See also: Previous Prospect Hot Sheets
We’re back. After a one-week hiatus of the normal Hot Sheet while we attended to the Major League Baseball draft, we’re back with our weekly listing of which prospects had the best weeks around the minors.
We’ve worked in a lot of new faces this week, including several players, like Jon Jay and Adam Moore, who find themselves blocked by more highly regarded prospects a level above them. It may mean they struggle to make it to the big leagues in their current organization, but at least they can rest assured that the Hot Sheet noticed them.
Remember as always, this is not a re-ranking of our Top 100 Prospects list. Instead, it’s a snapshot of who are the hottest prospects in baseball right now, with stats from the past week (June 6-12) getting the most consideration. The Why He’s Here line in the writeups refers to each player’s stats during that time.
Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Jim Shonerd and Nathan Rode
|No. 1 MATT WIETERS, C||ORIOLES|
Team:high Class A Frederick (Carolina)
Why He’s Here: .526/.654/.895, 10-for-19, 6 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 7-3 BB-K, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: This may be remembered as the week that Carolina League pitchers finally waved a white flag to Wieters. Pitchers simply decided to not let the league’s best hitter beat them, so they have resorted to pitching around him, as evidenced by his five walks in two games. Who can blame them, as when he sees a pitch he can hit, it’s often leaving the park.
It’s not a question of whether Matt Wieters will make it the big leagues. It’s simply a question of how soon? At this rate it’ll be here before you know it. Wieters has been one of the surest bets when it comes to making the Hot Sheet, and this past week may rival his previous rankings.
Oh and just to show that he’s versatile, Wieters also laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt this week. He’s a great power hitter who’s also unselfish; we like to honor that on the Hot Sheet.
|No. 2 DEXTER FOWLER, CF||ROCKIES|
Team:Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Why He’s Here:.481/.581/.857 (13-for-27), 10 R, 7 RBIs, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB.
The Scoop:There’s a reason that scouts look for players with big-time tools and athleticism. The numbers can give you an estimate of a player’s true talent level and future projection, but young athletes with great tools often find a way to get the job done. Last year Fowler hit .273/.397/.367 in 65 games with high Class A Modesto in the California League while battling injuries. This year, Fowler has been outstanding, battting .305/.392/.478 in 249 at-bats, making a strong case to be known as the top prospect in the Rockies system. Loaded with tools and a projectable 6-foot-4, 175-pound frame, Fowler’s development is an encouraging sign for Colorado.
|No. 3 MADISON BUMGARNER, LHP||GIANTS|
Team: low Class A Augusta (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO
The Scoop: You expect a certain amount of inconsistency with young players, and particularly with guys who are experiencing their first full professional season, but inconsistency hasn’t been an issue for Bumgarner. The 10th overall pick a year ago, Bumgarner signed too late to play short-season ball in 2007. He has has stepped in and dominated the Sally League in 2008, earning himself a trip to Tuesday’s SAL All-Star Game in Greensboro. Bumgarner hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any start since April 18, and he turned the best performance of his young career Wednesday in Asheville. In the front end of a doubleheader, Bumgarner pitched a seven-inning complete game shutout, holding Asheville’s potent offense to only four hits, walking none, and striking out 10. It was his second double-digit strikeout game of the season, and he dropped his ERA to 1.96, good for fifth in the league.
|No. 4 LOGAN MORRISON, 1B||MARLINS|
Team: high Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: .536/.581/.857, 15-for-28, 7 R, 6 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 2-5 BB-K, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Morrison is quietly becoming a very good power prospect for the Marlins. A draft-and-follow out of Albert Pujols’ alma mater, Maple Woods (Mo.) CC, in 2005, Morrison had a disappointing debut in 2006, but took full advantage of Greensboro’s cozy confines in 2007. He seems to have found a comfort level as he has continued to hit for power, even in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. His big week raises his season line to .319/.387/.484 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs.
|No. 5 CHRIS DAVIS, 1B||RANGERS|
Team: Triple-A Oklahoma (Pacific Coast League)
Why He’s Here: .480/.522/.920 (12-for-25), 5 R, 5 RBI, 5 2B, 2 HR, 4 BB, 3 K, 1-for-1 SB.
