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 6-12.
The Futures Game and Triple-A and Eastern League all-star games cut into the number of candidates this time, but we made do.
Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Conor Glassey, Jim Shonerd and interns Andrew Krause, Clint Longenecker and John Sandberg.
|No. 1||ALEX COLOME, RHP||RAYS|
|Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.64, 14 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 7 BB, 17 SO
The Scoop: When Colome is at his best, he’s a nightmare for hitters. That was the case this week, when he fanned more than 30 percent of the batters he faced. Yes, his control is still erratic and he has to find a better way to combat lefthanded hitters, who are batting .322/.423/.448 in 104 plate appearances against him this year. But if Colome can make those tweaks, he has the potential to be at least a mid-rotation starter. If not, his power arm would play up well at the back of the bullpen.
|Alex Colome Player Card|
|No. 2||JAVIER BAEZ, SS||CUBS|
Team:low Class A Peoria (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: .435/.435/.870 (10-for-23), 1 2B, 3 HR, 5 R, 3 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2-2 SB
The Scoop: The Cubs passed over several college arms to draft Baez with the ninth overall pick in 2011, and he has not disappointed in his first full season as a pro. Batting .308/.374/.526 with seven homers through 37 games, the Puerto Rico-born shortstop has hit safely in each of his last eight games and has homered in two of his last three. Despite just average speed, he has also stolen 14 bags this season. With bat speed that has prompted comparisons with Gary Sheffield and Hanley Ramirez, Baez has tremendous upside and could move quickly through the minors, especially if he continues to produce like has at the plate.
|Javier Baez Player Card|
|No. 3||ROSS SEATON, RHP||ASTROS|
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.17, 2 GS, 15 1/3 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 12 SO, 4 BB
The Scoop: Seaton posted a 5.23 ERA in the Texas League last year, but his second tour with Corpus Christi has gone markedly better. He’s posted quality starts in five of his last six outings and had his best performance of the year last Friday at Northwest Arkansas, limiting the Naturals to three hits over 8 1/3 shutout innings, his longest outing of the season. Seaton has always been a strike-thrower (career 2.54 walks per nine innings), but he’s been especially efficient this year as his 1.81 BB/9 ranks third in the Texas League. The not-so-good news is that Seaton still doesn’t miss many bats (his 5.53 K-rate is seventh lowest among qualified TL pitchers) and needs to be more effective against lefthanded hitters, who are batting at a .294 clip against him.
|Ross Seaton Player Card|
|No. 4||HUNTER MORRIS, 1B||BREWERS|
Team: Double-A Huntsville (Southern)
Why He’s Here: .571/.591/1.429 (12-for-21), 4 HR, 2 3B, 2 2B, 8 RBIs, 6 R, 1 BB, 1 SO
The Scoop: Morris bashed eight extra-base hits in just five games this week, showcasing lefty power that assuredly will earn him a look in Milwaukee at some point this season or next. Whether he has the disciplined approach to profile is a regular first baseman is still open to debate, though one can’t argue with the results this season. Through 333 at-bats Morris is batting .315/.367/.553 with 14 home runs and 67 RBIs, giving him an outside shot at the Southern League triple crown. He leads in batting and RBIs but presently sits in fourth place on the homers chart, four behind leader Matt Davidson of Mobile.
|Hunter Morris Player Card|
|No. 5||HENRY OWENS, LHP||RED SOX|
Team:low Class A Greenville (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 10 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: Don’t be fooled by Owen’s 4.72 ERA. The teenage lefty with an advanced feel for pitching has been mostly dominant this season, and never has that been more evident than this week. In his two starts, Owens did not allow an earned run over 10 innings and struck out 12 against one walk. The 6-foot-6 Owens struggled with his command (5.8 BB/9) in his first eight games, but his command issues have been quieted (1.5 BB/9) over his last six starts. Over that span, Owens has a strikeout-to-walk ratio in excess of 8-to-1, which pushes his strikeout percentage to nearly one third of all batters faced this season.
