This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from June 2-8. Numbers in parentheses indicates 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. Francisco Mejia, c, Indians (21)
Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Mejia had never had a multi-homer game as a pro. That changed this week when he had two such games in a row. The Indians’ top prospect is known for making hard contact, but now he’s showing the ability to hit the ball over the fence. He has a career-best .195 isolated slugging percentage, and he’s showing an improved ability to control the strike zone with a career-low strikeout rate of 11.3 percent.
2. Rafael Devers, 3b, Red Sox (20)
Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Devers has established himself as one of the game’s best prospects, and his sweet lefthanded stroke is the primary reason. He hits for average and power, and his spray charts shows a well-balanced approach. Devers has shown increased power and a higher walk rate this season.
3. Triston McKenzie, rhp, Indians (19)
High Class A Lynchburg (Carolina)
The beanpole righthander has made adding strength a goal and it’s resulted in increased durability and no loss of effectiveness. He shows a fastball up to 94 mph and a curveball one evaluator graded as a future plus. One reg flag has been a spike in walk rate, though he’s walked just four in his past 19.2 innings.
4. Yordan Alvarez, 1b, Astros (19)
Low Class A Quad Cities (Midwest)
Alvarez is moving beyond just an interesting back story. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Cuban has feel to hit—he’s one of the best hitters in the Midwest League’s Western Division, a scout said—and now he’s pairing it with tremendous in-game power (.280 isolated slugging).
5. Eloy Jimenez, of, Cubs (21)
High Class A Myrtle Beach (Carolina)
Jimenez missed more than a month with a shoulder bruise but has come back strong. The Cubs’ top prospect has some of the loudest tools in the minors with his feel to hit and power. He does at times still lunge at the ball but has shown great improvement in understanding the strike zone.
6. Michael Gettys, of, Padres (21)
High Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
The tooled-up Georgia prep blasted four homers this week, including a three-homer game, and he added a double. But Gettys also struck out nine times, showing he still struggles with pitch recognition and still too often chases. He has a strikeout rate of 34 percent.
7. T.J. Friedl, of, Reds (21)
Low Class A Dayton (Midwest)
The Reds anticipated Friedl’s ability to hit and control the strike zone, but his power surge, even if it proves to be fluky, has to be an exciting development. His display of pop—he ranks among the Midwest League leaders in doubles and triples—has been accompanied by a lower strikeout rate.
8. Magneuris Sierra, of, Cardinals (21)
Double-A Springfield (Texas)
The slick-fielding Sierra acquitted himself well in the majors despite making the jump from high Class A, and now he’s settling in at Double-A. His consistent offense is a promising sign because evaluators were concerned he would not impact the ball frequently enough to be a first-division regular.
9. Mike Soroka, rhp, Braves (19)
Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
The Braves have received publicity for their willingness to push 19-year-olds Soroka, Kolby Allard and Ronald Acuna to Double-A. Soroka has been up to the challenge. He still pounds the zone with his low-90s fastball with late sink, forcing batters to hit the ball on the ground and to the big part of the field.
10. Willy Adames, ss, Rays (21)
Triple-A Durham (International)
As one of the youngest players in Triple-A, Adames’ offensive struggles were not surprising and not especially troubling. A closer look indicates his strikeout and walk percentages are essentially in line with career norms, while his average on balls in play was far lower this his career norm.
11. Lucas Giolito, rhp, White Sox (22)
Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Giolito followed his no-hitter on May 25 with an uneven outing but came back Monday and fanned 11 in six innings against Durham. He credits improved fastball command for his turnaround of late, even if his velocity of days past has not returned. He has walked just five in his past 17 innings.
12. Renato Nunez, 1b/of, Athletics (23)
Triple-A Nashville (Pacific Coast)
Nunez’s plus power has reached a new level in 2017, even though his home ballpark is the toughest in which to homer in the PCL. Accordingly, he has hit 10 of his 16 homers—second-most in the league—on the road. That power comes at the cost of a career high strikeout rate of 28.7 percent.
13. Jack Flaherty, rhp, Cardinals (22)
Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Recently promoted to Triple-A, Flaherty’s increased strength has led to velocity gains. His control has never been sharper, with 14 walks in 75.1 innings. The Cardinals are scuffling but remain in the National League Central race, leaving a door open for a potential Flaherty callup this year.
14. Ronald Herrera, rhp, Yankees (22)
Double-A Trenton (Eastern)
Herrera missed the first month with a shoulder injury but has come back on a mission. He has allowed just six earned runs and just 29 hits in 50.1 innings and is 7-0, 1.07. The 5-foot-11 righthander is not overpowering but can touch 94 mph and is difficult to square up.
15. J.D. Davis, 3b, Astros (24)
Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Davis’ plus power is evident, but the Astros are also pleased that he’s showing better control of the strike zone and more feel to hit. He’s blocked at third base by Alex Bregman, so Davis has tried his hand at first base and left field.
16. Brian Anderson, 3b, Marlins (24)
Double-A Jacksonville (Southern)
Anderson’s breakout Arizona Fall League seemingly portended a move up the chain to Triple-A, but he is repeating Double-A and finally showing signs of shaking off a slow poor start. The Marlins like Anderson’s above-average raw power, and he displayed some of that this week.
17. Ildemaro Vargas, 2b, Diamondbacks (25)
Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast)
Arizona has hit big on at least one independent league player—David Peralta—and Vargas could be another. The versatile infielder makes a ton of contact—he had a 47-at-bat streak in which he did not strike out—and he’s showing enhanced power this year.
18. Keegan Akin, lhp, Orioles (22)
High Class A Frederick (Carolina)
The Orioles’ second-rounder in 2016 has struggled to control his pitches, which is at odds with his reputation for command and an ability to throw three pitches for strikes. Akin’s walk rate nearly doubled from his pro debut, but in his most recent outing he allowed two hits and no walks in six innings.
19. Zack Littell, rhp, Yankees (21)
High Class A Tampa (Florida State)
Acquired from the Mariners for reliever James Pazos, Littell has pitched at least seven innings and allowed one run or fewer in the past four starts. On the year he is 7-1, 1.79 with just 13 walks in 60.1 innings. Advanced command helps all of Littell’s offerings play up.
20. Yusniel Diaz, of, Dodgers (20)
High Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California)
Much is expected of the athletic Cuban and perhaps this past week represents a move toward fulfilling expectations. Diaz has plus bat speed and excellent hand-eye coordination and is beginning to use his legs more to drive the ball.
Jason Foley, rhp, Tigers. A nondrafted free agent who signed last August, Foley was the Friday starter for Sacred Heart but has been pitching in relief as a pro and excelling. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander has a simple, repeatable delivery from which he pumps premium velocity. Foley has touched 101 mph multiple times and also flashes an above-average slider and changeup as well. He has struck out 35 and walked just five in 28 innings at low Class A West Michigan.