500/.950, 6 G, 9-for-20, 2 HR, 4 2B, 10 RBI, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 SB

Like Pasquantino, Lipcius went 0-for-3 in his team’s series opener last week and then went off. The third baseman ripped off hits in the final five games of Erie’s home set against New Hampshire, including multiple knocks in three straight from Thursday-Saturday. Lipcius homered in back-to-back contests on Thursday and Friday before doubling three times in four at-bats on Saturday night and drove in three runs in each of those three games. His six extra-base hits for the week represent his total for May. Lipcius also continued to pick his spots well on the basepaths, swiping a base on Sunday to run his total to six successful steals in seven attempts this season.

SS: Matthew Lugo, Greenville Drive (High-A)
Red Sox No. 12
.500/.524/1.100, 5 G, 10-for-20, 1 HR, 3 3B, 3 2B, 8 RBI, 5 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 SB

After posting a .270 average and .702 OPS in 105 games at Single-A Salem last year, Lugo still got the bump to Greenville and is proving why. While his average is down in May (.306) compared to April (.338), Lugo’s OPS for the month is over 100 points higher (1.042 to .905) thanks to a bump in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. In his five games against Hickory, Lugo had four multihit games and extra-base hits in all but one contest. The 21-year-old drove in four runs in in the series opener against the Crawdads followed by a three-RBI showing three games later while tripling twice in the latter contest. Lugo now has four homers for the month after leaving the yard just once in April.

OF: Kyle Stowers, Norfolk Tides (Triple-A)
Orioles No. 8
.480/.567/1.200, 6 G, 12-for-25, 5 HR, 3 2B, 10 RBI, 11 R, 5 BB, 6 K

With hits in all six games Norfolk played at Charlotte, Stowers ran his hitting streak to eight straight and has scored at least one run in his last seven. The outfielder finished his week on a surge with multiple hits in his last three contests, including a four-hit day that featured a homer and two doubles on Friday and his biggest showing of the week, a three-homer afternoon on Sunday with five RBIs. Five of the outfielder’s nine homers for the year came last week, as did 10 of his 23 RBIs for the season. The Stanford product led the Baltimore system with 27 homers last year between High-A Aberdeen, Double-A Bowie and Norfolk.

OF: Alec Burleson, Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A)
Cardinals No. 10
.539/.539/1.039, 6 G, 14-for-26, 3 HR, 4 2B, 9 RBI, 6 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 SB

The former East Carolina two-way player has reached the highest level of the Minors and is crushing Triple-A. Burleson has gone hitless in just three games this month with hits in eight straight. At Gwinnett, Burleson tallied five multihit games and a trio of three-hit performances to wrap up the series. On Sunday, the outfielder doubled three times and drove in a run while scoring twice. In 17 games this month, Burleson has batted .358/.386/.597 with three doubles, seven homers and 16 RBIs to boost his overall season slash line to .321/.367/.591 with nine blasts and 30 driven in.

OF: Trevor Hauver, Hickory Crawdads (High-A)
Rangers No. 19
.500/.609/1.278, 5 G, 9-for-18, 4 HR, 2 2B, 10 RBI, 6 R, 5 BB, 1 K

Hauver entered last week’s series against visiting Greenville with just 13 hits in his first 75 at-bats for the season (.173) but found his swing against the Drive. The outfielder homered in four of the five games he played, tallied hits in four of the five and powered home 10 runs, over half of his total entering the week (16). An Arizona State product originally selected by the Yankees in the third round of the pandemic-truncated 2020 Draft, Hauver went to the Rangers in last July’s trade that sent big league outfielder Joey Gallo to New York. It took until May 5 for him to post his first multihit game of the season. Last week alone, he notched three such performances. Hauver continued to command the strike zone well with five walks against one strikeout, pushing his season totals to 27 and 28 respectively in those categories. Having not cracked the Mendoza line this year until Friday, Hauver now boasts a .237/.402/.430 slash line through 29 games.

LHP: Steve Hajjar, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (Single-A)
Twins No. 20
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 0.40 WHIP

Taken out of Michigan in the second round last year, Hajjar continues to progress during his first professional campaign. On Friday, he breached the five-inning mark for the first time in his six starts this year and held Clearwater off the board on just one hit and a walk while striking out six. It was the best start of Hajjar’s debut season and dropped his ERA from 3.44 to 2.70 through 23 1/3 innings pitched. Hajjar was tremendously efficient against the Threshers, needing just 60 pitches (38 strikes) to breeze through his five innings, his lowest pitch total of any start this year. It was also a marked improvement against Clearwater, a team that roughed up Hajjar for three runs (two earned) on seven hits over four innings on April 26.

RHP: Mike Vasil, St. Lucie Mets (Single-A)
Mets No. 21
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 13 K, 0.50 WHIP

Mets righty Vasil is headed up the chain to High-A Brooklyn this week on the back of some dynamite work last week for St. Lucie. The highlight of Vasil’s week was Tuesday, when he tossed seven innings at Tampa, allowing one unearned run on two hits while striking out 11 without a walk. The former Virginia hurler threw 64 strikes in 88 pitches to carve through the Tarpons while notching a win for his third straight start. Vasil touched 95.7 mph with his fastball and threw four different pitches according to game data, mixing in a cutter, curveball and sinker to go along with a four-seam heater. The righty mixed up his outcomes, getting six swinging strikeouts against five called. On Sunday, he took the ball again and whiffed two to work around two hits in one inning of work before getting the news that he’d be headed up to High-A.

RP: Hunter Brown, Sugar Land Space Cowboys (Triple-A)
Astros No. 1, MLB No. 100
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.00 WHIP

Now Houston’s top prospect, Brown gets the nod as a reliever this week but has started five of his eight total outings this season. The right-hander was dominant in his one game against visiting Oklahoma City on Friday, fanning five batters in four perfect innings while firing 38 strikes in 60 pitches. In a relief role this year, Brown has tossed 14 scoreless outings, scattering seven hits and two walks while striking out 20. Opponents have batted just .146 against Brown when he comes out of the bullpen. As a starter, his numbers have still been solid with a 4.19 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings pitched, but opponents have worked 15 walks and batted .230 against him.s

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