Prospect Hot Sheet: May 20

Remember that the Prospect Hot Sheet is not a re-ranking of
the Top 100 Prospects. This is a snapshot of which top prospects are
excelling and which ones are struggling right now. Stats cover the period from May 13 through last night, May 19.

Contributing: Ted Cahill, J.J. Cooper, Kyle Dugan,
Matt Eddy and Jim Shonerd.

No. 1 JEDD GYORKO, 3B

PADRES

Team: high Class A Lake Elsinore (California)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .448/.500/.966 (13-for-29), 4 HR, 3 2B, 11 RBIs, 9 R, 4 BB, 5 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: The California League may be the only place in the galaxy where Gyorko’s .392 average would not lead the way. But while would-be batting titlists in Bakersfield’s Eric Campbell (.400) and Rancho Cucamonga’s Gorman Erickson (.398) are due for some regression, Gyorko is slated for progression—as in to Double-A. With third baseman James Darnell enjoying similar success in Double-A, the Padres could see fit to promote he and Gyorko at the same time.

On his current 16-game hitting streak, Gyorko has batted 29-for-68 (.426) with five homers, nine doubles and 21 RBIs. That’s not to say he’s morphed into a future 20-home run masher. During his streak, Gyorko has smashed four of five homers in either Lancaster or High Desert, and one simply will not find more favorable home run conditions in pro ball.

Gyorko is a threat to win the minor league batting title, however, and he currently ranks first in the minors with 65 hits (tied with San Jose’s Gary Brown) and second with 42 RBIs (tied with Double-A Mobile’s Paul Goldschmidt). He paces the Cal League with 30 extra-base hits, thanks to a league-leading 20 doubles.

2011
Stats

No. 2 ARODYS VIZCAINO, RHP

BRAVES

Team: high Class A Lynchburg (Carolina)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 2 GS, 12 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 3 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: In his first two extended starts since returning from a back injury that forced him to miss a turn, Vizcaino outdueled the Nos. 5 and 6 overall picks from last year’s draft in Kinston’s Drew Pomeranz and Myrtle Beach’s Barret Loux. Vizcaino went seven innings in his start last Friday against Myrtle for his longest outing of the year. He faced just two hitters more than the minimum, striking out six and allowing two hits. Since coming back from his injury, Vizcaino has struck out 15 batters in 17 innings, allowing just six hits.

2011
Stats

No. 3 GARRETT RICHARDS, RHP

ANGELS

Team: Double-A Arkansas (Texas)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 9 SO, 1 BB, 8/1 G/F

The Scoop: Richards carried a pedestrian 2-1, 5.00 record into his start last Sunday against Tulsa, but the righthander pulled it together for perhaps the best outing of his career. A sandwich round pick in 2009, Richards retired the Drillers’ first 10 hitters and didn’t allow a hit until a two-out single in the fifth. This was the third time in four starts Richards had faced Tulsa, and they had gotten to him for six runs in 6 1/3 innings on May 4. Richards turned the tables this time, though, completing the longest scoreless outing of his career. Richards, who turns 23 next Friday, improved to 3-1, 4.09 in 44 innings with the win.

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No. 4 JARRED COSART, RHP

PHILLIES

Team: high Class A Clearwater (Florida State)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Like many young power righthanders, Cosart’s control isn’t always what he wants it to be. But on the days everything comes together, Cosart’s stuff can be unhittable. He proved that this week as he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning against Bradenton, losing it on a Robbie Grossman single to start the seventh. Cosart’s stuff is looking pretty similar to what it was last year, but when you have a 94-98 mph fastball, a tick above-average curveball and a decent changeup, you don’t need much more.

2011
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No. 5 JEURYS FAMILIA, RHP

METS

Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 6 SO, 3 BB, 1 HBP

The Scoop: Familia mastered the high Class A Florida State League in six starts this season, but if you trace his progress with St. Lucie back to last July 27 you find a more comprehensive picture. In his final 14 FSL starts prior to a bump to Binghamton, Familia logged a 3.11 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 102-to-24 over 84 innings. So what we’ve seen early in 2011 is not necessarily an April fluke.

