Prospect Hot Sheet (Aug. 9): Carlos Correa Is Finishing Strong

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. 2-8.

Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy and Jim Shonerd

Matt Eddy will chat about the Hot Sheet, prospects and the recent trade deadline at 3 p.m. Eastern.

carlos-correa-2013-mug

1. Carlos Correa, ss, Astros
Team:
low Class A Quad Cities (Midwest)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .536/.594/.714 (15-for-28), 5 2B, 5 R, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The great shortstop debate is getting interesting. Vying for top honors at the position you have Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox, who just happens to be one of the best hitting prospects in the minors, and very well may be able to stick at shortstop for several seasons. You have the Indians’ Francisco Lindor, one of the slickest fielding shortstops in baseball who also projects as a plus hitter. And you have Carlos Correa, who is putting together a monster seasons at low Class A, reminding many scouts of Manny Machado with his combination of hitting ability, power and tall, rangy build. Scouts like to debate whether Correa will stick at shortstop long-term or slide over to third base, but wherever he ends up, he looks like an impact big leaguer who should be a future cornerstone for the Astros.

Carlos Correa’s Statistics

 

jonathan-gray-2013-mug-bmNo. 2 Jonathan Gray, rhp, Rockies
Team:
high Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.90, 10 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 14 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: The Rockies dropped Gray, the third overall pick in June, into the Rookie-level Pioneer League to test his mettle. No problem, he said, striking out 15, walking two and allowing no homers in 13 innings. The big righthander still hasn’t flinched following a three-level jump to the California League, where he struck out seven over five innings in each of his two home starts for Modesto while touching 100 mph.

Jonathan Gray’s Statistics

 

matt-wisler-2013-mugNo. 3 Matt Wisler, rhp, Padres
Team:
Double-A San Antonio (Texas)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.82, 11 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 14 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: Drafted out of high school in 2011, Wisler is a year younger than Jonathan Gray, No. 2 on this Hot Sheet, and other college juniors selected this year. Now take a look at what he’s accomplished in Double-A this season with pitching ratios of 8.3 strikeouts, 2.6 walks and 7.3 hits allowed per nine innings. Wisler has allowed just seven home runs in 16 starts, pitching aggressively with a plus fastball and a quality slider. He’s the undisputed No. 1 righty prospect in the Padres system so long as Casey Kelly and Joe Wieland are on the shelf.

Matt Wisler’s Statistics

 

Ketel Marte4. Ketel Marte, ss, Mariners
Team:
low Class A Clinton (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .581/.594/.774 (18-for-31), 2 2B, 2 3B, 7 R, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: When the Mariners signed Marte as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic for $100,000 in 2010, we called him the sleeper of their signing class. After a solid season in the Dominican Summer League the next year, Marte ranked among the Top 20 prospects ($) in the Latin summer leagues. The Mariners were excited enough to push him to the short-season Northwest League last year, but Marte struggled to tread water against a league heavy on pitchers with college experience. Things didn’t go much better for Marte early in the 2013 season, but the light bulb that’s turned on in the last 10 games is remarkable, as Marte is 27-for-45—that’s a .600 average—during that stretch. A 6-foot-1, 180-pound switch-hitter, Marte’s hot streak has bumped his line up to .306/.332/.371 on the season. Marte’s power is minimal, but he has a compact, line-drive stroke with good plate coverage and the ability to play a premium position. This just might be the breakout the Mariners have been waiting for.

Ketel Marte’s Statistics

 

Avisail Garcia mug

No. 5 Avisail Garcia, cf, White Sox
Team:
Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .400/.500/.600 (10-for-25), 1 HR, 1 3B, 9 RBIs, 6 R, 4 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: The White Sox held out for the best prospect they could get before trading Jake Peavy, and that prospect turned out to be Garcia via a three-team deal involving the Tigers and Red Sox. Since Detroit stationed Garcia in the International League on July 6, he has hit .344/.401/.536 for a .937 OPS that stands sixth among qualified IL batters in that time frame. He knows where he needs to improve to become a big league star. “I need better patience,” Garcia told the Chicago Tribune. “In this game, you have to be consistent . . . It gets easier when you figure out how they’re going to pitch you. That comes with experience.”

Avisail Garcia’s Statistics

 

archie-bradley-2013-mugNo. 6 Archie Bradley, rhp, Diamondbacks
Team:
Double-A Mobile (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 9 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 7 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: In a season in which he ranks fifth in the minors in ERA (1.88) and ninth in strikeouts (133), Bradley actually turned in his finest start last Friday, striking out seven Jacksonville batters over nine, one-run innings while expending an efficient 105 pitches.

