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FRISCO, Texas — Joey Gallo, the Texas Rangers’ hulky Double-A third baseman, described leading the minor leagues in home runs last season as “kind of a one-of-kind thing,” then shrugged indifferently at the prospect of repeating the feat this year to become the first to do so since 1972-73 (note: Kevin Witt played in Japan in 2005, leading the minors in homers in 2004 and 2006).

“It doesn’t really matter to me,” the 6’5”, 230-pounder said one afternoon last week while seated in the Frisco RoughRiders’ dugout. Entering Wednesday's play, the 20-year-old has belted 38 homers between Frisco and Myrtle Beach of the High-A Carolina League. That is good for just one behind Kris Bryant, third baseman for the Chicago Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa club in the Pacific Coast League. Bryant hit No. 39 on Tuesday evening.

Gallo said his sole interest in the race is competing with a familiar face from back home in Las Vegas. The 22-year-old Bryant played alongside Gallo’s older brother while growing up, and their fathers work together operating a baseball instructional school.

Gallo would become the first to go back to back with minor league home run crowns since Jim Fuller of the Baltimore Orioles organization, and Fuller played at Triple-A and Double-A those years. It’s difficult to say that would earn more fame than hitting a promotional Chevy truck during batting practice before this year’s All-Star Futures Game at Target Field in Minneapolis.

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USA Today

The Oakland A’s put an end to the Kansas City Royals’ eight-game winning streak on Tuesday night, as they exploded for 11 runs on 20 hits to back another strong outing from left-hander Jon Lester.

But the A’s star of the game was third baseman Josh Donaldson, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of late-inning home runs and four RBI—one of his finest performances of the season.

Donaldson’s second homer, which came in the eighth inning off left-hander Bruce Chen, was his 25th of the season, a new career high for the 28-year-old All-Star after hitting 24 during his breakout 2013 campaign.

And with slugger Yoenis Cespedes and his 17 home runs with Oakland no longer in the picture, the A’s will need Donaldson to fill his shoes in the power department down the stretch.

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Felix Hernandez is having a historically good season, arguably the best of his 10-year career with the Seattle Mariners.

Unfortunately, with Clayton Kershaw having another Cy Young-caliber year for the large-market Los Angeles Dodgers, King Felix hasn’t received the league-wide attention he deserves.

Felix’s assault on baseball’s record books continued Monday night, as the 28-year-old right-hander allowed one run on three hits over seven innings at home against the Toronto Blue Jays, striking out eight batters without issuing a walk. The performance extended his major-league-record streak to 16 games in which he’s logged seven or more innings and allowed two or fewer runs.

On the season, Hernandez owns a 13-3 record with a 1.95 ERA and 194-32 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 180.1 innings, and he’s held opposing hitters to a .191 batting average and .505 OPS.

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Where would the Yankees be right now if not for Brandon McCarthy?

With CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova out for the season with injuries, and Masahiro Tanaka on the disabled list attempting to stave off Tommy John surgery, the Yankees decided to acquire McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 6 in exchange for left-hander Vidal Nuno.

Since then, McCarthy, 31, has provided much-needed stability to a depleted Yankees rotation, going 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA and 36-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 36.2 innings over six starts. Meanwhile, his performance has allowed the team to stay in the postseason hunt, as they’re currently 61-57 overall and chasing the Tigers for a Wild Card by only three games.

At face value, the right-hander’s season isn’t particularly impressive; he’s lost 11 of his 24 starts, allowed 171 hits in 146.1 innings and owns an overall ERA of 4.31. However, a deeper look McCarthy’s numbers this year tells a much different story.

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While it will be several years until most of the 2014 draft picks are ready for the major leagues, that doesn't mean we can’t get excited about the early returns from some of baseball’s brightest young players.

Thanks to an accelerated signing deadline in mid-July that was ushered in in 2012 as part of the new collective bargaining agreement—it used to be mid-August—draft picks are now encouraged to quickly begin their professional careers.

For some prospects, that could result in an ahead-of-schedule debut in the major leagues; for others, it may simply improve their chances of earning aggressive promotions to begin the following season.

Here’s a look at 10 breakout prospects from the 2014 draft class who are destroying the minor leagues in their professional debuts.

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As the final quarter of the 2014 Major League Baseball season approaches, it's time to take stock of the top performances to date from the best prospects in the sport down in the minors.

Speaking of the minor leagues, there's even less of a season left, as most circuits wrap up their regular seasons by early September. That means there's not much time for position players and pitchers to pump up their production from here on out. While statistics will change, there's a good chance that the most impressive players so far will remain as such down the stretch.

What follows, then, is a look at the All-Prospect Team based on performance to this point, with each position being represented.

Although the goal is to include only legitimate, highly regarded prospects, this is not purely a listing of the best prospect at each position. Rather, it's a rundown of the top youngster at each spot who has had the best 2014 campaign.

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Things were looking up for Stephen Strasburg headed into his start on Friday night against the Atlanta Braves. At least that’s how it seemed.

After posting a 3.18 ERA with 44 strikeouts over 39.2 innings in July, Strasburg kicked off August with his best start of the season, striking out 10 batters and scattering three hits over seven shutout innings versus the Phillies.

And considering he was scheduled to face a Braves squad mired in an eight-game losing streak, all signs pointed to the 26-year-old right-hander having another strong outing.

However, Strasburg was anything but dominant Friday night, allowing seven runs on seven hits in five innings. The Nats mounted a valiant comeback late in the game, but ultimately fell to the Braves 7-6.

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While there already has been a large influx of prospects promoted to the major leagues this season, there are even more set to arrive when active rosters expand from 25 to 40 players on September 1.

Last year’s wave of September call-ups marked the arrival of some of baseball’s top rookies, including Billy Hamilton, Yordano Ventura, Nick Castellanos and Jonathan Schoop.

It’s still hard to say which prospects, if any, will be promoted to The Show this September, but there’s certainly no shortage of intriguing candidates, with Kris Bryant, Francisco Lindor, Noah Syndergaard, Joc Pederson and Alex Meyer all in the mix.

So, with three weeks remaining until rosters expand, here are the latest call-up odds for baseball's top 25 prospects, as determined by Prospect Pipeline’s midseason rankings.

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It’s official: Javier Baez is must-watch television.

The 21-year-old continued to blow past all reasonable expectations Thursday against the Rockies with a 3-for-4 performance that included a pair of impressive home runs.

Baez is now batting .286 with five RBI through his first three games, and his three home runs during that span make him the second player in the last 100 years to accomplish the feat, according to High Heat Stats, via Twitter:

In his debut Tuesday, Baez went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts before connecting for his first major league hit—a go-ahead, solo home run in the top of the 12th inning. He turned in a 0-for-4 showing the following day but quickly made up for the hitless game Thursday with an impressive display of power.

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The 2014 season has seen a number of notable prospects receive call-ups to the major leagues. Undoubtedly, there are more to comeand soon.

Highly regarded youngsters like George Springer (currently on the disabled list), Marcus Stroman, Jonathan Singleton, Gregory Polanco and Ken Giles have been seeing regular time for their respective clubs for quite some time now. Others, like Oscar Taveras, Taijuan Walker and Kevin Gausman, have been shuttling up and down between the minors and majors for much of the year.

With the July 31 trade deadline now in the rearview mirror, there should be plenty of promotions of prime prospects after the wheeling and dealing opened up 25-man roster spots on teams that are selling and building for the future.

That's just what happened in Chicago, where the Cubs somewhat surprisingly brought up top infield prospect Javier Baez Tuesday, then watched him smack the game-winning home run in extra innings at Coors Field.