Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach and Winston-Salem have the two-best team OPS marks in the Carolina League (.761 for the Pelicans and .726 for the Dash), and they are stacked with power hitters such as Rangers' No. 1 prospect Jorge Alfaro and White Sox No. 12 prospect Keon Barnum.
Their game on Tuesday turned into a slugfest as Winston-Salem defeated Myrtle Beach, 13-9, and the teams combined for 31 hits. The two teams continue their series Wednesday, providing another chance for an offensive explosion. The game can be seen on MiLB.TV at 7 p.m. ET.
Alfaro, ranked No. 31 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, and Nick Williams, the Rangers' No. 4 prospect, have both hit 10 home runs with the Pelicans this season, tying them for sixth most in the league. Williams added to his total with a pair of homers in Tuesday's loss.
Barnum, like many young power hitters, has struggled with strikeouts this season and has whiffed 105 times in 85 games. But he has made enough contact to slug seven home runs, which ranks 14th in the league. His teammate Courtney Hawkins is tied for third with 13 homers, but he is currently on the disabled list due to a concussion he suffered last week.
Alfaro, Williams and Barnum are all chasing Rangers No. 2 prospect Joey Gallo in the Carolina League home run race. Gallo hit 21 home runs in 58 games with Myrtle Beach before getting promoted to Double-A Frisco. Though he hasn't played a game in the league in more than a month, Gallo still has six more home runs than Frederick outfielder Michael Burgess, who ranks second with 15 home runs in 72 games.
While offense might rule the day in Winston-Salem on Wednesday, pitching is expected to shine elsewhere. Several pitchers ranked on the Top 100 are scheduled to start today, including Eduardo Rodriguez (No. 55), A.J. Cole (No. 56), Matt Wisler (No. 61), Jose Berrios (No. 72), Edwin Escobar (No. 77) and Sean Manaea (No. 96). Fans can watch all but Manaea on MiLB.TV, beginning with Berrios and Double-A New Britain visiting New Hampshire at 12:05 p.m. ET.
Berrios, the Twins' No. 5 prospect, will be making his first start with New Britain. Berrios began the season with Class A Advanced Fort Myers, where he dominated the Florida State League before being promoted this week. Berrios went 9-3 with a 1.96 ERA and struck out 109 batters in 96 1/3 innings for the Miracle.
Wednesday will be Berrios' final start before heading to Target Field for the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday. The 20-year old Puerto Rican native will be pitching for the World team in the stadium he hopes will one day be his home park in the big leagues.
Top prospect probables
Jose Berrios (Twins' No. 5), New Britain at New Hampshire
Michael Blazek (Brewers' No. 18), Nashville at Memphis
Austin Brice (Marlins' No. 17), Jupiter at Charlotte
Jamie Callahan (Red Sox's No. 18), Greenville at Charleston
Andrew Chafin (D-backs' No. 12), Reno vs. Las Vegas
A.J. Cole (Nationals' No. 2), Syracuse at Gwinnett
Tim Cooney (Cardinals' No. 9), Memphis vs. Nashville
Ryan Eades (Twins' No. 19), Cedar Rapids vs. Wisconsin
Edwin Escobar (Giants' No. 2), Fresno vs. Sacramento
Brian Flynn (Marlins' No. 6), New Orleans at Oklahoma City
Ismael Guillon (Reds' No. 9), Bakersfield at San Jose
Jairo Labourt (Blue Jays' No. 11), Vancouver at Everett
Sean Manaea (Royals' No. 4), Wilmington at Potomac
Mike Montgomery (Rays' No. 17), Durham at Norfolk
Elliot Morris (Angels' No. 18), Inland Empire at Lancaster
Aaron Northcraft (Braves' No. 14), Gwinnett vs. Syracuse
Alex Reyes (Cardinals' No. 5), Peoria vs. Clinton
Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles' No. 2), Bowie at Harrisburg
Joe Ross (Padres' No. 9), Lake Elsinore at Rancho Cucamonga
Matt Wisler (Padres' No. 3), El Paso at Albuquerque
Gabriel Ynoa (Mets' No. 13), Binghamton vs Portland