Archie Bradley’s Statistics

 

chris-stratton-20137. Chris Stratton, rhp, Giants
Team:
low Class A Augusta (South Atlantic)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.61, 14 2/3 IP, 12 H, 1 R, 12 SO, 4 BB

The Scoop: After a forgettable first half at Augusta, Stratton has started putting up the kind of results we expect from a college first-round pick in low Class A. His ERA stood at 3.77 after a rough outing on June 2, but since then he’s allowed one run or fewer in seven of nine starts, including his last four straight. He had his longest start of the year last Friday, tossing eight scoreless frames against Charleston and striking out seven. He’s climbed into the SAL top 10 in ERA at 3.11 after 113 innings.

Chris Stratton’s Statistics

 

8. Franklin Barreto, ss, Blue Jays
Team:
Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Blue Jays
Age: 17
Why He’s Here: .400/.483/.960 (10-for-25), 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 R, 6 2B, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Everywhere Barreto goes, he hits, which is why he ranked as the No. 1 prospect on the international amateur market last year. The Blue Jays signed him for $1.45 million out of Venezuela and put him in the Gulf Coast League, where he’s come every bit as advertised. Barreto has an efficient swing and a knack for finding the barrel, which has helped him hit .292/.363/.500 in 38 games as one of the youngest players in the league. Barreto already has 17 errors, but scouts always felt he would be better served at second base or in center field, so the defensive struggles were expected. The exciting tool is Barreto’s bat, which should have him moving quickly.

Franklin Barreto’s Statistics

 

erik-johnson-20139. Erik Johnson, rhp, White Sox
Team:
Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.69, 13 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 2 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: There’s a pretty strong case that Johnson, Chicago’s second-round pick in 2011 out of California, is now the club’s top prospect. Johnson dominated the Double-A Southern League and has been even better since he reached Triple-A. With a plus fastball, a sharp slider and an improved changeup, he’s not far away from being ready to help the Southsiders as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Erik Johnson’s Statistics

 

J.P. Crawford10. J.P. Crawford, ss, Phillies
Team:
Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .440/.533/.680 (11-for-25), 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 R, 9 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The Phillies have to be pleased with the early returns on Crawford, the 16th overall pick in the draft two months ago. He doesn’t have a conventional lefty swing, but he makes consistent contact and has a patient hitting approach. He’s hitting .375/.466/.518 through 30 games, showing he can use the whole field with occasional extra-base pop.

J.P. Crawford’s Statistics

 

Javier Baez11. Javier Baez, ss, Cubs
Team:
Double-A Jackson (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .444/.483/.630 (12-for-27), 4 R, 5 2B, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Southern League fans got the full Baez experience this week. He provided highlights all around with four multi-hit games, five extra-base hits, a strikeout per game on average and three errors. Those three errors give him 40 for the season. That’s a pretty large number, but it also comes as more scouts and coaches give Baez a chance to stick at shortstop then they did when he was drafted. Those who’ve seen him last year and this say he looks a little quicker at shortstop than he did last year, and his error count ought to decrease as he gains experience.

Javier Baez’s Statistics

 

12. Anthony DeSclafani, rhp, Marlins
Team:
Double-A Jacksonville (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 0.68, 13 1/3 IP, 13 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 11 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: DeSclafani was primarily a reliever in college at Florida, where his results didn’t always measure up to his stuff—he could get up to 96 mph on the radar gun yet had a 4.33 ERA his draft year in 2011. He converted to starting upon turning pro, and the results have come around in 2013 after DeSclafani was one of the seven players headed from the Blue Jays to the Marlins in their massive deal last offseason. DeSclafani pitched his way out of the high Class A Florida State League, going 4-2, 1.67, and he’s held his own in Double-A since being promoted in June. He had back-to-back quality starts this week, highlighted by seven shutout innings against Tennessee last Friday.

Anthony DeScalfini’s Statistics

 

kris-bryant-2013-mug-bm13. Kris Bryant, 3b, Cubs
Team:
short-season Boise (Northwest)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .462/.533/1.077 (6-for-13), 2 HR, 2 2B, 5 RBIs, 6 R, 2 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: We hope no one was actually worried when Bryant started his pro career 2-for-18. Now that the reigning College Player of the Year appears to have gotten his feet under him again, he’s hit .359/.422/.769 with four homers in his last 11 games, during which time he coincidentally has an 11-game hitting streak. Combining his college and pro home run totals, he’s up to 35 longballs in the 2013 calendar year.

Kris Bryant’s Statistics

 

IN THE TEAM PHOTO

Ryan Brett, 2b, Rays: Suspended for 50 games at the outset of the season, Brett returned with a vengeance in mid-May, batting .340/.396/.490 in 51 games at high Class A Charlotte to earn a promotion to Double-A Montgomery last Sunday. The 21-year-old has gone 7-for-17 (.438) with a homer, two doubles and no strikeouts in his first four Southern League games.

