See also: Previous Prospect Hot Sheet
It’s been a busy week here at the Baseball America World Headquarters, but things are slowly getting back to normal after the first televised draft–and longest first round–in history.
But just when you thought things were settling in for the last 2 1/2 months of the season, this little wrinkle called the Futures Game sits just on the horizon. Between that event and all the other all-star games across the minors, it’ll be mid-July before things really get settled. And that’s when league Top 20s and what we like to call ‘prospect season’ truly begins.
It wasn’t a great week for big names, and we really had to examine results hard to bring you some beef this time around.
That being said, we went off the reservation with our No. 1 pick, Giants righthander Henry Sosa, and the entire list features some interesting twists and turns from there.
Just going by the numbers–along with the pure stuff–Sosa was the easy choice for the top spot. But looking at other numbers of players not appearing on this week’s Hot Sheet reveals the following:
• The Brewers strike a lot of folks out. High Class A Brevard County righthander Will Inman tied Triple-A Nashville righthander Yovani Gallardo for the minor-league lead in strikeouts with 98. But other than all those whiffs, both pitchers were raked last week.
• Indians outfielder Brian Barton is our early favorite to win this year’s Carlos Quentin Award for times hit by pitch. So far, Barton leads the minors after being plunked 18 times.
• Phillies righthander Carlos Carrasco’s velocity was down earlier this season, but the club’s No. 1 prospect is heating up at high Class A Clearwater. Carrasco whiffed eight in his last start–which was his longest outing of the season.
This could be our most diverse Hot Sheet of the season so far, with 18 different clubs represented.
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.
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|1. Henry Sosa, rhp, low Class A Augusta (Giants)|
For most pitchers Henry Sosa’s last three starts would be outstanding: 3-0, 1.12 with 20 strikeouts in 16 innings piched. But for Sosa they’re actually below average. Sosa saw his ERA climb to a still microscopic 0.76 easily the best in the minors.
Sosa’s season is nearly incomprehensible. He’s not allowed two earned runs in any of his 12 outings and he’s not allowed any earned run in seven outings. Righthanders are hitting .109 against him this year. And his stuff is legit: he has a 94-95 mph fastball that has touched 98 this season to go with an improving curveball.
Add it all up, and you’ve got an easy choice for the pole position on this week’s Hot Sheet.
|2. Ian Kennedy, rhp, Double-A Trenton (Yankees)|
So long, Florida State League; hello New Jersey. Kennedy took a big step toward being in the mix in case yet another Yankee starter goes down, being promoted to Trenton after putting up 6-1, 1.29 numbers at high Class A Tampa. All Kennedy did in his first week in Double-A was win both his starts and strike out 14 over 11 innings.
|3. Adam Jones, of, Triple-A Tacoma (Mariners)|
The hitting barrage continued for Jones, the Mariners’ center fielder of the future. And if he continues hitting like he did last week–.464 with three homers, two doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs–he may be big league-ready sooner than anticipated. Jones is now .425/.465/.850 for the month of June.
|4. Bill Rowell, 3b, low Class A Delmarva (Orioles)|
The strained oblique that kept Rowell in extended for nearly two months seems to have left the building as he hit .455 in 22 at-bats last week. Rowell homered and drove in 12 runs in seven games. The Orioles’ No. 1 prospect didn’t get an invite to the South Atlantic League All-Star game, but don’t be misled. His season line is now .305/.391/.883.
|5. Tyler Colvin, of, high Class A Daytona (Cubs)|
A 2006 first-rounder, Colvin is holding his own among the top outfield prospects in the FSL–including Jay Bruce and Cameron Maybin, hitting .311/.342/.500 in 228 at-bats. Last week, he overshadowed both, hitting .441 with a pair of bombs.
|6. Chris Coghlan, 2b, low Class A Greensboro (Marlins)|
This 2006 first rounder went 4-for-4 on Friday with his eighth bomb of the season and a double. Coghlan hit .435 in 23 at-bats this week and is now sixth in the minor leagues with 54 RBIs (first in the SAL).
|7. Jordan Schafer, of, high Class A Myrtle Beach (Braves)|
OK, so Schafer is leading the minors in hits (87), is tied for first in triples (8), ranks fourth in doubles (23) and second in extra-base hits (39). That’s enough to get him in the top 10. But Schafer also has handled the jump from low Class A Rome to the Carolina League with aplomb, and batted .379 last week.
|8. Michael Saunders, of, high Class A High Desert (Mariners)|
Yes, it was the crazy California League in arguably the craziest hitting environment–High Desert (apologies to Lancaster)–but Saunders’ week ranks among the best anywhere. He batted .484 with four homers and drove in 12 runs.
|9. Josh Outman, lhp, high Class A Clearwater (Phillies)|
Coming around. Outman struggled early this season, but has put himself in a position for a callup to Reading with 14 strikeouts in as many innings last week. Overall, Outman is 6-3, 2.70 in 73 innings for the Threshers.
|10. Carlos Fisher, rhp, Double-A Chattanooga (Reds)|
After a spot on the depth chart of this year’s Prospect Handbook, Carlos Fisher is ensuring he gets a spot on the Top 30 next year. Since being promoted to Double-A Chattanooga he’s been even better than he was in high Class A, last week he struck out 13 in 12 innings, improving to 2-1, 1.26 in seven Double-A starts.
|11. Jacob McGee, lhp, high Class A Vero Beach (Devil Rays)|
Question posed to an American League scout: “Do you like McGee?” His answer: “How can you not? You’d have to be stupid not to with the stupid numbers he’s been putting up, the stupid 95 mile-an-hour fastball from the left side . . . It’s stupid. He’s a monster. You get chills just watching him.” We’ll leave it at that. Oh, and McGee struck out 11 in just six innings last week.
