At this time last year, Mike Stanton was known to very few people outside of the hard-core prospect watchers (and anyone who bought the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, since he was our No. 11 Marlins prospect). But 39 home runs in low Class A will go a long way toward making sure your name is getting out there.
This year, Stanton came into the season considered as one of the top prospects in the game, and he’s done nothing but climb a little higher up the lists with his first two weeks of the season.
Remember as always, this is not a re-ranking of our
Top 100 Prospects list. Instead, it’s a snapshot of who are the hottest
prospects in baseball right now.
Contributing: Ben Badler, Kary Booher,
J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy and Jim
|No. 1 MIKE STANTON, OF||MARLINS|
Team:high Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
Why He’s Here:.524/.630/1.143 (11-for-21), 4 HR, 1 2B, 9 RBIs, 6 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop:Between its spacious sparks and sea-level altitude, the high Class A Florida State League is a place where young power hitters usually have to take their lumps and persevere. But you couldn’t tell any of that from following Mike Stanton.
The teenage slugger with light-tower power has picked right up where he left off last year, when he finished second in the minors with 39 home runs for low Class A Greensboro. The hulking 6-foot-5, 205-pound pound Stanton launched home runs in three consecutive games over the weekend, including a spectacular 5-for-5 game Sunday in which he had four RBIs and was a triple short of the cycle. Stanton added a fourth long ball Thursday night against St. Lucie.
Stanton still strikes out a bit much, but he’s learning to take his walks as well, making him all the more dangerous.
|No. 2 JASON KNAPP, RHP||PHILLIES|
Team:low Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here:0-0, 1.96, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 14 SO
The Scoop:Knapp has dominated Sally League hitters through his first three starts and turned in perhaps the most dominant start by a prospect on Tuesday against Lake County. The Phillies’ second round pick from last year, Knapp game up only one hit over seven shutout innings while fanning 14 Captains hitters. The teenager’s fastball got up to 96 mph during the outing, and he was able to keep the hitters honest with the curveball and changeup when he needed to. Through three starts, Knapp has given up only nine hits and six runs (four earned) in 18 1/3 innings, while piling up a 30-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
|No. 3 DESMOND JENNINGS, OF||RAYS|
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Why He’s Here: .500/.524/1.050 (10-for-20) 2 HR, 1 2B, 2 3B, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: BA’s Ben Badler featured Jennings in a Daily Dish on Thursday after the Rays’ impressive outfielder enjoyed a tremendous weekend in which he delivered eight hits, five RBIs, tripled twice and also homered. Oh, and he also successfully stole home. If you happen to be traveling through southern Alabama this weeked or early next week, swing by the Biscuits’ ballpark in Montgomery. They’re in the middle of a 10-game homestand that ends on Wednesday night.
|No. 4 JESUS MONTERO, C||YANKEES|
Team: high Class A Tampa (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: .500/.538/.750 (12-for-24), 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop: It’s hard to doubt Montero’s abilities when he’s up to bat. After crushing through the low Class A South Atlantic League last year, Montero hasn’t slowed down, batting .367/.436/.571 through his first 13 games in high Class A. Aside from his ability to square up balls and hit for power, Montero is also showing some patience at the plate. He’s already drawn six walks, something that took him 35 games last year to accomplish.
|No. 5 CASEY KELLY, RHP||RED SOX|
Team: low Class A Greenville (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 10 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB 8 SO
The Scoop: Kelly is a prospect as both a pitcher and a shortstop, but the Red Sox have to be thrilled with the early returns on Kelly’s pitching career. The team’s first-round pick from the 2008 draft spent last season playing shortstop and didn’t debut as a pitcher until this spring. So far, he’s yet to allow a run in this first three professional pitching outings, having thrown five shutout innings in each of them. Kelly’s command has been superb as he’s given up only 10 hits in 15 innings and issued just two walks while fanning 12. He’s also earned high marks for his composure and presence on the mound, which isn’t too surprising for someone who’s the son of a former big leaguer in Pat Kelly.
|No. 6 MAT GAMEL, 3B||BREWERS|
Triple-A Nashville (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: .346/.424/.731 (9-for-26), 3 HR, 1 2B, 12 RBIs, 5 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: It looks like Gamel will be a Hot Sheet regular for however long he stays in Triple-A. The Brewers’ hard-hitting third baseman is already up to five home runs through only 14 games and has reached base at least once in every game but one. He’s second in the PCL in both home runs and RBIs with 22. This week, Gamel homered in three consecutive games and had three games with three or more RBIs.
