Prospect Hot Sheet: June 10

As noted in Julio Teheran’s writeup, the Braves have been noticeably less represented on the Hot Sheet this year than recent years until this week. But it’s worth noting that if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s six innings over the limit, Braves lefty Mike Minor would be on this week’s list as well. Minor’s eight-inning, one-hit shutout is well worth a Hot Sheet appearance, but he’s no longer eligible.

Remember that 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 from June 3 through last night, June 9.

Contributing: Ted Cahill, J.J. Cooper, Kyle Dugan,
Matt Eddy, Michael Kanen, Brandon Moree and Jim Shonerd.

No. 1 JULIO TEHERAN, RHP

BRAVES

Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.64, 14 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 16 SO

The Scoop: Maybe you’ve noticed something a little odd. The Braves came into the season with one of the best farm systems in baseball, yet their prospects have been notably absent most weeks from the Prospect Hot Sheet. That’s partly because Freddie Freeman, Brandon Beachy and Craig Kimbrel have been helping the big league club in Atlanta (Mike Minor and Teheran have also seen big league time), and partly because Braves farmhands have been solid, not dominant this season.

Teheran changed that this week, delivering one of the finest pitching performances of the minor league season yesterday. Teheran threw eight shutout innings in Toledo, holding the Mud Hens to three hits and no walks. Teheran struck out 11 of the 27 batters he faced, giving him 57 whiffs in 63 2/3 innings for the season in Triple-A and lowering his ERA to 1.98. The Braves have plenty of pitching in Atlanta and reinforcements with Minor going tomorrow (and Beachy when he comes off the disabled list), but Teheran could play a role down the stretch if the Braves stay in contention.

2011
Stats

No. 2 PAT CORBIN, LHP

DIAMONDBACKS

Team: Double-A Mobile (Southern)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.60, 2 GS, 15 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 18 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: Tyler Skaggs might have been the most recognizable name the Diamondbacks received from the Angels in last season’s Dan Haren trade, but with his performance this season, Corbin has proven to be much more than a throw-in. Los Angeles’ second-round pick in 2009, Corbin completed two masterful pitching performances this week in which he allowed only one run over 15 innings to a pair of middle-of-the-road Southern League offenses, Huntsville and Birmingham. He matched a season high with 10 strikeouts in yesterday’s start, as he fanned Barons lefty batters Tyler Kuhn (who ranks second in the SL batting race) and Seth Loman three times apiece.

Corbin got rocked for nine runs on 13 hits in his May 19 start, but if we toss that one aside and consider the other five starts he’s made since May 14, the results are startlingly good. In that time he’s gone 5-0, 0.27 with 40 strikeouts, seven walks (with another two hit batters) and just 22 hits allowed over 33 2/3 innings.

2011
Stats

No. 3 DEVIN MESORACO, C

REDS

Team: Triple-A Louisville (International)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .444/.516/.852 (12-for-27), 5 R, 5 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Mesoraco, a developing catcher, has gotten a chance to get acquainted with a whole new group of pitchers in recent weeks. Injuries at the big league level have necessitated callups galore and have forced the Reds to put out an opening casting call to fill holes in the Triple-A rotation. But even with all the shuffling, Mesoraco’s work at the plate keeps getting better and better. His average exceeded .300 in April and May, and now he’s hitting .406 in June with an equally gaudy .781 slugging percentage. Ramon Hernandez’s near-.900 OPS in Cincinnati means that Mesoraco will likely remain in Louisville for the time being. But among the Reds’ long list of blocked prospects in Triple-A, Mesoraco is the one most likely to take a roster spot from a veteran before too long.

