Prospect Hot Sheet: June 20-26

We at Hot Sheet always welcome your question and comments. One player
who has been the source of a lot of those e-mails is Randy Wells. The
Cubs righthander opened the season at Double-A West Tenn and was simply
stellar as he went 4-2, 1.59 in 62 innings that spanned 12 starts for
the Diamond Jaxx. In his first 11 starts, he never allowed more than
one earned run.

The bulk of the e-mails we received about him consisted of, “why is
Wells not on the Hot Sheet?” The main reason is that it was his
performance this season that has even put him on the prospect radar.
After signing as a draft-and-follow in 2003 out of Southwestern
Illinois JC he had a 3.61 ERA in 222 innings, most of which came in
relief, coming into this season.

Unfortunately for the 23-year-old, this is not his week either. His
fine performance in the Southern League got him promoted to Triple-A
where he allowed seven earned runs without getting out of the fourth
inning in his first start on Saturday.

More than likely, he probably cares more about being one step away for
the big leagues then about never having made the prospect Hot Sheet
which this week is highlighted by Anibal Sanchez, who shut down the
Yankees in his big league debut last night.

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. Anibal Sanchez, rhp, Marlins (Double-A Carolina)
In
case you weren’t impressed by his complete-game shutout last Monday
against Chattanooga, how’s this for an encore: Sanchez made his major
league debut last night in an emergency start in Yankee Stadium and
pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win. The 22-year-old
Venezuelan, acquired from the Red Sox in the offseason Josh Beckett
trade, scattered seven hits–six of them singles–without issuing a
walk while striking out two in the second game of a doubleheader after
Saturday’s game was rained out. Not only did he help shut out the
Yankees for the first time all season, he also became just the third
pitcher in the Joe Torre era to beat the Yanks in his major league
debut, joining Jason Dickson and Gustavo Chacin.
2. Jered Weaver, rhp, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake)

Weaver continues to prove he’s the best sixth starter in the business,
leaving little doubt that he is ready for the Major Leagues. After a
hiccup in his return to Triple-A, Weaver was dominant in his second
start back, throwing a complete game shutout in which he struck out 14
batters while allowing just three baserunners.
3. Homer Bailey, rhp, Reds (Double-A Chattanooga)
After
having his way with Florida State League hitters, Bailey got the call
to Double-A and hit the ground sprinting. He threw six shutout innings
with seven strikeouts and no walks.
4. Philip Hughes, rhp, Yankees (Double-A Trenton)

Finally starting to dominate Double-A. In his last four starts he is
2-1, 0.96 with 33 strikeouts in 28 innings. Yup, that will do it for
you.
5.  Sean Tracey, rhp, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)
He
got dressed down by Ozzie Guillen for not hitting a batter in his brief
callup to the big leagues, but showed his nasty streak upon his return
to Charlotte. He threw a complete game six-hit shutout for the Knights
in what was his best outing of the season.
6. Rich Hill, lhp, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa)
Say
what you will about Rich Hill’s prospect status, the guy knows how to
get Triple-A hitters out. We saw another example of this last
Wednesday, when Hill struck out 10 batters in seven scoreless innings.
It was the fourth time this season that Hill has struck out 10 or more
batters.
7. Jason Hirsh, rhp, Astros (Triple-A Round Rock)
Strikeout
totals have been the one caveat in Hirsh’s great season, and on
Saturday, he started to turn that around as well. Hirsh wasn’t able to
get the win (which would have been his fifth straight), but he didn’t
allow an earned run in 8 innings, striking out 12. To refresh your
memory: since May 1 he is 7-0, 1.33.
8. Shaun Cumberland, of, Devil Rays (High Class A Visalia)
The
21-year-old has gone 16-for-33 during his current seven-game hitting
streak. In a weekend series against Stockton, he registered eight hits
(four for extra bases) and nine RBIs. Cumberland has hit for power all
year (he now has 15 homers and 66 RBIs), and he’s raised his average
from .233 to .262 during his hitting streak.
9. Evan Longoria, 3b, Devil Rays (short-season Hudson Valley)
The
third overall pick has shined in his first week of pro ball and it is
unlikely he will be in the New York-Penn League for long. The Long
Beach State product has hit safely in his first five games and is
10-for-24 with two homers, a double and a triple.
10. Colby Rasmus, of, Cardinals (Low Class A Quad Cities)
It
was a big week for Rasmus who began it with two hits in the Midwest
League all-star game. He followed that up by going 7-for-15 in four
games for the Swing and is now hitting .313./.375/.498.

