Prospect Hot Sheet: May 15


See also: Previous
Prospect
Hot Sheets


It was only a matter of time until the Giants promoted Tim Alderson to Double-A. It was also probably only a matter of time til he ranked No. 1 on the Hot Sheet. Before too long, his new Defenders teammate Madison Bumgarner may pop up on here as well.

Remember as always, this is not a re-ranking of our
Top 100 Prospects list. Instead, it’s a snapshot of who are the hottest
prospects in baseball right
now, with stats taken from the past week of games (May 8-14).

Contributing: Ben Badler, Kary Booher,
J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy and
Jim
Shonerd.

No. 1 TIM ALDERSON, RHP

GIANTS

Team: Double-A Connecticut (Eastern)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Scouts and managers agree that the toughest jump in the minors is the leap from high Class A to Double-A. All of a sudden, pitchers are facing much savvier hitters who laugh at sliders off the plate and are always ready to hit fastballs in the strike zone. But for Alderson, this is really not a big adjustment. He goes from pitching in the California League, where seven of 10 teams have a team ERA above 4.60, to the Eastern League, where 8 of the 12 teams have team ERAs of 3.80 or lower.

Mistakes that would be hit out pitching in San Jose will turn into doubles or long fly outs in Connecticut. Not that Alderson made any mistakes in his first Double-A start. He was in complete command, which is impressive when you consider that he became the league’s youngest pitcher, though he held that title only til the next night, when teammate Madison Bumgarner made his EL debut.

2009
Stats
No. 2 CASEY KELLY,
RHP

RED SOX

Team: low Class A Greenville (South Atlantic)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.54, 11 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: For a guy who’d never thrown a pitch in a professional game before this year, Kelly hasn’t had any trouble tackling the SAL. The Red Sox are planning to re-evaluate Kelly’s long term future—whether he should continue pitching or go back to shortstop—after he reaches the 100 innings mark this year. If he keeps up at the pace he’s at, that decision should be a no-brainer. Kelly has yet to take a loss and is off to a scorching 5-0, 0.96 start. He’s only allowed four earned runs in 37 1/3 innings on the season and has piled up a 33-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

2009
Stats
No. 3 BRIAN MATUSZ, LHP

ORIOLES

Team: high Class A Frederick (Carolina)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.42, 12 2/3 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 19 SO

The Scoop: Matusz was one of the most polished pitchers in last year’s draft, and now the fourth overall pick is showing why with his dominance of the Carolina League. Matusz attacks hitters with four pitches that rate as average to plus, leading to 51 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings, with a 2.95 ERA and 16 walks. Fellow Orioles pitching prospect Chris Tillman is closer to the big leagues, but Matusz has just as much potential to be an above-average major league starter.

2009
Stats
No. 4 DEREK NORRIS, C

NATIONALS

Team: low Class A Hagerstown (South Atlantic)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .476/.542/.857 (10-for-21), 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO


The Scoop:
After ranking No. 4 in last year’s prospect ranking of the New York-Penn League, Norris has continued unabated in his quest to make himself a household name. He’s a patient hitter who, while striking out at a higher clip than last year, has also showing more of a power stroke. Now batting .300/.405/.580 with 18 walks and 30 strikeouts in 29 games, Norris is one of several Nationals prospects—shortstop Danny Espinosa, first baseman Chris Marrero and lefthander Ross Detwiler, among others—quietly putting together nice seasons.

2009
Stats
No. 5 JASON HEYWARD, RF

BRAVES

Team: high Class A Myrtle Beach (Carolina)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .292/.452/.708 (7-for-24), 3 HR, 1 2B, 5 R, 4 RBIs, 6 BB, 4 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: If you were worried about Heyward after he was absent from the season’s first few Hot Sheets, don’t worry, he hasn’t gone anywhere. One of the best all-around prospects in the game, Heyward’s power came to the forefront this week as he doubled his season home run total by going deep three times. The last of those three long balls came at the expense of lefty Brian Matusz, a fellow Hot Sheeter. The lefthanded-batting Heyward took him deep in the third inning of last night’s game between Myrtle Beach and Frederick.

