Prospect Hot Sheet: May 27

The No. 1 spot on this week’s Hot Sheet has a familiar face. One of the best ways for pitcher’s to get Prospect Hot Sheet notice is to rack up the strikeouts, and no one has done a better job of that over the past two and a half seasons than Matt Moore. Moore was a frequent visitor to the Hot Sheet in 2009 and 2010, so it’s only fitting that he has a trip to the top spot this year as well.

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 20 through last night, May 26.

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

No. 1 MATT MOORE, LHP

RAYS

Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.75, 2 GS, 12 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 20 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: Talk about progress. Last year at this time, Moore had gone 0-6, 6.52 with a 2.2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 10 starts for high Class A Charlotte. With Montgomery this year, he’s gone 2-3, 2.91 with a 5.4-to-1 ratio through the same 10 starts.

Moore set a seasonal standard for strikeouts with 11 in his Thursday start against Jacksonville, allowing three hits in six shutout innings. He credits the development of his changeup with his early success, telling the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, “My changeup is coming along exactly how I hoped it would. It’s more of a weapon now where before it was a work in progress.”

After claiming minor league strikeout titles in both 2009 and ’10, with an incredible 384 in 268 innings, Moore’s recent punchout binge has him positioned to claim the lead again this season. The Rockies’ Edwar Cabrera, a lefty starter with low Class A Asheville, holds a narrow 77-76 advantage over Moore.

2011
Stats

No. 2 KYLE RUSSELL, RF

DODGERS

Team: Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .500 (12-for-24), 11 R, 8 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Hitting for power has never been a problem for the University of Texas’ career and single-season home run leader, but Russell’s all-or-nothing swing has always resulted in too many strikeouts and concerns that he won’t hit for average against advanced pitching. The power is there, as Russell showed with an outstanding 32 total bases this week, but some of the other concerns still remain. Every one of Russell’s hits this week was an extra-base hit—he’s still looking to crush every pitch. And he’s struck out 55 times already—33 percent of his at-bats. Not many who strike out that often have much success at the big league level. Russell’s power is legit, but there are still some further steps he has to make before he’s ready to mash in the majors.

2011
Stats

No. 3 BRAD PEACOCK, RHP

NATIONALS

Team: Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 2.13, 2 GS, 12 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 19 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: While questions loomed about his future as a starter after a stint in the bullpen during the Arizona Fall League, Peacock has certainly eased those concerns, if not completely erased them, with his recent performance. He’s utilized his plus knuckle-curve to rack up an impressive 75 strikeouts in only 55 innings of work, while only walking 10 batters. Peacock’s strikeout-to-walk ratio is an otherworldly 7.5-to-1; that number stands in stark contrast to his work at Harrisburg in 2010 (1.36-to-1). He’s also made improvements in keeping the ball down this year, a problem in the past. He’s surrendered two home runs on the season.

2011
Stats
No. 4 JAMES DARNELL, 3B

PADRES

Team: Double-A San Antonio (Texas)

Age:
24

Why He’s Here: .458/.536/.875 (11-for-24), 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Darnell is a 24-year-old repeating the Texas League, so there’s reason for caution before getting too excited. Still, Darnell’s offensive explosion in his return to San Antonio is exciting, as he’s hitting .374/.475/.675 in 198 plate appearances, ranking fifth in the minors in on-base and 10th in slugging. He’s walked (32) more often than he’s struck out (23) thanks to a simple swing and strong plate discipline, while his 10 home runs in 43 games already match his total with the Drillers last year in 101 games. With Padres fans clamoring for any kind of offensive aid they can get in San Diego, Darnell just might be able to help.

2011
Stats

No. 5 BRETT LAWRIE, 3B

BLUE JAYS

Team: Triple-A Las Vega (Pacific Coast)

Age: 21

Why He’s
Here:
.387/.444/.774 (12-for-31), 3 HR, 3 2B, 8 RBIs, 10 R, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Lawrie continues to feast on Pacific Coast League pitching, racking up another 12 hits last week. He now boasts twelve home runs on the year and will assuredly best the career mark he set in 2009 (13). In the PCL, Lawrie is either leading or tied for the lead in hits, runs and doubles, and he’s also tied for third in home runs. He’s having by far the best season of his career and doing so while having the added burden of transitioning to a new defensive home. The Blue Jays must at least be considering Lawrie for their major league squad, as Jays’ third basemen have hit an anemic .173/.226/.270 in 2011. As the moving target for the Super Two arbitration deadline nears, there are fewer reasons to leave Lawrie in Las Vegas.