IN THE TEAM PHOTO

Reid Brignac, ss, Devil Rays (High Class A Visalia):  Like
his teammate Cumberland, Brignac feasted on Stockton pitching over the
weekend, going 8-for-17 in the three-game set. He got off to a torrid
.356 start in April, slipped a bit in May, batting .277, but has been a
menace in June, hitting .393.
Steve Uhlmansiek, lhp, Mariners (short-season Everett): It
has been a long road back for this 12th-round pick in the 2004 draft.
The lefthander was once a collegiate star alongside Mike Pelfrey at
Wichita State, but is now trying to regain star status in the Northwest
League. In two starts last week, Uhlmansiek struck out 12 batters in
nine innings, as just one earned run crossed the plate against him.
Yung-Chi Chen, 2b, Mariners (High Class A Inland Empire):
Chen went 10-for-18 in the final four games of the first half to boost
his season batting average to .342, good enough for the California
League lead.
Brett Sinkbeil, rhp, Marlins (short-season Jamestown): A
strained oblique limited Sinkbeil’s innings this spring at Missouri
State, but it didn’t hinder his first round status. He has looked great
on a pitch count since signing, not allowing a run in his first two
outings, spanning six innings. In a small sample, Sinkbeil has been
dominant against righthanded batters, retiring all nine he has faced,
six via the strikeout.
Ubaldo Jimenez, rhp, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa):
A winner of his last six starts, Jimenez has proven all he can in the
Texas League. In his last five starts, the big righthander has allowed
just one earned run in 32 innings, allowing just 10 hits while striking
out 39 batters.
Neil Walker, c, Pirates (High Class A Lynchburg): Walker
busted out of a June swoon with a five-game hitting streak. He went
8-for-17 during the burst to raise his batting average 30 points to
.273.
James Loney, 1b, Dodgers (Triple-A Las Vegas): Seemingly
the lone example of a Dodger prospect stuck in the minors, Loney has
not slowed since Los Angeles sent him to Triple-A Las Vegas on April
24. In June, the first baseman is hitting .388, and proving there is
power in his bat with a .573 slugging percentage for the month.
Jair
Jurrjens, rhp, Tigers (Double-A Erie):
Jurrjens didn’t lose in 12
starts at Lakeland, walking just 10 batters in 74 innings. The Tigers
tried to challenge him this week, but the righthander from Curacao
stepped up when promoted to Double-A Erie. Through two starts, Jurrjens
has kept his win streak alive, allowing two earned runs in 12 Eastern
League innings.  
Alberto Callaspo, 2b, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Tucson): After
hitting just .222 in April, the Diamondbacks likely began to wonder if
they got what they paid for in Callaspo. However, since then he has
proven to be a bargain, striking out just 7 times since the start of
May (204 at-bats) en route to hitting .377. The infielder has found a
way to get even hotter this week, collecting multi-hit efforts in his
last four games.
Sean Thompson, lhp, Padres (Double-A Mobile):
Coddled since drafted in the fifth round of the 2002 draft, Thompson is
showing much improvement in his second stint at Double-A Mobile. Things
have peaked recently, as the southpaw threw the first complete game of
his career on Sunday, striking out nine in seven innings. His scoreless
streak is at 14 innings and counting.
Eric Patterson, 2b, Cubs (Double-A West Tenn): While
brother Corey continues to haunt the Cubs with a breakout season in Baltimore,
Eric Patterson is keeping the family name in Chicago’s thoughts. The
second baseman has improved in every month, and is now hitting .325 in
June with eight stolen bases in ten attempts. Patterson’s week included
three three-hit games, and he is currently sporting a six-game hit streak.
Seth Smith, of, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa): Expectations
were high for Smith in 2006, as he entered the season sporting a
.319/.374/.504 career line in the minors. While he has struggled some
this year, Smith showed signs of turning things around this week,
lighting Midland up for 10 hits in 20 at-bats during Tulsa’s most
recent weekend series.
Shane Lindsay, rhp, Rockies (short-season Tri-City): The top prospect in the Northwest League a season ago, Lindsay is going
hard after a repeat effort. The righthander did not have labrum surgery
as was expected during the winter; the Rockies hoped he would heal
through rest. All signs are proving they made the right decision, as
Lindsay has allowed just two hits in 10 innings since returning to
Tri-City.
Brandon Moss, of, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): After
a brutal April, Moss started to turn things around in May, hitting .260
with 11 doubles (though no home runs). In June, Moss has hit the gas,
going deep five times while hitting .377. During his recent seven-game
hit streak, Moss is 13-for-29 with five extra-base hits.
Wladimir Balentien, of, Mariners (Double-A San Antonio): Balentien
was a candidate for the Not-So-Hot-Sheet after the first two weeks in
June, when he had gone just 2-for-22 with 10 strikeouts. However, the
outfielder has turned things around since then, collecting hits in his
last seven games, including four home runs.

