Whitley steller in Quad Cities debut

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In the sixth inning, Kelly turned around an offering from reliever Michael Blazek, depositing it well over the wall in left field en route to the first multi-homer performance of his career.

“Running around the bases, I was actually thinking about the time I had two homers in high school, and then immediately, I switched over to thinking about the next inning, catching-wise, because that’s how I am. I can flip a switch,” Kelly told MiLB.com. “But it was very enjoyable. I really think it was something special.” 

Kelly, 22, finished the game 2-for-4 at the plate, giving him a .313 average through four games to begin the season.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Tuesday

• No. 33 overall prospect Tyler O’Neill (Mariners’ No. 2) homered in his first at-bat in Triple-A Tacoma’s home opener — a 7-0 win over El Paso. He also hit a double and scored a pair of runs in the contest, finishing 2-for-4 at the plate.

• No. 60 overall prospect Dominic Smith (Mets’ No. 2) connected on his first Triple-A homer — a solo shot in the seventh inning — as part of a 4-for-6 performance for Triple-A Las Vegas that included four runs scored and three RBIs. No. 3 overall prospect Amed Rosario (3-for-5, 2 RBIs) and Mets’ No. 6 Gavin Cecchini (2-for-4, HR, 4 RBIs) also turned in big offensive performances for the 51s, who, as a team, collected 19 hits in a 21-6 rout of Fresno.

• No. 80 overall prospect Forrest Whitley (Astros’ No. 5) fired five scoreless frames in his full-season debut for Class A Quad Cities. The 6-foot-7 right-hander, whom Houston selected with the No. 17 overall pick last June, allowed just one hit after carrying a no-hit bid for 3 1/3 innings while walking two and fanning six.

Angels’ No. 1 prospect Jahmai Jones hit his first home run of the season and later added an RBI single to lead Class A Burlington to a 3-1 victory over Wisconsin in game one of a twin bill. He went 2-for-4 in the contest and also recorded his first stolen base.

Jack Flaherty dominated for the second time in as many starts for Double-A Springfield. The Cardinals’ No. 8 prospect allowed one earned run on four hits in seven innings, striking out four and throwing 58 of his 91 pitches for strikes. The 21-year-old right-hander has won both of his starts for the Cardinals, posting a 0.66 ERA over 13 2/3 innings in that span.

Reds’ No. 9 prospect Sal Romano received a no-decision despite hurling seven scoreless innings for Triple-A Louisville against Toledo. The 23-year-old righty threw 55 of his 80 pitches for strikes, scattering four hits and striking out five. He’s recorded a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings across two starts to open the season.

• Mariners’ No. 3 prospect Nick Neidert allowed just one hit with eight strikeouts in six scoreless innings as Class A Advanced Modesto shut out Stockton, 6-0. The 2015 second-rounder carried a no-hit bid for 5 1/3 innings before yielding his lone hit.

• Mariners’ No. 4 prospect Andrew Moore tossed his second scoreless performance in as many starts for Double-A Arkansas. The Mariners’ No. 4 prospect held San Antonio to just two hits in six innings, also striking out five and walking one while throwing 54 of his 90 pitches for strikes.

• Ryan Mountcastle and Jomar Reyes, the Orioles’ Nos. 4 and 10 prospects, both hit home runs and combined to go 5-for-10 with seven RBIs as Class A Advanced Frederick rolled through Potomac, 16-6. Mountcastle also tallied a double as part of a 2-for-5 performance, while Reyes finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored.

Padres’ No. 8 prospect Luis Urias connected on a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the seventh inning to power Double-A San Antonio past Arkansas in Game 2 of a doubleheader. The home run was already the second of the season for the 19-year-old second baseman, who hit a career-high six homers in 123 games last season between the Class A Advanced and Triple-A levels.

• After he struggled in his season debut for Double-A Frisco, Rangers’ No. 11 prospect Connor Sadzeck bounced back to permit one unearned run on one hit in a no-decision versus Tulsa. The right-hander notched nine strikeouts without issuing a walk in the outing — he did hit two batters — all the while finding the strike zone with 59 of his 85 pitches.

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.

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