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 July 27-Aug. 2.
Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Jim Shonerd and interns Andrew Krause, Clint Longenecker and Pat Hickey.
|No. 1||WIL MYERS, RF||ROYALS|
|Team: Triple-A Omaha (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: .321/.394/.750 (9-for-28), 5 R, 4 HR, 13 RBIs, 4 BB, 10 SO
The Scoop: After he bounced around the country to participate in the Futures Game and the Triple-A all-star game, Myers hit the first slump of his outstanding 2012 season. In one 14-game stretch Myers hit only one home run and went 3-for-30. He’s safely put that slump behind him with a stretch in which he hit four homers in four days. Myers’ 33 home runs lead the minors by four over long-time minor league slugger Mike Hessman. With Jeff Francoeur and his .238/.275/.366 batting line now planted on the Royals bench, Kansas City would seem to have a spot for Myers to come up. But for now, he’s still in Omaha while the Royals play Jarrod Dyson every day in center and slide Lorenzo Cain over to right.
|Wil Myers Player Card|
|No. 2||ROBERTO OSUNA, RHP||BLUE JAYS|
Team: short-season Vancouver (Northwest)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 3.38, 8 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 17 SO
The Scoop: Osuna made his first two starts this week in the Northwest League, where most hitters are anywhere from three to five years older than him. While Osuna got hit around a little bit yesterday, his debut was a flash of brilliance. Osuna set a Vancouver franchise record for strikeouts in a single game with 13 whiffs in five shutout innings, walking only one and allowing only one hit. Does that mean it’s time to go ahead and pencil Osuna into Toronto’s 2015 rotation? No, but it’s certainly worth starting to get excited about a talent like Osuna.
|Roberto Osuna Player Card|
|No. 3||RAFAEL MONTERO, RHP||METS|
Team: high Class A St. Lucie (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 3.00, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 14 SO
The Scoop: Montero made his pro debut last May after signing out of the Dominican Republic as an inexperienced and older prospect during the offseason. Since then, he’s raced through four levels by pounding the strike zone with a 92-94 mph fastball and has impressed with his advanced feel for the pitch. On Tuesday night against Clearwater, Montero struck out 14 of the 23 batters he faced. Standing at just 6-feet, 170 pounds, he also flashes a quality slider at times and is still refining his changeup. In his last three starts, the righthander has struck out 28 while not issuing a walk in 18 innings. He’s held Florida State League righthanders to a .139 average.
|Rafael Montero Player Card|
|No. 4||EDDIE ROSARIO, 2B||TWINS|
low Class A Beloit (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: .481/.500/.889 (13-for-27), 6 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: It took Rosario one game to show he was not suffering any lasting effects from a batting-practice mishap that caused him to miss a month and a half. Rosario had facial surgery after a line drive hit him between his mouth and nose. In his first game back with Beloit, Rosario went 3-for-5, fallling a home run short of completing the cycle. He served as the DH in that first game, but he’s back in the field now. As unfortunate as Rosario’s injury was, his quick return to the field is a reminder that he was lucky to avoid a more serious injury.
|Eddie Rosario Player Card|
|No. 5||CHRIS ARCHER, RHP||RAYS|
Team: Triple-A Durham (International)
Why He’s Here: 2 GS, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 10 IP, 4 H, 6 SO, 1 BB
The Scoop: Lauded for his mid-90s fastball and a plus-plus slider, Archer proved to be a capable big league option. He struck out 14 in 11 2/3 innings while filling in for an injured Jeremy Hellickson in late June. While his stuff is undeniable, Archer’s command has long been an issue, and his performance early this season did little to quell such concerns, not when he walked more batters (21) than he struck out (20) in April. Since returning to Durham in July, Archer sports a 1.16 ERA has allowed just two walks in his last 13 2/3 innings.
|Chris Archer Player Card|
|No. 6||RANDAL GRICHUK, RF||ANGELS|
high Class A Inland Empire (California)
Why He’s Here: .448/.448/1.069 (13-for-29), 10 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 SO, 2 SB
The Scoop: It can’t be easy to be baseball’s version of Sam Bowie. Selected as the Angels’ first first-round pick in 2009, Grichuk may always be known as the guy taken one spot ahead Mike Trout. Grichuk has progressed at a much more sedate, if typical, rate. He’s put together a solid season with Inland Empire this year. He has a .503 career slugging percentage. He’s improved his range and arm strength since signing. So there are things to like. The career .326 on-base percentage and 48 walks in more than 1,100 at-bats remind us that there are causes for concern as well.
|Randal Grichuk Player
|No. 7||DYLAN BUNDY, RHP||ORIOLES|
Team: high Class A Frederick (Carolina)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO
The Scoop: Fans in Lynchburg got to witness a first on Wednesday night: Bundy pitching in the sixth inning of a minor league game. The Orioles have gradually loosened the reins on Bundy’s prized arm, and Wednesday was the first time all season he’s pitched more than five innings. He responded to the challenge, retiring 14 Hillcats hitters in a row at one point. Bundy has looked mortal at times since moving up to high Class A in late May, but he’s allowed two runs or fewer in eight of 10 starts and dropped his Carolina League ERA to 2.57 with Wednesday’s win.
