The Prospect Hot Sheet is not a re-ranking of
the Top 100 Prospects. This is a snapshot of which top prospects are
excelling and which ones are struggling right now. Stats cover the period Aug. 10-16.
Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Conor Glassey, Jim Shonerd and interns Andrew Krause and Clint Longenecker.
|No. 1||GERRIT COLE, RHP||PIRATES|
|Team: Double-A Altoona (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 0.79, 2 GS, 11 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 15 SO, 3 BB
The Scoop: Cole struck out a career-high nine batters against Portland on Thursday and took a no-hitter into the fifth before losing the bid on a Xander Bogaerts double. Last year’s No. 1 overall pick has found a new gear with Altoona of late, loging a 1.23 ERA over his last four starts and 22 innings, during which time he’s allowed 12 hits while brandishing a 26-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While Cole may not challenge for the minor league lead in any one category, he will rank near the top of the Florida State and Eastern league prospect lists, while being little more than half a season away from Pittsburgh in 2013.
|Gerrit Cole Player Card|
|No. 2||MIKE ZUNINO, C||MARINERS|
Team:short-season Everett (Northwest) / Double-A Jackson (Southern)
Why He’s Here: .550/.667/1.00 (11-for-20), 2 HR, 3 2B, 10 RBIs, 2 R, 7 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: Zunino destroyed the Northwest League after signing, putting up a .373/.474/.736 line over 110 at-bats. That’s to be expected considering his age, pedigree and draft status. Zunino certainly had the skills and makeup to start at a higher level, but spending a month in Everett gave him a soft landing in pro ball while providing local Mariners fans with the opportunity to see the latest addition to a budding farm system. Regardless, the Mariners were playing with borrowed time. Under the old draft rules, Zunino might have waited to sign until this week’s Aug. 15 deadline.
The Mariners promoted last June’s No. 3 overall draft pick to Double-A this week, and he continued to show off a hot bat. The promotion was no surprise, seeing as Zunino is expected to play in the Arizona Fall League this year. Getting to Double-A prior to the Aug. 15 cutoff date ensures that Seattle won’t have to use an exemption for him to be on the AFL roster. He may have to join the team a little late, however, because he’s set to be married on Oct. 6.
|Mike Zunino Player Card|
|No. 3||LEONYS MARTIN, CF||RANGERS|
Team: Triple-A Round Rock (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: .483/.500/1.034 (14-for-29), 12 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 12 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: Martin isn’t known for his power, but he went nuts in that department this week with four homers in six games, bringing his season total to 10 in 45 games. The emerging power for Martin is an an encouraging sign because some scouts have wondered whether he profiles as a fourth outfielder or an everyday player. The ability to handle the bat and a solid feel for the strike zone have always been there, while his speed and arm strength are both weapons in center field. It’s not a huge sample size, but the .362/.429/.617 line he’s posted in 212 plate appearances is a sign that he may be able to step into an everyday big league job next year if the Rangers need him to do so.
|Leonys Martin Player Card|
|No. 4||JASON ADAM, RHP||ROYALS|
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 13 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO
The Scoop: Taken in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, Adam was lauded for a mid-90s fastball and sharp breaking ball, but the grind of pitching every fifth day last season took its toll as the righthander. His fastball now sits in the low 90s more often than the mid-90s he showed in his first instructional league, but he still has more than enough stuff to thrive. Adam has still struggled to find consistency this season, but the 20-year-old has more than held his own during his first taste of high Class A. After a bumpy stretch during May and June (0-7, 4.80), Adam has seemingly turned the corner over the past month and half (4-2, 2.98), and his 13 scoreless innings this past week helped lower his season ERA to 3.64.
