Each Friday, the Prospect Hot Sheet singles out the prospects who had the best week, weighing raw performance, prospect status, age compared to level and the environment in which they play. Bear in mind that this is not a re-ranking of our preseason Top 100 Prospects list—it’s a snapshot of top performances by prospects during the period Aug. 16-22.
Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy and Jim Shonerd
Prospect Hot Sheet Chat: Jim Shonerd will answer your Hot Sheet and prospect questions beginning at 3 p.m. ET.
1. Tyler Glasnow, rhp, Pirates
Team: low Class A West Virginia (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 9 IP, 1 H, 6 BB, 20 SO
The Scoop: The most unhittable pitcher in the minors is Glasnow, and it’s not really close. Opponents are hitting .148 against him this year, best in the minors among qualified starters. The next best, Cubs righty C.J. Edwards, holds opponents to a .175 average. Glasnow’s 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings also ranks No. 1 among all pro pitchers with at least 50 innings.
This week saw Glasnow at his most unhittable. Hickory catcher David Lyon (Rangers) doubled off him for the only hit he gave up in two starts. Just two of the 21 batters Glasnow faced on Thursday actually put the ball in play—he finished with 13 strikeouts, five walks and a hit batsmen.
West Virginia manager Michael Ryan said yesterday’s start wasn’t his most dominant, but it did show his ability to make adjustments. Glasnow loaded the bases in the first thanks to two walks, a wild pitch and a hit batter then walked two more in the second. But once he diagnosed his problems and found his command, he struck out the nine of the final 11 batters he faced.
Glasnow is finishing with a flourish He has given up either one or zero hits in four of his past five starts and has five games this year with double-digit strikeouts. Glasnow’s command still has a long way to go—he’s pitched more than five innings only twice in 23 starts—but when you consider he’s a teen, 6-foot-7 power pitcher, he’s actually right on schedule.
2. Javier Baez, ss, Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Why He’s Here: .407/.452/.852 (11-for-27), 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Now that Xander Bogaerts is in the big leagues with the Red Sox, the attention shifts to Baez, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Addison Russell when discussing the top shortstop prospects in the minors. Baez may have the loudest tools of the group, with elite bat speed, incredible power production and a plus arm that turns hits into outs when he’s not throwing balls into the stands. Baez isn’t exactly the most polished shortstop in the group, but on weeks like this one in which he collected his fourth multi-homer game of the season, he may be the most exciting.
3. Eric Jagielo, 3b, Yankees
Team: short-season Staten Island (New York-Penn)
Why He’s Here: .423/.516/1.000 (11-for-26), 3 HR, 4 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBIs, 6 R, 4 BB, 10 SO
The Scoop: Jagielo fits the profile of power-hitting third baseman—with the added bonus of being a lefthanded hitter—which attracted the Yankees to the Notre Dame alum with the 26th overall pick in this year’s draft. He promptly delivered his first pro home run in his third game with Staten Island, but he didn’t go deep again until this week, enduring a power outage that lasted more than a month. Jagielo finally broke the ice with a solo shot last Saturday, hit a walk-off homer in extra innings on Sunday and finished with a third homer on Thursday. He’s hitting .392 in August and has upped his batting line to .289/.400/.479 through 40 games.
No. 4 Parker Bridwell, rhp, Orioles
Team: low Class A Delmarva (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.20, 15 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 21 SO, 1 BB
The Scoop: A ninth-round pick out of high school in 2010, Bridwell has made the most of a third run through the South Atlantic League, fanning 138 in 133 innings and putting distance between his strikeout and walk totals in the form of a career-best 2.5 K-BB ratio. In his first start this week he made use of a live fastball and quality offspeed stuff to two-hit Lakewood over eight innings, striking out a season-high 14 and walking none.
No. 5 Justin Nicolino, lhp, Marlins
Team: Double-A Jacksonville (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 13 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 15 SO, 4 BB
The Scoop: After being battered for 21 runs in his first five Double-A starts (6.94 ERA), Nicolino settled in this week to shut out Birmingham and Chattanooga in two starts. He struck out 13 batters over six, three-hit innings his first time out against the Barons. Nicolino relies on command and lacks a carrying pitch, as evidenced by a shrinking strikeout rate that has fallen from 11.0 SO/9 in short-season ball to 8.7 in low Class A to 6.2 this season.
6. Enny Romero, lhp, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.69 ERA, 13 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 6 BB, 16 SO
The Scoop: The Rays are the gold standard in the industry when it comes to drafting and developing pitchers. Almost all of that pitching has come through the draft or trades, with little help from the international ranks, aside from Alex Colome. (Note that lefty Alex Torres came over from the Angels in the Scott Kazmir trade). That should change with Romero, who has flourished after a sluggish April. Romero is still learning to corral his fastball, which could still lead him to a bullpen role, where it’s easy to see him excelling with his power arsenal.
