Prospect Hot Sheet: July 24-July 31

It was a big week for hitters as a number of elite prospects came up huge. As a result, this week’s Hot Sheet is heavily weighted towards offense. One player you won’t see, however, is the Cubs Ryan Harvey. He deserves mention, however, for his performance on Friday.

While playing for high Class A Daytona, the 21-year-old went 4-for-5 with four home runs to raise his season total to 16. The sixth overall pick in the 2003 draft has always tantalized scouts with his impressive raw power, but this is the most impressive application of that tool he has ever shown.

July was also Harvey’s best month of the season as he hit .319 in 94 at-bats, but plate discipline is still a major problem. He walked just twice to go with 28 strikeouts in July and has a 100-15 strikeout-walk ratio on the season.

He is hitting .234/.268/.421 on the season and while he is not performing up to his pedigree, his performance on Friday is a rare feat and if nothing else, he has etched his name in the Florida State League record book.

Remember, this is not a rewrite of our Top 100 prospects list. This is simply a snapshot of which prospects are currently riding the biggest hot streaks.

If you have any comments, feel free to e-mail Chris Kline or Matt Meyers with your kudos or complaints.

THE HOT SHEET

1. Alex Gordon, 3b, Royals (Double-A Wichita)
The second overall pick from 2005 had the best week of his career as he went 13-for-26 with five home runs and 11 RBIs. Now hitting .315/.416/.558, Gordon is definitely putting himself in the discussion for No. 1 on our Top 100 prospects list next winter. Gordon, along with Wichita teammate Billy Butler and new general manager Dayton Moore, give Royals fans a reason to be optimistic.
2. Delmon Young, of, Devil Rays (Triple-A Durham)
Young’s bat speaks for itself–at least most of the time. The 20-year-old five-tool right fielder with superhuman reflexes has rediscovered his power stroke with the Bulls. He led all International League batters with eight extra-base hits (including four home runs), 10 RBIs and 10 runs scored. Young was 12-for-28 (.429) on the week.
3. Adam Miller, rhp, Indians (Double-A Akron)
The 21-year-old’s numbers have never matched his million dollar arm–until this month. Miller went 4-0, 0.29 in July with a 30-9 strikeout-walk ratio in 31 innings. On the season, the supplemental first-rounder in 2003 is now 11-5, 3.08 with 117 strikeouts and 35 walks in 120 innings.
4. Reid Brignac, ss, Devil Rays (High Class A Visalia)
Brignac has had a few hot streaks this year, and his performance last week ranks with any of them. The 20-year-old hit .478 on the week with two homers and 11 RBIs and is now hitting .320/.375/.548 with 20 home runs and 25 doubles.
5. Philip Humber, rhp, Mets (High Class A St. Lucie)
Humber has made it look easy since returning from Tommy John surgery. He is 3-1, 2.37 overall and in his last four outings he has allowed only one earned run over 23 innings while fanning 22 and walking six.
6. Neil Walker, c, Pirates (High Class A Lynchburg)
With 12 hits over his last four games Walker raised his average from .255 to .284 and is showing signs he is over the wrist inury that has plagued him. He even added his second and third homers of the year yesterday and is up to .284/.340/.409 in 215 at-bats.
7. Brian Barton, of, Indians (Double-A Akron)
Barton has made the Trevor Crowe injury a forgotten one in Akron. Upon promotion, something clicked with Barton, who has homered in five of his 12 Double-A games. The toolsy outfielder is 20-for-41 in Double-A, pretty impressive for a player who went undrafted out of Miami. Barton is making a lot of teams scratch their heads for passing up on him.
8. Adrian Cardenas, ss, Phillies (Rookie-level GCL Phillies)
The Baseball America High School Player of the Year has validated our selection as a pro so far, raising his batting average 80 points on the week. The shortstop accomplished this by going 15-for-24, including five multi-hit games. Cardenas still has a long way to go, however, as all 15 hits were singles.
9. Cameron Maybin, of, Tigers (Low-A West Michigan)
Maybin continues to rake and has hits in his last 12 games. This includes six multi-hit games in the last week, and better yet, just four strikeouts. What’s more, Maybin is nearing a month without being caught stealing, a streak that includes 11 straight steals. 
10. Carlos Villanueva, rhp, Brewers (Triple-A Nashville)
The PCL has been a piece of cake for Villanueva who is now 3-0, 0.43 in 21 innings for the Sounds. His last start was his best as he struck out eight over seven shutout innings.

