Just four pitchers make the Prospect Hot Sheet this week, and righthanders Alay Soler (Mets) and Hayden Penn (Orioles) would have been strong candidates had they not been called up to the big leagues this week.
The Mets have waited a year and a half for a return on their $1.4 million investment in Cuban-defector Soler. He began the season at high Class A St. Lucie and went 1-0, 2.75 with a 22-3 strikeout-walk ratio in 20 innings. When Soler, 26, landed at Double-A Binghamton, he was even better, going 2-0, 0.64 in 28 innings. Soler will start Wednesday against Philadelphia.
Penn makes his second stint in the big leagues, and the Orioles hope it goes better than the 3-2, 6.34 with 21 walks in 38 innings he put up last season. Penn started the season in extended spring training with some minor shoulder soreness, and debuted for Triple-A Ottawa in May. Penn starts Tuesday at Seattle, after going 2-2, 1.48 with 29 strikeouts in 30 innings for Ottawa.
Special props to Indians righthander Sean Smith, a 16th-rounder who signed for $1.1 million as a draft-and-follow in 2002, finally has put the injuries and command problems behind him at Double-A Akron.
After going 1-2, 3.60 over his first four starts in the Carolina League, Smith has been untouchable in his last three outings at Double-A Akron. The 22-year-old righthander has allowed just one earned run in his last 22 innings and is 4-0, 1.69 in 32 innings for the Aeros.
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. Kevin Slowey, rhp, Twins (High Class A Fort Myers)|
|If you’re looking for command, it doesn’t get any better than this 2005 second-rounder (out of Winthrop). In 54 innings for the Miracle, Slowey has 70 strikeouts–which leads the minor leagues–and just two walks to go along with 2-1, 1.33 numbers.|
|2. Nick Adenhart, rhp, Angels (Low Class A Cedar Rapids)|
|Adenhart is among the minor league pitching leaders in nearly every category, and his stuff has only gotten better now that he’s two years removed from Tommy John surgery. His fastball topped out at 95 mph in his last start and his curveball and circle changeup are both plus offerings.|
|3. Wade Davis, rhp, Devil Rays (Low Class A Southwest Michigan)|
|Further proof that wins and losses are not instructive as statistics. Davis was 0-1 on the week, but he lowered his ERA to 0.97 while fanning 17 in 11 innings.|
|4. Andy LaRoche, 3b, Dodgers (Double-A Jacksonville)|
|It was only a matter of time before LaRoche started to heat up, like the weather. After hitting just .226 with five extra-base hits through April, LaRoche turned it up last week, hitting .400 (10-for-25) with three bombs.|
|5. Kendry Morales, 1b, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake)|
|With 11 hits in his last five games, Morales is hitting .417 in May. The power is not quite there yet, as he has just 14 extra-base hits on the season while playing his home games in high-altitude Salt Lake.|
|6. Matt Garza, rhp, Twins (Double-A New Britain)|
|Garza dominated the high Class A Florida State League with 5-1, 1.42 numbers in 44 innings. The 22-year-old righthander didn’t slow down in his first Double-A start, allowing just one hit over 7 2/3 shutout innings and whiffing 13.|
|7. Ryan Patterson, of, Blue Jays (High Class A Dunedin)|
|Patterson went 5-for-6 with two homers last Monday to raise his average to .331. He’s raised it to .339 since. Third in FSL in average and home runs (9); fourth in slugging (.570) and extra-base hits (20).|
|8. Carlos Gonzales, of, Diamondbacks (High Class A Lancaster)|
|His season is picking up steam as he is hitting .333 in May, and he added three homers last week. Strikeouts (40 on the season) are cause for concern, though.|
|9. Justin Upton, of, Diamondbacks (Low Class A South Bend)|
|The first of what is likely to be many appearances on the Hot Sheetâ„•. Upton earns his spot with three multi-hit games on the week, and for living up to the hype by hitting .320/.408/.447.|
|10. Adam Boeve, of, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis)|
|Boeve has been viewed as being a bit old for every league he was in . . . until now. The 25-year-old raked at Double-A Altoona, hitting .333/.407/.478 in 138 at-bats, then ripped up the International League with four straight multi-hit games at Indy.|
|Reid Brignac, ss, Devil Rays (High Class A Visalia): Taking advantage of the hitting environment in the Cal League. With seven extra-base hits last week, now fourth in the league with 22 and is hitting .341/.397/.576.
