For a second straight week, Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels made our
weekly Prospect Hot Sheet an easy decision. And also for a second
straight week, arms dominate the list, with seven of the top 10 spots
going to pitchers.
As usual, we’d like to throw out some props
to a player not mentioned in the rankings below and this time around
it’s Double-A Jacksonville center fielder Matt Kemp.
Kemp has been a dominant player on the field, making the Hot Sheet in
each of the last two weeks, but after an ugly outburst in a game
against Birmingham on Saturday in which several Barons officials and
White Sox farm director David Wilder said that Kemp punched Barons
manager Chris Cron in the face, he comes off the list.
As Cron said, “Some things are more important than what you can do on the field.”
We’ll leave it at that.
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
|1. Cole Hamels, lhp, Phillies (Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre)|
|It doesn’t get any better than Hamels in the minors these days. Just
when you thought he couldn’t top back-to-back dominant performances in
his first two Triple-A starts, Hamels struck out 10 more over seven
innings against Syracuse on Sunday. After going 1-1, 1.77 with 29
strikeouts in 20 innings at high Class A Clearwater, Hamels turned it
up a notch for the Red Barons with 36 strikeouts and just one walk over
23 innings–good enough for a 0.39 ERA. Hamels leads the minors in ERA,
innings pitched (43) and strikeouts with 65. Philadelphia general manager Pat
Gillick should have his cell number on speed dial this week.
|2. Kevin Slowey, rhp, Twins (High Class A Fort Myers)|
|Slowey might not have dominant stuff, topping out at 92 mph with his
fastball, but with his secondary stuff–including a much-improved
changeup–the 22-year-old righthander is shutting down hitters across
the FSL. Slowey, a second-round pick out of Winthrop last year, struck
out 10 and allowed one run on three hits in a 3-1 loss to the Tigers.
The 10-spot brings Slowey’s strikeout-walk ratio to an almost unreal
44-2 in just 35 innings, but consider the source. The 22-year-old
righthander is simply giving a repeat performance of last year, when he
led NCAA Division I in strikeout-walk ratio (134-13 in 136 innings),
and after signing, he improved that ratio in his pro debut last season
(84-8 in 72 innings).
|3. Yovani Gallardo, rhp, Brewers (High Class A Brevard County)|
|He might be on the same team as Brewers’ No. 2 prospect Mark Rogers,
but so far Gallardo is out-performing him . . . big time. In 33
innings, the 20-year-old righthander has a 48-7 strikeout-walk ratio.
Gallardo pounds the zone with a fastball that tops out at 96 mph and
complements it with a curveball, slider and changeup–and can throw any
of them for strikes. In his last start, Gallardo allowed a run on four
hits and struck out 10 over 6 1/3 innings.
|4. Melky Cabrera, of, Yankees (Triple-A Columbus)|
|After a disastrous cup of coffee in 2005, could be in line for a callup
if Sheffield goes on the DL. After hitting .458 last week, is now
hitting .376/.423/.564 with only eight strikeouts in 117 at-bats.
|5. Alay Soler, rhp, Mets (Double-A Binghamton)|
|After fanning 32 in 28 Florida State League innings, the 26-year-old
Cuban defector allowed one run while fanning nine in his Eastern League
debut. The Mets rotation could use some help and might turn to this
righthander, who has allowed just three runs in 35 professional innings.
|6. Dana Eveland, lhp, Brewers (Triple-A Nashville)|
|Eveland has been dominant thus far for the Sounds, and ranks among the
minor league leaders in ERA. In 31 innings, the 22-year-old lefthander
is 3-0, 0.87 with only 17 hits allowed. He’s struck out 31 and only
walked six over that span. While some scouts knock him for his size
(6-foot-1, 240 pounds), others compare him to David Wells. And his
numbers this season certainly have been Wells-like–in his prime, that
|7. Hayden Penn, rhp, Orioles (Triple-A Ottawa)|
|The Orioles brought Penn along slowly this season, starting him in
extended spring training due to some minor shoulder soreness, but he’s
dealt in his first two starts at Ottawa. In his first 12 innings, Penn
is 1-0, 0.00. He’s only allowed four hits over that span, and has an
11-3 strikeout-walk ratio. And opponents are hitting just .105 against
|8. Chuck Lofgren, lhp, Indians (High Class A Kinston)|
|Lofgren started out the season on fire, then lost his fourth start of
the year after not receiving any run support. Over his last two
outings, Lofgren is 2-0, 2.25 with 13 strikeouts and two walks. While
that might seem all that impressive, check out Lofgren’s start on
Sunday–in a pouring rain at home in Kinston: the 20-year-old
lefthander allowed just one hit over seven shutout innings and struck
out nine; out-dueling Astros’ No. 2 prospect Troy Patton in the process.
|9. Travis Buck, of, Athletics (High Class A Stockton)|
|Went 16-for-33 in his last seven games to raise his average from .286 to .345, as he’s now hitting .345/.398/.618. Leads the minors with 21 extra-base hits.|
|10. Cameron Maybin, of, Tigers (Low Class A West Michigan)|
|Hit safely in every game last week and is now hitting .330/.409/.510.
One concern is strikeouts, as the 19-year-old has 30 in 100 at-bats.
|Casey Rogowski, 1b, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): The former state wrestling champion in the state of Michigan back in
his high school days, Rogowski developed slowly early in his baseball
career, but has taken off over the last two seasons. He batted .438
last week with a pair of homers to raise his overall numbers to
.333/.402/.522 in 90 at-bats.
|Kory Casto, 3b, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): Casto improved so much on his defense at third last season, the Nats
delayed moving him to second base for him to focus on his bat. This
week, his bat came alive, hitting .455 and raising his average to .286.
