This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet covers games from July 11-17. Remember, this feature simply recognizes the hottest prospects in the minors during the past week—it’s not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.
Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Vince Lara-Cinisomo and Josh Norris.
1. Tyler Glasnow, rhp, Pirates
The Scoop: The pieces are falling into place for Glasnow, who in his last 10 starts has shown the finest control of his career, with a walk rate of 3.5 per nine innings that’s more than a full unit lower than his career rate of 4.7. (Additionally, he has walked only one batter in each of his last three starts.) Working in the zone more frequently has resulted in more hits allowed, but Glasnow still leads all qualified minor league starters with a .177 opponent average.
Glasnow has gone 6-1, 1.18 in his past 10 starts, logging 67 strikeouts, 21 walks, 33 hits and one home run allowed in 53 1/3 innings. Given the quality of his individual pitches, he should be able to dictate the pace of at-bats, racking up strikes both in and out of the zone by working ahead in counts.
2. Clint Frazier, cf, Indians
Team: low Class A Lake County (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: .571/.609/1.095 (12-for-21), 8 R, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: After an adjustment early on, the 2013 first-rounder has been positively on fire in July, going 24-for-57 (.421) with five homers, a pair of doubles and a triple. The BA High School Player of the Year last year, Frazier has bat speed for days and tons of raw power. He’s 19 and coming off a mediocre first half (.699 OPS with 74 whiffs in 55 games), so there’s a lot of polish to apply, but weeks like this one are an excellent start.
3. Brandon Drury, 3b, Diamondbacks
Team: high Class A Visalia (California)
Why He’s Here: .429/.435/.905 (9-for-21), 4 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: If not for the excellence of Rancho Cucamonga shortstop Corey Seager, then Drury would lead the California League with 31 doubles and 49 extra-base hits. As is, he’s taken another step forward this season, maintaining his walk and strikeout rates from 2013 while adding more power output to that foundation. While not a tools monster, Drury does everything well but run, so given his performance this season he’s gaining momentum as a prospect.
4. David Dahl, cf, Rockies
Team: low Class A Asheville (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .464/.464/.643 (13-for-28), 7 R, 5 2B, 7 RBIs, 0 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: With a strong first half in the books, Dahl has kept right on producing in the latter portion of the season. Still, there are things he needs to work on, namely commanding the strike zone and taking a walk every now and again. He didn’t draw one this week, and his walk rate of 5.1 percent is among the lowest in the South Atlantic League. He’s got gap power—as shown by his league-best 33 doubles—to all fields, though most of his home-run power appears to favor the pull side.
5. Alen Hanson, ss, Pirates
Team: Double-A Altoona (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .444/.444/.833 (8-for-18), 3 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop: After a slow first two months, Hanson has turned it on since June. In a shortened week due to the Eastern League all-star break, he showed a burst of pop, connecting for 20 percent of his longball output this season. Hanson who was benched for disciplinary reasons earlier in the year, never has walked much in his career, and that hasn’t changed this season. His walk rate of 5.1 percent ranks in the bottom 10 of the EL.
6. Adam Plutko, rhp, Indians
Team: high Class A Carolina (Carolina)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 9 SO, 1 BB
The Scoop: A polished product from the UCLA team that claimed the College World Series in 2013, Plutko has found great success this season with his mix of four solid pitches and excellent control. As would be expected, he dominated in the Midwest League and hasn’t missed a beat in his move to high Class A. He gives up his share of hits, but negates the damage by walking almost nobody. Between both levels this season, he’s fanned 111 against just 22 free passes.
7. Victor Sanchez, rhp, Mariners
Team: Double-A Jackson (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.13, 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 SO
The Scoop: Sanchez has quietly zipped through the system, signing for $2.5 million out of Venezuela in 2011, skipping the high Class A California League this year and showing he’s far from overmatched as a 19-year-old at Double-A. Don’t get carried away with the DOB here—Sanchez’s stuff isn’t likely to get any better thanks to his maxed-out frame (and then some). But the stuff and command are plenty good enough right now to show back-end starter potential (or better).