No. 7 Clint Frazier, cf, Indians
Team: Rookie-level Arizona League Indians
Why He’s Here: .400/.464/.800 (10-for-25), 2 HR, 4 2B, 4 RBIs, 9 R, 3 BB, 7 SO
The Scoop: The fifth overall pick in June and former Loganville (Ga.) High star, Frazier smacked six extra-base hits in six games this week, showcasing the type of power that has him positioned atop the Arizona League heap with a .531 slugging percentage. With 56 strikeouts in 40 games, he also ranks near the top of that list, but don’t hit the panic button until he gets instructional league and an offseason of work under his belt.
8. Eddie Butler, rhp, Rockies
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.60, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: Butler has brought his arsenal of wipeout pitches to three levels this season, with Double-A Texas League hitters becoming his latest victims. He’s made it look easy, having allowed only one run (for a 0.45 ERA) in four starts, an 18-2 K-BB mark and just seven hits allowed in 20 innings. With an electric fastball, a sharp slider and a firm but lively changeup, Butler has the raw stuff of a frontline starter who could help the Rockies next season.
9. Matt Olson, 1b, Athletics
Team: low Class A Beloit (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: .320/.320/.880 (8-for-25), 4 HR, 2 2B, 9 RBIs, 7 R, 0 BB, 9 SO
The Scoop: Only one player in all the minors (Twins Double-A first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez) has more home runs so far in August than Olson’s eight. Four of them came this week (in three consecutive games, no less), and he’s moved into a tie for second most in the Midwest League with 21 on the season. Olson’s power is legit, as he’s got a physical frame and leverage in his swing, but unfortunately, the homers account for about all of his production these days. He’s batting just .195 in the second half with just 14 hits in August—six of them non-homers—and he’s struck out 29 times in 75 August at-bats.
10. Patrick Kivlehan, 3b, Mariners
Team: high Class A High Desert (California)
Why He’s Here: .500/.536/.792 (12-for-24), 1 HR, 4 2B, 10 RBIs, 5 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Two years ago at this time, Kivlehan was about to begin his senior year at Rutgers—as a football player. Yes, he did all of his damage this week at notorious hitter’s havens High Desert and Lancaster, but he’s made remarkable progress for a guy who spent four years away from the sport while playing college football. Kivlehan played one season of baseball at Rutgers after football ended, won the Big East Conference triple crown, and has impressed observers this year with how quickly he makes adjustments. He struck out in 29 percent of his plate appearances in his pro debut last year, but he’s sliced that rate to 19 percent combined between two levels in 2013.
No. 11 Edwin Diaz, rhp, Mariners
Team: Rookie-level Pulaski (Appalachian)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 10 SO, 1 BB
The Scoop: A third-round pick out of Caguas (P.R.) Military Academy last year, Diaz ought to be the favorite for Appalachian League pitcher of the year honors. Not only has he allowed one or zero runs in nine of his 12 starts for Pulaski this summer, but he leads the circuit with a 1.41 ERA and 76 strikeouts while ranking second with a 0.94 WHIP. Diaz enjoyed a typically excellent week this time, lowering his ERA in August to 1.57 to go with a 23-3 K-BB ratio.
12. David Holmberg, lhp, Diamondbacks
Team: Double-A Mobile (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.50, 12 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: Holmberg is more steady than flashy, armed with poise over pure stuff. He always seems to find a way to get hitters out by throwing strikes, mixing his pitches and maintaining good health. Holmberg lacks a wipeout pitch, and his strikeout rate this season (6.8 SO/9) suggests more of a back-end starter than anything else. He’s closing in on 250 innings at the Double-A level between the 2012 and ’13 seasons, so it’s time for the Diamondbacks to challenge him at Triple-A.
13. Jake Odorizzi, rhp, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (International)
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.29, 7 IP, 4 H 1 R, 0 BB, 7 SO
The Scoop: Odorizzi’s first season as a Ray has had plenty of ups and downs. The highlights are plenty: he threw a seven-inning no-hitter for Durham and made his Rays debut in May. But he’s also demonstrated that his fastball command isn’t yet ready for the big leagues. He’s making strides in that area, as this week’s excellent start shows.
IN THE TEAM PHOTO
Keon Barnum, 1b, White Sox: This season has been a puzzling one for the 20-year-old slugger. Significant power production is going to be Barnum’s path to the big leagues, but he’s hit just five home runs in 46 games since joining low Class A Kannapolis. This week, he showed off his hitting ability instead with a .455/.500/.727 line that included six singles and three doubles.