|Jason Adam Player Card|
|No. 5||JOC PEDERSON, CF||DODGERS|
Team:high Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California)
Why He’s Here: .458/.500/.958 (11-for-24), 4 HR, 8 R, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 2-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Pederson doesn’t project to have the loudest tools you’ll find, but his polish and grinding approach can’t help but win over those who watch him. An 11th-round pick in 2010 who signed for an above-slot $600,000, Pederson made the jump straight from spending last year in the Rookie-level Pioneer League to high Class A this year. After holding his own in the first half, he’s been one of the Cal League’s most dangerous hitters over the last month-and-a-half. He’s hitting .347/.444/.659 with 13 homers since July 1, posting the Cal League’s second highest OPS (1.103) over that span.
|Joc Pederson Player Card|
|No. 6||CHRISTIAN YELICH, CF||MARLINS|
Team: high Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: .478/.571/.609 (11-for-23) 5 R, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 3 SO, 2 SB
The Scoop: With six multi-hit games this week, Yelich’s torrid second-half hitting (.369/.443/.540) continued, pushing his average to .327, second in the Florida State League. With a smooth lefthanded stroke and wiry strength from his 6-foot-4 frame, Yelich has hit 26 doubles and 12 home runs to lead the FSL with a .531 slugging percentage in one of the toughest hitter’s parks in the minors. As Yelich’s frame fills, scouts anticipate he could hit 20-25 home runs. The 20-year-old’s hitting has been undeterred by a pair of disabled-list stints this season, one for a mid-season concussion and the other for an April elbow injury.
|Christian Yelich Player
|No. 7||ALBERT ALMORA, CF||CUBS|
Team: Short-season Boise (Northwest) / Rookie-level Arizona League
Why He’s Here: .536/.516/.786 (15-for-28), 8 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Almora spent his first three weeks in the Arizona League, where the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft came as advertised. Upon his promotion to the Northwest League, Almora homered in his first game with Boise on Wednesday. It’s been an auspicious debut for Almora, who has hit .353/.367/.518 in 20 games between the two levels. If there is such thing as a stacked short-season lineup, it has to be Boise, where the Hawks now have Almora, first baseman Dan Vogelbach, third baseman Jeimer Candelario and second baseman Gioskar Amaya. The best of the group, though, is Almora, whose feel for hitting is beyond his years.
|Albert Almora Player Card|
|No. 8||CODY ASCHE, 3B||PHILLIES|
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .483/.516/.690 (14-for-29), 6 2B, 6 R, 10 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: While some first-rounders from the 2011 draft struggle to hit their way out of high Class A, fourth-rounder Asche hit .349 with power in the Florida State League to earn a bump to Double-A on June 23. The former Nebraska Cornhusker has continued to hit with authority for Reading—he’s batting .278/.333/.454 with six homers through 194 at-bats—though scouts wonder if he’ll develop the power to profile as a hot-corner regular. A sweet-swinging lefty, Asche hits different pitch types and will force his way to the big leagues on the strength of his feel for hitting, position TBD.
|Cody Asche Player Card|
|No. 9||KYLE PARKER, RF||ROCKIES|
Team: high Class A Modesto (California)
Why He’s Here: .318/.464/1.000 (7-for-22), 5 HR, 7 RBIs, 8 R, 6 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: Impressed by the above-average raw power that Parker flashed throughout his college career, the Rockies selected the two-sport star with the 26th pick in the 2010 draft. Parker hit well enough in the South Atlantic League last year (.285/.367/.483), but scouts questioned his approach after witnessing whiffs in 26 percent of his plate appearances. This season Parker has bounced back from a hand injury that forced him to miss over a month and displayed an improved approach at the plate, but many wondered why his power had been conspicuously absent in the California League. Parker has subsequently quelled any concerns. Since July 1, he has hit 11 homers in 166 at-bats, including five in his last 14, to raise his season line to .315/.422/.554.
|Kyle Parker Player Card|
|No. 10||WILY PERALTA, RHP||BREWERS|
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.29, 2 GS, 14 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 5 BB, 13 SO
The Scoop: A disappointing first half left the enigmatic Peralta with a 5.10 ERA, a walk rate of 5 per nine innings and an ugly 1.6 K-BB ratio at the all-star break. After some midseason mechanical fine-tuning, Peralta has a 3.98 ERA, 11 strikeouts per nine and a 2.7 K-BB ratio in seven second-half starts. With the second highest walk rate in the league (4.6 BB/9), Peralta still needs to improve his control, which scouts earlier in his career thought would make him a reliever. But if the 6-foot-2, 240-pound righthander can build on two good starts this week, then his low-to-mid 90s fastball; sharp, low-80s slider and changeup give him a chance to be an impact starter.