Edwin Escobar, lhp, Giants: Escobar earned a promotion to Double-A Richmond in early July, finishing his time in high Class A San Jose with a stretch of 13 innings without allowing an earned run. Making his fourth and fifth Double-A starts this week, the 21-year-old found that groove again, reeling off 14 1/3 shutout innings while fanning 15 and yielding just four hits.

Reymond Fuentes, cf, Padres: The 2009 first-rounder has played to his strengths this season, putting his spray hitting approach and plus speed to good use as he repeats Double-A San Antonio. The 22-year-old Fuentes went 7-for-17 (.412) this week with a double, a homer, eight walks and one stolen base, pushing him to third in the Texas League batting race (.313), second in steals (29) and fifth in OBP (.394).

Luke Jackson, rhp, Rangers: The Rangers player-development system has had a good year. Preseason prospects such as Leonys Martin, Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez and Nick Tepesch have graduated to the big league club, while Mike Olt, Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards garnered Matt Garza in a trade. But with six of the organization’s top 15 prospects no longer eligible for the list, they need some of their younger prospects to step up. Jackson, 21, has answered the call at high Class A Myrtle Beach and now Double-A Frisco, where he spent this week dealing eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts. He has a low-90s fastball that can touch 97 mph, while his breaking ball already is a useful pitch that could eventually be plus.

Taylor Lindsey, 2b, Angels: The major league team has been a disappointment and the farm system is in need of repair, but the 21-year-old Lindsey has been a bright spot. A strong week boosted his line with Double-A Arkansas to .283/.340/.462, with a career-best 16 home runs. Extra credit goes to Lindsey for playing half his games in a home park that smothers power.

Mitch Nay, 3b, Blue Jays: A broken foot precluded Nay, Toronto’s sandwich-round pick in 2012, from making his pro debut last summer. Finally getting back to live action with Rookie-level Bluefield, Nay’s hitting .316 with five homers in 44 games and had a stretch of four straight multi-hit games from Aug. 1-4. He finished the week at 9-for-22 with two homers and five walks in seven games.

Jonathan Singleton, 1b, Astros: Twice singled out for no-so-hot weekly performances, Singleton may be turning a corner at Triple-A. Since Aug. 1, the 21-year-old is hitting .375/.483/.625 (9-for-24) with a homer, three doubles and a five-to-three walk-to-strikeout ratio for Oklahoma City.

NOT HOT

Trevor May, rhp, Twins: May has the stuff to miss bats, but when he’s not commanding his stuff, he’s prone to getting battered around. In his last start, May couldn’t make it out of the third inning, leaving after allowing eight runs on eight hits and five walks in 2 2/3 innings. May, 23, has 121 strikeouts in 121 1/3 innings for Double-A New Britain, but he’s also walking 4.2 batters per nine innings and has an uninspiring 4.52 ERA in his second full season in the Eastern League. Durability isn’t an issue with May, but if he can’t get his command straightened out, the bullpen might be in his future.

Jake Odorizzi, rhp, Rays: Odorizzi has adjusted his delivery so that he brings his hands above his head instead of keeping them down at his waist before finding his balance point. The same adjustment helped Matt Moore’s fastball command, and the Rays hope it will do the same for Odorizzi. But there will be some growing pains, like this week, when the 23-year-old allowed nine runs in 8 1/3 innings at Triple-A Durham.

Kyle Smith, rhp, Astros: A trade from the Royals to the Astros for Justin Maxwell uprooted Smith from Wilmington of the Carolina League to Lancaster of the California League, in the process going from a home park that suppresses home runs by 20 percent (compared to other parks in the league) to one that boosts them by 23 percent. Smith’s initiation to the Cal League last Saturday was anything but smooth—the 20-year-old recorded just two outs while allowing four hits (one homer), three walks and four runs.

Domingo Tapia, rhp, Mets: Tapia’s stuff hasn’t been the same as it was in 2012, when his fastball hit 98 mph and his changeup looked like a potentially plus pitch. The 21-year-old has struggled to a 2-8, 5.00 mark in 19 starts for high Class A St. Lucie, but Wednesday’s outing at Bradenton might’ve been his low point. Tapia recorded just four outs while giving up seven runs (all earned) on four hits and four walks.

HELIUM

Franchy Cordero, ss, Padres: When Cordero was trying out for teams in the Dominican Republic, his trainer, Antonio Arias, had him playing third base. The Padres liked Cordero’s hitting approach, the way his lefty swing worked and the physical projection in his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame and signed him when he was 17 late in 2011 for $175,000. The Padres also thought he had a chance to play shortstop, so they moved him to the middle of the diamond last year in the Dominican Summer League. Cordero had a solid year at the plate despite issues making contact, though his defense was understandably raw while moving to a more challenging position. Nearly everything about Cordero has improved this year in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where Cordero is hitting .323/.371/.488 through 31 games and making a positive impression on scouts at the plate and playing better defense at shortstop, although he still has work to do to stay at the position.