2009
Stats
No. 6 KRIS MEDLEN, RHP

BRAVES

Team:
Triple-A Gwinnett (International)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: We featured Medlen in a Prospect Pulse last August and again on Opening Day when he followed Tommy Hanson’s Triple-A debut. And it’s fitting those two are now in the same sentence because Medlen seems to be perfectly playing the part of Rogers to Hanson’s Astaire. Converted from the bullpen last year at Double-A Mississippi, the former Santa Ana (Calif.) JC closer has won each of his last three starts—and not allowed a run in any of them. The result is that Medlen leads the IL in ERA (0.96), with the pitchers in his rearview mirror being Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden of Pawtucket and, down the way, Hanson as well as Chris Tillman.

2009
Stats
No. 7 CHRIS TILLMAN, RHP

ORIOLES

Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Orioles fans are already fantasizing about a future starting rotation headlined by Tillman and Matusz, while righthanders Brandon Erbe and Jake Arrieta also look promising in Double-A. It seems like Tillman’s been in the Hot Sheet every other week since last year, and he’s a good bet to continue to make Hot Sheet appearances as long as he keeps this up. He’s striking out more than a batter per inning—37 in 31 innings—with a 2.03 ERA and 12 walks. Perhaps the most encouraging part of Tillman’s most recent outings is that he hasn’t allowed more than two walks in his last four starts.

2009
Stats
No. 8 ANDREW McCUTCHEN, OF

PIRATES

Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .462/.548/.731 (12-for-26), 3 2B, 2 3B, 8 R, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 0 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: As Pirates’ top prospect Pedro Alvarez continues to get his feet wet in the high A Carolina League—and as the big league club sputters after after a fast start—McCutchen will have to suffice for Pittsburgher’s looking for something to get excited about. He’s clearly become a formidable leadoff man, and he has hit the same number of doubles (eight) as triples and enters tonight’s game at Rochester coming off a four-hit game that followed a three-hit, three-runs, two-doubles effort.

2009
Stats
No. 9 DANNY DUFFY, LHP

ROYALS

Team: high Class A Wilmington (Carolina)

Age: 20

Why
He’s Here:
1-0, 0.00, 6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 SO

The
Scoop:
If you were looking for the best pitching matchup of the week, it would have been worth traveling to Frederick last Friday to see Duffy face off with O’s prospect Brian Matusz. Duffy retired 19 of the 22 men he faced, while Matusz was striking out 13 Blue Rocks hitters and retiring 15 in a row at one point.

Duffy gave up three home runs in a bad outing against Winston-Salem in late April, but since then he’s once again managed to work low in the zone—he’s given up two extra-base hits in 11 1/3 innings since then.

2009
Stats
No. 10 DESMOND JENNINGS, CF

RAYS

Team:
Double-A Montgomery (Southern)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .474/.600/.579 (9-for-19), 2 2B, 9 R, 5 BB, 1 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Should we start charging Jennings rent for being a regular tenant here on Hot Sheet? Phone lines are open. The guy just keeps on tearing through the Southern League, with his latest escapade starting last Friday with a five-hit game that included three runs scored and a double. And get this: He’s hitting .468/.526/.596 (22-for-47) in May.

2009
Stats
No. 11 JAKE FOX, 1B

CUBS

Team: Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast)

Age: 26

Why He’s Here: .579/.680/1.316 (11-for-19), 3 HR, 3 2B, 1 3B, 9 R, 12 RBIs, 4 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: After a relatively quiet week last week, Fox is back with a vengeance. He leads the entire minor leagues in all three triple crown categories with a .420 average, 15 home runs and 44 RBIs. And he’s slugging .955 for good measure. Fox would be a lot higher on this list if not for his age, though it also helped that the I-Cubs were visiting hitter-friendly Colorado Springs this week, where Fox his all three of his long balls. Still, it’d be impossible for him to make a louder case for a promotion.