|No. 7 REESE HAVENS, SS||METS|
high Class A St. Lucie (Florida State)
Why He’s Here:.333/.462/.714 (7-for-21), 2 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBIs, 7 R, 5 BB, 0 SO
The Scoop:The second of two Mets’ first-round picks last year (22nd overall), Havens has been one of the FSL’s most productive hitters thus far. A lefthanded batter with a grinder mentality, he leads the league with seven extra-base hits as part of a .320/.407/.600 start as St. Lucie’s shortstop. The fact that he’s playing the field again is just as encouraging as his hitting, after he spent his time DHing with short-season Brooklyn in his debut last season. Havens lacks classic shortstop actions, though, and already has committed five miscues in 13 games.
|No. 8 LONNIE CHISENHALL, 3B||INDIANS|
high Class A Kinston (Carolina)
Why He’s Here: .345/.406/.724 (10-for-29), 2 2B, 3 HR, 3 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: With a nine-game hitting streak, Chisenhall has recorded at least one hit in 12 of his 13 games this year in his first full season. With a quiet, balanced stance at the plate, Chisenhall has the ability to hit for average, though some scouts wondered whether Chisenhall would hit for enough power to be a regular third baseman when the Indians made him their first-round pick last year. He’s had plenty of pop in his bat lately though, with a home run in each of his last three games.
|No. 9 CARLOS CARRASCO,
Team: Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 3.85, 7 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 10 SO
The Scoop: Carrasco is scheduled to pitch again Monday at home, where he’s been dominating the past two years for the Phillies’ new affiliate in Allentown, Pa. The knock on Carrasco in recent years is that he lacks that killer instinct, as we’ve reported in the Prospect Handbook. But he may be shedding that image. In 19 innings so far this season, he has struck out 20 and issued—get this—only one walk. He surrendered his first home run in his last start, that coming on Tuesday at Syracuse, where he gave up a two-run shot. It’s one of his few mistakes this season.
|No. 10 KASEY KIKER, LHP||RANGERS|
Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks
The Scoop: Kiker tends to get lost in the Rangers’ gluttony of pitching prospects, but at 21, he’s one of the youngest pitchers in the Texas League. The 5-foot-10 lefthander now has 17 strikeouts in 17 innings and a 2.65 ERA. Those are good, but he’ll have to keep his control in check after walking seven batters and plunking six others.
|No. 11 AARON POREDA, LHP||WHITE SOX|
Team: Double-A Birmingham (Southern)
Why He’s Here:1-1, 1.50, 12 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 5 BB, 13 SO
The Scoop:Poreda’s 11-strikeout effort over seven shutout innings against Jacksonville last night was enough to propel him up the list, despite a mediocre start last Friday (5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 2 SO). The 6-foot-6 lefty returned to Double-A this season in part because of his strong relationship with Barons pitching coach J.R. Perdew, who is emphasizing improvement in Poreda’s changeup and slider. The strikeouts (17 in 16 innings on the year) and groundouts (1.8 G/F, no home runs allowed) are nice, but Chicago’s ’07 first-round pick also has issued nine walks through three starts.
|No. 12 WILFREDO BOSCAN, RHP||RANGERS|
Team: low Class A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here:1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks
The Scoop:Signed in 2007 out of Venezuela, Boscan’s control and pitchability are advanced. He’s walked just three batters in 17 2/3 innings, allowing only six hits to go with 15 strikeouts, leading to a 0.51 ERA through three starts. With his advanced command, he could move quickly through the system.
|No. 13 BRANDON ERBE, RHP||ORIOLES|
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: 6 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
The Scoop: Erbe continues to show improvement in smoothing out what was once a pretty violent delivery. He struggled with his command in his first start this season, walking four in a somewhat wild three innings. But this week, he was completely dominant in his second outing. The most impressive aspect of Erbe’s year—he’s allowed only one hit in two starts, meaning his opponent average this year is .034.