8. Nomar Mazara, rf, Rangers
Team: low Class A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .333/.391/.762 (7-for-21), 4 R, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: Armed with a sweet, powerful stroke from the left side, Mazara put together a fine June, then scuffled a bit in July before putting together an excellent week that vaulted him into the organization’s top five with 15 longballs. He’s repeating low Class A after an aggressive assignment last year, but there are still questions about his ability to hit going forth. (He’s a .247 hitter for his career.) Mazara’s walk rate is among the top 20 in the league which, combined with his youth and power, surely helps reassures the Rangers that their $4.95 million investment will pay off in the long run.
9. Dawel Lugo, ss, Blue Jays
Team: low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: .435/.440/.739 (10-for-23), 1 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Lugo has natural bat-to-ball skills, with a strong, thick frame that should portend more power in the future. That power started to show up this week, when he popped two of his three home runs on the season, bringing his slash line up to .290/.312/.375 in 81 games. Sometimes, superior hand-eye coordination can be both a gift and a curse, as Lugo is capable of making contact on balls out of the zone, so he’s still learning to work the count and get a good pitch to hit.
10. Miguel Castro, rhp, Blue Jays
Team: short-season Vancouver (Northwest)
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 0.90, 10 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 SO
The Scoop: The buzz surrounding the 6-foot-5 Castro began when he dominated the Dominican Summer League last year. He then came over to the Gulf Coast League and continued to show a big fastball capable of scraping triple digits. He’s been one of the best pitchers in the Northwest League this season, sitting in the mid-90s and flashing a potentially above-average changeup, which has helped him keep his ERA at 2.43 with 35 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings.
11. Andrew Aplin, of, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Why He’s Here: .500/.577/.636 (11-for-22), 6 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: A table-setter in a system with a number of outfielders having breakout power seasons, e.g. Preston Tucker, Teoscar Hernandez, Aplin doesn’t have much power but he hits for average, draws walks and plays a solid center field. He most likely ends up as a lefthanded-hitting fourth outfielder, but that could be an asset on an Astros club with young outfielders like George Springer and Domingo Santana who combine lots of home runs and lots of strikeouts.
12. Erik Gonzalez, ss, Indians
Team: high Class A Carolina (Carolina)
Why He’s Here: .450/.455/.750 (9-for-20), 6 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-2 on SB
The Scoop: After spending the last part of the 2013 season in Carolina, Gonzalez has returned there this year and has built on his success. His defense hasn’t been the question, but he needs to show that he can hit enough to let his glove play. Gonzalez has slightly toned down the exaggerated step he uses as a timing mechanism to start his swing and he’s started to figure out how to use his solid-average speed on the basepaths.
13. Raimel Tapia, rf, Rockies
Team: low Class A Asheville (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .391/.462/565 (9-for-23), 4 R, 4 2B, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 3-for-4 SB
The Scoop: Known as “straight-ball Tapia” by one rival evaluator for his ability to hit the fastball but nothing that bends, the young Rockie is a real wild card in a system that has lower-risk talents such as Jon Gray, David Dahl and Ryan McMahon. Another scout calls Tapia’s swing ugly but says he has the ability to barrel the ball consistently. All seem to agree he’s an electric talent if he can harness his raw ability.
In The Team Photo
Clint Coulter, c, Brewers. Given that they have all-star starter Jonathan Lucroy in the big leagues, the Brewers can afford to be patient with Coulter’s development. His bat is too advanced for low Class A Wisconsin—he went 6-for-14 (.429) with two homers and seven walks this week—but the extra time in the Midwest League can only benefit his defensive growth. The 20-year-old ranks among the MWL leaders with 16 homers, 63 RBIs, 55 walks and a .512 slugging percentage.
Jorge Soler, rf, Cubs. The Cubs would obviously prefer that Soler be healthy and effective, but even with two prolonged disabled-list stints, he’s been remarkably productive at Double-A Tennessee. In nine games since his return to the Southern League, the 22-year-old has gone 13-for-27 (.481) with five homers, two doubles and 12 RBIs. He has rapped 15 extra-base hits in 17 games for the Smokies this season.