2011
Stats
No. 4 DUSTIN ACKLEY, 2B

MARINERS

Team: Triple-A Tacoma (Pacific Coast)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .400/.545/.700 (10-for-25), 9 R, 1 3B, 2 2B, 6 RBIs, 8 BB, 1 SO

The Scoop: Ackley is a pure hitter whose strike-zone judgment ranks among the best in the minors. Those skills should help him in his transition to the major leagues, which is likely to come in the near future. Ackley has totaled many more walks (50) than strikeouts (35) thus far, and his power is coming around with nine bombs so far, putting him at .299/.414/.494 on the season. Ackley’s defense at second base is still below-average, but prospects seem to have a way of magically becoming big league ready this time each year. Clubs breathe a sigh of relief once the expected Super 2 cutoff date passes because often it means dancing the arbitration dance with players three times instead of four. Whatever the case may be, Ackley could provide Seattle with a Buster Posey-type impact on offense, which the Mariners desperately need.

2011
Stats

No. 5 VANCE WORLEY, RHP

PHILLIES

Team: Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)

Age: 23

Why He’s
Here:
2-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 13 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 15 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: Pitching behind the National League’s stoutest rotation has afforded Worley just 24 big league innings this season. But the Phillies will face decisions on potential free agents Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt this offseason—bringing back both seems unlikely—so Worley’s day figures to arrive in 2012. He’s made the most of his second season in Triple-A with an enhanced strikeout rate (9.5 per nine innings) and a shiny 4-2, 2.33 record through seven starts. Worley has filled in at various points for Oswalt and Joe Blanton, but Philadelphia optioned him back to Lehigh Valley after the Reds and Mets hit him hard in two late-May starts (11 runs, 18 hits in eight innings). He rebounded nicely in his first two starts with the IronPigs, as evidenced by the performance above (13 shutout innings, 15 strikeouts).

2011
Stats

No. 6 DREW HUTCHISON, RHP

BLUE JAYS

Team: low Class A Lansing (Midwest)

Age:
20

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 12 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 18 SO

The Scoop: We highlighted Hutchison as the Helium prospect of our first Hot Sheet of the season. It’s time he graduated to the regular Hot Sheet. If you’re unhappy with your team’s first five picks, do remember that guys like Hutchison are lurking in the later rounds. The Blue Jays drafted him in the 15th round two years ago, then induced him to give up his commitment to Stetson for $400,000. His stuff has gotten better and now profiles as at least middle-of-the-rotation quality. He has the repeatable delivery to go with it, which explains how he got through two starts without a walk.

2011
Stats

No. 7 DAVID HOLMBERG, LHP

DIAMONDBACKS

Team: low Class A South Bend (Midwest)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 15 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: Holmberg has won his last six decisions, but he took it up a notch this week. The lefthander, who came over from the White Sox in the Edwin Jackson trade last year, threw the first complete game of his young career last Friday against Quad Cities, a two-hit shutout. It was just the second nine-inning complete game shutout by a Midwest League pitcher this season. He followed that up by throwing six shutout innings Thursday against Burlington. Holmberg lacks a plus fastball, so his strikeout totals often have been modest—he had just three whiffs in his shutout and has 64 in 69 innings on the year. But he has quality secondary stuff and knows how to pitch, and he induced 16 groundouts against Quad Cities and a further nine in his six frames against Burlington.

2011
Stats

No. 8 DANIEL CORCINO, RHP

REDS

Team: low Class A Dayton (Midwest)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.46, 2 GS, 12 1/3 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 18 SO

The Scoop: Corcino has been called the Reds’ next Johnny Cueto for a while. He has a similar build (short but stocky righthander) and a similar delivery. And he’s getting similar results. As a 20-year-old, Cueto was 8-1, 2.59 with a .191 opponent average and an 82-15 strikeout-walk ratio in 76 innings with low Class A Dayton back in 2006. At the same stage of his development, Corcino is 7-3, 2.77 with a .221 average and a 76-14 strikeout-walk ratio in 62 innings. Cueto’s strong first half got him promoted to high Class A for the second half of the season, we’ll have to see if Corcino can follow in those footsteps.