The Scoop: Before the season began, the Rangers decided to move Davis from third base to first because of his below-average defense at the hot corner and the team’s need for a long-term first baseman. Davis has kept right on hitting after the defensive switch, but he has found first base for Texas is much more crowded than it was when the Rangers moved him. The team has announced that Hank Blalock will take over first base in Arlington when he comes off the disabled list, and now Davis has new first-round pick Justin Smoak in his rear-view mirror. The Blalock move likely slows Davis’ ascent to Texas by a couple of months, but as long as he keeps hitting like this, it won’t matter who else the Rangers add to the roster.
|No. 6 BRETT ANDERSON, LHP||ATHLETICS|
Team: high Class A Stockton (California)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 HB, 9 K
The Scoop: Not long ago, Anderson found himself last only a third of an inning, get put on the disabled list and land as the Not Hot prospect of high Class A, all in one week. He missed close to two weeks, but returned on May 31 and is back to his pre-disabled list form. Since his return he is 2-0, 1.08 in 16 2/3 innings with 20 strikeouts, two hit batters and a walk.
|No. 7 TRAVIS SNIDER, OF||BLUE JAYS|
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .458/.500/.667 (11-for-24), 5 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: All the strikeouts early in the year were a little troubling. Snider was nursing a sore elbow, which prompted the Blue Jays to play Snider at DH to start the year. But now he’s playing both left and right field—though make no mistake, he’s still a below-average fielder—and his hitting is kicking into gear. In 180 at-bats with the Fisher Cats, Snider has hit .272/.368/.467, incredible numbers for a 20-year-old who, had he gone to college, would likely just be gearing up for the Cape Cod League season right now.
|No. 8 JON JAY, CF||CARDINALS|
Team: Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Why He’s Here: Hit .536/.581/.821 (15-for-28), 7 R, 5 RBIs, 1 3B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 1 K, 3-for-3 SB.
The Scoop: Being the center fielder one step behind Colby Rasmus on the organizational depth chart isn’t an ideal situation for any player. That’s the reality that Jay faces, but he’s making the most of his time with Springfield. Jay ripped off a streak of four consecutive multi-hit games this week, including a stretch of three straight three-hit games. Jay struggled in May (.241/.300/.352 in 120 plate appearances), but his season line of .310/.367/.478 in 245 at-bats still make him an above-average center fielder in the Texas League. Neither Jay’s tools nor his performance project for big league stardom, but he has the potential to be an average or above-average big league center fielder.
|No. 9 MIKE STANTON, RF||MARLINS|
Team: low Class A Greensboro (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .310/.357/.793, 9-for-29, 1 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R, 3 BB, 8 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Stanton slugged his way onto this week’s Hot Sheet, his first appearance here of the season. Although Greensboro is a hitter-friendly ballpark, and three of his four long balls this week came at home, the numbers Stanton put up this week were too loud to look past. Throw in the fact that he’s one of the SAL’s youngest regulars, and you see why he’s regarded as having one of the highest upsides of any player in Florida’s system. Stanton has homered in three straight games through Thursday, surging to the top of the Sally League leader board with 15 on the season to go with his line of .283/.345/.553. That .553 slugging percentage is good for second in the league as well, and he also scored at least one run in all seven games this week.
|No. 10 MIKE CARP, 1B/LF||METS|
Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: Hit .522/.560/.913 (12-for-23), 4 R, 9 RBIs, 3 2B, 2 HR, 2 BB, 2 K.