Familia’s been even better in two Double-A stats. He’s fanned 12 and walked three in 14 innings while allowing just two runs. Subscribers can expect much more on Familia in Tuesday’s Prospect Bulletin, which focuses on the Mets’ Double-A rotation and new organizational pitching philosophy.

2011
Stats

No. 6 MIKE MOUSTAKAS, 3B

ROYALS

Team: Triple-A Omaha (Pacific Coast)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .412/.500/1.000 (7-for-17), 2 HR, 4 2B, 7 RBIs, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Moustakas’ bat has perked up in May (.339/.429/.661) thanks in part to a slump-busting swing through Albuquerque, Colorado Springs and Reno, where he went 13-for-38 (.342) with seven extra-base hits. That’s OK. Eric Hosmer enjoyed some of the same road accommodations, and he’s kept up the pace in Kansas City.

The most encouraging development for Moustakas thus far is his improved pitch selectivity. He’s bashed eight homers on the year while walking in a career high 9.8 percent of plate appearances. It’s not like Pacific Coast League pitchers are passing him to get to the next guy, because the next guys in the Omaha lineup typically are sluggers Clint Robinson and Kila Ka’aihue.

2011
Stats

No. 7 DECK McGUIRE, RHP

BLUE JAYS

Team: high Class A Dunedin (Florida State)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Continuing his impressive professional debut season, McGuire threw the best game of his career Tuesday against Jupiter. He dominated for seven innings, a career high, and finished his outing without allowing a run for the fourth time in eight appearances. The 11th overall pick in last year’s draft, McGuire has allowed only one run in his last three starts and appears to be moving toward a promotion to Double-A New Hampshire. 

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No. 8 STEPHEN VOGT, C/LF

RAYS

Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)

Age: 26

Why He’s Here: .452/.514/.903 (14-for-31), 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 12 R, 4 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Vogt’s still catching up with his peers after a torn labrum wiped out almost all of his 2009 season. Scouts peg him as more of a multi-position contributor than an everyday catcher.

While he’s older than the average Double-A player at 26, Vogt sure can hit. He led the Florida State League in batting and slugging last year, and he’s followed it up with an exceptional start with Montgomery. Focus on the positives and you see that Vogt is a good-hitting lefty bat who can serve as a backup catcher while also seeing time in left field and at first base. And as the possessor of an excellent Joe Maddon imitation, he also keeps the clubhouse light.

2011
Stats

No. 9 BRAD PEACOCK, RHP

NATIONALS

Team: Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 1 GS, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 14 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: One of the Eastern League’s most dominant starters thus far, Peacock hit his first bump in the road this year in his May 8 start against Reading, giving up five runs in 4 1/3 innings. He bounced back with this effort against Richmond, picking up his fifth win in seven outings with a career-high 14 strikeouts. Peacock’s 92-95 mph fastball and diving curveball were devastating on Richmond’s hitters, and he held that velocity deep into the night. He struck out five consecutive hitters to finish his evening to improve to 5-1, 2.13. Peacock leads all EL starters in opponent average (.169) and strikeouts per nine innings (12.66).

2011
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No. 10 KYLE LOBSTEIN, LHP

RAYS

Team: high Class A Charlotte (Florida State)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 1.50, 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 BB, 16 SO

The Scoop: Since joining the Stone Crabs after almost a month in extended spring training, Lobstein took a few starts to hit his stride in Charlotte. But in two starts this week, Lobstein showed the kind of ability that led the Rays to give him $1.5 million coming out of high school in 2008. First, he struck out seven in six innings against Lakeland before shutting out a Clearwater lineup that included Chase Utley for seven innings. Lobstein allowed only one hit and added nine strikeouts while matching his longest outing of the season.

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No. 11 GARY BROWN, CF

GIANTS

Team: high Class A San Jose (California)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .441/.486/.676 (15-for-34), 1 HR, 3 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBIs, 9 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 4-for-5 SB

The Scoop: Lake Elsinore’s Jedd Gyorko has some competition for hottest hitter in the Cal League honors. Brown’s riding a 14-game hitting streak of his own, during which he’s hitting .462, and he has upped his line for the year to .378/.449/.529 in 172 at-bats. He turned in five multi-games this week and, as he’s done all year, continued to wreak havoc on the bases. Brown’s four steals this week give him 25 on the year, the second highest total in the minors. On the down side, his 11 foiled attempts leads the minors, though he is eight for his last 10.