|12. Neil Walker, 3b, Double-A Altoona (Pirates)|
From fringy high Class A catcher to potential all-star third baseman, it’s been an amazing year so far for the 2004 first-rounder. Not only has he handled the adjustment to third well–he’s committed 11 errors in 58 games–but when Walker’s struggled on defense, he hasn’t let that affect his bat. In 215 at-bats, the 21-year-old is hitting .312/.370/.540.
|13. Rick Ankiel, of, Triple-A Memphis (Cardinals)|
Yes, that Rick Ankiel. Still just 27, he’s been the Redbirds’ center fielder and No. 1 power source all season . . . though that may not necessarily be a good thing considering Memphis is one of the PCL’s losing-est and lowest-scoring clubs. Regardless, the erstwhile big league lefty hit .476 last week with three bombs and eight RBIs, and his 15 home runs on the season trail only Mitch Jones and Val Pascucci for the league lead.
|14. Chase Headley, 3b, Double-A San Antonio (Padres)|
Look out! It’s another Hot Sheet sighting for Headley, who with 12 home runs on the season already has matched his total from 2006. And it’s not all the league switch to Texas, either, as Headley played in the even friendlier (for hitters) Cal League last year. Last week, the switch-hitting Headley hit .375 with three homers and two doubles, good for a 1.063 slugging mark.
|15. Jeff Baisley, 3b, Double-A Midland (Athletics)|
Thanks in part to a two-homer game on Sunday, Baisley blasted four homers last week while batting .444 and always plays a solid third base.
|16. Brett Anderson, lhp, low Class A South Bend (Diamondbacks)|
A 2006 second rounder, Anderson continues to roll right along in his first professional season. Anderson struck out seven over six scoreless innings in a June 5 outing against Great Lakes. He is now 7-3, 1.89 ERA in 71 innings.
|17. Kyle McCulloch, rhp, high Class A Winston-Salem (White Sox)|
The 2006 first-rounder came into his own last week, going 1-0, 2.06 with 11 whiffs in 13 innings.
|18. Isaiah Kaaihue, 1b, high Class A Myrtle Beach (Braves)|
Is it Kala or Isaiah? Listed as Kala, but announced as Isaiah both on the field and on Pelicans radio over the weekend, Kaaihue showed off some of his huge raw power last week. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Hawaiian first baseman batted .500 and hit three home runs.
|19. Joe Mather, of, Double-A Springfield (Cardinals)|
The Springfield surprise is trying to become this year’s Terry Evans–a once-failed prospect who forces everyone to take notice with a big year. Mather’s three home runs last week bumped him to a Texas League-leading 17, and he also gunned out the tying run at home to end Sunday’s Springfield win.
|20. Matt Tolbert, 2b, Triple-A Rochester (Twins)|
Matt who? Tolbert only seems like he came out of nowhere, and as a 16th-round pick out of Mississippi in 2004, he’s had to use every ounce of his ability to make it to Triple-A in less than three years. While he’s no longer leading the IL in hitting, he did go 14-for-28 (.500) last week with four doubles and a homer. Dig this: He’s now hitting .386/.454/.583 on the year with nearly as many walks (14) as strikeouts (18).
|Chaz Roe, rhp, high Class A Modesto (Rockies)|
With 42 walks in 75 innings, Roe ranks among the leaders in that category in all the minors. Though he hasn’t been all that hittable for the majority of the season (only 59 hits allowed), Roe allowed 11 earned runs on 18 hits over his last two starts, leading to those 1-8, 4.32 numbers.
|Billy Butler, 1b, Triple-A Omaha (Royals)|
The adjustment to playing first base hasn’t been bad, but Butler’s bat went into a slumber over the last two weeks. In June, Butler is hitting just .129 with one home run.
|Fernando Martinez, of, Double-A Binghamton (Mets)|
Martinez has been hot and cold this season in Double-A, but June has been mostly chilly for the teenager. Martinez is hitting .214 with the same slugging percentage–no extra base hits so far this month.
|Kyle Waldrop, rhp, Double-A New Britain (Twins)|
Waldrop hasn’t been very good since he was promoted to Double-A, and that trend continued for the last two weeks. Over Waldrop’s last two starts, he’s 1-1, 10.13, allowing 12 runs on 15 hits in 11 innings.
|Chip Cannon, 1b, Double-A New Hampshire (Blue Jays)|
Cannon may have led the EL with 27 home runs last season, but his production has tailed way off this season. His overall numbers have dropped to .209/.294/.413 with the help of an .087 average so far in June. With nine games of three whiffs or more, Cannon, with 86, has jumped out to a four-strikeout lead over Matt Fields for the minor league lead.
|Trevor Cahill, rhp, low Class A Kane County (Athletics)|
After pitching just nine innings in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last season, the 2006 second-rounder joined the Midwest League in mid-May. And while he’s been hit well (27 hits in 22 innings), Cahill is showing a 92-94 mph fastball and a plus curveball–the two main reasons he’s whiffed 15 over his last nine innings.
|Gerardo Parra, of, low Class A South Bend (Diamondbacks)|
Signed out of Venezuela in 2004, Parra is playing his first full season in the States . . . and hitting. The 20-year-old is batting .323/.361/.425 in 284 at-bats.
|Brandon Watson, cf, Nationals (Triple-A Columbus)|
In the case of Watson, he’s found you can go home again. He’s back with the same organization where he was once a prospect and he’s giving Columbus fans a reason to cheer an otherwise dreary team with a 37-game hitting streak. If you were drawing up a candidate to roll of a hitting streak, Watson would be your man. He doesn’t walk much and he bats leadoff so he gets plenty of at-bats and he has enough speed to turn choppers into infield singles.