“Tonight, it was a little different going out there in the sixth and seventh,” Bundy told the Lynchburg (Va.) News & Advance. “It’s no adjustment at all. I mean, I felt better in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings than I did in the first two innings of this game.”
|Dylan Bundy Player Card|
|No. 8||GERRIT COLE, RHP||PIRATES|
Team: Double-A Altoona (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 6 SO, 1 BB
The Scoop: It’s fair to expect a pitcher with an elite fastball and two legit plus offspeed pitches to thoroughly dominate minor league competition, but that hasn’t really been the case with Cole, the top pick in last year’s draft. Sure, he’s been effective—witness his mastery of Trenton this week—but his 3.94 ERA in the Eastern League is merely average. Same with his 1.31 WHIP. Watch Cole pitch, though, and visions of Justin Verlander might dance in your head. It may not happen this season for Cole, but he’s one minor adjustment away from having the necessary command to dominate even big league competition.
|Gerrit Cole Player Card|
|No. 9||YEISON ASENCIO, RF||PADRES|
Team: low Class A Fort Wayne (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: .567/.581/.900 (17-for-30), 3 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: If the name doesn’t sound familiar, perhaps you remember Asencio as Yoan Alcantara. That was the fake identity that Asencio used to sign with the Padres, only to later have it discovered that his real name was Asencio and his real age was two and a half years older. The truth came out after an MLB investigator was arrested in the Dominican Republic over allegations he was taking bribes. While Asencio’s identity was fake, his tools are still real. He’s batting .329/.361/.518 through 65 games in a tough league for young hitters, but perhaps the most eye-catching number is what he’s doing with his arm. In 61 games in right field, Asencio already has 17 assists, second only to Bowling Green right fielder Drew Vettleson (Rays), who has one more assist in 38 more games.
|Yeison Ascenio Player Card|
|No. 10||RONALD TORREYES, 2B||CUBS|
Team: high Class A Daytona (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: .483/.545/.828 (14-for-29), 7 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBIs, 3 BB, 0 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: When Torreyes was hitting .184/.250/.259 at the end of May, it looked like the Reds had sold high on Torreyes by trading him to the Cubs in December in the Sean Marshall deal. Yet even while Torreyes was struggling, his contact rate still was superb. Whether it was a change in skill or just better luck, Torreyes has been one of the best hitters in the Florida State League the last two months, and he’s batted .342/.402/.515 in 52 games since June 1. He may look like he’d be more at home atop a racehorse than atop a big league lineup, but don’t underestimate Torreyes’ ability to square up a baseball. He’s one of the few players in the game who has not only more walks (25) than strikeouts (23), but also more extra-base hits (29) than whiffs. He’s an unusual prospect, but he’s also one of the most fun to follow.
|Ronald Torreyes Player Card|
|No. 11||ZACK WHEELER, RHP||METS|
Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.70, 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 11 SO, 4 BB
The Scoop: Liberal with walks though he was in his final Double-A outing, Wheeler also struck out a season-high 11 batters in 6 2/3 innings against Harrisburg. (Naturally, he also set a season high with 106 pitches.) Forget the strikeouts and the walks for a second and think about this: Wheeler allowed just two home runs in 19 Double-A starts, at one point going 11 starts (and at least 80 innings) without anyone taking him deep.
Wheeler won’t have the Eastern League to kick around anymore, not after the Mets promoted him to Triple-A Buffalo, where he assumes Matt Harvey’s vacated rotation spot. He leaves the EL as the leader with 117 strikeouts and (spoiler alert) he fared well in our forthcoming Eastern League Best Tools survey.
|Zack Wheeler Player Card|
|No. 12||TYLER ANDERSON, LHP||ROCKIES|
Team: low Class A Asheville (South Atlantic)
|Tyler Anderson Player Card|
|No. 13||JAMESON TAILLON, RHP||PIRATES|
high Class A Bradenton (Florida)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 SO, 3 BB
The Scoop: After the Pirates carefully managed his innings in 2011 and early this season, Taillon threw seven innings for just the second time in his career on Monday. He didn’t allow a run and struck out four against Lakeland. The 6-foot-6 righthander showcased his power arsenal—mid-90s heat, mid-80s curve and developing change—in July’s Futures Game, so while his strikeout rate has fallen to 5.6 per nine in his seven starts since then, his ceiling remains one of the highest in the minors.