2009
Stats
No. 12 DREW STUBBS, CF

REDS

Team: Triple-A Louisville (International)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .423/.516/.692 (11-for-26), 7 2Bs, 2 RBIs, 5 BB, 8 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Facing Wade Davis and the Rays on Wednesday night, Stubbs gave a perfect summation of his strengths and weaknesses. He struck out on three straight fastballs his first time up, then struck out on a Davis curveball in the fifth. But facing a potential 0-for-4 night, Stubbs managed to fist a bloop hit into short right field. Then by flying out of the box, he turned what looked like a single into a double, giving him a streak of seven straight games with a double. Stubbs may not be hitting the homers that were expected out of him, but he’s getting on-base (.400 OBP) and his 13 doubles lead the IL, which suggests that eventually the home runs may come.

2009
Stats
No. 13 BRAD EMAUS, 2B

BLUE JAYS

Team:  Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .385/.500/.769 (10-for-26), 2 HR, 4 2B, 4 RBIs, 6 R, 5 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: It only seems like Emaus has come out of nowhere. He fell to the 11th round of the 2007 draft because he struggled with an ankle injury as a Tulane junior, but he’s handsomely rewarding the Blue Jays’ investment thus far. One season after ranking sixth in the Florida State League in extra-base hits, Emaus ranks second in the EL in that category this year—but first in doubles (12) and hits (42). A converted third baseman, his bat is his ticket to the big leagues, and his manager, Gary Cathcart, applauds his ability to “hit a lot of pitches, even out of zone.”

2009
Stats

IN THE TEAM
PHOTO

Triple-A Fresno 1B Jesus Guzman (Giants) was free for the taking last offseason—the extremely rare minor league free agent who happens to be a prospect. San Francisco snagged him, and they already have reaped the benefits. Guzman, 24, is hitting .355/.374/.587 in the Pacific Coast League, and he hit .515/.515/.727 (17-for-33) this past week, chipping in a double, three triples and 10 RBIs. Brian Sabean has noticed, as the Giants GM reportedly made a trip to see how Guzman is looking defensively at first base. Might a callup be in the works? . . . Nationals LHP Ross Detwiler had one of the best outings of his professional career this year, striking out nine in five innings for Double-A Harrisburg, allowing one run, three hits and no walks. On the season, the 23-year-old Detwiler’s ERA is 2.96 with a 28-10 K-BB mark in 27 innings . . . Mother Nature was the only foe able to slow down high Class A Jupiter RF Mike Stanton (Marlins) this week. The 19-year-old homered in three straight games and put up a .313/.389/.938 (5-for-16) week, but his team’s games were rained out the last two days, probably costing him a spot higher on this list. Still, Stanton took the FSL’s home run lead with eight on the year . . . Low Class A Fort Wayne RHP Mat Latos (Padres) has torn right through the Midwest League in his second go-round. In his only start this week, Latos, 21, tossed seven innings and allowed only one run on three hits while fanning seven, and he did it against Great Lakes, the MWL’s best offensive team. The run was the first he’d allowed in three starts, and he’s 2-0, 0.48 in 18 2/3 innings, so he may not be in Low-A much longer . . . High Class A Tampa C Jesus Montero (Yankees) has had a startlingly good start to his season. Just 19, he’s established himself as one of the Florida State League’s top offensive performers. He batted .455/.478/.636 (10-for-22) on the week, with two doubles, a triple and eight RBIs. And on the season, he ranks fourth in the FSL in average (.336), second in doubles (10), third in slugging (.563) and second in extra-base hits (16) . . . A converted infielder, Double-A Tulsa RHP Esmil Rogers (Rockies) has been a pitcher for just three seasons prior to this one, but he already has shown advanced command of a low-90s fastball and a power curveball. The 23-year-old has unleashed those weapons on the Texas League this season to great effect, posting a strong 33-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio (his strikeouts rank third in the TL) and a 3.73 ERA through 31 1/3 innings. Last Monday, he tossed six shutout innings at Northwest Arkansas, striking out seven and allowing five hits and two walks. That performance was nothing new for Rogers, who now has completed six shutout innings in three of his last four starts . . . We’ve been a bit late in acknowledging the fine work of low Class A Clinton RHP Brett Lorin (Mariners), a fifth-round pick last year from Long Beach State. The 22-year-old has presented a strong case for a promotion to high Class A with his early performance. Trouble is, that High Desert staff is already loaded with many of Seattle’s best pitching prospects. At any rate, in two starts this week, Lorin went 1-0, 2.77 while racking up 12 strikeouts in 13 innings. He allowed just four walks and seven hits, and he now has gone 3-0, 1.71 through his first seven starts. He ranks third in the Midwest League in both ERA and strikeouts (40), while leading everybody with 42 innings.