Antonio Senzatela, rhp, Rockies. The low Class A Asheville starter, who made our Hot Sheet A-list last week, continued a great run with seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits. He walked no one and struck out six. The 19-year-old Senzatela doesn’t have the secondary pitches to miss many bats, but he’s a strike-thrower with a cutter at 90-91 mph and a splitter that misses bats.
Kohl Stewart, rhp, Twins: In Alex Meyer, Jose Berrios and Stewart, the Twins have a trio of hard-throwing starter prospects with both stuff and the ability to miss bats. Stewart, the fourth overall pick in 2013, was touching 98 mph in his most recent start at low Class A Cedar Rapids, and he hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any start since the beginning of June, and he ranks third in the Midwest League with a 2.42 ERA.
Carlos Tocci, cf, Phillies: Way to hit those weights, Carlos. It took him 244 professional games, but Philadelphia’s talented, skinny center fielder hit his first career home run on Wednesday for low Class A Lakewood. Even though he’s repeating the South Atlantic League, Tocci is still one of the youngest players at his level, with a sweet .370/.370/.593 line in 28 plate appearances this week.
Trea Turner, ss, Padres. The 2014 first-rounder and former North Carolina State all-American has already gotten a promotion since signing, moving up to low Class A Fort Wayne after starting at short-season Eugene. The righty hitter has actually performed better since the bump, going 8-for-19 in the past week with two doubles. He stole three bases but was also caught three times.
Danry Vasquez, rf, Astros: Vasquez is known more for his bat-to-ball skills than his power—he had only one home run in his first 80 games. On Wednesday, he took advantage of the friendly winds at high Class A Lancaster, belting home runs in his first three plate appearances, all of which came against Visalia starter Brandon Sinnery of the Diamondbacks.
Andrew Heaney, lhp, Marlins. Just sent down after a mixed stint with the Marlins, Heaney struggled in his return to Triple-A New Orleans. In one of his starts since the demotion, he gave up six hits and five runs, though as usual walked only one thanks to outstanding control. Heaney works quickly and reminds one evaluator of long-time big league lefthander Al Leiter.
Gareth Morgan, cf, Mariners: Clearly high on the strong-bodied Canadian, the Mariners handed the 18-year-old $2 million out of the supplemental second round in June and sent him to the Rookie-level Arizona League. So far, however, he’s scuffled. To wit, he went just 3-for-17 this week without an extra-base hit to his name. The Mariners were sold on his raw power, which ranks as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and they were willing to look past his the swing-and-miss aspects of his game.
Victor Reyes, rf, Braves. In his full-season debut at low Class A Rome, the 19-year-old Reyes has a .613 OPS, having gone 4-for-21 this week. All the hits were singles, and he struck out six times and did not walk. Reyes’ power has not shown up yet, but the lefty hitter’s bat speed is above-average, and he has time and talent on his side.
Noah Syndergaard, rhp, Mets. Despite throwing 98 mph seemingly without effort while collecting the save at the Futures Game, Syndergaard has had a rough go at Triple-A Las Vegas since June. In that time he’s logged an 8.71 ERA in seven starts, while allowing opponents to hit .351. His other peripherals look fine—8.7 strikeouts and 2.0 walks per nine innings in that span—so don’t hit the panic button just yet. The 21-year-old needs to mix his pitches better and not catch so much of the plate with his fastball, which is true for many power pitching prospects.
Javier Guerra, ss, Red Sox: When Guerra signed with the Red Sox for $250,000 out of Panama two years ago, he showed a sound defensive package, with a good internal clock, smooth actions and a strong, accurate arm. He also grew a couple of inches, though that didn’t help him much at the plate last year in the Dominican Summer League, where he hit .248/.356/.290 in 60 games. Guerra showed feel for the strike zone, however, and with extra strength this year, the ball has started to jump off his bat more frequently. Now 18, Guerra is hitting .329/.346/.500 in 20 games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, with a nice, level swing and ability to manipulate the barrel.