|Henry Owens Player Card|
|No. 6||JACOB TURNER, RHP||TIGERS|
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 6 SO, 0 BB
The Scoop: Turner appeared in three big league games last season and peeked his head into the Show for another game in June before returning to Triple-A. It shouldn’t be long before the ninth overall pick from 2009 is pitching in Detroit again, but in the meantime he has produced a 3.16 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A. The Tigers’ top prospect recovered this week from a shaky start on July 2 by throwing his first compete game of the season, a shutout at Louisville, to improve his record to 5-4. He has maintained a nearly 2-to-1 walk-to-strikeout ratio as well. While he doesn’t have the stuff of an ace, Turner’s command is strong enough that he could make a career as a mid-rotation starter in the big leagues.
|Jacob Turner Player Card|
|No. 7||DELINO DESHIELDS, 2B||ASTROS|
Team: low Class A Lexington (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .429/.467/.714 (12-for-28), 5 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 AO, 4-for-5 SBs
The Scoop: DeShields can rightfully blame Billy Hamilton for stealing his spotlight. If not for the Reds prospect’s insane stolen base numbers (105 and counting), then DeShields pursuit of 100 bags would be one of the stories of the minor league season. Unfortunately for DeShields, who has 64 steals, and fans of the minors, a Vince Coleman-Donnell Nixon-in-1983 race to the record is unlikely to transpire. DeShields must console himself with a South Atlantic League stolen base crown and the knowledge that he has turned his career trajectory around completely after struggling in 2011.
|Delino Deshields Player Card|
|No. 8||SEAN GILMARTIN, LHP||BRAVES|
Team: Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1 GS, 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 0 BB, 7 SO
The Scoop: The 28th pick in the 2011 draft, Gilmartin hasn’t exactly dominated the Southern League this season, though he’s demonstrated pitch efficiency and occasional brilliance. Case in point: Last Friday the lefty completed nine innings in which he struck out seven and allowed just four baserunners. Unfortunately, a two-out solo homer by Jackson’s Stefan Romero in the first inning happened to be one of those baserunners, and Gilmartin’s Braves teammates mustered only one run in nine innings, thus he received no decision. He ranks eighth in the SL ERA race (3.42), ranks third in WHIP (1.13) and first with 108 innings.
|Sean Gilmartin Player Card|
|No. 9||ARCHIE BRADLEY, RHP||DIAMONDBACKS|
Team: low Class A South Bend (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.45, 2 GS, 11 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 14 SO, 3 BB
The Scoop: The only thing stopping Bradley from completely dominating the Midwest League has been Bradley himself. When he’s been around the strike zone, MWL hitters have had no chance against his power fastball and devastating curveball, and he’s racked up 85 strikeouts in 87 2/3 innings while limiting hitters to a .164 average, the best among MWL starters. But Bradley hasn’t found the zone with enough regularity, as his 3.80 ERA can largely be attributed to a league-high 58 walks. In limiting his opposition to three walks over two starts this week, Bradley posted his first consecutive games of two walks or less since May 8 and 14.
|Archie Bradley Player Card|
|No. 10||CHRIS HAWKINS, RF||BLUE JAYS|
Why He’s Here: .524/.643/.714 (11-for-21), 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBIs, 8 R, 7 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Drafted in the third round out of a suburban Atlanta high school in 2010, Hawkins handled Rookie-level pitching with aplomb in 2011 to earn a promotion to Lansing this season. Scouts originally thought that the prep shortstop could handle center field, but Hawkins has been rotating between corner outfield spots this season. After hitting just .160 (15-for-94) in the month of June, he has rebounded in July, hitting .429 (18-for-42) with nine walks in 11 games.
|Chris Hawkins Player Card|
|No. 11||JOEY GALLO, 3B||RANGERS|
Team: Rookie-level Arizona League
Why He’s Here: .455/.611/1.364 (5-for-11), 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 R, 7 RBIs, 5 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Questions surrounded Gallo as this year’s draft approached. Despite showing remarkable power throughout his prep career, many wondered how he would tap into that power in pro ball. The Rangers took Gallo, who had committed to play at Louisiana State, as a supplemental first-round pick, and through 17 games in the Arizona League he’s been as good as advertised. He’s batting .315/.500/.870 through 54 at-bats, and eight of his 17 hits so far have been home runs.