NOT-SO HOT
SHEET

Carlos Carrasco, rhp, Phillies. The wheels have come off for the Phillies’ most advanced pitching prospect, at just the wrong time, as Philadelphia is looking for someone to start this weekend. Carrasco, 22, threw six scoreless innings in his 2009 debut at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he’s been getting progressively worse ever since. Carrasco has not completed six innings in any of his past four starts, going 0-3, 13.23 and giving up 24 runs in 16 2/3 innings. His last start on Tuesday was the worst of the year—4 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO.

Jeremy Jeffress, rhp, Brewers: Jeffress has one of the fastest fastballs in the minor leagues, routinely working the mid- to high-90s and capable of hitting 100 mph. Unfortunately, locating the strike zone has been problematic. Jeffress, 21, has walked 27 hitters in 23 innings on the season while going 1-2, 7.04 through seven starts for Double-A Huntsville. In his only start this week, he couldn’t make it out of the second inning, getting pulled after allowing six runs on four hits and five walks over 1 2/3 innings. This was the third straight start in which Jeffress lasted three innings or fewer.

Tyson Ross, rhp, Athletics: The A’s spent their second-round pick last year on Ross, but the early returns have been uninspiring. Ross, 22, has missed time this year with biceps tendinitis, but he hasn’t performed well when he has been on the field. He has more walks (12) than strikeouts (nine) in 18 1/3 innings for high Class A Stockton, where he has a 4.91 ERA in the California League. That includes his last outing on Sunday, when he gave up two runs in two innings, walking four with no strikeouts.

Jefry Marte, 3b, Mets. Nothing has gone right for Marte since late April. He finished his game on April 19 with .317/.349/.415 averages—more than respectable production for a 17-year-old kid from the Dominican Republic in low Class A. Since then the Savannah third baseman has been mired in a miserable slump, batting .177/.218/.271 (17-for-96) with 26 strikeouts and eight errors in 23 games. Marte collected three hits in 23 at-bats last week, notching a triple and a walk.

MEN AMONG
BOYS

Andrew Brackman,
rhp, Yankees
: Finally able to pitch in live games, Brackman has
taken a little time to shake off the rust with low Class A Charleston. He went 0-4, 4.55 through
his first six starts, but may have finally turned a corner in his most
recent outing. The 23-year-old tossed eight innings and allowed only
two runs on seven hits against Lexington. He fanned nine and walked
one, though he still ended up taking a no-decision. His ERA dropped
to 4.06 and he upped his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 38-to-15.

BLAST FROM THE
PAST

Thumb through the 2004 Prospect Handbook and you’ll find first baseman Brad Eldred listed at No. 29 among Pirates prospects. He reached as high as No. 8 a year later and went on to have two stints with Pittsburgh. Now at Triple-A Syracuse (Nationals), Eldred is plowing through the International League. In the past week, he hit .423/.444/.692 (11-for-26) with four doubles, a home run and four RBIs. However, he still has a penchant for strikeouts, with 32 against eight walks in 102 at-bats this year.

HELIUM
WATCH

MATT FAIREL, LHP

REDS

Team: low Class A Dayton (Midwest)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: As a draft-eligible sophomore, Fairel didn’t get drafted until the 35th round last year, but that was more because of concerns about signability than anything else. He ended up signing for $250,000 and may prove to be the second-best pitching prospect in the Reds’ ’08 draft class.

For a lefty who normally sits between 86-89 mph, topping out at 90, Fairel sure performs like a power pitcher. He struck out 13 West Michigan batters on Wednesday night, one off the Dayton team record. It wasn’t a fluke, as Fairel now has recorded 10 or more strikeouts in three of his past five starts and now leads the MWL with 49. His breaking ball is a plus pitch, which has proven to be too much for the inexperienced hitters he faces in low Class A.

2009
Stats

Minors | #2009 #Prospect Hot Sheet

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