|Jameson Taillon Player Card|
The last time Diamondbacks CF Adam Eaton didn’t hit .300 in a season was way back in 2008, when he was a freshman at Miami (Ohio). The 23-year-old has had the benefit of some good places to hit, like high Class A Visalia in 2011 and Triple-A Reno this year, but anyone who can carry a career .354/.457/.510 batting line deserves a tip of the cap. Eaton raised his batting average at Reno to .383 by hitting .483/.545/.759 this week . . . Pirates SS Alen Hanson has gotten a lot of deserved attention this year, but his low Class A West Virginia teammate Gregory Polanco is just as intriguing as a prospect. The center fielder batted .379/.400/.448 this week and stole his 39th bag . . . Angels 2B Taylor Lindsey finished off a blistering July for high Class A Inland Empire, in which he hit .333/.361/.479 in 117 at-bats, in fine fashion. The 20-year-old hit .500/.542/1.150 (10-for-20) with three homers and two triples for the week . . . Drafted in the sandwich round in the 2011 draft, Giants RHP Kyle Crick was relatively raw on the mound. After all, he didn’t concentrate on pitching until his senior year. The 19-year-old Texan has been shutting down opposing South Atlantic League lineups all season with low Class A Augusta, averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings—but also walking six per nine. Crick seemed to right the ship on Wednesday, striking out seven and walking three in seven shutout innings . . . Getting into jams has been the theme for Red Sox LHP Drake Britton ever since moving up to high Class A last year. In a pair of five-inning outings this past week for Double-A Portland, Britton gave up just two runs while allowing close to two baserunners per inning while striking out 13 . . . Pirates command-and-control LHP Jeff Locke has been a consistent performer in the International League all season, ranking fifth in ERA (2.83) and 10th in strikeout rate (7.9 per nine), all while boasting a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He had one of his best starts against Buffalo this week, striking out four in seven shutout innings . . . Dodgers 2B/OF Alex Castellanos faltered in his brief callup with the Dodgers, batting .143/.174/.238 in 11 June games. Upon his return to Triple-A Albuquerque, Castellanos resumed his explosive output. The 25-year-old hit four home runs this week while batting 13-for-29 (.448) with a walk.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
• Chris Volstad, rhp, Cubs. The 16th pick in the 2005 draft, Volstad seemed like at least a safe mid-rotation bet for the Marlins after a strong age-21 big league debut in 2008. He showed three average pitches back then, and he shows three average pitches today. The problem is that Volstad’s location is worse today and his margin for error smaller because batters don’t have to gear up for his 88-92 mph sinker. The 25-year-old Volstad flashed the promise this week that enticed the Cubs to trade Carlos Zambrano for him last offseason. He went eight innings for Triple-A Iowa, allowing four hits and no runs while striking out five.
• Ross Seaton, rhp, Astros: Seaton struck out 10 batters in of eight innings of work, but when he wasn’t missing bats the 22-year-old was getting hit hard. He surrendered six hits and four earned runs in just three innings on Thursday night but escaped with a no-decision. He wasn’t so lucky on Saturday. He caught the loss after giving up five runs and surrendering a pair of home runs in five innings. Seaton has allowed 16 home runs this season, second-most in the Texas League.
• Edward Salcedo, 3b, Braves: Salcedo was a league-average performer in the first half, batting .262/.306/.413 in the high Class A Carolina League, but the second half has not been kind to the 20-year-old. This week he struck out in more than half of his at-bats, including six straight. He mustered just three hits, though two were doubles, to sink his second half line to .224/.302/.353.
•Domingo Santana, rf, Astros. After going 4-for-26 (.154) with 12 strikeouts and three walks this week, Santana has batted just .185/.281/.389 (10-for-54) in his past 15 games for high Class A Lancaster. Not to worry—he’s had a fine season in the Cal League, belting 17 homers and putting up an .892 OPS. The 19-year-old has even hit well enough away from his home launching pad, batting .270/.335/.466 with seven homers in 178 at-bats.
• When Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon broke his ankle in the second game of the season, it looked like there was a chance his first pro season was over after 48 hours. The 22-year-old himself said as much in an interview a few weeks later. But with more than a month to go in the season, Rendon is back. After a five-game injury rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League, he has been bumped up to short-season Auburn. While the competition is better, it’s still well below Rendon’s level of experience, a fact borne out by his .375/.474/.500 batting line this week.
• Renato Nunez, 3b Athletics: When Oakland gave Nunez $2.2 million to sign out of Venezuela two years ago on July 2, they thought they were getting one of the best hitters on the market, a player with the potential to hit for average and power. Then Nunez went to the Dominican Summer League last year and showed flashes of his potential—particularly in the power department—but showed he had a lot to learn about the strike zone and plenty of work to do to clean up his defense. In his jump to the Arizona League, Nunez has been excellent. The 18-year-old has hit .348/.490/.587 in 23 games, showing the offensive potential that he flashed as an amateur in Venezuela. The defense still needs work—he’s made four errors in 17 games—but there’s been very real improvement across the board for Nunez in the last year.