|Wily Peralta Player Card|
|No. 11||JULIO TEHERAN, RHP||BRAVES|
Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.13, 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 9 SO, 0 BB, 1 HBP
The Scoop: One year after nearly winning the International League ERA title as a 20-year-old, Teheran has had perhaps the most forgettable season by a top prospect. He’s averaging about one good start per month, and his ERA for Gwinnett has effectively doubled from 2.55 last year to 5.05 this time. Thanks in part to a new slider, the good Teheran showed up Tuesday in Norfolk, and he held the Tides to one run in eight innings, throwing 103 pitches and allowing just six baserunners. With as many as three starts remaining this season, he still has a chance to end the year on a high note if he continues to pitch well.
|Julio Teheran Player Card|
|No. 12||LEON LANDRY, CF||MARINERS|
Team: high Class A High Desert (California)
Why He’s Here: .500/.519/.958 (12-for-24), 1 HR, 4 2B, 2 3B, 6 R, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Landry saw a 19-game hitting streak come to an end Thursday, but that can’t put a damper on what’s been an outstanding bounceback year for the 2010 third-round pick. After struggling through low Class A in 2011, he’s the Cal League’s leading hitter with a .347/.376/.599 line in 406 at-bats. (A deadline deal from the Dodgers to the Mariners for Brandon League might have fueled his fires.) Scouts do have concerns about Landry’s swing, however, and he’ll have to prove he can produce outside of the hitter-friendly environs of the Cal League.
|Leon Landry Player Card|
|No. 13||OSWALDO ARCIA, RF||TWINS|
Team: Double-A New Britain (Eastern)
The Scoop: An elbow injury ruined Arcia’s 2011 season, but that appears to only be a momentary setback in what’s been an rapid rise through the minors. Arcia now carries career averages of .315/.371/.533. It’s pretty impressive when you consider that he’s never been old for a league he’s played in. Josh Willingham has hit 30 home runs this year, but no one else in the Twins’ outfield has more than three. Arcia could bring some much needed power to Minnesota in the not-to-distant future.
|Oswaldo Arcia Player Card|
After going homerless in July, Marlins RF Marcell Ozuna has gone deep five times so far in August to surge back into a tie for the league lead with 21 in the high Class A Florida State League. The 21-year-old homered twice this week, part of a .407/.429/.704 (11-for-27) showing, with two doubles and nine RBIs mixed in . . . After a slow start in April, Phillies RHP Jon Pettibone rebounded with three straight solid months to go 9-7, 3.30 in 19 Double-A starts. He has flourished in four starts following a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in late July, and this past week Pettibone allowed just one earned run over his 14 innings of work to lower his August ERA to 1.80 . . . Keeping your Almontes straight in the Yankees organization is a tough task. After all, both Abe and Zoilo are switch-hitting, 23-year-old Dominicans who play for Double-A Trenton. While Abe is a speedy center fielder, Zoilo Almonte plays right field and has pop in his bat. He hit .400/.444/.920 this week with three home runs, giving him 20 for the season . . . Command-and-control Giants RHP Chris Heston took a no-hitter into the eighth inning for Double-A Richmond in a start on Monday. He tied a season high with 11 strikeouts while allowing one hit and three walks over 7 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old Heston leads the Eastern League with a 2.20 ERA . . . White Sox RHP Erik Johnson has had a quiet but productive year between low Class A Kannapolis and high Class A Winston-Salem. This week the 22-year-old threw seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts and no walks, lowering his ERA to 2.03 in 75 innings . . . Rays RHP Parker Markel went 1-0, 1.38 with 11 strikeouts and two walks in 13 innings this week for low Class A Bowling Green. The 21-year-old dropped his ERA to 4.11 through 21 starts this year . . . Astros RHP Nick Tropeano dominated the South Atlantic League in the first half, and though his ERA stood at 3.76 through nine starts for high Class A Lancaster, that actually places him a full run below the California League average. The 21-year-old Tropeano delivered two of his best starts of the season, striking out 11 against one walk and two earned runs in 13 innings, including a home start against High Desert, the highest scoring team in the league in one of the most offensive parks in the minors.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
• Casey Kelly, rhp, Padres. Remember when Kelly ranked as the top pitching prospect in his organization—despite a rather ordinary performance track record—for three years running? Remember when Kelly came out firing with Triple-A Tucson this season, striking out 14 in his first 12 innings, seemingly fulfilling his promise? Remember when Kelly injured his elbow prior to start No. 3, suffered a setback and proceeded to miss more than three months? Well, don’t look now but Kelly’s back on the mound with Double-A San Antonio, still brandishing swing-and-miss stuff. Through two starts for the Missions his ERA stands at 2.70 and he’s racked up 11 whiffs against two walks and six hits allowed in 10 innings.