Triple-A Indianapolis CF Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) is doing the things he needs to do to earn a callup. In his repeat of the International League, the 22-year-old leadoff man last week batted .391/.417/.783 (9-for-23) with two doubles, two triples, a home run and six runs scored. On the year, McCutchen is batting .322 with power, walks and a perfect 3-for-3 stolen base ledger . . . Low Class A Greenville 1B Anthony Rizzo (Red Sox) rides a seven-game hitting streak into his first appearance on Hot Sheet. In that span, the 19-year-old has batted .444/.531/.704 (12-for-27) with four doubles, a home run, seven RBIs and five runs scored. All signs point to the 2007 sixth-rounder being recovered from the bout with Hodgkins’s lymphoma that cut short his ’08 season . . . High Class A Sarasota 1B Yonder Alonso (Reds) homered in the 2009 season opener and doubled in the next game, but he then went seven games without an extra base hit. He’s made up for that this week, going .364/.423/.773 (8-for-22) with two home runs and three doubles and 11 RBIs . . .Double-A Jacksonville LF Andrew Lambo (Dodgers) hit .389 in a short eight-game stint with the Suns last year. While he’s not keeping up that pace, he has been one of the Southern League’s best hitters as a 20-year-old. He reached base in all six games going .304/.407/.652 (7-for-23) with two doubles, two home runs and a stolen base. . . Double-A Midland SS/2B Adrian Cardenas (Athletics) made three errors in four games at shortstop this week, but his hitting was electric: .440/.500/.760 with three doubles, a triple and a home run, putting him at .364/.417/.600 through 13 games this season . . . High Class A San Jose LHP Madison Bumgarner (Giants) continues to deal in the hitter-friendly California League. In his only start since we launched the 2009 Hot Sheet, Bumgarner fired five solid innings against Lancaster. He yielded five hits, one run (earned) but didn’t issue a walk while also registering five strikeouts. His line for the season through three starts is a nifty 3-0, 0.56 with 14 strikeouts, two walks and 11 hits allowed, all in 16 innings . . . Athletic low Class A Greensboro OF Isaac Galloway (Marlins) is handling his first full-season assignment with aplomb. The 19-year-old eighth-round pick from 2008 is riding a five-game hitting streak as part of a .455/.500/.591 (10-for-22) week. He’s hitting .349/.370/.465 on the year and has also stolen five bases without being caught. He’s also played error-free defense in the outfield
Wes Hodges, 3b, Indians. The good news for Hodges is that he’s only struck out eight times in 59 trips to the plate with Triple-A Columbus. The bad news is pretty much everything else for a player who needs his bat to carry him. He’s hitting .214/.237/.286 with only two walks and no home runs. This week Hodges batted .125/.160/.167, going 3-for-23 with a double and a walk.
Dayan Viciedo, 3b, White Sox. Like Hodges, Viciedo needs to have an above-average bat to make up for his below-average defense at third base. But with a 1-for-20 showing this week for Double-A Birmingham, Viciedo batted just .050/.136/.050. The 20-year-old Cuban defector is hitting .204/.231/.224, still searching for his second extra-base hit and his first home run.
Justin Jackson, ss, Blue Jays.
He works deep counts at-bat, he plays slick defense and he’s only 20
years old, but the high Class A Dunedin shortstop has gotten off to
perhaps the worst start of any minor leaguer. His performance this week
is a perfect example. Jackson went 0-for-25 with 16
strikeouts, and he leads all batters with 27 for the season. Jackson’s
only positives from the week that was: he walked twice, stole a base
and somehow managed to drive in a run.
Shooter Hunt, rhp, Twins. Hunt struggled with his control late last season after being promoted to low Class A Beloit, where he walked 27 hitters in 31 innings. However, Hunt, 22, appeared to make some progress in instructional league last fall and the Twins returned him to Beloit to start 2009. Instead, the strike zone has proven even more elusive for the 31st overall pick in last year’s draft. On the bright side, he’s allowed just eight hits in 9 2/3 innings through three starts and held opponents to a .235 average. The problem is he leads the entire minor leagues with 17 walks issued, accounting for his 0-1, 9.31 mark to start the season. In his lone start this week, Hunt handed out six walks and gave up seven runs (five earned) in 2 2/3 innings of work.
Josh Whitesell, 1b, Reno. Whitesell last season attacked his first assignment in the Pacific Coast League with zeal, batting .328/.425/.568 with a career-high 26 home runs for Tucson. The Expos’ sixth-round pick in 2003 won the league’s rookie of the year honors as a 26-year-old and received his first big league callup. The Sidewinders relocated to Reno to become the Aces for the ’09 season, but the move hasn’t affected Whitesell in the slightest. He ranks among the Triple-A leaders in walks (12), on-base percentage (.509) and slugging (.651), and his performances last week was eye-opening. Playing exclusively at Aces Ballpark, Whitesell batted .391/.563/.870 (9-for-23) with three doubles, a triple, two homers, nine walks, eight RBIs and eight runs.
Ben Davis, rhp, Reds. Yes, you read that correctly. That’s Ben Davis, righthanded pitcher. The Padres 1995 first-round pick hung up his catcher’s mitt last summer, then worked at making a comeback as a pitcher in the Atlantic League. The Reds signed him this offseason, and he’s now working on learning the trade as a pitcher, striking out one in one inning in his high Class A Sarasota debut. Davis is joined in Sarasota’s bullpen by a fellow former big league position player Jerry Gil.
|CODY SCARPETTA, RHP||BREWERS|
|Team: low Class A Wisconsin (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.50, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO
The Scoop: Scarpetta’s career has already taken some unusual turns. The Brewers snagged him in the 11th round of the 2007 draft out high school and signed him for $325,000, only to void that deal when he needed a second surgery on his right index finger. The club re-signed him for $125,000 instead, but had to add him to its 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Scarpetta finally got to make his pro debut in rookie-ball last fall and has handled his first full-season assignment well this year. He’s only allowed two earned runs in 11 2/3 innings over his first three appearances and has been piling up strikeouts (18) thanks to a heavy low to mid-90s sinker which he can back up with a 12-to-6 curveball and an improving changeup.