Each Friday, the Prospect Hot Sheet singles out the prospects who had the best week, weighing performance, prospect status, age compared to level and the environment in which they play. Bear in mind that this is not a re-ranking of our preseason Top 100 Prospects list—it’s a snapshot of top performances by prospects during the period June 21-27.
Contributing: J.J. Cooper and Jim Shonerd.
Team: High Class A San Jose (California)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 18 Ks.
The Scoop: Crick came off the disabled list just in time to find out this week that he’s headed to New York for the Futures Game. He also proved that he’s quite healthy in his return from an oblique injury that cost him two months of the season. Crick has been on a short leash in all five of his starts this season, but what he has done is sensational, especially when you consider he’s pitching in the California League. He has allowed one earned run (a 0.48 ERA) while striking out 30 in 18 ⅔ innings.
Team: Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: .591/.625/1.273 (13-for-22), 3 HR, 6 2B, 7 RBIs, 8 R, 2 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop: Now that Green has found a defensive home at second base, the only thing keeping him from the majors is opportunity. The 2009 first-round pick is on a seven-game hitting streak that includes six multi-hit games, raising his average to .318 after 314 at-bats.
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .500/.516/.967 (15-for-30), 8 R, 1 2B
The Scoop: Like fellow Florida State League star third baseman Miguel Sano, Franco has earned a promotion to Double-A. Unlike Sano, Franco has had no problems adjusting to the higher level. In his first week in Reading, Franco has extended a 14-game hitting streak, averaged two hits a game and produced five extra-base hits. All of a sudden, Franco’s lack of speed is getting mentioned less, replaced by more mentions of his excellent ability to consistently make hard contact.
Team: Double-A San Antonio (Texas)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 Ks
The Scoop: As detailed in Thursday’s Prospect Notebook, Sampson set a career high for strikeouts in the most dominant start of his young career. His control still isn’t as good as it needs to be, but Sampson has become a four-pitch pitcher with the addition of a slider, which already appears to be a better pitch than his slow curveball.
Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Why He’s Here: .560/.607/1.040 (14-for-25), 10 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 2 Ks.
The Scoop: In 2012, the Braves challenged Terdoslavich, only to see him fail. They jumped him over Double-A to Triple-A Gwinnett, but he posted a .515 OPS and took a step back. They tried him at third base, and found out he’s not a third baseman. This year the Braves have kept it simple for Terdoslavich. He got a second chance at Gwinnett, while playing right field and a little bit of first base. He responded by hitting .322/.358/.522, earning a spot in the Futures Game and putting himself back in the organization’s plans.
Team: Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER. 3 BB, 13 Ks.
The Scoop: If the Cubs were less desperate for starting pitching and playing more for today, Cabrera might be pitching in their big league bullpen now. That’s the role he filled throughout 2012, when he was pegged as a reliever and made his major league debut in August. But the front office moved him back to the rotation and returned him to Double-A this year and it has paid off, as Cabrera has posted a career-best strikeout rate as a starter as well as a reduced walk rate.
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)/Triple-A Colorado Springs (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: .563/.632/1.313 (9-for-16), 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 6 R, 3 BB, 1 SO, 2-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Corey Dickerson’s promotion to the majors opened a spot for Matthes in Colorado Springs’ outfield, and if he keeps this up, Sky Sox fans won’t miss Dickerson. Matthes homered in his second Triple-A at-bat and added three more over the next three games, including two on Tuesday. And in case you were wondering, those games were in the pitcher-friendly park in Sacramento.
Team: High Class A Lakeland (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: .375/.444/.917 (9-for-24), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 Ks, 1-for-1 SB.
The Scoop: It hasn’t been a great year for Moya overall, and he still faces many of the concerns that he had coming into the year. As a 6-foot-6 outfielder, his long arms and big strike zone lead to lots of strikeouts and few walks. But he also has excellent power when he connects, which he did more often than usual this week. Moya’s recovery from last year’s Tommy John surgery has gone well, and he may be rediscovering the gains he made in shortening his swing before the injury.
Team: Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Why He’s Here: .414/.485/.931 (12-for-29), 8 R, 5 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Tekotte made his major league debut in 2011, and nearly two years later he’s no closer to establishing himself as a big leaguer. But a red-hot June could put him into the White Sox’s plans, particularly if the club trades away veterans in July. Picked up in the offseason after the Padres designated him for assignment, Tekotte started his White Sox career 0-for-13 and struggled throughout April and May. But he has posted a .941 OPS this month, potentially earning himself another big league opportunity and keeping his spot on the 40-man roster heading into the offseason.
Team: Triple-A Tacoma (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 11 SO, 1 BB
The Scoop: Consistency has eluded Paxton so far. His last rough patch came on June 7, when he was tagged for seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, jumping his ERA to 5.73. He has looked strong over his last two starts, however, not allowing an earned run in 12 innings and setting a season high for strikeouts with 11 against Fresno on Saturday. He has shown he’s capable of excelling against Triple-A competition, so he just has to sustain it.