• Juan Carlos Sulbaran, rhp, Royals: Jonathan Broxton’s last couple outings for the Reds haven’t gone well, but that’s nothing compared with what happened to one of the prospects the Reds gave up to get him from the Royals. In his third start as a Royal with Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Thursday, Sulbaran, 22, had the roughest outing of his career, allowing 11 runs (all earned) in three innings. He gave up nine hits, including three home runs. That was his second outing of the week, but his first wasn’t any more smooth, as he allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits in four innings.
• Cam Bedrosian, rhp, Angels: Bedrosian’s 2012 season is a reminder that Tommy John surgery involves more than just putting one’s career on hold for a year. It’s been a rough return from the surgery for the Angels’ 2010 first-round pick. Since his return he’s battled a strike zone that seems to jump around on him while finding that he doesn’t yet get the consistent velocity he had before the surgery. This week was especially tough for the 19-year-old—he went 0-2, 12.46 with 16 hits allowed in 8 2/3 innings.
• Sean Buckley, 1b, Reds: Everything has been tougher for Buckley, 22, in his second pro season. Projected as an outfielder/third baseman out of junior college, he’s now playing first base. At the plate, he’s found the Midwest League to be much tougher than the Pioneer League. Buckley’s strikeout rate is up, his power is down and he appears to have run out of gas in his first full season. Buckley is hitting .130/.216/.174 for low Class A Dayton in August with two extra-base hits.
• Darin Ruf, 1b, Phillies. If nothing else, the Phillies have received extreme organization value from Ruf, a 20th-round pick from Creighton in 2009. The 26-year-old leads the Double-A Eastern League with 29 homers this season while batting a robust .312/.402/.591 through 423 at-bats. Scouts don’t expect Ruf’s joyride to continue all the way to the big leagues, however, not given his age, his uppercut swing or his tendency to cheat to get the drop on fastballs. This season the righty-hitting Ruf has inflicted a disproportionate amount of damage on lefty pitchers—against whom he’s batting .375/.470/.772 with 15 homers in 136 at-bats—suggesting a best-case scenario as inexpensive platoon power source.
• Todd Glaesmann, cf, Rays. Tampa Bay signed Glaesmann for $930,000 out of the 2009 draft’s third round, but after hitting just four homers and putting up a .629 OPS for low Class A Bowling Green during an injury-plagued 2011, he lost his place on the organization’s Top 30 Prospects list. That appears to have been a temporary blip for the 21-year-old Glaesmann, who ought to roar back up the prospect charts after batting .281/.338/.469 with 13 homers in 352 at-bats for Bowling Green this season. He continued hitting following a promotion to high Class A Charlotte, going 23-for-77 (.299) with 13 extra-base hits through 21 games. Despite long levers and a 6-foot-4 frame, Glaesmann is quick enough to the ball to project as at least an average hitter, but it’s his range and running speed—both plusses—that will buy time for his bat to fully develop.