2011
Stats

No. 9 JAMES DARNELL, 3B

PADRES

Team: Double-A San Antonio (Texas)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .423/.467/.923 (11-for-26), 3 HR, 4 2B, 9 RBIs, 9 R, 2 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Double-A Mobile’s Paul Goldschmidt has out-homered Darnell 21-13 on the season, but Darnell has an equal number of extra-base hits with 35. The power outburst is no fluke. Darnell hit just 10 homers and slugged .408 for San Antonio last season, but he did so with one giant mitigating factor: a painful cyst on his right wrist that required offseason surgery. “It was awkward throwing, awkward hitting (with the cyst),” he told the San Antonio Express-News. Darnell’s name litters the Texas League leaderboards. He ranks second in batting (.363), fourth in homers (13), third in RBIs (45), first in doubles (21), second in on-base (.459) and third in slugging (.656). Just don’t expect him to stick around the TL long enough to challenge for the triple crown.

2011
Stats

No. 10 ZACK COZART, SS

REDS

Team: Triple-A Louisville (International)

Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .581/.606/.968 (18-for-31), 2 HR, 4 2B, 1 3B, 9 RBIs, 9 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Cozart has roared back from a 7-for-56 (.125) start over the first two weeks of the season to resume his status as one of the top stealth shortstop prospects in the minors. No International Leaguer can top his 1.047 OPS since May 1, and on the year he ranks second in the circuit with 21 doubles and 44 runs scored, fourth with 28 extra-base hits and sixth in the batting race at .323. He may not be flashy, but Cozart has the skills to man the middle infield in the big leagues for years to come. He’s shown power for Louisville for two seasons running (.442 slugging), while this year he’s showing a better feel to hit with a higher average and lower strikeout rate.

2011
Stats

No. 11 CHIH-HSIEN CHIANG, RF

RED SOX

Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .440/.462/1.120 (11-for-25), 7 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: The Red Sox are one of a handful of teams with a presence in Taiwan, a growing source of baseball talent that has predominantly produced pitchers rather than position players. Chiang could start to change that, as he’s showing the ability to hit for average and power with a .316/.359/.646 line in 43 games that includes 10 home runs. Chiang is still a free swinger but he has the hand-eye coordination and the raw power to make his approach work for him right now, though scouts would like to see him show more selectivity as he moves up through the system.

2011
Stats

No. 12 TOMAS TELIS, C

RANGERS

Team:  low Class A Hickory (South Atlantic)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .567/.567/.733 (17-for-30), 7 R, 5 2B, 9 RBIs, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: At 5-foot-8, 175 pounds, Telis doesn’t have your prototypical catcher’s build, and the 175 may be a little on the light side of reality. Believe it or not, the Rangers actually signed Telis as a shortstop out of Venezuela for $130,000 in 2007, but they immediately moved him behind the plate because of how they expected his stocky body would develop. The Rangers had to teach him how to put on his catcher’s equipment four years ago, but he’s always been able to hit, something he’s done plenty of in his full-season debut. The switch-hitting Telis has excellent plate coverage and a knack for putting the barrel to the ball, which is why he’s struck out in just 13 of his 236 trips to the plate and hit .316/.361/.456 on the season.

2011
Stats

No. 13 JAIRO HEREDIA, RHP

YANKEES

Team: high Class A Tampa (Florida State)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 1 GS, 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Heredia always has had the stuff to succeed, with a low-90s fastball and promising secondary offerings, but those tools haven’t translated into results much over the last couple seasons. His prospect status had been in decline ever since an injury-plagued 2009 season, which started when he came to camp out of shape. He’s now getting his third crack at the Florida State League, but he might finally be turning a corner. He’s won his last four decisions, improving to 5-1, 3.57. He had a 16-inning shutout streak snapped in the first inning of his start last Sunday against Lakeland, but that’s the only run he’s allowed in his last three starts. His 10 strikeouts in that game were a career high, and he owns an impressive 44-8 strikeout-walk ratio on the season.

