Prospect Hot Sheet: Aug. 27

You may have noticed that the Prospect Hot
Sheet looks a little different this year. The content is the same, but
we’ve partnered with Bowman Baseball to present Hot Sheet. So in
addition to getting the skinny on which prospects are doing the
most to help their stock, you can also get a glimpse at the baseball
cards of some of baseball’s best prospects.

As we
have warned for years now, remember that this 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 from Aug. 20 through last night, Aug. 26.

Contributing: Matt Eddy, Conor Glassey and Jim Shonerd.

No. 1 JAKE ODORIZZI, RHP

BREWERS

Team: low Class A Wisconsin (Midwest)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 8 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Some observers thought Odorizzi was the best high school pitcher in the 2008 draft, and he netted a $1.06 million bonus as the Brewers’ supplemental first round pick (32nd overall). He hadn’t gotten that much exposure though, pitching his prep ball in Illinois, and the Brewers kept him in Rookie ball the last two seasons. But he’s getting his name out there now.

This has already been a breakout season for Odorizzi. He’s 7-3, 3.34 and ranks second in the Midwest League with a rate of 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Then he went out and put an exclamation point on his year Tuesday night. The teenager dazzled Cedar Rapids, tossing eight no-hit innings against a team that had touched him up for six runs in 4 1/3 innings in his previous start. He showed all four of his pitches, highlighted by a low-90s fastball and plus curveball, giving a glimpse of why the Brewers invested so heavily in him.

2010
Stats
No. 2 JASON KNAPP, RHP

INDIANS

Team: low Class A Lake County (Midwest)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: The Indians had to wait a little while to really see what they’ve got in Knapp, part of the package they received last year from the Phillies for Cliff Lee. He made just four appearances last year after the trade before being shut down and eventually needing shoulder surgery. Knapp got back on the mound in July and tore through the Rookie-level Arizona League, overpowering hitters with a fastball that can reach 98 mph and a dominant curveball. He kept on rolling after moving up to Lake County last week. He threw four hitless innings in his first start last Friday then five more shutout frames Wednesday.

2010
Stats
No. 3 FREDDIE FREEMAN, 1B

BRAVES

Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .593/.636/.963 (16-for-27), 2 HR, 4 2B, 11 RBIs, 12 R, 4 BB, 3 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Freeman’s statline would’ve been good enough for the No. 1 spot just about any other week. After needing a couple months to catch up to Triple-A, Freeman has been one of the IL’s toughest outs. He hit a modest .259/.307/.451 through the end of May but has been raking at a .362/.426/.582 clip in 282 at-bats since. Freeman’s average has climbed to .324 for the year, good for second in the IL, while he leads the league in hits (144), ranks second in doubles (35), third in slugging (.534) and fifth in on-base percentage (.384). Freeman put together five straight multi-hit games this week, capped off by his 5-for-5 performance Thursday against Durham.

2010
Stats
No. 4 MICHAEL CHOICE, OF

ATHLETICS

Team: short-season Vancouver (Northwest)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .346/.419/.962 (9-for-26), 4 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B, 17 RBIs, 9 R, 4 BB, 13 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Choice is picking up right where he left off. After hitting .383/.568/.704 his junior year at Texas-Arlington, the 10th overall pick is off to a .282/.387/.654 start over his first 78 professional at-bats. Choice is showing off his power-speed combination by consistently hitting the ball hard and collecting six stolen bases in his first 18 games with Vancouver (after seven-game tune up in the Rookie-level AZL). But he also has struck out 30 times over that span—though it’s a small sample size.

2010
Stats
No. 5 JOHN LAMB, LHP

ROYALS

Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Texas)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 6 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 3/11 G/F

The Scoop: Lamb relished stepping out from the Naturals’ launching pad to take the mound in Springfield. The proof: he tossed 6 1/3 hitless, shutout innings at the Cardinals, striking out five and walking three. Northwest Arkansas’ Rowdy Hardy relieved and allowed three hits, nullifying the no-hit bid, but for Lamb it was a welcome change in course from the Texas League drubbing he had endured. In his first four Double-A starts, Lamb went 0-1, 7.94 with 29 hits and eight walks allowed—a 2.18 WHIP.