Kyle Crick, rhp, Giants: Crick doesn’t have enough innings to qualify for the high Class A California League leaderboards thanks to an oblique injury early in the year, but his 1.91 ERA in 47 innings since he returned in June is the league’s best over that span. The 20-year-old had his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the season last Friday, fanning 10 over six innings against Inland Empire while allowing only one run on three hits.
Matt den Dekker, cf, Mets. A wrist injury sidelined the 26-year-old den Dekker for first three months of Triple-A Las Vegas’ season, but he’s enjoyed the thin mountain air this August, going 12-for-27 (.444) with a pair of homers and a triple this week to push his OPS to .970 for the month. The Mets face a 40-man roster decision on the 2010 fifth-rounder this offseason, so den Dekker may receive a September callup if he remains healthy and productive.
Maikel Franco, 3b, Phillies: Franco continues to roll through the Eastern League, hitting .281/.303/.625 with two doubles and three home runs this week. The 20-year-old’s .335 average and .552 slugging percentage would actually lead the league if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. The Phillies don’t have many—or perhaps any—brighter position-player prospects than Franco.
Max Muncy, 1b, Athletics: Reaching Double-A Midland in his first full pro year would’ve been impressive enough, but Texas League pitchers cooled off Muncy initially after he arrived in July fresh off swatting 21 homers in 93 games in the Cal League. But the 22-year-old has starting catching up to the Double-A game, hitting .313 thus far in August and .400 (8-for-20) with four doubles, a triple and a homer, plus five walks, in the last week.
Ariel Pena, rhp, Brewers: Pena has the look of a back-end starter when his command is on point, but with 5.2 BB/9 for Double-A Huntsville, that typically hasn’t been the case this season. Two of his better starts of the year came this week for the 24-year-old Pena, who might ultimately be best suited for relief work.
Mark Sappington, rhp, Angels: In a farm system light on talent, Sappington stands out for his hard, heavy fastball. He doesn’t always know where it’s going, but it’s been effective for him in three starts with Double-A Arkansas, where he has a 2.55 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings.
Courtney Hawkins, cf, White Sox: The White Sox have stuck with their decision to send Hawkins to high Class A Winston-Salem, even as the 2012 first-rounder out of high school continues to swing and miss repeatedly. The 19-year-old went 2-for-25 (.080/.179/.080) with seven strikeouts this week dropping his average to .185. Scouts who see Hawkins wonder why he’s not in Kannapolis. “He’s lost up there,” said a scout who’s seen him multiple times this year. “He doesn’t have an idea on breaking balls.”
Juan Carlos Paniagua, rhp, Cubs. His contract twice voided before he signed with the Cubs last July, Paniagua flunked out of the low Class A Midwest League in July (8.22 ERA, 12 walks in 7 2/3 innings) and hasn’t fared much better following a demotion to short-season Boise. The 23-year-old let in 15 runs in 4 2/3 innings this week, allowing 20 baserunners compared with five strikeouts. He now sports a 10.80 ERA through four appearances for the Hawks.
Nik Turley, lhp, Yankees. Turley’s quest to join Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson, a fellow 50th-round draft pick, in the majors has hit a speed bump. The 23-year-old southpaw allowed 12 runs on 11 hits (plus six walks) in two starts for Double-A Trenton this week, pushing his ERA from 3.74 to 4.12. Though Turley has missed plenty of bats this season (8.9 SO/9), he also ranks second in the Eastern League with 66 walks. He’s held Double-A lefties to a .167 average and .269 slugging percentage, though he hands out a free pass to roughly one of every five he faces (18 percent).
Vincent Velasquez, rhp, Astros: When the Astros promote a pitcher to high Class A Lancaster, it’s tough to say he’s really being rewarded. But the Astros did decide to give Velasquez, who went 9-4, 3.19 in low Class A, a late-season bump up a level. The 21-year-old got a baptism by fire in his Cal League debut this week, and the game wasn’t even in Lancaster. Pitching at Lake Elsinore on Tuesday, Velasquez didn’t make it through four innings and surrendered five runs on seven hits and three walks.
Kendry Flores, rhp, Giants: Flores pitched one of the best games we’ve seen in the minors on Wednesday for low Class A Augusta. The 21-year-old struck out 15 batters without issuing a walk over eight innings, allowing only one run against Lexington. The only pitcher in the minors this year who has struck out more batters in a start is Phillies lefthander Jesse Biddle, who whiffed 16 batters for Double-A Reading back in April. Flores’ start was no fluke, either, as he’s a legitimate prospect with a mid-90s fastball in the midst of a breakout season, which includes four double-digit strikeout games and a stellar 134-17 K-BB mark and a 2.65 ERA in 135 2/3 innings.