The Scoop: Yes, he’s limited to first base, though the Mets have tried him in left field. And yes, he’s not particularly good at either position. But Carp sure can hit, as his .361/.415/.562 line in 219 at-bats would indicate. The Carp bandwagon started go grow after his 2006 season with high Class A St. Lucie, when Carp hit .287/.379/.450 in 573 plate appearances in a pitcher-friendly league. Last year took away a bit of Carp’s luster, as he hit .251/.337/.387 in 412 plate appearances with Binghamton after missing the first seven weeks of the season with a broken right finger. Now the bat seems to be back, making Carp one of the Eastern League’s most dangerous hitters—perhaps the most dangerous.
|No. 11 ADAM MOORE, C||MARINERS|
Team: Double-A West Tenn (Southern)
Why He’s Here:.458/.500/.792 (11-for-24), 4 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: He’s a little bit old for his level, but sometimes we can give catchers a bit of a pass in the age department. Moore’s best tools are tied to his bat, which explains his .305/.383/.459 averages through 220 at-bats. “He’s got a short and simple swing,” West Tenn hitting coach Phil Plaintier said. “It’s easy for him to duplicate and it lends himself in the way he does it, he’s got a really good two-strike approach and he’s got good situational hitting. He has a good idea of what he’s doing for a situational hitting approach.”
|No. 12 NOLAN REIMOLD, OF||ORIOLES|
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Why He’s Here:.450/.500/.700 (9-for-20), 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1/1 SB
The Scoop: After a .232/.324/.347 start in 95 April at-bats, Reimold has been one of the Eastern League’s best hitters. His slash stats have jumped to .287/.377/.494 in 237 at-bats, and Reimold has shown an excellent handle of the strike zone with 33 walks and 35 strikeouts. Reimold has always had the bat speed and the power to become a future big league star, although we would like to see him at a higher level soon given his age.
|No. 13 CHRIS VALAIKA, SS||REDS|
Team: Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
Why He’s Here: .417/.481/.667 (10-for-24), 6 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0/1 SB
The Scoop: After ripping up Florida State League pitchers with a .363/.393/.585 line in 145 plate appearances, Valaika has proven he can hang in the Southern League, too. Now batting .287/.350/.450 in 143 Double-A plate appearances, Valaika highlighted his week with a 5-for-6 performance on Friday at Tennessee. With a heavy lower half, Valaika probably won’t stick at shortstop, but a move to second base wouldn’t ding his value too much, and he might have enough bat to be a productive big league regular at third base, too.
Triple-A Iowa’s Eric Patterson (Cubs) will likely never have a full-time job in Chicago, and with his inability to play shortstop, he doesn’t really fit as a utility infielder. But the man can hit, which likely means at some point, someone will give him a legitimate big league shot. Patterson, 25, hit .400/.423/.760 with three home runs last week, after hitting only one in the first two months of the season . . . One of the most important considerations in prospect or performance evaluation is the context of the player’s environment. In the case of Double-A Bowie (Orioles) RHP Chris Tillman, the 20-year-old the youngest pitcher in Double-A. Anyone who strikes out 17 in 11 1/3 innings (1-1, 3.72, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB) deserves some credit . . . Double-A Akron (Indians) 3B Wes Hodges is riding a seven-game hitting streak. This week, the 23-year-old hit .440/.517/.600 (11-for-25 with a double, a homer and four walks) . . . low Class A Greensboro 3B Matt Dominguez (Marlins) looks like he’s fully recovered from the mono that caused him to miss the season’s first month and half. Dominguez, 18, was in line to make the Hot Sheet before going 0-for-4 Thursday night, but that shouldn’t take away from what was a great week for the 2007 first rounder, who hit .417/.481/.583 with one double and one home run, bringing his line up to .333/.417/.486 in 72 at-bats for the year . . . high Class A Potomac 1B Chris Marrero’s (Nationals) season has been anything but extraordinary, but the 19-year-old did show signs of improvement this week with a line of .379/.400/.690 with two home runs . . . high Class A Lancaster 1B Lars Anderson (Red Sox) missed a few games with sore wrists, but has returned and is hitting, just not for power. Anderson, 20, hit .500/.545/.567 with two doubles and five RBIs this week . . . low Class A Vero Beach RHP Heath Rollins (Rays) is just a hair old for the Florida State League. He just turned 23 at the end of May, but he did what he’s supposed to do this week: dominate. He tossed a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits while fanning 10 against a formidable Sarasota offense.
