Friday's best: First-round picks make pro debuts

Friday's best: First-round picks make pro debuts

Friday's slate of Minor League action brought the professional debuts of pitchers DL Hall and Alex Lange, first-round picks in the 2017 Draft, and the conclusion of J.B. Bukauskas' pro debut.

Bukauskas, MLBPipeline.com's No. 85 overall prospect (Astros' No. 5), took the mound first and tossed three scoreless frames for the Astros' affiliate in the Rookie Gulf Coast League. Bukauskas, who signed with Houston for $3.6 million after they selected him 15th overall out of the University of North Carolina, tossed one scoreless frame for the GCL Astros on Sunday before rain cut his start short. In total, the 20-year-old right-hander allowed three hits, walked one and struck out three in an outing that ultimately spanned six days.

DL Hall, Baltimore's No. 4 prospect and MLBPipeline.com's ninth-ranked left-handed pitcher, was similarly impressive as he worked two scoreless frames in his debut, also in the Gulf Coast League. Hall, 18, permitted one hit, walked one and struck out a pair in his first pro exposure.

Last but not least, Cubs No. 4 prospect Alex Lange, the 30th and final player selected in the Draft's first round, was untouchable over two innings in his debut with Class A Short Season Eugene. The Louisiana State product threw 15 of his 22 pitches for strikes, as he punched out three batters and induced another two outs via ground balls.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Friday

No. 7 overall prospect Eloy Jimenez (White Sox No. 2) powered Class A Advanced Winston-Salem to an 8-2 win over Potomac by going 2-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs scored. One of those hits was the 20-year-old outfielder's 13th home run this season, also his fifth in 20 games since he was acquired from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana trade.

No. 16 overall prospect Francisco Mejia's (Indians' No. 1) three-run home run in the top of the fourth inning was one of four homers hit by Double-A Akron in a 14-4 win over Reading. The 21-year-old catcher's home run was his 11th this season, matching the career-high he posted over 102 games in 2016, and he improved his slash line to .319/.370/.529 by finishing 2-for-4.

No. 34 overall prospect Nick Gordon (Twins' No. 2) paced Double-A Chattanooga at the plate and Stephen Gonsalves (Twins' No. 3, No. 73 overall) took care of business on the mound in the Lookouts' 3-1 win over Jackson. Gordon, 21, went 1-for-3 with a solo homer and a stolen base, continuing a breakout campaign that's seen him slash .282/.358/.438 with 40 extra-base hits, including a career-best eight homers in 96 games. Gonsalves, meanwhile, improved his record to 8-3 in 15 starts and lowered his ERA to 2.68 behind 6 2/3 scoreless frames. The 23-year-old lefty scattered four hits, walked two and struck out four in the performance, throwing 62 of his 98 pitches for strikes.

No. 37 overall prospect Franklin Barreto (A's No. 1) led Triple-A Nashville's offense with three hits and finishing a triple shy of hitting for the cycle in an 8-4 win over Reno. He went 3-for-5 in the contest, connecting on his 12th home run and also scoring three runs. Renato Nunez (A's No. 24) also had a big game for the Sounds, going 2-for-3 with his Minor League-leading 28th home run.

No. 98 overall prospect Isan Diaz (Brewers' No. 6) drove in four runs with a pair of extra-base hits in a 2-for-4 showing for Class A Advanced Carolina. The 21-year-old middle infielder tallied an RBI on a sacrifice fly in his first trip to the plate and then hit a two-run double in the fourth before connecting on a solo home run, his 12th this season and first since July 16, in the sixth.

Tigers No. 12 prospect Dawel Lugo extended his hitting streak to six games with his second two-homer performance in 17 games as a member of Double-A Erie. Acquired from the D-backs in the J.D. Martinez deal, Lugo, 22, has slashed .279/.326/.439 with 11 home runs, 22 doubles and 55 RBIs in 105 games between the Eastern and Southern Leagues.

Twins No. 15 prospect Lewis Thorpe recorded a season-high nine strikeouts over five scoreless innings in arguably his best performance this season for Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Throwing 59 of his 97 pitches for strikes, the 21-year-old lefty allowed two hits and walked three. Tommy John surgery may have wiped out Thorpe's 2015-16 campaigns, but he's shown no ill effects this year in the Florida State League, where he owns a 2.79 ERA with 64 strikeouts and a .216 batting average against in 58 innings (12 games, 11 starts).

Cardinals No. 15 prospect Austin Gomber hurled seven dominant frames for Double-A Springfield, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out seven. It marked the second straight win for the 23-year-old lefty, who has completed seven frames and allowed just three hits in both outings.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.