2011
Stats

No. 6 MARC KRAUSS, RF

DIAMONDBACKS

Team: Double-A Mobile (Southern)

Age:
23

Why He’s Here: .407/.484/.852 (11-for-27), 3 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 5 R, 3 BB, 7 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Coming into last Friday, Krauss was hitting .219/.338/.391 with three home runs through 35 games. Scouts have wondered whether his lack of bat speed will eventually catch up to him. Yet Krauss found his stroke this week, hitting three home runs in four days and raising his season line to a much more respectable .252/.363/.471. Krauss still has his question marks as a corner outfielder with limited defensive ability and concerns about his bat, but weeks like this past one are encouraging.

2011
Stats

No. 7 TRAVIS D’ARNAUD, C

BLUE JAYS

Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)

Age:
22

Why He’s Here: .522/.593/.826 (12-for-23), 1 HR, 4 2B, 2 RBIs, 8 R, 3 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: D’Arnaud has always had solid offensive tools, with a compact swing and good bat speed, but they hadn’t translated into much offensive success until this year. He was just a .265/.323/.418 career hitter in four pro seasons coming into 2011, and he got off to another sputtering start before going down with a concussion in late April. After spending two weeks on the shelf, d’Arnaud has been unstoppable, hitting .490/.576/.776 in 49 at-bats since coming back. He’s currently riding a seven-game hitting streak that includes five multi-hit games, upping his line for the season to .340/.418/.546 in 97 at-bats. 

2011
Stats

No. 8 BOBBY BUNDY, RHP

ORIOLES

Team: high Class A Frederick (Carolina)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.13, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: While his younger brother Dylan is on the verge of being one of the top picks in this year’s draft, Bobby Bundy has been in quite a groove for the Orioles. Since losing his first two starts of the year, he’s been one of the Carolina League’s most effective hurlers. Over his last six starts, he’s gone 4-1, 1.91 in 37 2/3 innings, posting the third best ERA in the league over that span. In his last two starts, both against Kinston, Bundy has allowed all of one run on seven hits in 14 innings. His sinking low-90s fastball helps him maintain a healthy groundball rate, but he’s also fashioned a 43-8 SO-BB mark in 44 2/3 innings.

2011
Stats

No. 9 TIM WHEELER, CF

ROCKIES

Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .423/.516/.731 (11-for-26), 2 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 7 R, 4 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: A quick show of hands: How many people expected Wheeler to be among the top five players in the minors in home runs right now? Yeah, we didn’t either. After hitting 12 home runs in 129 games last year in the high Class A California League, Wheeler already has 14 (tied for fourth in the minors) in 45 games in the Texas League. A 2009 first-round pick out of Sacramento State, Wheeler entered the year with a .383 career slugging average but is off to a .330/.411/.665 start. With 45 strikeouts, Wheeler is averaging one whiff per game, but the overall offensive outburst has been a pleasant surprise.

2011
Stats

No. 10 TYLER SKAGGS, LHP

DIAMONDBACKS

Team: high Class A Visalia (California)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 2.57, 2 GS, 14 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 15 SO

The Scoop: The California League can be an unforgiving place for a young pitcher, and Skaggs might have required a bit of an adjustment period. He went 0-3, 5.31 in his first four outings for Visalia but has dominated since, allowing two runs or less in five of his last six starts. He’s gone 4-0, 1.86 in 38 2/3 innings over that stretch and has been striking out hitters at a much higher rate than in his first full season in 2010. Skaggs struck out 10 against Stockton on Thursday, his second double-digit strikeout game of the season (he didn’t have any last year), and he’s up to 74 in 59 innings for the season, ranking him fourth in the minors. He’s well on his way to surpassing last year’s total of 102 whiffs in 98 innings, split between the Angels and Diamondbacks systems in the low Class A Midwest League. Skaggs was one of the standouts of spring training, now he’s starting to build on that success in games that count.

2011
Stats

No. 11 JARRED COSART, RHP

PHILLIES

Team: high Class A Clearwater (Florida State)

Age: 21

Why He’s
Here:
1-0, 0.66, 2 GS, 13 2/3 IP, 6 H, 5 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: Cosart celebrated his 21st birthday Wednesday by striking out nine batters for his fifth victory of the season. As well as Cosart pitched Wednesday, his first start of the week was even better. Cosart outdueled Rays righthander Alex Colome, allowing three hits in eight innings. Cosart has also increased his strikeouts lately, whiffing 20 batters in his last 20 2/3 innings, after striking out just 27 in the previous 40 innings this year. Subscribers will find much more about Cosart in a feature in the next issue of Baseball America. Look for it online shortly.