2010
Stats
No. 6 NICK FRANKLIN, SS

MARINERS

Team: low Class A Clinton (Midwest)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .462/.588/.808 (12-for-26), 2 HR, 3 2B, 7 RBIs, 6 R, 7 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB

The Scoop: Hitting .287/.356/.498 over his first full season in the Midwest League is nothing to sneeze at. Franklin was the first minor leaguer to pile up 20 homers, 20 doubles and 20 steals this year. He’s been working deeper into counts in August, and he has drawn more walks so far this month than he has in any other month of the season. But, he’s also struck out 31 times so far this month—also the high-water mark for his season. Despite Franklin’s impressive first full season, there are two things to keep an eye on as he progresses, and the strikeouts are one of them. Over 118 games and 470 at-bats, Franklin has 110 strikeouts. The switch-hitter is also hitting just .186/.238/.297 from the right side of the plate.

2010
Stats
No. 7 MATT MOORE, LHP

RAYS

Team: high Class A Charlotte (Florida State)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Moore’s stats are just fun to play with. With 197 strikeouts, he stands as one of the most prolific whiff machine in recent FSL history. In the past 40 years, only Michael Cosgrove struck out more—and he had a whopping 231 in 1971. Naturally, Moore leads the minors in strikeouts and is 12th with a .212 opponent average, but he doesn’t seem to be wearing down. If anything he’s gotten better as his command has improved. Before the all-star break, Moore went 1-7, 6.08 with 78 strikeouts and 37 walks over 61 innings. After the break, he’s gone 4-4, 1.50 with 119 strikeouts and 24 walks over 78 innings.

2010
Stats
No. 8 GARRETT RICHARDS, RHP

ANGELS

Team: high Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 10 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 11 SO, 11/9 G/F

The Scoop: A supplemental first-rounder out of college in 2009, Richards left the low Class A Midwest League ranked among its leaders in opponent average (.229) and baserunners per nine innings (10.7). With the exception of a thin air-aided elevated home run rate, he’s kept his ratios intact with the move to the Cal League. After consecutive rocky starts in early August—nine innings, 14 hits, 11 runs on three homers—Richards righted the ship with his fine outings this week.

2010
Stats
No. 9 ERIC HOSMER, 1B

ROYALS

Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Texas)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .385/.407/.769 (10-for-26), 2 HR, 2 2B, 1 3B, 7 RBIs, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: The hitting continues unabated for Hosmer, one of the minors’ top performers this season. Take a minute to savor his batting line—.341/.408/.572 through 484 at-bats, with 18 homers, 40 doubles, nine triples, 14 steals in 15 attempts and a 55-to-59 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Hosmer ranks seventh in the minor league batting race and third with 165 hits. Like every batter this season, he derives an advantage from hitting in Northwest Arkansas, where Hosmer has hit more home runs (eight to three) and has a higher slugging percentage (.716 to .553).

2010
Stats
No. 10 RANDAL GRICHUK, RF

ANGELS

Team: low Class A Cedar Rapids (Midwest)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .476/.500/.667 (10-for-21), 4 2B, 4 RBIs, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Grichuk started the year cold, just like the temperatures in the Midwest League, batting .229/.280/.431 in 109 at-bats in April and May. To make things worse, he did so against the backdrop of the incendiary start by Mike Trout, his Kernels teammate and fellow ’09 first-round pick. But now that summer has arrived, Trout has moved on to the California League and old wounds have healed, Grichuk looks like the masher he was last year in Rookie ball. In 76 at-bats since his return form the disabled list, he has hit .342/.367/.632 with two home runs, 10 doubles and three triples. Strikeouts remain an issue, however. In the second half, Grichuk sports a 3-to-19 walk-to-strikeout mark, with whiffs in a quarter of his at-bats.

2010
Stats
No. 11 ANDY OLIVER, LHP

TIGERS

Team: Triple-A Toledo (International)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.35, 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: While his stint in the big leagues was a little rough, Oliver has been great this season in the minors. After being drafted just last year, Oliver zipped through the minor leagues this season for the Tigers and could be back in the big leagues later this season or next. This week’s start was Oliver’s second double-digit strikeout performance of the season. He’s been terrific all August for the Mud Hens, going 1-3, 2.81 with 30 strikeouts and 14 walks over 32 innings.

2010
Stats
No. 12 NOLAN ARENADO, 3B

ROCKIES

Team: low Class A Asheville (South Atlantic)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .409/.440/.773 (9-for-22), 1 HR, 5 2B, 2 RBIs, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: After being selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, Arenado is putting together a very nice first full professional season. After slumping in July (.212/.235/.384), Arenado’s hot week is just part of his hot August. This month, he’s hitting .367/.398/.644 as part of his .294/.328/.498 overall numbers this year.