Thanks in part to a 25-19 strikeout-walk ratio, his on-base is also an
|Blake Dewitt, 2b, Dodgers (High Class A Vero Beach): Nine-game hit streak in which he’s hitting .342 (13-for-38); transition
from third base to second also going well–only two errors in 28 games.
Had 12 hits last week, including 2 home runs but benefiting from home park;
hitting .364 at home, .250 on the road.
|Brett Gardner, of, Yankees (High Class A Tampa): Second in the minors with a .512 on-base percentage. Not surprisingly, fourth in walks with 25.|
|Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3b, Indians (Double-A Akron): All Kouzmanoff did this week was hit .524. All he’s done for the season is produce to the tune of .425/.471/.538 in 80 at-bats.|
|Alexi Casilla, ss/2b, Twins (High Class A Fort Myers): Acquired from the Angels in the J.C. Romero deal in the offseason,
Casilla could be the Twins shortstop of the future. So far, he’s off to a
good start in his new organization, batting .325/.361/.452 with 10
steals in 13 attempts.
|Delwyn Young, of, Dodgers (Triple-A Las Vegas): Young is also learning a new position after spending much of his pro
career at second base, but that hasn’t slowed him down at all in the
Pacific Coast League. He finished hitting .440 for the week, upping his
overall numbers to .287/.345/.446 in 101 at-bats.
|Matt Garza, rhp, Twins (High Class A Fort Myers): The only reason he doesn’t make the top 10 is because he starts tonight
for the Miracle. Garza’s numbers have been borderline ridiculous over
the season’s first five weeks. Over 31 innings, the 22-year-old
righthander is 4-0, 0.86 with a 40-6 strikeout-walk ratio.
|Bill Bray, lhp, Nationals (Triple-A New Orleans): Bray had his ups and downs this season, but last week it was all ups.
In seven innings, Bray whiffed 13 and walked just four. Overall this
season, the first-round pick in 2004 is 4-1, 3.66 in 20 innings.
|Willy Aybar, 3b, Dodgers (Triple-A Las Vegas): Has hit safely in 24 of 29 games this season; 10th in the league in hitting, first in RBIs and hits.|
|Troy Tulowitzki, ss, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa): Has 12 multi-hit games in 25 played. His 7-23 walk-strikeout ratio is worth monitoring though.|
|Josh Anderson, of, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): Anderson has been flourishing in a return to Double-A this season, and
thanks to a refined approach at the plate, he’s producing out of the
leadoff spot for the Hooks. Currently riding an 11-game hit streak,
Anderson hit .331 for the week.
|Chris Lubanski, of, Royals (Double-A Wichita): Has lifted his average from .091 to .291 since April 18. Secondary
skills are coming along too as he has 14 walks and 24 strikeouts in 117
at-bats, last season it was 38 and 131 in 531 at-bats.
|Colby Rasmus, of, Cardinals (Low Class A Quad Cities): He opened the season 2-for-28 with zero extra-base hits, but is 36-for-96 since with fourteen extra-base hits.|
|Jay Bruce, of, Reds (Low Class A Dayton): Been an offensive force all season, and the homers are coming around, hit three last week.|
|Brian Bogusevic, lhp, Astros (Low Class A Lexington)|
|Has been brutal in his last two starts, particularly his last outing
when he didn’t make it out of the first inning against West Virginia.
Giving new meaning to the nickname ‘Power,’ West Virginia hitters
rocked the 2005 first-rounder for eight runs on seven hits–three of
which left the yard.
|Rafael Rodriguez, rhp, Angels (Double-A Arkansas)|
|A second appearance on the not-so-hot list, Rodriguez hasn’t fared much
better since his promotion to Double-A. In 13 innings, Rodriguez has
allowed 15 earned runs on 18 hits, including seven bombs.
|A.J. Shappi, rhp, Diamondbacks (High Class A Lancaster)|
|Secondary numbers are decent (21/7 K/BB), but Shappi is getting torn up
in the Cal League. Opponents are hitting a robust .438 against him, as
he’s given up 53 hits in 26 innings. He’s now 0-4, 10.73 overall.
|Jake Dittler, rhp, Indians (Triple-A Buffalo)|
|Dittler is scuffling in his first season in Triple-A, with 1-5, 5.28
numbers. But beyond that, he’s given up 14 walks compared to just seven
strikeouts over 29 innings. He’s dropped consecutive starts for the
Bisons, allowing 12 earned runs in 11 innings.
|Cliff Pennington, ss, Athletics (High Class A Stockton)|
|Sure, he had a four-hit game on Sunday, which might be a sign of good
things to come, but not even that can get him off this list. He might
have shown some sign of life, but overall numbers of .150/.267/.170 in
100 at-bats isn’t going to get it done–especially as a leadoff hitter.
|Colby Lewis, rhp, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo)|
|A first-rounder of the Rangers in 1999, Lewis missed all of last season
and most of 2004 after shoulder surgery. He’s back and leaving
an impression on International League hitters this season, with 1-2,
3.27 numbers in 33 innings.
|Nick Pereira, rhp, Giants (High Class A San Jose)|
|Among the minor league leaders in ERA with a 0.77 mark, the 23-year-old
righthander is dominating the Cal League with a 39-6 strikeout-walk