Veen among many FSS alums with big pro ball performances

It’s fair to say that any concerns about Zac Veen after a slow adjustment to Double-A last season are long, long gone.

The Colorado Rockies top prospect was activated off the seven-day injured list by the Hartford Yard Goats on Thursday, and wasted no time showing why he remains considered to have a big-league All-Star ceiling. The 21-year-old outfielder has at least one hit in every game since returning, including a massive 3-for-5 showing on Saturday night against Reading in which he drove in six runs and fell a homer short of hitting for the cycle.  An alum of 2019 International Week , Veen also stole a base, giving him seven straight to start the season without being caught.

Bo Naylor, C, Columbus Clippers — AAA

After a brief stint in the big leagues last year in which he became the first FSS alum to reach the game’s highest level, as well as a solid showing for Team Canada in the most recent World Baseball Classic, Bo Naylor is still making an impact in the minors as he awaits his next opportunity with the Guardians.

The 23-year-old catcher is hitting .259 with six homers and 24 RBI in his first 30 games with Triple-A Columbus this season, and has delivered two multi-hit games over the past week, including a solo shot against Iowa on Wednesday

Kevin Kilpatrick, OF, Rome Braves — A+

A very athletic outfielder who turned heads at the Future Stars Series Pre-Draft Combine back in 2021, Kilpatrick has shown great value to the Atlanta Braves organization after they swooped in and stole him with the No. 515 overall pick in the Draft. He turned in one his best games a pro on Tuesday, hitting two solo homers and drawing a walk against Bowling Green.

Mick Abel, RHP, Reading Fightin’ Phils — AA

Mick Abel. Still really, really good. In his first five starts with Double-A Reading this year, the multi-time International Week star is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA, racking up 25 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings pitched. On Friday in Hartford, facing a stacked lineup that has Veen and fellow FSS alum Drew Romo, Abel turned in his best outing of the year, spinning six frames of one-run ball, issuing zero free passes compared to a season-high eight strikeouts.

Silas Ardoin, C, Aberdeen Ironbirds — A+

Always a plus defender just like his big league father, Danny Ardoin, Silas has been able to gain consistency with the bat this season in his first year in High-A. The 22-year-old former University of Texas standout produced his second multi-hit game of the year on Friday night in Brooklyn, smacking an RBI single followed by an RBI double in his next at-bat.

David Calabrese, OF, Rocket City Trash Pandas — AA

It would seem a trip to Alabama — ahem, Rocket City — would be worth it to see some FSS alums who are making an impact at the next level. Perhaps overlooked in that regard is David Calabrese, who wowed scouts with an inside-the-park homer at International Week in 2019, and has recently started to turn his season around in Double-A this year. The speedy Canadian has five hits in his last 13 at-bats as well as three RBI, increasing his batting average 38 points over the span of just four days.

Kyren Paris, SS, Rocket City Trash Pandas — AA

Who else might you see in Jacksonville? How about the Southern League leader in home runs, Kyren Paris, who has gone deep in two of his last three games to take the lead in that category. A second-rounder back in 2019 not long after a big showing at International Week the year prior at Camelback Ranch, Paris has increased his walk rate this year as well, and is on track for his first taste of Triple-A sooner rather than later.

Justin Lange, RHP, Tampa Tarpons — A

Written off by some after significant struggles with command in his first year in the Yankees organization playing for their Complex League team last year, Lange has turned it around and then some in his first foray into full-season ball this season.

Lange has a stunning 36 strikeouts over 19 2/3 innings for the Tampa Tarpons, including tying a season-high on Saturday with ten against Bradenton, an outing in which he went five innings without allowing a hit, and walked just three.

Mike Ashmore
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