|John Hudgins, rhp, Padres (Double-A Mobile): Sure, he moved down a level after coming over from the Rangers to the Padres, but the whole change of scenery thing is working wonders. In the Pacific Coast League with Texas, Hudgins went 1-1, 6.38 in 18 innings. Since coming over to the Padres, Hudgins is 1-0, 1.54 in 12 innings for Mobile.|
|Ryan Goleski, of, Indians (High Class A Kinston): Goleski is back on the radar after an abysmal year in the Carolina League last season. This past week, the 24-year-old outfielder hit .450 (9-for-20) with five homers and 13 RBIs.|
|Jared Lansford, rhp, Athletics (Low Class A Kane County): Threw a no-hitter and has a 1.17 ERA, but the peripherals (12-11 strikeout-walk in 23 innings) are pedestrian.|
|Jeremy Sowers, lhp, Indians (Triple-A Buffalo): Sowers has been brilliant all season in his first taste of Triple-A, with 6-1, 1.07 numbers in 59 innings.
|Brent Lillibridge, ss, Pirates (Low Class A Hickory): Doing a little bit of everything. Great OBP (.424), good power (.483 slugging) and some speed (16-for-21 in steals).|
|Scott Moore, 3b, Cubs (Double-A West Tenn): Moore is finally showing consistency and building on his fine 2005 season. Last week, Moore batted .333 and hit three homers for the Diamond Jaxx.|
|Wladimir Balentien, of, Mariners (Double-A San Antonio): Power beginning to emerge. Balentien hit four homers last week and drove in 12.|
|Edurado Morlan, rhp, Twins (Low Class A Beloit): Ho-hum. Seven more innings, 11 more Ks. Now has 45 in 32 innings and has established himself in the starting rotation.|
|Nick Stavinoha, of, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): Seventh-rounder from last June is already in Double-A and hitting. Hit .364 last week after missing two weeks to raise average to .323. Warning: 3 walks and 22 strikeouts in 96 at-bats.
|Tom Gorzelanny, lhp, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): Once again in the Team Photo, Gorzelanny keeps going deep into games. The 23-year-old lefty went eight innings in each of his last two starts and didn’t allow a run–lowering his ERA to 2.56 in 53 innings.|
|Nelson Cruz, of, Brewers (Triple-A Nashville): The outfield situation in Milwaukee is crowded, but Cruz just keeps on hitting (.303/.381/.586). 10 home runs are second in the league.|
|Eli Whiteside, c, Orioles (Triple-A Ottawa): After a horrendous April when he batted just .143, Whiteside is hitting .304 this month and raked at a .409 clip last week. He also hit four homers.|
|Jered Weaver, rhp, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake): One earned run allowed in last three starts. Could he be a candidate to replace struggling brother Jeff in the Angels rotations?|
|Troy Patton, lhp, Astros (High Class A Salem): Finally visited the win column after whiffing 10 in his previous start–a no-decision.
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c, Braves (Double-A Mississippi)|
|We’ve been putting this off, but it’s time. Salty has been brutal at the plate for much of the season, hitting just .205/.306/.325 in 125 at-bats. He’s made some progress defensively, throwing out 35 percent of would-be basestealers, compared with 26 percent last season at high Class A Myrtle Beach.|
|Jimmy Barthmaier, rhp, Astros (High Class A Salem)|
|Lost his only start last week, allowing seven runs in three innings and is now 2-4, 5.76 with 24 walks in 54 innings.|
|Anibal Sanchez, rhp, Marlins (Double-A Carolina)|
|Over his last three starts, Sanchez is 0-2, 7.07 with an 11-8 strikeout-walk ratio.|
|Nate Spears, 2b, Cubs (High Class A Daytona)|
|1-for-19 last week, now hitting .204/.304/.214 in 98 at-bats.|
|Mark Trumbo, 1b, Angels (Low Class A Cedar Rapids)|
|Had four hits last week, upping his average to .179 in 123 at-bats.|
|Keith Reed, of, Orioles (Triple-A Ottawa)|
|Obviously Reed will never live up to the hype of being the 23rd overall pick in 1999, but there was some good news last week for the 27-year-old outfielder. Reed, who has a total of six big league at-bats during a brief callup last season, batted .423 (11-for-26) with a pair of homers at Triple-A Ottawa over his last seven games.|
|Johnny Cueto, rhp, Reds (Low Class A Dayton)|
|Cueto, 20, features a low 90s fastball, slider and changeup and has been very effective this season, particularly over his last two starts. The righthander, who signed out of the Dominican in 2004, allowed just one hit over his last 12 innings and is now 4-1, 2.93 with a 52-6 strikeout-walk ratio in 40 innings for the Dragons.|