|Joey Gallo Player Card|
|No. 12||BRAD MILLER, SS||MARINERS|
Team: high Class A High Desert (California)
Why He’s Here: .414/.469/.690 (12-for-29), 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 R, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Seattle’s second-round pick in 2011, Miller broke a 38-game homer-less drought when he connected for a solo shot on July 6, giving him 10 on the season. Despite his mid-season power outage, Miller has dominated Cal League pitching all season long, particularly at home in High Desert where his 1.082 OPS dwarfs his .790 road mark. He’s batting .341/.417/.530 with 32 doubles on the season, and the Clemson product has used solid-average speed and good instincts to swipe 17 bases in 21 attempts.
|Brad Miller Player Card|
|No. 13||JASON ADAM, RHP||ROYALS|
Team: high Class A Wilmington (Carolina)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 7 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 SO
The Scoop: After watching his long-time rotation-mate Yordano Ventura move on to Double-A following a trip to the Futures Game, Adam responded with what he told Wilmington play-by-play man John Sadak was his best start of his career. Adam made some mechanical tweaks with finishing his delivery that helped him regain some of the bite on his curveball, and it paid off to the tune of a career-high nine strikeouts. Adam doesn’t often show the 95 mph-plus fastball he showed in short stints in instructional league right after he signed, but his 90-92 mph fastball is still lively enough if he can show the curveball he featured this week.
|Jason Adam Player Card|
The Astros lured righthander Adrian Houser away from the University of Oklahoma as a second-round pick in 2011. He has come along nicely in the Rookie-level Appalachian League, throwing seven scoreless innings and giving up four hits in a start last Friday. Houser followed that with a win on Wednesday, in which he gave up two runs in six innings. On the season Houser has a 2.86 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 28 innings . . . After a subpar 2011 (.242/.340/.439) with Double-A Mobile, RF/1B Marc Krauss has been handling Southern League pitching much better this year (.294/.421/.528). While the 24-year-old always is a threat to strikeout, Krauss has refined his approach and is on pace to set a career high in walks. He hit .412 (7-for-17) this past week, and after smashing two home runs in a July 8 game at Pensacola he now has 13 on the year . . . One of the three premium high schoolers the Athletics took at the top of their draft this year, 3B/SS Daniel Robertson bounced back from a slow start in the Rookie-level Arizona League with a couple huge games this week. Chief among them was his 5-for-5 with two homers effort on Thursday, wrapping up a week that saw him hit .529/.500/.941 (9-for-17) with a double and five RBIs also mixed in . . . The six-man rotation arrangement (which includes two side days between starts) appears to agree with Mets RHP Michael Fulmer, the 44th pick in last year’s draft, who turned in two fine starts for low Class A Savannah this week and has been going strong for a month. As to the former charge, Fulmer surrendered just two runs on five hits over 12 innings against Charleston and Delmarva, while striking out seven and walking four. As to the latter, the 19-year-old carries a 1.15 ERA through his past five starts, during which time his average game score is a robust 67 . . . A third-rounder out of high school in 2010, Angels SS Wendell Soto spent two summers in the Arizona League and this spring in the Midwest League, but he earned a demotion to Rookie-level Orem in June because he batted just .216 in 51 games for low Class A Cedar Rapids. Life has taken on new meaning for Soto, a switch-hitting 20-year-old who boasts strong defensive instincts at short, in the hitter-friendly Pioneer League. He went 14-for-24 (.583) with a homer, a triple and four doubles (.958 slugging) this week and now is batting .365/.432/.624 through 85 at-bats for Orem . . . After missing the season’s first few games with an ankle injury and starting slowly upon his return, Blue Jays CF Dwight Smith Jr. has hit .364/.440/.682 (8-for-22) over the past week, including his third home run. The Rookie-level Appalachian League is typically filled with young hitters with undisciplined approaches with high strikeout totals, but Smith has struck out in less than 10 percent of his plate appearances and has as many walks as strikeouts this season . . . While Anthony Rizzo was bashing his way to Chicago, SS Arismendy Alcantara’s excellent season for high Class A Daytona may be an even more promising development. After all, Rizzo’s power surge isn’t much of a surprise, but Alcantara’s emergence as a rangy shortstop who can hit is a very pleasant surprise for the Cubs. The 20-year-old hit .400/.500/.850 this week and is slugging a very respectable .447 this season while swiping 25 bags in 29 tries in the Florida State League.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
• Ben Sheets, rhp, Braves: In need of a boost to the rotation, the Braves decided to become the latest team to sign Sheets and hope that he can stay healthy long enough to help them. He’ll take his turn in Atlanta on Sunday. Sheets hasn’t pitched at all in two of the last five seasons, and he’s made only 25 or more starts once since 2004. But by signing him at the midpoint of the season, the Braves are already mitigating some of the injury risk, and the reality is that with Julio Teheran still struggling in Triple-A, Sheets’ track record of success (when healthy) makes him a worthwhile risk. He showed some of his old stuff in his two Double-A tuneups. On July 9, he went 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs.