2011
Stats

No. 12 JOE WIELAND, RHP

RANGERS

Team:  high Class A Myrtle Beach (Carolina)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 2.35, 7 2/3 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Wieland continued his phenomenal season for Myrtle Beach with another strong performance Sunday. The righthander struck out 10 batters in a losing effort, the second time this year he’s posted a double-digit strikeout total. Wieland now has an incredible strikeout-to-walk ratio of 61-to-3. He hasn’t allowed a walk since April 18, seven starts ago. Yet, Wieland doesn’t lead the Carolina League in strikeouts. That honor goes to his teammate Robbie Erlin, who has 62. Wieland earned a midseason promotion to high Class A last year and could be approaching another one to Double-A this summer.

2011
Stats

No. 13 JACOB TURNER, RHP

TIGERS

Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 2.25, 1 GS, 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: The Tigers’ 2009 first-round pick produced another stellar start, his longest of 2011, this past week when he faced a rehabbing Brian Matusz of Bowie. The Baysox got to Turner for a run in the first inning, but the young Missouri native quickly rebounded. After hitting a batter with two out in the bottom of the second, Turner retired the next 11 batters in order, striking out five of them. He once again displayed the great combination of raw stuff and control that has been the hallmark of his young career (4.17 strikeouts for every walk). In six of his eight starts this season, Turner has walked only a single batter. Part of his success is due to his ability to shut down lefthanded hitters—they’re batting 14-for-89 (.157).

2011
Stats

IN THE TEAM PHOTO

After a three game
stretch spanning 15 2/3 innings in which he walked 13, Yankees RHP Dellin Betances took a
step forward with his control this past Wednesday for Double-A Trenton, handing out only
one free pass. He struck out
five in his first two innings and ended with 10 punchouts in six innings. Despite his
penchant this year for surrendering walks (4.2 per nine innings), the 23-year-old has
maintained a 1.30 ERA thanks to his ability to miss bats. Betances has notched a sparkling 10.1 strikeouts per nine as
batters find it tough to square up anything he throws (5.7 hits per nine, .171 opponent average). It still remains to be seen if he can repeat
the improvements he made last year (2.3 BB/9, 4.91 K/BB in 2010), but
his last start is certainly encouraging . . . Braves RHP Arodys Vizcaino was second on last week’s Hot Sheet and turned in another great start this week. The high Class A Lynchburg righty shut out Winston-Salem for seven innings Monday, allowing just three hits and striking out five batters. Vizcaino needed just 81 pitches to breeze through seven innings, matching his longest start of the year. Vizcaino, 20, is still recovering from a back injury and was on a pitch count of 85-90 pitches, according to the Lynchburg News & Advance . . . Well-rounded Rockies CF Charlie Blackmon has made the most of his surroundings with Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he has hit seven of his 10 homers on the year while slugging .667. On road swings through Round Rock and Albuquerque this week, he went 12-for-32 (.375) with two homers, a double, a triple, two steals (in two attempts) and six strikeouts. With 45 RBIs, 69 hits and 29 extra-base hits on the season, the 24-year-old Blackmon will continue stalking the Pacific Coast League leaders in those categories. He ranks second in each . . . The Diamondbacks’ Bobby Borchering splits his time with high Class A Visalia at third and first base, sharing the positions with fellow 2009 draftee Matt Davidson. The 20-year-old Borchering wore an 0-for-8 to close this Hot Sheet scoring period, but he went a scorching 9-for-18 with four doubles, two triples (.944 slugging) and nine RBIs to open the week, allowing him to cling to his ranking here. He struck out eight times (against zero walks) this time, and his 65 whiffs on the season have resulted in strikeouts in 35 percent of his at-bats. Borchering must keep the power coming to compensate . . . Although he recorded just 15 official at-bats this week, Rangers SS Jurickson Profar certainly made the most of them. Profar hit .600/.700/1.133 (9-for-15) with three doubles, a triple and a homer for low Class A Hickory. The 18-year-old has already surpassed last year’s home run total (four) from short-season ball in barely more than half as many games, now batting .274/.401/.532 with five long balls on the year . . . You won’t find many bigger days than the one Dodgers OF Angelo Songco had Wednesday for high Class A Rancho Cucamonga. The 22-year-old hit for the cycle and went 5-for-7 with four RBIs. Granted, that game was at the launching pad that is Lancaster, but Songco been hitting well everywhere lately, batting .400/.444/.800 (10-for-25) with two homers this week and .328/.389/.521 for the year . . . Astros RHP Jordan Lyles hasn’t put up his usual eye-popping numbers, but a 3.20 ERA for a 20-year-old in Triple-A is downright impressive. Lyles went 13 2/3 innings combined over two starts this week and allowed only one run and two walks while striking out six.