11. Jake Thompson, rhp, Tigers
Team: Low Class A West Michigan (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.82, 2 GS, 11 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 13 Ks
The Scoop: The Tigers held Thompson in extended spring training until the weather warmed up, and he has had little trouble catching up to the Midwest League in his first five starts. His first start this week was the best of his young career, as he struck out 10 in six innings, retiring 16 of the final 17 batters he faced. In an organization that brought in a lot of college arms in the 2013 draft, Thompson could give them a premium high school arm.
Team: Triple-A Tacoma (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: .409/.440/.818 (9-for-22), 2 HR, 3 2B, 5 RBIs, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: If the Mariners find a trade partner for the defense-first Brendan Ryan, Miller could provide an instant upgrade for their offense. After starting 2-for-13 following his promotion to Triple-A in late May, Miller went on a 22-game hitting streak that’s the second-longest in the PCL this season. He has six Triple-A homers in 26 games, matching his total from 42 Double-A games to start the year. And as for his defense, it’s worth noting he hasn’t committed an error since June 10.
Team: Low Class A Asheville (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .400/.419/.900 (12-for-30), 8 R, 6 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBIs, 1 BB, 9 Ks.
The Scoop: Considering their major league ballpark, it makes sense for the Rockies to have hitter-friendly venues through their minor league system. While it helps prepare the club’s young pitchers, however, it makes evaluating their hitters a challenge. Take Murphy, for example. He’s a solid hitter on the road this year (.275/.377/.578), but in Asheville’s friendly confines he’s sensational (.387/.442/.806). He put up most of this week’s numbers on the road, though, so there is no Asheville effect getting him onto the Hot Sheet.
IN THE TEAM PHOTO
Paul Blackburn, rhp, Cubs: When the Cubs drafted Blackburn in the supplemental first round last year, they knew he had better feel than the average high school arm. That has been apparent in his first three starts at short-season Boise. The 19-year-old has walked two while striking out 20 and has yet to allow an earned run. He was 0-1, 0.00 this week with 12 strikeouts in 10 innings.
Eddie Butler, lhp, Rockies: The Rockies’ hitter-friendly ballparks and leagues have done nothing to slow down Butler. As he gets ready for the Futures Game, he has been putting together an impressive string of dominance. This week the 22-year-old went 1-0, 0.90 with 10 strikeouts in 10 innings at high Class A Modesto. He has allowed more than two earned runs only twice in 16 starts this season.
Phillip Ervin, cf, Reds: The 27th overall pick in the draft made an immediate impact after joining Rookie-level Billings late last week. The Samford product homered in his third pro game and hit .391 (9-for-23) with two homers and six RBIs on the week.
Tyler Glasnow, rhp, Pirates: The Pirates loved Glasnow’s projectability coming out of high school in 2011, and he’s making their $600,000 investment look good thus far. The 19-year-old has a 2.44 ERA in 15 low Class A starts, and he leads the SAL in strikeouts (98) and opponent average (.149). In two starts this week, he struck out 13 over nine scoreless innings and gave up just six hits.
Max Kepler, cf, Twins: Kepler missed the first two and a half months of the season recovering from a forearm injury, and then he was sent to Cedar Rapids as the center fielder replacing Byron Buxton, who was promoted to high Class A Fort Myers. No pressure. So far, the 20-year-old has been up to the challenge, batting .346/.414/.731 this week with four doubles and a pair of home runs.
Joc Pederson, cf, Dodgers: With Yasiel Puig gone, Pederson now stands as the feature attraction in Double-A Chattanooga’s outfield. Pederson has been worth the price of admission, batting .360 (9-for-25) with three homers and 10 RBIs this week to get his average back over .300 at .302.
Sam Selman, lhp Royals: Selman, 22, looked like a steal of a second-rounder last year when he dominated the Pioneer League while showing power stuff, but the control troubles he exhibited in college have returned this year. June has brought his first extended run of success this year, and this week he didn’t allow a run in 10 innings while striking out 11 with high Class A Wilmington. He did walk four and hit a pair of batters.
Keon Barnum, 1b, White Sox: Barnum, the 48th overall pick last year, joined low Class A Kannapolis from extended spring training, and his first week in the SAL was a rough one. The 20-year-old went 3-for-28 (.107) and struck out 15 times.
Delino DeShields, 2b, Astros: Other than finding out he’s going to the Futures Game, not much else went right for DeSheilds this week. He went 3-for-26 (.115) with 10 strikeouts for high Class A Lancaster, dropping his season line to .278/.370/.393 after 234 at-bats.
Drew Gagnon, rhp, Brewers: Gagnon got a promotion to Double-A Huntsville after a cascade of pitching promotions higher up in the system created a need. Considering he was 3-4, 5.16 at high Class A Brevard County, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he has found the Southern League even tougher. Gagnon, 23, didn’t get out of the first inning in his lone start this week, giving up six hits and four runs, and is allowing more than a run an inning in his four Double-A starts.
Ismael Guillon, lhp, Reds: For much of his career, Bret Saberhagen was an ace in odd-numbered years and league average in even-numbered years. Guillon has flipped Saberhagen’s script. He burst onto the scene with an excellent 2010 season, only to watch it fall apart in 2011. He recovered in 2012, but his 2013 season has been even worse than 2011. He retired just two of the nine batters he faced this week, walking three and giving up four hits in 2/3 of an inning.