This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from June 9–15. Numbers in parentheses indicate players’ ages.
Remember, this simply recognizes what the hottest prospects in the minors did in the past week—it’s not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.
1. Bo Bichette, ss, Blue Jays (19)
Low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
As we near the Midwest League all-star break, Bichette raised his average to an even .400 by hitting .520 this week. This is remarkable because the MWL’s conditions—cold weather and pitcher’s parks—ensure that the batting champ usually hits about .325. Bichette could go 0-for-31 and would still be hitting over .350.
The last MWL hitter to top .360 in the league was Mike Trout, who hit .362 in 2010. The last hitter to top .370 was Ben Revere, who hit .379 in 2008. In other words, Bichette is putting himself in good company.
2. Brendan Rodgers, ss, Rockies (20)
High Class A Lancaster (California)
Rodgers is one of the best hitters in the minors playing in one of the best hitting environments in the world, which has produced a minor league-leading .404 average. He has had three or more hits in 10 different home games, and is batting .495 at home. On the road, Rodgers has been productive—but mortal—at .310/.317/.500.
3. Mike Soroka, rhp, Braves (19)
Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
The Braves skipped Soroka over high Class A because he pitches like a veteran. Halfway through the season, he ranks among the Southern League leaders in ERA (2.33) and opponent average (.198). Soroka has dominated in June, allowing 10 hits, no runs and one walk while striking out 18 in 22 innings.
4. Luis Castillo, rhp, Reds (24)
Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
One of the prospects the Marlins have too freely traded in recent years, Castillo was acquired by the Reds in the Dan Straily trade in January. The 24-year-old Castillo has shown a plus changeup to go with his mid- to high-90s fastball. For a fireballer, his control is exemplary with a walk rate of 1.5 per nine innings.
5. Alec Hansen, rhp, White Sox (22)
Low Class A Kannapolis (South Atlantic)
When the White Sox drafted Hansen, they promised him regular work, which they hoped would allow him to put to rest his control problems. So far, so good. Hansen’s dominant stuff is missing bats, but more importantly, he’s avoiding the control meltdowns that plagued him at Oklahoma. He has walked four batters in his last four starts.
6. Francisco Mejia, c, Indians (21)
Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Mejia has been as hot as an minor league hitter in June. He’s hitting .452 this month with seven multi-hit games. Mejia hasn’t put together any mammoth hitting streak this year, but he’s actually been even more productive this year than he was last year when he fashioned a 50-game hitting streak.
7. Willie Calhoun, 2b, Dodgers (22)
Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)
Calhoun hit at Yavapai (Ariz.) JC, and he’s hit everywhere the Dodgers have sent him since they drafted him in the fourth round in 2015. A man without a position, Calhoun has started playing left field in addition to second base, but he’s not really major league ready at either position.
8. Ozzie Albies, 2b, Braves (20)
Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Abies came back from a trip to the disabled list for a foot injury with three straight multi-hit games. He got off to a slow start this season as he worked back from last year’s elbow injury, and just as he started to hit, his foot injury slowed him down again. Albies needs to stay healthy, but with Brandon Phillips playing well in Atlanta, the Braves have no pressing need to call him up.
9. Adonis Medina, rhp, Phillies (20)
Low Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)
One member of the Phillies’ army of young power arms, Medina appears to be taking a giant leap this year with his mid-90s fastball with good life and quality slider. Medina struck out fewer than 5.0 batters per nine innings last year, but with improved control, he has struck out 10 or more batters three times this year in 11 starts.
10. Zack Littell, rhp, Yankees (21)
Double-A Trenton (Eastern)
An 11th-round pick of the Mariners who the Yankees acquired in last November’s James Pazos trade, Littell is a control artist with a sneaky 91-92 mph fastball. He earned a promotion to Double-A Trenton this week and responded with seven scoreless innings in his Double-A debut.
11. Nick Gordon, ss, Twins (21)
Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
It’s been an encouraging year for the Twins in terms of player development. They just drafted Royce Lewis first overall in the draft, and Gordon has taken a big step forward at Double-A. Gordon’s newfound power is very encouraging. He has six home runs already this year after hitting five in his first three seasons.
12. Jordan Guerrero, lhp, White Sox (23)
Double-A Birmingham (Southern)
Guerrero’s return to Double-A has gone much better than his first try at the Southern League. His impeccable control has been in full evidence again this year. He’s attacking hitters rather than nibbling, and it paid off this week in a shutout.
13. Alex Verdugo, of, Dodgers (21)
Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)
Cody Bellinger’s ascension to the big league lineup blocked a path for Verdugo, but the latter’s defensive versatility makes him a callup candidate. Verdugo’s power has been missing for much of the first half of the season, but he’s starting to drive the ball better this June with eight extra-base hits this month.
14. Matt Hall, lhp, Tigers (23)
High Class A Lakeland (Florida State)
After a slow start, Hall has gotten on one of his rolls. Hall has allowed one or fewer earned runs in seven of his last eight starts and he’s both striking out hitters and getting a lot of ground ball outs. Hall is a lefty without a true plus pitch, but he is crafty, something that was apparent this week.
15. Shed Long, 2b, Reds (21)
High Class A Daytona (Florida State)
Long adds his name to the list of Reds breakout prospects that also includes Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo. Long just keeps on hitting and ranks among the Florida State League leaders in home runs (12), batting average (.316) and slugging percentage (.543).
16. Kyle Funkhouser, rhp, Tigers (23)
High Class A Lakeland (Florida State)
Funkhouser didn’t sign as a 2015 first-rounder then fell to the fourth round in 2016. But the Tigers drafted a prospect who has mid-rotation potential and so far, it looks like they may have gotten a draft steal. Funkhouser’s control has been much better this year than it was at Louisville, which has helped him record a 1.72 ERA in five starts at high Class A.
17. Colin Moran, 3b, Astros (24)
Triple-A Fresno (Pacific Coast)
Moran has traded some batting average for power this year, which seems like a pretty fair trade. With 13 home runs, he has already topped his previous career high. There’s not really a spot for Houston in the big leagues right now, and Moran’s numbers so far aren’t good enough to rebuild his trade value, but it is a step in the right direction.
18. Thomas Hatch, rhp, Cubs (22)
High Class A Myrtle Beach (Florida State)
The Cubs focused their 2016 draft class on college pitchers. Hatch was one of the key members of that draft class with a fastball-breaking ball combo that could work either as a reliever or in a back-end starting role. Hatch’s eight shutout innings in his most recent start is the best of his pro career.
19. Myles Straw, of, Astros (22)
High Class A Buies Creek (Carolina)
Here’s Straw’s June. Two hits. Rest. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Straw has raised his average to .330 with six straight two-hit games followed by a three-hit game. As a bat wizard who can run, he has a pretty high floor. And he now has a .326 career minor league batting average.
20. Chance Sisco, c, Orioles (22)
Triple-A Norfolk (International)
Chance Sisco has hit throughout his minor league career, but as Kyle Glaser explained recently, his defense is starting to catch up to his bat. Sisco’s plus hit tool is pretty apparent, and he’s heating up lately with five multi-hit games this month.
Joel Booker, of, White Sox. Booker was supposed to be a key addition to the University of Iowa lineup in 2015 and a solid draft prospect. Instead he fell on his face, hitting .215. But as a senior, he showed an improved approach, hit .370 and became a decent senior sign as a 22nd-round pick of the White Sox. At low Class A Kannapolis this year, the 23-year-old Booker’s strikeout-to-walk ratio (15 walks, 58 strikeouts) is a cautionary tale, but he does run well, plays solid defense and is hitting .313/.371/.405 with 13 steals.