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Adalberto Mondesi is on the IL for a third time this season, including twice for a strained oblique. But while it seemed like the Royals' only option the first two times was to wait it out, Bobby Witt is presenting them with another choice this time around.

It didn't make sense before because his performance didn't justify it. After pushing for the starting second base job this spring, he floundered in his first two weeks at Double-A, going 10 for 53 (.189) with one home run. Even when his power picked up toward the end of May, resulting in six home runs over a nine-game span, his strikeout rate still suggested he wasn't quite ready for the next level. 

But that's all changed in June. In June, he's striking out just 20.5 percent of the time, yielding a .333 (25 for 75) batting average, four home runs, three triples, five doubles and five stolen bases.

I've mentioned, though, that he's only at Double-A, which would make the next level for him Triple-A and not the majors. It's of course not unheard of for prospects, particularly those as high-end as Witt, to skip the final rung on the minor-league ladder, but seeing as he's already so far ahead of the curve as a newly minted 21-year-old, it might not make sense for a non-contender to be so aggressive with him. In fact, GM Dayton Moore has already said Mondesi's injury won't impact the team's timeline for Witt.

"J.J. Picollo will ultimately make that decision," Moore said, deferring to his assistant in charge of player development. "But Bobby is doing tremendous. You look at what he has done the last two weeks, he's figured some things out on a more consistent basis."

You can't blame Moore for slinking away from the question, but if Picollo was also the one making the call on Brady Singer and Kris Bubic last year and Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar this year, it's fair to say he's on the more aggressive side of the ledger.

Eventually, Witt will be the Royals' everyday shortstop. Mondesi is under control for only two more years, and the organization isn't in the habit of signing big-dollar free agents (presuming that's what he'll be). They're not ready to move on from Mondesi yet, but the successful integration of Witt might get them more comfortable with the idea. And as spring training already showed, the former second overall pick is capable of shifting to second base once Mondesi returns, for however long he's back.

My suspicion is that the Royals won't ask Witt to skip Triple-A, but he's on the verge of moving up and may only need a couple weeks there before his final promotion. It's why for now I'm leaving him out of my top five prospects to stash even though he'd probably be No. 6 on that list.

Five on the verge

(These are the prospects most worth stashing in redraft leagues.)

Jarred Kelenic, OF, Mariners

2019 minors: .291 BA (443 AB), 23 HR, 20 SB, .904 OPS, 50 BB, 111 K
2021 minors: .263 BA (76 AB), 5 HR, 5 SB, .818 OPS, 7 BB, 15 K

The hope was that Kelenic, who unraveled after some early bad luck in the big leagues, would quickly regain his form at Triple-A, return to the majors and finally lay waste to the league. It hasn't quite played out that way. First came an 0-for-8 start with four strikeouts. Then came a four-game stretch in which he homered three times and stole two bases, which seemed right on schedule. But since then, he's 4 for 22 (.182), which you don't need me to tell you is no good at all.

Overall, though, strikeouts haven't been a problem since his return, which is a relief given the way they were piling up in the majors. I still say he bounces back soon, but if his Triple-A numbers were what they are now, he might not have gotten called up in the first place.

Jarren Duran, OF, Red Sox

2019 minors: .303 BA (519 AB), 5 HR, 46 SB, .775 OPS, 46 BB, 128 K
2021 minors: .291 BA (134 AB), 13 HR, 7 SB, 1.015 OPS, 17 BB, 36 K

He's now my No. 2 stash after homering for the fifth time in 10 games Thursday, giving him a .386 (17 for 44) batting average and 19.6 percent strikeout rate during that stretch. He's been showing more of a line-drive approach lately after selling out for power early, but he's closing in on the minor-league lead in home runs regardless. The Red Sox's messaging lately has fixated on his approach and defense -- the same tired excuses, in other words -- but head executive Chaim Bloom has acknowledged Duran's improvements in those areas of late. Danny Santana hasn't worked as a stopgap, so Duran is still looking like the Red Sox's best hope in center field.

Vidal Brujan, 2B, Rays

2019 minors: .277 BA (383 AB), 4 HR, 48 SB, .735 OPS, 37 BB, 61 K
2021 minors: .258 BA (155 AB), 9 HR, 14 SB, .828 OPS, 21 BB, 25 K
   

Brujan moves down a peg as his numbers continue to slide, making him 18 for 90 (.200) over his past 23 games. Wander Franco ended up beating him to the majors, ending a debate that began about mid-May, and it means there's no longer a clear opening for Brujan in the majors, as beat writer Adam Berry of MLB.com recently pointed out. The Rays being the Rays, though, they could mix up their lineup a hundred different ways if they thought Brujan needed to be a part of it. He himself has played six different positions at Triple-A this year. A couple of recent home runs would suggest he's about to get back on track, too.

