Throughout the season, the MLBPipeline.com staff will name Pipeline Prospects of the Month -- one hitter and one pitcher who excelled over the last 30 days. To qualify for selection, a player must rank among their organization's Top 20 Prospects, as listed on our Prospect Watch.
Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Month: Joc Pederson, Albuquerque Isotopes
Dodgers' No. 2 prospect, 26 G, .398/.504/.663, 1.167 OPS, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 9 SB, 22 R
April was a good month for Pederson. In addition to his dizzying start to the season -- he ranks near the top of the Minor League leaderboard in a wide array of statistics -- Pederson celebrated his 22nd birthday on April 21. That makes him one of the youngest players in the Pacific Coast League, even if he hasn't played like it.
Pederson, who is ranked No. 33 on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list, does have the benefit of playing his home games well above sea level in Albuquerque. But Pederson has found success away from Isotopes Park as well. Half of Pederson's home runs came on the road, where he is hitting .327.
The Dodgers already have an overflowing outfield in the Major Leagues, but Pederson has done his best to show he's nearly ready to join it. Primarily a center fielder, Pederson has played all three outfield positions this year, so he can be ready wherever -- and whenever -- the Dodgers need him in the Major Leagues.
Mookie Betts, 2B, Portland Sea Dogs: Red Sox's No. 5 prospect, 22 G, .430/.481/.688, 1.169 OPS, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 10 SB, 30 R
Joey Gallo, 3B, Myrtle Beach Pelicans: Rangers' No. 5 prospect, 24 G, .317/.434/.744, 1.178 OPS, 9 HR, 22 RBI, 24 R
Gregory Polanco, OF, Indianapolis Indians: Pirates' No. 1 prospect, 24 G, .400/.457/.632, 1.089 OPS, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 4 SB, 21 R
Pipeline Pitching Prospect of the Month: Ben Lively, RHP, Bakersfield Blaze
Reds' No. 13 prospect, 5-0, 0.31 ERA, 5 GS, 29 IP, 13 H, 1 run, 1 ER, 1 BB, 40 K
Lively has thrived in Bakersfield, typically one of the most inhospitable places for pitchers in the Minor Leagues. He leads the California League in most pitching categories, from strikeouts to ERA to wins.
Lively gave up one run in his first start of the season before reeling off 24 consecutive scoreless innings. He threw 17 innings before issuing his first walk of the year on April 22.
In part because of his deception and ability to excel with average stuff, Lively earns comparisons to Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani. Lively's stats after five starts at Bakerfield even closely mirror those of Cingrani, who posted a 0.32 ERA and struck out 37 batters in his first 28 innings with the Blaze.
Like Cingrani once did, Lively may be pitching his way onto the fast track in Bakersfield.
Aaron Blair, RHP, South Bend Silver Hawks: D-backs' No. 3 prospect, 1-1, 2.56 ERA, 5 GS, 31 2/3 IP, 17 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 10 BB, 43 K
Ismael Guillon, LHP, Dayton Dragons: Reds' No. 10 prospect, 2-0, 1.59 ERA, 5 GS, 28 1/3 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 12 BB, 31 K
Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Nashville Sounds: Brewers' No. 1 prospect, 3-1, 1.97 ERA, 5 GS, 32 IP, 19 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 9 BB, 31 K