This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from April 21-27. Remember, this feature simply recognizes what the hottest prospects in the minors did in the past week—it’s not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects. Number in parentheses indicates player age.
1. Tyler Mahle, rhp, Reds (22)
Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Mahle, who pitched a no-hitter at high Class A last June, needed just 88 pitches on April 22 to throw just the second perfect game in Southern League history. The amazing part was he didn’t have his best stuff, with just an average slider. He followed that up with six more shutout innings Thursday against Biloxi. Mahle can dominate Double-A batters with a well-located fastball that can touch 97 mph. The 2013 prep seventh-rounder has recorded 34 strikeouts with six walks this season in an SL-leading 32.2 innings.
2. Domenic Mazza, lhp, Giants (22)
Low Class A Augusta (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 27 up, 27 down
As a 22-year-old repeating low Class A, Mazza could be expected to dominate, but he struggled initially. He turned that around on April 25, when the 2015 22nd-round pick from UC Santa Barbara pitched a perfect game against Lexington. Mazza is not overpowering with a fastball that sits 86-88 mph, but his secondary pitches keep hitters off balance.
3. Merandy Gonzalez, rhp, Mets (21)
Low Class A Columbia (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 14.2 scoreless IP, 12 SO
Gonzalez has not allowed a run in 28.1 innings while allowing just 15 hits and three walks while striking out 23. Consistent command was an issue entering the season, but his two walks Wednesday were his first since his initial start on April 9. Gonzalez can touch 97 mph and spins an above-average curveball.
4. Luis Urias, ss, Padres (19)
Double-A San Antonio (Texas)
Why He’s Here: 10-for-24, 4 XBH
The Padres have long been enamored of Urias’ precocious bat control, but they wanted him to add strength. Consider it done. Urias, who doesn’t turn 20 until June 3, already has 11 extra-base hits this season, including two doubles and two triples this week.
5. Amed Rosario, ss, Mets (21)
Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: 11-for-24, 2 XBH
Rosario showed some extra-base pop for the first time this week and played third base for the first time in his career, sparking speculation about a big league callup. The slumping Mets, who have Yoenis Cespedes and others on the disabled list, could use his energy.
6. Jon Duplantier, rhp, Diamondbacks (22)
Low Class A Kane County (Midwest)
The former Rice ace was limited to one inning as a pro in 2016 because of an elbow issue. Duplantier has a strong, athletic body, a plus fastball and a slider that flashes filthy. The command of that plus stuff—he walked 4.5 per nine at Rice but has been better (2.6) as a pro—will determine whether or not he reaches his mid-rotation ceiling.
7. Ryan O’Hearn, 1b, Royals (23)
Triple-A Omaha (Pacific Coast)
A slow start for O’Hearn was erased by a blitz of hits, including seven multi-hit games in eight contests. With Eric Hosmer a free agent after 2017, the Sam Houston State slugger is vying for a future role in Kansas City.
8. Franklin Barreto, ss, Athletics (21)
Triple-A Nashville (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: 8-for-21, 2 HR
Barreto excelled in big league camp and almost forced his way to Oakland. Even with Marcus Semien’s wrist injury, A’s general manager David Forst said Barreto isn’t currently in consideration for a callup, but it should just be a matter of (service) time before he is.
9. Jesus Sanchez, of, Rays (19)
Low Class A Bowling Green (Midwest)
The Rays’ tooled-up teen prospect has turned around his season. He had five multi-hit games in the past six, and that includes Wednesday when he clubbed two homers and drove in four runs. Sanchez projects to have plus power and shows excellent zone awareness.
10. Jorge Alfaro, c, Phillies (23)
Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)
Alfaro had a couple of three-hit games this week, sparking questions from reporters to big league manager Pete Mackanin about a possible callup. With Cameron Rupp struggling, Alfaro could force the Phillies’ hand if he continues to rake while showing improvement behind the plate.
11. Cody Reed, lhp, Diamondbacks (20)
Low Class A Kane County (Midwest)
Reed had a rough time at high Class A, but he has aced low Class A. He is 1-0, 1.35 with 27 strikeouts and four walks after going 0-5, 6.06 in the California League at the end of 2016. Reed is not overpowering but combines deception with pitch precision.
12. Mark Zagunis, of, Cubs (24)
Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast)
Zagunis has had a season in a week, with most of his 2017 damage done in the past seven days. He evokes Kevin Youkilis to Cubs officials for his plate discipline (15 walks, 16 strikeouts so far) and has developing power.
13. Kyle Funkhouser, rhp, Tigers (23)
Low Class A West Michigan (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: 6 IP, 0 ER, 9 SO
The former Louisville ace saw his velocity wane and his command elude him at times in his last two college seasons, but since he turned pro he’s regained the heat and precision. Funkhouser touched 97 mph in his most recent start and is pounding the zone. He has 29 strikeouts and six walks in just 17.2 innings.
14. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3b Blue Jays (19)
Low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: 10-for-24, 4 XBH
Guerrero is the Blue Jays’ top prospect, so he’s not sneaking up on anyone, but his power, specifically to the opposite field, has been a welcome addition to his arsenal. Oh, and he’s also the second-youngest player in the minors.
15. Luiz Gohara, lhp, Braves (19)
High Class A Florida (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: 12 IP, 14 SO, 2 BB
Much like Alex Jackson—another former Mariners prosepct—Gohara is thriving with the Braves. His fastball has touched 99 mph, he’s commanding his pitches and he’s walked just five in 26 innings with 27 strikeouts. He has front-end starter potential.
16. Adonis Medina, rhp, Phillies (20)
Low Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 11 IP, 2 BB, 16 SO
Medina followed up a 10-strikeout gem on April 21 with six more whiffs Thursday. The 6-foot-1 Dominican is 0-2, 1.71, using a mid-90s fastball with explosive late life, a sharp-breaking curveball and high-80s changeup to neutralize hitters.
17. Josh Naylor, 1b, Padres (19)
High Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Much of what was written about Naylor in 2016 concerned his knife “incident” with former Marlins teammate Stone Garrett. He’s changing that narrative with his performance so far. He blasted his fourth homer already on Thursday, flashing the power that enthralled scouts during batting practice at the 2016 Futures Game.
18. Joe Rizzo, 3b, Mariners (19)
Low Class A Clinton (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: 8-for-20, 2 2B
The 2016 second-rounder out of a Virginia high school hit the ground running after getting out of extended spring training. Rizzo was expected to start the year in short-season ball, but he’s holding his own in the Midwest League.
19. Beau Burrows, rhp, Tigers (20)
High Class A Lakeland (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: 12.1 IP, 14 SO
Burrows moved up in class and has more than kept up. His strikeout percentage is up sharply and he has cut his strikeout-to-walk ratio dramatically.
20. Braden Bishop, of, Mariners (23)
High Class A Modesto (California)
Why He’s Here: 11-for-29, HR
A premium athlete who struggled to make hard contact in 2016, Bishop has taken dramatic strides in that area. Since April 20, he has five multi-hit games and he’s also displaying outstanding strike-zone discipline.
Seranthony Dominguez, rhp, Phillies. Dominguez, who ranked just outside the Phillies’ Top 30 Prospects this offseason, is doing everything in his power to change that. Signed back in 2011, Dominguez finally reached full-season ball in 2016 and outside of command issues, excelled. He’s raised his game this season at high Class A Clearwater. On a staff that includes Franklyn Kilome and Albert Tirado, Dominguez has outshined both. Dominguez has a solid three-pitch mix and a fastball at 92-96 that commands well to both sides.