Jo Adell, OF, Angels

2019 minors: .289 BA (305 AB), 10 HR, 27 2B, .834 OPS, 30 BB, 94 K
2020 majors: .161 BA (124 AB), 3 HR, 4 2B, .478 OPS, 7 BB, 55 K
2021 minors: .271 BA (177 AB), 16 HR, 3 SB, .946 OPS, 9 BB, 62 K

It's the same old story for Adell. He continues to impact the ball well, but not with enough regularity to convince the Angels he can avoid the pitfalls of his big-league debut last year. And with Taylor Ward finally contributing something at the plate and Mike Trout inching ever closer to a return, the incentives to promote Adell are dwindling. It really comes down to his own performance, and so far, he hasn't been able to get that strikeout rate below 30 percent. I'm still confident he makes it back to the bigs this year, but I wouldn't say it's imminent.

Cal Raleigh, C, Mariners

2019 minors: .251 BA (455 AB), 29 HR, 25 2B, .820 OPS, 47 BB, 116 K
2021 minors: .353 BA (139 AB), 8 HR, 18 2B, 1.074 OPS, 12 BB, 20 K

Raleigh finally had his 23-game hitting streak snapped Friday, but now we can say he's hit safely in 26 of his past 27 games, batting .387 (43 for 11) with seven home runs and a 1.152 OPS during that stretch. It's not like his season full-season numbers are so far off. I'm genuinely surprised he isn't up yet given that he's a 24-year-old who has reportedly shored up whatever defensive shortcomings he had in the past, and his 12.7 percent strikeout rate shows how far he's come as a hitter as well. But 25-year-old Luis Torrens has started to hit a little better at the big-league level, perhaps buying GM Jerry Dipoto an excuse.

Five on the periphery

(These are some other prospects doing something of note)

Edward Cabrera, SP, Marlins

2019 minors: 9-4, 2.23 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 96 2/3 IP, 31 BB, 116 K
2021 minors: 0-0, 0.87 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 10 1/3 IP, 1 BB, 18 K

If you were concerned that one of 2019's most surprising breakouts would be damaged goods after contending with a nerve issue in his biceps, you can rest easy. His first three starts back have shown him to be as dominant as ever. His latest came at Double-A Pensacola, in which he struck out seven over 4 2/3 innings. He throws bullets that usually result in ground balls when a hitter does make contact, so expect him to be an xFIP darling whenever he arrives -- which could be later this year.

Reid Detmers, SP, Angels

2021 minors: 2-2, 3.34 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 35 IP, 13 BB, 60 K

The 10th overall pick in last year's draft was thought to be more of a high-floor guy, featuring a plus curveball and good command, but his performance so far at Double-A suddenly has everyone buzzing about his ceiling. Most notable was a 14-strikeout effort last time out, which was his third double digit-strikeout performance already. His fastball has been better than advertised, sitting in the mid-90s rather than low-90s, and he seems to have a pretty good slider as well. Time to get excited in dynasty leagues.

Gabriel Moreno, C, Blue Jays

2019 minors: .280 BA (307 AB), 12 HR, 17 2B, .823 OPS, 22 BB, 38 K
2021 minors: .385 BA (122 AB), 8 HR, 9 2B, 1.122 OPS, 13 BB, 22 K

Last week's Prospects Report featured four catchers, and here's another example of how star-studded the position is becoming. Moreno has been one of the top performers among all hitters in the upper minors, not just catchers, and he's only 21 years old. His hand-eye coordination gives him good contact skills, but it's his power that's really taken off this year. It turns out Alejandro Kirk may not be the Blue Jays' catcher of the future after all, particularly given how athletic Moreno is behind the plate.

Ethan Small, SP, Brewers

2019 minors: 0-2, 0.86 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 21 IP, 4 BB, 36 K
2021 minors: 2-2, 1.96 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 41 1/3 IP, 21 BB, 67 K

While Small doesn't light up the radar gun, his pairing of a rising fastball with a quality changeup has served to pile up whiffs this year -- more specifically, 51 swinging strikes over his past two starts. He has allowed just one earned run over his past four starts, striking out 40 over 24 1/3 innings, and has issued just four walks over his past three compared to 17 walks over his first five. It's a deception-over-stuff profile, which can make prospect hounds skittish, but you can't argue with the results.

Kevin Smith, SS, Blue Jays

2019 minors: .209 BA (430 AB), 19 HR, 11 SB, .666 OPS, 29 BB, 151 K
2021 minors: .275 BA (138 AB), 10 HR, 9 SB, .964 OPS, 23 BB, 39 K

Smith exceeded expectation by batting .302 with 25 homers, 29 steals and an .886 OPS in 2018, but his numbers the following year seemed to confirm that he'd be no more than a role player in the majors. Here he is, though, filling up the box score again -- and with a much better walk rate than ever before. I wouldn't say I have a ton of faith in the 24-year-old, but anytime you find a guy with power, speed and the ability to play up the middle, there's the potential for impact.