THE NOT-SO-HOT SHEET

Merkin Valdez, rhp, Giants (Triple-A Fresno)
A
bad season has gotten a lot worse for “El Mago” this June. Now working
out of the bullpen, Valdez is 0-3, 9.39 in June and 0-3, 6.26 on the
season. He has struck out 28 in 27 innings, but walked 21 and allowed
five home runs.
Davis Romero, lhp, Blue Jays (Triple-A Syracuse)
This
Double-A darling has been a dud in Triple-A. The 23-year-old has
allowed 14 runs in 15 innings since his promotion and lost all three
decisions.
Ryan Harvey, of, Cubs (High Class A Daytona)
The
promise of his raw power has always excited scouts, but he has yet to
figure out how to utilize it. He has slowed down again after a hot
first week of June and is now hitting .210/.251/.345 with a 65-13
strikeout-walk ratio in 252 at-bats.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c, Braves (Double-A Mississippi)
We
hate to keep picking on him, but no top prospect has had as
disappointing of a season. Went just 1-for-14 last week and is now
hitting .202/.311/.305 with four homers in 233 at-bats.
Thomas Diamond, rhp, Rangers (Double-A Frisco) 
It
has been a rough ride for this RoughRider. Diamond is now 1-3, 7.71 in
June with 24 strikeouts and 18 walks in 23 June innings. 50 walks in 69
innings have been a big part of his 4.67 ERA on the season.

BLAST FROM THE PAST



Tim Raines Jr., of, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg)
Pedigree
fueled Raines selection in the sixth round of the 1998 draft, and his
name has followed him since then. Raines has run like his dad in the
minors, entering the season with 356 career minor league swipes. But
after eight lackluster seasons in the Orioles organization, Raines has
benefited from a change of scenery. Now with the Nationals, Raines has
been impressive at Double-A Harrisburg since returning from injury in
late May. The 26 year-old has added a touch of power to his arsenal by
slugging .464 slugging in June to bring his season line to
.305/.377/.442.

HELIUM WATCH



Chris Carter, 1b, White Sox (Rookie-level Great Falls)  
The
White Sox challenged him with an opening day assignment to high Class A
Winston-Salem after an impressive showing in the Rookie-level
Appalachian League in his debut last summer. Though he flopped for the
Warthogs, he is raking in the Pioneer League. A 15th-rounder in 2005,
Carter has collected hits in Great Falls’ first six games, going
12-for-22 with three home runs, including the walk-off variety on
Sunday. He follows Lucas Harrell to give the White Sox two straight
appearances in Helium Watch.

Minors | #2006 #Prospect Hot Sheet

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