No. 12 GARY SANCHEZ, C

YANKEES

Team:  low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)

Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .360/.515/.800 (9-for-25), 2 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 9 R, 8 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: After struggling both offensively and defensively to open the season at Charleston, Sanchez broke out at the plate in a big way last week by clubbing three home runs and showing strong plate discipline (eight walks). During a five-game stretch in the middle of a seven-game hitting streak, Sanchez drove in 10 runs, nearly doubling his RBI total on the year (21). However, questions still loom large surrounding Sanchez’s defense. The young Dominican currently leads the Sally League in passed balls (13), despite splitting catching duties with 2009 second-round pick J.R. Murphy.

2011
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No. 13 MANNY BANUELOS, LHP

YANKEES

Team: Double-A Trenton (Eastern)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Free of any ill effects from a blister issue that kept him off the mound early this season, Banuelos completed his longest and best start of the year against Erie on Tuesday. He worked six two-hit innings and collected 13 of 18 outs via either strikeout (seven) or groundball (six). He’s done a great job this year keeping the ball down and has yet to surrender a home run because of it. Over his last two starts, spanning eleven innings, Banuelos has allowed just five hits while retiring twelve batters on strikes.

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IN THE TEAM PHOTO

The Reds have pitching depth in the majors and at Triple-A, but there aren’t a lot of high-ceiling arms in Double-A and high Class A. That’s not the case at low Class A Dayton thanks to RHP Daniel Corcino. The 20-year-old is regarded by some as a Johnny Cueto clone both because of his build and because of his stuff. This week, we saw a pretty good example of that, as he put up a Cueto-esque line in which he struck out 14 in seven innings, while allowing five hits and a lone run . . . Mariners 2010 fouth-round pick LHP James Paxton took a meandering path to the affiliated minors. The NCAA’s archaic agent rules left him unable to pitch for Kentucky following his selection in the 2009 draft, so he instead took a detour into independent ball and then didn’t sign with Seattle until this spring. Paxton, 22, is trying to make up for lost time with low Class A Clinton. This week he went logged 17 strikeouts and seven walks while allowing nine hits and two runs allowed in 11 1/3 innings . . . Red Sox 1B Lars Anderson has largely been marginalized by the Adrian Gonzalez trade, but he’s started to hit for Triple-A Pawtucket. The 23-year-old went 8-for-19 (.421) this week to raise his slash line for the season to .273/.405/.379. He also hit his first two home runs of the season, going deep in both games of a doubleheader at Columbus . . . Perhaps he’d be easier to ignore if he went by his given name of William instead of Beamer. But as is Beamer Weems stands as the finest defensive infielder in the Padres system, and his hot streak with the stick is becoming harder to ignore with each successful week. The pure shortstop now may profile as a big league utility man instead of org player. The 23-year-old Weems enjoyed a big week with Double-A San Antonio, going 9-for-22 (.409) with two homers, two doubles, six RBIs and a six-to-three walk-to-whiff ratio. That kind of production is difficult to reconcile with his past output. Weams entered the year as a career .229 hitter with three career homers. He’s already gone deep four times this year while batting .312/.404/.504. . . Blue Jays CF Anthony Gose took some time to warm up for Double-A New Hampshire, hitting just .238/.307/.288 in April, but the 20-year-old’s been coming to life in May. He’s hitting .318/.430/.470 in 66 at-bats for the month and hit 9-for-20 (.450) with two homers, five walks, nine RBIs and three steals in three attempts this week . . . Rockies OF Charlie Blackmon has hit at every level, and that’s continued at Triple-A Colorado Springs this year. The 24-year-old batted .444/.467/.741 (12-for-27) with a homer and five doubles this week, including five consecutive multi-hit games. He’s hitting .337/.400/.598 for the year . . . Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie continues to rake for Triple-A Las Vegas, with five of his eight hits this week going for extra bases. Among these hits were his eighth and ninth home runs of the season, helping him to eclipse his 2010 homer total (eight) in 400 fewer plate appearances. When Lawrie wasn’t busy driving the ball, he found time to take seven walks and double his total on the year (14).

