Minor League Pitcher and Hitter of the Week: April 15-21

A Triple-A masher and a Double-A arm that's taken little time to adjust to a new organization headline this week's honors.

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Orelvis Martinez #79 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs the bases after hitting a solo homerun in the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in a Spring Training game at BayCare Ballpark on March 19, 2022 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Try not to blink, as we are already into the fourth week of the Minor League season. Week number three has now come and gone, and we’re entering the part of a season where strong starts that have still lasted to this point should be given more attention. It’s easy to reference “small sample size,” so with that, we will be sure to highlight the Minor League Pitcher and Hitter of the Month after each flip of the calendar.

For now, let’s just continue to give credit to those players who had strong performances over the past seven days.

For more information on the Top Prospects that find themselves on Just Baseball’s Top 100, you can find that list here.

Pitcher of the Week: Jairo Iriarte (RHP) – Chicago White Sox (Double-A Birmingham Barons)

Weekly Stats: 1 GS 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K
Season Stats: 3 GS 13.0 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 17 K, 0.00 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 11.8 K/9

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Jairo Iriarte continues to put out dominant outing after dominant outing after his last start where he extended his scoreless innings streak to 13 innings to begin the season.

Iriarte was acquired by the White Sox in the package that came in for Dylan Cease before the season began. His latest outing highlights how great he has been on the mound for Double-A Birmingham.

Even though his Swinging Strike% was only at 12.3, it is a true testament to how he can generate soft contact with a 27% ground ball rate in his last start. While the strike out numbers might not pop off the page, Iriarte is another bright spot within the White Sox organization, and he should have their fan base excited for what is to come.

Hitter of the Week: Orelvis Martinez (3B/SS) – Toronto Blue Jays (Triple-A Buffalo Bisons)

Weekly Stats: .357/.419/.929, 5 HR, 13 RBI, .571 ISO
Season Stats: .333/.392/.681, 6 HR, 18 RBI, .347 ISO, 168 wRC+

*Insert walking man on fire meme here*

This is exactly what Orelvis Martinez was doing this past week for the Buffalo Bisons. Even though we like to highlight players at the lower levels, it is hard to ignore what Martinez did this past week.

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Orelvis may have fallen out of favor for some with his struggles over the last several seasons, but the power was always so tantalizing that it was hard to give up on him.

With his strong performance over the past week, Martinez now ranks within the 90th percentile in exit velocity within the Minor Leagues, according to Baseball America’s Minor League Hitting tracking system, coinciding with the lowering of his average launch angle from 19 degrees in 2023 to 17.4 degrees so far this year. In this past week alone, he averaged a 50% Line Drive% that all but locked him into being our Minor League Hitter of the Week.

Orelvis has done all of this while learning a new position at second base. With the current hole at the Major League level for the Blue Jays, Orelvis is showing now that he may be the answer for the future at a position the Jays have been longing to fill.

Honorable Mentions:

Pitcher: Frank Mozzicato (LHP) – Kansas City Royals (High-A Quad City River Bandits):
Weekly Stats: 1 GS 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 14.4 K/9

Pitcher: Caden Dana (RHP) – Los Angeles Angels (Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas):
Weekly Stats: 2 GS 13.2 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 12 K, 24.5% K%

Pitcher: A.J. Blubaugh (RHP) – Houston Astros (Triple-A Sugar Land Space Cowboys):
Weekly Stats: 1 GS 6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 8 K, 11.37 K/9

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Hitter: Josh Zamora (2B) – Miami Marlins (Single-A Beloit Sky Carp):
4/15 – 4/21 Stats: .444/.600/.944, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 BB, .500 ISO

Hitter: Kevin Alcantara (OF) – Chicago Cubs (Double-A Tennessee Smokies):
4/15 – 4/21 Stats: .476/.500/.810, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1.310 OPS, .333 ISO

Hitter: Cam Collier (3B) – Cincinnati Reds (High-A Dayton Dragons):
4/15 – 4/21 Stats: .292/.346/.833, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 211 wRC+, .542 ISO