IN THE TEAM PHOTO

Matt Kemp, of, Dodgers (Triple-A Las Vegas): After a blistering debut, Kemp fizzled when big league pitchers caught up with him. Back in Triple-A, Kemp hasn’t missed a beat. The 21-year-old center fielder flashed both power (1.058 slugging percentage) and speed (a Pacific Coast League-leading five stolen bases, two triples) last week.
Dustin Nippert, rhp, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Tucson): Nippert, 25, is making his appeal for insertion into the Diamondbacks’ rotation down the stretch. In two starts last week, the 6-foot-7 righthander racked up 14 strikeouts in 14 innings and picked up a pair of wins, surrendering just four earned runs in the process.
Mat Gamel, 3b, Brewers (Low Class A West Virginia): A fourth-rounder in 2005, Gamel turned 21 last week and enjoyed one of the best weeks of his career. The Chipola (Fla.) Junior College product went 10-for-22 with two homers and is now hitting .286/.342/.459 with 12 homers in 377 at-bats.
Chris Lubanski, of, Royals (Double-A Wichita): The 2003 first-rounder is making a habit of turning it on in the second half. Last season he hit .357 after July 1 for high Class A High Desert and this year, he is hitting .311 since July 1 with half of his 10 homers. Three of those homers came last week when he went 9-for-22 and he is up to .273/.357/.458.
Deolis Guerra, rhp, Mets (Low Class A): In his last two starts the 17-year-old has allowed one run over 12 innings with six strikeouts and a walk. In his last 10 starts, he is 5-3, 1.94 in 56 innings with a 39-16 strikeout-walk ratio.
Ryan Mulhern, 1b, Indians (Double-A Akron): Barton’s power-mate in the Akron lineup, Mulhern now has five home runs in his last five games. The Indians have been waiting on such power, as Mulhern didn’t even hit as many home runs in the 79 games between an early April hot streak and this one. Mulhern, who hit 32 homers last season, needs to show more consistency, but this is a step in the right direction.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): Speaking of good steps forward, this kid is the phrase’s poster boy. Need a reminder of how bad things were? Salty was hitting below .200 on July 15 and he hit .175 in May and June combined. However, since returning from a bruised hand 12 games ago, something has clicked, and 2005 Salty has been revived. In those dozen games, Salty is 13-for-38 with five home runs, 13 walks and just five strikeouts.
Boone Logan, lhp, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): The ultimate Spring Training success story, Logan crashed and burned when moving away from the Cactus League. Struggles continued when Logan moved to Triple-A Charlotte, and Logan found himself on the Not Hot Sheet. Now a closer with the Knights, Logan has caught fire, not allowing an earned run since June 26. During that time, the southpaw has allowed just five hits and two walks in 14 innings, striking out 23.
Jeff Niemann, rhp, Devil Rays (Double-A Montgomery): It was a long time coming for Niemann to earn his first victory as a professional, which he accomplished last Monday. His seven-inning, one-hit effort was fantastic, and Niemann followed it up by allowing two hits in five scoreless innings on Saturday. Reports of Niemann have been stellar since he returned to Montgomery, and Niemann is another story of revival in this week’s Hot Sheet.
Milton Loo, dh/ss, Reds (Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Reds): After a late start in the GCL, Loo has made up for lost time by collecting nine hits in 20 at-bats last week. The Reds big draft-and-follow from Yavapai (Ariz.) JC has shown power and contact ability, but has yet to show off his defense. Loo has played the infield just twice in 11 games since starting his season, two successful outings at shortstop.
Eric Hurley, rhp, Rangers (Double-A Frisco): After looking awful in his final two California League outings, it was surprising that the Rangers would promote him.  Hurley has looked like a different pitcher in Double-A, however, or at least like the righthander that tore through the Cal League in the season’s first three months. In his two starts on the week, Hurley allowed just two runs on five hits and two walks in 13 innings.
Jeff Keppinger, 2b, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): Since being acquired from the Mets for Ruben Gotay, Keppinger has been raking. The 26-year-old is 16-for-37 with three doubles and two home runs for the Royals. At some point, he is bound to get a chance and it is far more likely that will come with the Royals then with the Mets.
Kieron Pope, of, Orioles (Rookie-level Bluefield): Pope, a fourth-round pick in ’05 out of a Georgia high school, had a rough go at the Appalachian League in his debut, hitting just .228/.297/.362 last year. What a difference a year makes. The 19-year-old left fielder led all Appy Leaguers last week in home runs (three), doubles (six), extra-base hits (nine), RBIs (nine) and slugging percentage (1.038). For the season, he’s hitting .346/.418/.600.
Clayton Tanner, lhp, Giants (Short-season Salem-Keizer) : The Giants are doing their best to limit his innings, but one has to be impressed by a kid straight out of high school dominating a league filled with guys straight out of college. The third-rounder is yet to allow a run in 12 innings with 13 strikeouts and 2 walks.
Greg Golson, of, Phillies (High Class A Clearwater): After hitting .220/.258/.333 with 107 strikeouts and 19 walks in 387 at-bats for low Class A Lakewood, Golson was surprisingly promoted to Clearwater. Contrary to all logic, he is starting to hit. Twenty-six at-bats is a small sample, but he is hitting .346/.370/.654. It’s hard to imagine that he sustains this, but it is certainly worth mentioning.