NOT-SO HOT
SHEET

Scott Diamond, lhp, Twins. Recent first-rounder Alex Wimmers can’t find the plate. The big league team has scored 3.29 runs per game to rank No. 30 in baseball. Injuries have necessitated an unprecedented number of roster moves. Nope, nothing is going the Twins’ way this spring. And what started as a promising season for Triple-A Rochester’s Diamond has turned sour of late. He lasted 2 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on six hits in his most recent start against his former teammates in Gwinnett. In his last three starts the 24-year-old Diamond is staring at three losses and a 12.66 ERA, having allowed 25 hits and 16 runs in 10 2/3 innings. Minnesota can take some solace in the fact that reliever Billy Bullock, the man traded to acquire Diamond, has struggled to a 6.75 ERA and 1.88 WHIP with the Double-A Braves.

• Marc Krauss, lf/rf, Diamondbacks. Double-A Southern League pitchers have exploited the holes in Krauss’ swing to this point. His 41 strikeouts rank fifth in the league, and he’s coming off a miserable week in which he collected one single in 20 at-bats while striking out 11 times. The 23-year-old Krauss still works his way on base via the walk (four this week; 23 on the year), and as such he’s batting an it-could-be-worse .219/.338/.391 through 128 at-bats for Mobile.

• Keon Broxton, cf, Diamondbacks. Broxton was promoted from low Class A South Bend in early May but has struggled against the better competition of the high Class A Cal League. His power has been absent in Visalia, where he has just one extra base hit in 72 at-bats. This week, Broxton went 4-for-26 and struck out 10 times.

Steve Baron, c, Mariners. The Mariners spent $980,000 to sign Baron as the 33rd overall pick in 2009, doing so largely on the strength of his defense and in spite of industry doubts about his bat. So far, Baron’s lived up to the billing on both sides of the ball. He’s thrown out 46.8 percent of basestealers for low Class A Wisconsin this year while hitting .198/.291/.279 in 111 at-bats. The 20-year-old couldn’t buy a hit this week. He only struck out four times but still hit just .105/.190/.105 (2-for-19) with two walks.

MAN AMONG BOYS

Jorge Vazquez, 1b, Yankees. Vazquez doesn’t figure into the Yankees’ long-term plan at first base, but he’s doing his best to give them something to think about with his performance this season for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 29-year-old veteran of the Mexican League currently leads the Triple-A International League in homers (16), RBIs (41) and slugging (.641), due in part to two-home run efforts on Saturday and Tuesday. Vazquez leads the minors in homers, but that has come at the cost of an elevated strikeout rate (45 in 38 games). As far as that goes, Vazquez is racing against Scranton teammate Justin Maxwell (13 homers, 61 whiffs) on both fronts.

BLAST FROM THE
PAST

Michael Aubrey, 1b, Nationals. We’ll never know how Aubrey’s career would have turned out if he hadn’t battled back problems, but the 29-year-old is still capable of a monster game here and there. After not homering in his first 22 games this year Aubrey hit four home runs for Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday, and added a fifth on Wednesday. A .421/.500/1.263 line this week (8-for-19 with 12 RBIs) is as good a week as any in the minors this month. Aubrey’s back problems muted his power for most of his time with the Indians. Last year he did manage to hit 22 home runs for Triple-A Norfolk (Orioles), but his average and on-base percentage suffered. If he can keep up his .270/.372/.500 line, it’s not outlandish to think he could land another cup of coffee like he got with the Orioles back in 2009.

HELIUM
WATCH

Ramon Flores, lf/1b, Yankees. The 19-year-old Charleston first baseman doesn’t exactly fit your typical profile for a left fielder/first baseman. He doesn’t really have the power you look for at the traditional power spots. But the teenager is hitting .283 thanks to an advanced feel for hitting. A scout who recently saw him complimented Flores’ feel for the strike zone and noticed that his game power actually seems better than the raw power he shows in batting practice. That was on clear display this week, as Flores hit four home runs as well as two doubles (doubling his season extra-base hit total). He hit .323/.400/.744 this week. As a lefty thrower he doesn’t have a lot of other options defensively, but if he hits the Yankees will make room.

Minors | #2011 #Prospect Hot Sheet

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