• Greg Golson, cf, Phillies. Sure, Golson has a hit in his last three games. But in the last seven days, Golson is just 3-for-21 with three singles, one walk and seven strikeouts. Stretch that back three more games to the first day of June and Golson is batting .088/.111/.088, going 3-for-31 with no extra-base hits, one walk and 12 strikeouts. Golson’s OPS has dropped from .874 on May 31 to its current .781 mark. That’s still a respectable figure, but the 22-year-old’s 14 walks and 77 strikeouts continue to be a concern.
• Henry Rodriguez, rhp, Athletics. Rodriguez, 21, was promoted to Double-A after just three starts for high Class A Lancaster. At Double-A Midland he was a candidate for this dishonor almost every week. He went 1-6, 8.82 in nine starts and had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 36-to-36. He completed five innings just once. Then after one start in June he was shipped back down to the unfriendly California League where he promptly had another bad start in which he gave up five runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out six, but walked six also.
• Corey Brown, cf, Athletics. Brown started the season strong, hitting .326/.407/.598 in April, but his bat has left something to be desired ever since. Brown hit only .215/.311/.376 in May, and his production has declined even more in June. Brown, 22, has only four hits in 10 games this month, and his home run last Friday was just his second extra-base hit in his last 14 games. For the week, Brown hit .059/.111/.346 in going 1-for-17 with five strikeouts, with the home run accounting for his only two RBIs.
• Chris Aguila, of, New Orleans/New York Mets. Aguila, 29, ranked 18th in the Marlins systen in the first-ever Baseball America Prospect Handbook back in 2001. Since then he’s bounced around, developing a reputation as a guy who’s the perfect 4-A player. He hits for average, but with not enough pop to stick as a big league corner outfielder. He can steal an occasional base, but not enough to make up for the lack of power. But with seven home runs in nine games, he’s forcing scouts to reassess whether there is some pop in the bat. He already has 17 home runs this year for Triple-A New Orleans, two more than his previous single-season high. The Mets have noticed, giving Aguila another chance at the big leagues with a call-up late this week to replace Abraham Nunez.
|YAMAICO NAVARRO, SS||RED SOX|
|Team: low Class A Greenville (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .348/.375/.783, 8-for-23, 1 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop: The Red Sox system is very well stocked at the shortstop position, so Navarro can be easily overlooked sometimes, but his bat has been speaking pretty loudly in 2008. Navarro has seen time at both second and third base also, but he’s been Greenville’s primary shortstop for most of the season with Oscar Tejeda sidelined due to staph infections. One of the more offensive-minded of the Boston shortstops, he’s hitting .291/.354/.457 in 230 at-bats on the season, plus he’s chipped in six home runs and his 40 RBIs are second on the team. Navarro’s numbers have gotten better in each month as well, going from .265/.315/.382 in April to .372/.426/.767 so far in June.
Low Class A West Virginia catcher Jonathan Lucroy (Brewers) is celebrating his 22nd birthday today, the downside of which is that he’ll be sentenced to the Men Among Boys section of the Hot Sheet whenever he puts up a good week while staying in low Class A. That’s the case this week for Lucroy, who hit .320/.452/.600 (8-for-25) with a double, two home runs, and three RBIs. The 2007 third rounder is hitting .311/.390/.515 in 235 at-bats for the season. He’s a very solid prospect, we just are looking forward to seeing what he can do against older competition.