2011
Stats

IN THE TEAM PHOTO

Lucas Duda won’t have the International League to kick around anymore. The Mets intend to recall the 1B/LF today to replace Nick Evans, the replacement for the inured Ike Davis. The 25-year-old Duda belted three homers and three doubles this week for Triple-A Buffalo as part of a 10-for-25 (.400) week that included a solid 4-to-5 walk-to-strikeout ratio. He’s been one of the IL’s hottest hitters since May 1, hitting .390, compiling a 1.415 OPS (74 PA) and bashing nine homers in 19 games . . . With a pair of home runs this week, Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt became the first minor leaguer to reach 20 this year. Goldschmidt led high Class A with 35 home runs last year and is on pace pass that mark even after leaving the hitting haven of the Cal League for the Southern League. This week, the 23-year-old Mobile slugger went 11-for-23 and scored nine runs. The not-so-speedy Goldschmidt even stole a pair of bags this week, giving him a career high six for the season . . . While fellow Lake Elsinore 3B and Padre farmhand Jedd Gyorko has stolen much of the spotlight this season, Edinson Rincon has torched high Class A Cal League pitchers at a similar pace.  After ranking as the No. 2 prospect in the short-season Northwest League two summers ago, Rincon took a step backward in 2010 batting just .250/.315/.399 for low Class A Fort Wayne. With an assist from the Cal League this season, Rincon has rebounded to bat .350/.388/.519. The 20-year-old belted two homers and two doubles while collecting 13 RBIs and six walks in a 12-for-25 (.480) week . . . A shortstop by trade, the Orioles’ Jon Schoop played third base with low Class A Delmarva for the first month of the season before taking over at short for the injured Manny Machado. The 19-year-old Schoop hit his way to high Class A Frederick on June 5, coinciding with Machado’s return. Schoop finished with a .316/.376/.514 line for Delmarva after batting 14-for-27 (.519) with a homer this week . . . Diamondbacks CF Collin Cowgill had as big a night as any hitter this week when he hit for the cycle and went 5-for-6 on Tuesday for Triple-A Reno. The 25-year-old didn’t slack off the rest of the week either, batting .630/.630/1.037 (17-for-27) with two homers, three doubles and a triple . . . Twins RHP and Australia import Liam Hendriks put together two rock-solid starts this past week, going a total of 13 innings, surrendering one run and striking out 10 while walking only a single batter. The stellar control he’s exhibited this year (1.9 walks per nine) has propelled him to No. 7 in the Eastern League in WHIP (1.11), and he’s also tied for second in wins (six) and eighth in strikeouts (61). The 22-year-old Hendriks is on his way to his most productive season if he can avoid the injury bug that cost him parts of 2007 (back) and 2010 (appendicitis), as well as all of 2008 (back) . . . You know it’s a competitive week on the Hot Sheet when three home runs only gets you into the team photo, but that’s where Red Sox LF Brandon Jacobs finds himself. The 20-year-old has shown the combination of power (seven homers) and speed (12 steals) that intrigued the Red Sox when the pried him away from an Auburn football commitment. Most importantly, he’s showing bat skills (.319 average) and not just raw athleticism with low Class A Greenville.

NOT-SO HOT
SHEET

Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b, Indians. While the Indians are flourishing in the American League Central, their top prospect is scuffling. The 22-year-old Chisenhall went 5-for-30 (.167) this week with six strikeouts to drop his season batting line to a fairly pedestrian .256/.349/.401. His troubles this year are rooted in his work against same-handed pitchers—versus southpaws he’s batting just .176/.260/.309. If Chisenhall can right the ship, Cleveland still could use help at the hot corner, where their third baseman have compiled a composite .670 OPS.