NOT-SO HOT
SHEET

Trayvon Robinson, cf, Dodgers. A May slump (.700 OPS) has counterbalanced an April surge (.959) by Robinson, and at no time has that been more evident than this week. The 23-year-old went 1-for-21 (.048) with a single, a walk and 10 strikeouts for Triple-A Albuquerque. Robinson made the most of a bad situation by going 1-for-1 on steal attempts and by scoring a run both times he reached base.

Stolmy Pimentel, rhp, Red Sox. Outside of a couple of solid outings, little has gone right when Pimentel has taken the mound for Double-A Portland. The 21-year-old has given up five runs or more in four of his eight starts, leading to a ghastly 0-6, 7.56 mark in 33 innings, while the team is 0-8 in his starts. Pimentel had the second shortest start of his career this week against Trenton. He recorded just four outs while allowing six runs (all earned) on seven hits, with one strikeout and one walk.

Asher Wojciechowski, rhp, Blue Jays. Wojciechowski’s first full professional season got off to a good start as he allowed just two earned runs in his first four starts. But since the calendar has turned to May, the supplemental first-rounder has struggled. In five May starts, the 22-year-old has a 7.71 ERA and has allowed six home runs in 25 2/3 innings. Wojciechowski had his worst start of the year Tuesday against Charlotte, allowing seven runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Carlos Perez, lhp, Braves. Perez has good stuff for a 19-year-old lefty, and his 52-18 K-BB mark in 53 2/3 innings for low Class A Rome is fairly impressive. Yet Perez also has a 5.53 ERA and got shelled in his latest outing, leaving after allowing nine runs (seven earned) in 2 2/3 innings to Lexington. Perez has plenty of raw talent, but Braves fans shouldn’t be expecting a rapid rise along the lines of Julio Teheran here.

MAN AMONG BOYS

Aaron Miller, lhp, Dodgers. Miller opened the season on the disabled list, missing the first month and a half of the season with a groin pull. The 23-year-old got back on the mound with high Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Monday, returning to the same level he pitched at most of last year. The Dodgers’ top pick as a sandwich rounder in 2009, Miller tossed six innings and allowed a run on three hits in his 2011 debut. He also struck out nine and handed out just two walks. Miller proved he can handle the California League last year, when he went 6-2, 2.92, so he shouldn’t be too long for that level if he gets on a roll.

BLAST FROM THE
PAST

Justin Jackson, ss, Blue Jays. A supplemental first-round pick in 2007, Jackson wandered off the prospect map by batting .226/.323/.310 across 1,302 plate appearances in his first four pro seasons. Luckily for Jackson, his plus defensive chops have kept him relevant as a prospect, and this season the 22-year-old is delivering on his potential with high Class A Dunedin. After batting .211 in two previous tries (totaling 88 games) with the D-Jays, Jackson has found his stroke this season, batting .315/.409/.465 through 127 at-bats. Best of all, he’s shown solid secondary skills with a .150 isolated power and 21-to-27 walk-to-strikeout ratio. If not for the presence of slick-fielding Cuban import Adeiny Hechavarria with Double-A New Hampshire, Jackson might already be there to stay.

HELIUM
WATCH

Hector Sanchez, c, Giants. Sanchez popped on to our radar after his 2008 season in the Dominican Summer League, where he hit .348/.458/.502 in 55 games. Now playing for high Class A San Jose, the 21-year-old from Venezuela is a thick-bodied backstop with raw power that’s starting to emerge. He’s a bit of a free swinger, but he’s hitting .296/.314/.533 with eight home runs and eliminating the opponent’s running game, throwing out 16 of 34 basestealers (47 percent).

Minors | #2011 #Prospect Hot Sheet

Add a Comment

comments powered by Disqus