THE NOT-SO-HOT SHEET

Shane Funk, rhp, Rangers (Rookie-level Arizona League Rangers)
Funk struggled mightily in his pro debut a year ago, posting a 7.86 ERA in the AZL allowing 23 earned runs in 26 innings. Funk did show a hint of potential, however, striking out 28 batters in the process. He still has a positive strikeout rate this season, but the righthander is continuing to look like a draft day disaster in the complex league. In his last five starts, Funk is 0-5 with 17 hits, 11 walks, and 12 earned runs in 12 innings.
Jose Arredondo, rhp, Angels (Double-A Arkansas)
Arredondo made quite the arrival onto the Double-A scene five starts ago, throwing a complete game shutout in his Arkansas debut. Since then, the wheels have come off and Arredondo has allowed 19 hits and 13 earned runs in just eight innings.
Salomon Manriquez, c, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg)
It has been a rough few weeks for Manriquez who as recently as June 24 was hitting .296. By virtue of getting seven hits in his last 67 at-bats, he is down to .244/.315/.347.
Trevor Hutchinson, rhp, Marlins (Double-A Carolina)
Hutchinson’s prospect status has been diminishing steadily over the last two years, and it might be completely gone soon. After going 0-3, 10.20 in 15 innings upon promotion to Double-A Carolina, the 26-year-old was just placed on the disabled list with turf toe.
Matt Tuiasosopo, 3b, Mariners (Double-A San Antonio)
His July was pretty much a zero as he went 14-for-90 with just six RBIs and only one extra-base hit. Power has been an enormous problem all year as the 20-year-old is slugging just .318  in 349 at-bats between high Class A Inland Empire and San Antonio.

BLAST FROM THE PAST



Ed Rogers, ss, Orioles (Triple-A Ottawa)
His potential was once one of the more divisive topics in the Baseball America office. The non-believers were correct, but Rogers still shows flashes of why people were high on him in the first place. He hit .407 last week and the 27-year-old is now hitting .322/.360/.444 in 214 at-bats for the Lynx. If only Miguel Tejada had been traded, the path would have finally been cleared for Rogers.

HELIUM WATCH



Chris Rahl, of, Diamondbacks (High Class A Lancaster)
A fifth-rounder in 2005 out of William & Mary, Rahl is showing some juice this season. The 22-year-old is 13-for-27 in his last six games and has not hit below .300 in any month. His 144 hits lead the minors and his 37 doubles rank third. In 421 at-bats, Rahl is hitting .342/.373/.530. Though he plays a great hitting environment, it is still an impressive season.

Minors | #2006 #Prospect Hot Sheet

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