Joe Gardner, rhp, Indians. Gardner had two very forgettable starts for Double-A Akron last week, giving up 13 runs in just 7 1/3 innings. The Indians’ third-round pick in 2009, he walked five batters and gave up 15 hits. Gardner’s sinker had seemed to be working well in Double-A before this week, as he was 3-3, 3.46, but against Binghamton and New Britain, Gardner didn’t miss many bats, striking out just two batters.

• Daniel Fields, of, Tigers. When the Tigers drafted Fields in the sixth round in 2009, they were comfortable that his athleticism and feel for the game (his dad Bruce played in the big leagues) would allow him to be fast-tracked. He started his pro career in high Class A Lakeland last year. More than a year later, he’s still there, and his career is heading in the wrong direction. Fields has moved from shortstop to center field, and his work out there is solid. But at the plate, there are a whole lot of concerns. Fields went 3-for-23 (.130) with 11 strikeouts this week, but it’s his .222/.291/.333 overall batting line that is more of a problem.

• Orlando Calixte, ss, Royals. Calixte’s age and identity were the subject of much confusion over the last few years, but the Royals finally decided last year to give the Dominican shortstop a $1 million bonus. Calixte, who goes by a listed date of birth that makes him 19, has been over his head since joining low Class A Kane County two weeks ago. He’s hitting .195/.214/.220 with 18 strikeouts and only one walk in 42 plate appearances. Calixte has solid tools in the infield, but he struggled at the plate a year ago in the Dominican Summer League and is off to another rough start in 2011.

MAN AMONG BOYS

Beau Mills, 1b, Indians.
Things were getting ugly for Mills. A first-round pick in 2007, Mills won the high Class A Carolina League MVP in 2008 but has been on a downward tumble ever since. He struggled in Double-A Akron in 2009, but 2010 was even worse, both on and off the field. Mills hit .241/.312/.377
in 113 games for the Aeroes last year, then made matters worse for himself last June by getting arrested for felonious assault outside an Akron bar. Repeating Double-A for the third time at age 24, Mills is hitting .293/.344/.488 in 23 games since joining the team after starting
the year on the disabled list with Achilles tendinitis, showing that maybe, just maybe, there’s still something there.

BLAST FROM THE
PAST

Matt Antonelli, 2b/3b, Nationals. Taken by the Padres with the 17th overall pick in the 2006 draft, Antonelli rose to prominence as a prospect with a strong ’07 season that included 21 homers, 28 steals, and an .894 OPS. But then he suffered through injury-logged campaigns in 2009-10 and played in just 60 games. He essentially missed all of last year and in ’09 batted just .196 for Triple-A Portland in 189 at-bats. In light of recent events, San Diego non-tendered Antonelli last December, and he settled on Washington as a landing spot because they offered him the best chance of upward mobility. The 26-year-old has made the most of his second chance by refashioning himself as a utility player. Antonelli has called on his strong athleticism to hold down second base (10 games), third base (eight) and even a little shortstop (three) for Triple-A Syracuse. He batted 10-for-27 (.370) this week with a homer, a triple and two doubles. In 18 games for the Chiefs he sports a .364/.425/.576 batting line, which gives him a chance to atone for an ugly cup of coffee (.573 OPS in 65 PA) with the ’08 Padres.

HELIUM
WATCH

Jeimer Candelario, 3b, Cubs. July 2 is right around the corner, which means Baseball America’s reports on the top international prospects will start next week. Meanwhile the summer leagues in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic are underway, with the majority of last year’s international signings making their debuts in those leagues. One of the early standouts has been Cubs third baseman Jeimer Candelario, a $500,000 signing out of the Dominican Republic last summer (although he was born in New York) who has come better than advertised. Candelario, 17, earned praise from scouts for his potential to hit for average and power from both sides of the plate. Even better, his approach at the plate is quite mature for his age, as he’s already drawn 12 walks in 34 plate appearances. Sure, it’s early, but he’s off to a .364/.588/.455 start and leading the DSL in OBP.

Minors | #2011 #Prospect Hot Sheet

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