• Parker Bridwell, rhp, Orioles: Bridwell’s strong arm and athleticism convinced the Orioles to sign him out of high school for $625,000 in the ninth round of the 2010 draft, but the 20-year-old’s rawness hasn’t allowed him to translate stuff into results at low Class A Delmarva. Bridwell carried a 5.74 ERA through the end of June, but his last two starts have been disastrous. He gave up seven runs in five innings on July 1 and followed that up by giving up 11 runs (10 earned) in 4 2/3 last Saturday, an outing that included four home runs allowed. His ERA has ballooned to 7.09, the worst among qualified SAL starters.
• Brett Oberholtzer, lhp, Astros. Acquired in last summer’s Michael Bourn trade with Atlanta, Oberholtzer put Double-A behind him this season by going 5-3, 4.21 with a 1.32 WHIP in 13 starts for Corpus Christi. He even survived an April spot start in Albuquerque, which qualified as his Triple-A debut. But Oberholtzer has been hit hard since his “real” promotion to Oklahoma City on June 22, allowing 17 runs on 35 hits over 19 innings (8.05 ERA). His Saturday start at New Orleans qualifies as his worst. In it he allowed five homers over the course of four innings, while allowing seven runs on 12 hits.
• Trayce Thompson, cf, White Sox: Despite his natural athleticism and power, scouts have long questioned Thompson’s hit tool. Never has it come under fire more than this past week, when Thompson struck out 13 times and failed to draw a walk in 27 at-bats. Every game this week featured at least two strikeouts, and on the season Thompson has struck out in more than 30 percent of his plate appearances. His one saving grace: His 16 home runs and .237 isolated power both rank second in the high Class A Carolina League.
• David Phelps, rhp, Yankees: After spending the first month of the season in the Yankees’ bullpen, Phelps emerged as an emergency starter during early May, a role he is being groomed to fill after the Yankees lost C.C. Sabathia and, particularly, Andy Pettitte to injury. The 25-year-old Phelps received a tuneup start in the Double-A Eastern this week, and he baffled the younger competition, allowing only one hit and striking out 11 in 6 2/3 innings. He’s a polished command-and-control pitcher with a low-90s fastball and wide assortment of offspeed pitches, though none is a wipeout pitch. New York moved Phelps to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and he could join the big league rotation after a few more starts.
• C.J. Edwards, rhp, Rangers. As if the Rangers needed any more help getting talent into their loaded system, here comes Edwards, a 48th-round pick last year out of Mid-Carolina High in Prosperity, S.C. The knock on Edwards as an amateur was that he’s old for his class (he turns 21 in September), but he has a lanky, athletic 6-foot-2, 155-pound build with some looseness to his delivery. His fastball sits in the 91-95 mph range and he mixes in a mid-70s curveball and a mid-to-upper 80s changuep. After starting his pro career with 20 scoreless innings in the Rookie-level Arizona League (with 25 strikeouts, just six hits and six walks), Edwards recently made his way to short-season Spokane where he got his first start on July 12. Against Eugene, he threw five more shutout innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts.