In our first Prospect Hot Sheet of the year, you’ll notice a few changes. This season, we will rank the Top 10 hottest prospects around the minors, add in five honorable mentions and give you something new. We’ve added five under-performing prospects in our “Not-So Hot Sheet.”
This early in the season, when averages hover around the .500 mark, more than 15 players have started off red-hot, but we’re bringing you the names that have in some way separated themselves from the pack.
And remember, this is not a rewrite of our Top 100 prospects list. This is simply a snapshot of which prospects are currently riding the biggest hot streaks.
|1. Howie Kendrick, 2b, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake)|
|Kendrick’s average (.362 for his career) has improved at every level,
and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon–22 H in
53 at-bats (.415). He’s still not drawing any walks–only one in 12
|2. Lastings Milledge, of, Mets (Triple-A Norfolk)|
|Slow starter in the
past (hit .216 last April), but not this year. After just 193 Double-A
at-bats he is raking in Triple-A while showing the best plate
discipline of his career. Hitting .386/.491/.636 with six walks and
|3. Delmon Young, of, Devil Rays (Triple-A Durham)|
.420/.480/.455 with 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts for Triple-A Durham.
The Durham Bulls Athletic Park has been particularly kind to him, as he
is hitting .529 there with five stolen bases in five attempts. Just two
extra-base hits thus far, but you have to think those will come soon,
and in bunches.
|4. Ian Stewart, 3b, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa)|
|Currently riding a
nine-game hit streak, Stewart also has improved his plate discipline
early with an 8-7 strikeout-walk ratio. The most important thing for
Stewart is he’s back to his former self and is showing no ill effects
from a wrist injury that cut his AFL season short, hitting .320 and
slugging .620 with eight doubles for a loaded Tulsa infield that also
includes Troy Tulowitzki, Matt Macri and Joe Koshansky.
|5. Matt Moses, 3b, Twins (Double-A New Britain)|
|Coming off an
unspectacular AFL season, Moses is as hot as it gets in the Eastern
League, except maybe with the glove (5 E in 10 G). “He really could be
one of those power bats that we’ve been looking for,” Twins farm
director Jim Rantz said. He certainly could be, and the power is
emerging. Moses is hiting .406/.459/.719, ranking in the Eastern
League’s top five in all three categories.
|6. Radhames Liz, rhp, Orioles (High Class A Frederick)|
|The 13 K’s and
only two balls put in play in his first start–a combined no-hitter
against Salem–was enough for him to make the list, but he went out and
was nearly as impressive in his second outing. He carries a 22-2
strikeout-walk ratio in just 10 innings.
|7. Jacoby Ellsbury, of, Red Sox (High Class A Wilmington)|
is doing it with his bat, his glove and his legs, hitting .373 with a
.407 OBP, six steals and managers in the Carolina League are already
calling him one of the best defenders they’ve ever seen.
|8. Miguel Montero, c, Diamondbacks (Double-A Tennessee)|
uninspiring finish (.250 in 108 at-bats) to his 2005 breakout season,
Montero has rediscovered his stroke in a return to Tennessee, with four
homers in 41 at-bats for the Smokies. He’s also an on-base machine,
carrying a .463 OBP.
|9. Hunter Pence, of, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi)|
nine extra base hits–including five homers–Pence has a .792 slugging
percentage, 1.200 OPS and already has driven in 14 in 48 at-bats.
|10. Gaby Sanchez, 1b/c, Marlins (Low Class A Greensboro)|
playing in his junior year at Miami has not affected the slugger one
bit. He leads the SAL in the triple crown categories with a line of
.435-7-18, while also leading the league in hits (20), slugging (.913)
and runs (13). Yet to find a home defensively, but that bat will play
anywhere right now.
|Jonathan Sanchez, lhp, Connecticut (Giants)|
|Denard Span, of, New Britain (Twins)|
|Kevin Melillo, 2b, Midland (Athletics)|
|Gio Gonzalez, lhp, Reading (Phillies)|
|Troy Patton, lhp, Salem (Astros)|
|Jon Lester, lhp, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket)|
|After a disastrous spring–19.50 ERA in six innings, with 12 hits
allowed–Lester has not gotten any better with the PawSox. In two
starts, he’s lasted just two innings each time, and opponents are
raking him at a .348 clip. Maybe Len DiNardo should get comfortable as
Boston’s No. 5 starter . . .
|Ian Desmond, ss, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg)|
|Sure, the Nats jumped him to Double-A after splitting last year at low
Class A Savannah and high Class A Potomac, but he didn’t hit at either
of his 2005 stops, and he’s not hitting now. To his credit, after
starting the season 1-for-18, he’s upped his average to .175. Still, 15
K’s in 40 at-bats makes Desmond appear overmatched in Harrisburg.
|Felipe Paulino, rhp, Astros (High Class A Salem)|
|Well, he’s pitched more innings than Lester (9 IP), but he’s been hit
harder. Over those nine innings, Paulino has allowed 10 earned
runs–including five home runs–and has a 9.64 ERA.
|Greg Golson, of, Phillies (Low Class A Lakewood)|
|He’s healthy for a change, but hasn’t done much at all with that
five-tool potential early on. Hitting .103 with an OBP of .125, Golson
has whiffed 11 times in 39 at-bats and walked once.
|Anthony Lerew, rhp, Braves (Triple-A Richmond)|
|Stuck somewhere between Lester and Paulino is Lerew, who isn’t doing
much to help his chances of earning a spot in Atlanta’s struggling big
league staff. In three starts, Lerew has allowed 19 hits (four HRs) and
14 earned runs in just 11 innings.
|J.R. House, 1b, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi)|
the Pirates currently lamenting the loss of Chris Shelton (and Henry
Owens, who has been untouchable at Double-A Binghamton for the Mets
this season), we wonder what they’re saying about their former catcher
at PNC Park. House, who left the game last season to go back to West
Virginia to try his hand at quarterback, is back–this time playing
first base and catching in the Astros system. And it’s been so far, so
good for the 26-year-old. In 50 at-bats, House is hitting
.420/.423/.640 with five doubles, a pair of homers and nine RBIs.