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2010
Stats
No. 13 RUDY OWENS, LHP

PIRATES

Team:  Double-A Altoona (Eastern)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 1.64, 11 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: Owens went from being an unheralded draft-and-follow to being the best pitcher in the low Class A South Atlantic League last year, when he went 10-1, 1.70. But there were reasons for skepticism about his ability to handle advanced competition, as his fastball sits around 87-90 mph. But he’s got pinpoint command and a plus changeup, and hasn’t slowed down this year against Double-A hitters. Owens has held his opponents to two runs or less in seven straight starts, while his 2.56 ERA in 144 innings ranks second in the EL and his 123 strikeouts stand fourth.

2010
Stats

IN THE TEAM PHOTO

Astros SS Jiovanni Mier hasn’t put together the season many were expecting, but he had a fantastic week last week, hitting .440/.517/.600 with four doubles for low Class A Lexington . . . Yankees RHP Adam Warren has pitched his way up to Double-A after being a fourth-rounder out of North Carolina last year. While this week wasn’t quite as impressive as his 15-strikeout performance last week that earned him top billing on this list, he gave up just one run on one hit over six innings this week, while walking one and striking out six . . . Red Sox 1B Lars Anderson‘s prospect stock has taken some hits over the last couple seasons, but the 22-year-old’s bat has started showing life in the latter stages of this season with Triple-A Pawtucket. Anderson is hitting .299/.367/.467 since the start of July and put up a .387/.412/.677 (12-for-31) line this week with a homer, four doubles and a triple . . . Astros RHP Tanner Bushue has had his ups and downs in his first full season. But the 2009 second-round pick looks like he’s finishing strong for low Class A Lexington. Bushue, 19, has held opponents to two runs or less in six of his last seven starts and threw six shutout innings against Augusta on Sunday, allowing three hits, walking two and striking out four . . . After a disappointing 2008 season which he entered as the Nationals’ No. 1 prospect, 1B Chris Marrero built some momentum in 2009, reaching Double-A Harrisburg by the end of the year, and has kept it up after returning there this year. Marrero, 22, ranks 10th in the EL with a .295 average and had five multi-hit games this week, finishing with a line of .464/.483/.714 (13-for-28) with two homers and a double . . . Double-A Montgomery LHP Alex Torres joined the Rays organization a year ago in the Scott Kazmir trade with the Angels. He’s mixed good (3.44 ERA, 1.66 ground-to-fly out ratio, 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings to rank third in Southern League) with bad (his 67 walks rank second in the SL). The 22-year-old Torres dominated Huntsville for six innings this week, striking out seven, walking four and allowing just two hits . . . Double-A Akron 3B Lonnie Chisenhall has come on strong in the second half, helping to obscure a so-so spring. The Indians ’08 first-rounder belted two homers and three doubles last week (.704 slugging) as part of a 10-for-27 (.370) tear that pushed his second-half batting line to .299/.349/.545 through 154 at-bats. The 21-year-old Chisenhall has hit nine homers—or one more than he hit in more than 100 additional at-bats in the first half.

NOT-SO HOT
SHEET

Michael Pineda, rhp, Mariners: Pineda has been dynamite most of the season, but last week didn’t go his way. Over 3 1/3 innings versus Portland, Pineda gave up 6 runs (all earned) on eight hits while walking one and striking out five. It was his fifth start in August—a month where he’s 0-2, 7.25. But, there is a silver lining, and it’s that he also has 30 strikeouts and seven walks over 22 innings this month.

J.P. Arencibia, c, Blue Jays: Not even an extended home stand in Triple-A Las Vegas this week could prop up Arencibia’s August production. The 24-year-old went 2-for-20 (.100) with a double, three walks and six strikeouts. In nine August games, he’s hitting .188/.325/.375 but with atypical patience (seven walks, 10 whiffs) and lack of power (four extra-base hits)..

Anthony Rizzo, 1b, Red Sox: The back-and-forth race between Rizzo and Lars Anderson towards the first base job in Boston has yet to see either assert himself much at higher levels. Anderson had the edge at least for this week. It’s not that Rizzo, 21, has been bad with Double-A Portland, as he’s hitting .263/.326/.479 in 376 at-bats since arriving there in May. But he’s slumping towards the finish line, batting .125/.250/.167 (3-for-24) with one double, four walks and six strikeouts this week.

Wil Myers, c, Royals: Like Pineda, Myers’ season has been spectacular and he’s a strong candidate for Minor League Player of the Year, but last week didn’t go his way. He hit .195/.192/.250 with seven strikeouts between our two most recent Hot Sheets.

Minors | #2010 #Prospect Hot Sheet

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