You know it’s prospect season when the Prospect Hot Sheet makes its first appearance.
This year we’re bringing expanded analysis of a baker’s dozen of the minors’ best performers for the week. And for the first time ever, we’re offering a weekly Prospect Hot Sheet chat to coincide with the Sheet’s release. Ben Badler kicks things off in Week One.
To be considered for the list, a player must still have prospect eligibility. That is, he can have compiled no more than 130 at-bats or 50 innings in the big leagues. Of course, we give extra weight to those those prospects who are performing in adverse conditions or to those younger players who are performing against advanced competition.
For you longtime fans, you’ll notice that the Hot Sheet is now a Friday feature, instead of Monday, as it had been in the past.
Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Jim Shonerd, Nathan Rode
|No. 1 TOMMY HANSON, RHP||BRAVES|
Team: High Class A Myrtle Beach (Carolina)
Born: Aug. 28, 1986 in Tulsa.
Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 210. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Acquired: Selected by Braves in 22nd round of 2005 draft; signed May 24, 2006.
School: Riverside (Calif.) CC.
Ranking: Ranked ninth in Braves system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 11 IP, 1 hit, 0 R, 3 BB, 20 Ks
|The Scoop: Hanson threw five hitless innings in his debut, then followed it up with six one-hit innings in his second start. He’s still winless through no fault of his own. The righthander has added a tick to his fastball this year, as he’s sat at 92-93 mph in his first two starts, up from the 89-92 he sat at last year. He’s also locating to both sides of the plate extremely well.|
|No. 2 JUSTIN MASTERSON, RHP||RED SOX|
Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Born: March 22, 1985 in Kingston, Jamaica.
Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 250. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: San Diego State.
Acquired: Selected by Red Sox in second round of 2006 draft; signed June 8, 2006.
Ranking: Ranked fourth in Red Sox system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 9 IP, 5 hits, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 Ks
|The Scoop: What do Portland’s outfielders do when Masterson pitches? Sure, they have to take the field, but they don’t have expend much energy thanks to Masterson’s heavy, lively sinker. In two starts this year, Masterson’s ERA is a perfect 0.00 in nine innings. He has 10 strikeouts, has yet to issue a walk and he’s allowed just five hits. The two-seamer is what makes Masterson so good, and it’s been a challenge for Double-A hitters to get any loft on the ball when they swing at the pitch. He’s recorded 15 outs on balls in play, and 13 of them have been groundouts.|
|No. 3 TODD FRAZIER, SS||REDS|
Team: Low Class A Dayton (Midwest)
Born: Feb. 12, 1986 in Point Pleasant, N.J.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 215. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Acquired: Selected by Reds in supplemental first round (34th overall) of 2007 draft; signed July 5, 2007.
Ranking: Ranked seventh in Reds system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: .476/.621/1.190 in 21 at-bats with 3 2Bs, a minor-league leading 4 HRs and 8 BBs with only 2 Ks.
|The Scoop: The No. 1 prospect in the Pioneer League in 2007 after hitting .319/.409/.513 for Billings, Frazier hasn’t stopped hitting since arriving in Dayton. Frazier is riding a seven-game hitting streak, the highlight of which was his two home run night, including a walk-off, against Fort Wayne on April 7. Projected to have 20-25 home run power, Frazier is tied for the Low Class A home run lead with four in eight games.|
|No. 4 HOMER BAILEY, RHP||REDS|
Team: Triple-A Louisville (International)
Born: May 3, 1986 in La Grange, Texas.
Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 205. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: La Grange (Texas) HS.
Career Transactions: Selected by Reds in first round (seventh overall) of 2004 draft; signed July 22, 2004.
Ranking: Ranked No. 2 in Reds system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.71 in 12.2 IP, 9 hits, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 Ks
|The Scoop: Rallying from a poor spring (5.21 ERA, 24 hits and 16 walks in 19 innings), Bailey is off to about the best start imaginable. From a performance standpoint, those two walks he’s issued are key. Though he’s exceedingly hard to hit (career 7.15 hits and 0.51 home runs per nine rates in the minors), Bailey found last year he couldn’t always contain the damage while walking four-plus batters per nine innings.|
|No. 5 BRETT ANDERSON, LHP||ATHLETICS|
Team: High Class A Stockton (California)
Born: Feb. 1, 1988 in Midland, Texas.
Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 215. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Stillwater (Okla.) HS.
Acquired: Traded by Diamondbacks with OFs Carlos Gonzalez and Aaron Cunningham, 1B Chris Carter and LHPs Dana Eveland and Greg Smith to Athletics for RHPs Dan Haren and Connor Robertson, Dec. 14, 2007.
Ranking: Ranked third in A’s system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00 in 12 IP, 5 hits, 0 R, 3 BB, 13 Ks
|The Scoop: Anderson is part of a loaded Stockton roster where there are 11 players who appeared on a 2008 Top 30 list. Anderson has proven his status so far, baffling opposing hitters in the very hitter-friendly California League.|
|No. 6 CAMERON MAYBIN||MARLINS|
Team: Double-A Carolina (Southern)
Born: April 4, 1987 in Asheville, N.C.
Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 205. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Roberson HS, Asheville, N.C.
Acquired: Traded by Tigers with LHP Andrew Miller, C Mike Rabelo and RHPs Eulogio de la Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Burke Badenhop to Marlins for 3B Miguel Cabrera and LHP Dontrelle Willis, Dec. 4, 2007.
Ranking: Ranked first in Marlins system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: .391/.533/.739 in 23 at-bats with 1 3b, 2 HR and 3 SBs.
|The Scoop: He may not be ready for the big leagues yet, but Southern League pitchers wouldn’t be too disappointed if he got there sooner rather than later. In his first official games with his new organization, Maybin is 9-for-23 with two home runs, one triple and seven walks. He has eight strikeouts, but when Maybin puts the ball in play, his ability to get the barrel of the bat on the ball allows him to drive it with authority, and his plus-plus speed allows him to leg out infield hits. He’s also used his premium speed to steal three bases in four attempts so far.|
|No. 7 MATT WIETERS, C||ORIOLES|
Team: High Class A Frederick (Carolina)
Born: May 21, 1986 in Goose Creek, S.C.
Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 230. Bats: B. Throws: R.
School: Georgia Tech.
Career Transactions: Selected by Orioles in first round (fifth overall) of 2007 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2007.
Ranking: Ranked first in Orioles system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: .538/.632/1.077 in 13 at-bats, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 5-1 BB-K
|The Scoop: Wieters didn’t get to make his official pro debut until this spring, because he signed too late to play last year, although he did get a taste of pro ball with a stint in Hawaii Winter Baseball. Wieters rewarded the Orioles for their patience when he hit two bombs in his full season debut. The 2007 fifth overall pick is swinging a hot bat while showing great plate discipline.|
|No. 8 IAN STEWART, 3B||ROCKIES|
Team: Triple-A Colorado Springs (Pacific Coast)
Born: April 5, 1985 in Long Beach.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205. Bats: L. Throws: R.
School: La Quinta HS, Westminster, Calif.
Acquired: Selected by Rockies in first round (10th overall) of 2003 draft; signed June 11, 2003.
Ranking: Ranked second in Rockies system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: .294/.400/.618 with six extra-base hits (3 2Bs, 1 3B and 2 HR) in 34 at-bats.
|The Scoop: Sure, Stewart’s numbers have benefited from his playing in the Pacific Coast League, but his first eight games have been played away from Colorado Springs’ Security Service Field, which boasts the highest elevation of any U.S. baseball park. While true that the parks in Tucson and Las Vegas, where Stewart’s Sky Sox have played, aren’t exactly Petco Field, the lefty third baseman’s early production is encouraging in that he batted just .251/.325/.377 on the road last year while also with Colorado Springs. Either way you slice it—home/road or left/right—Stewart is off to a great start.|
|No. 9 RICK PORCELLO||TIGERS|
Team: High Class A Lakeland (Florida State)
Born: Dec. 27, 1988 in West Orange, N.J.
Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 195. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Seton Hall Prep, West Orange, N.J.
Career Transactions: Selected by Tigers in first round (27th overall) of 2007 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2007.
Ranking: Ranked first in Tigers system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 0.00 in 11 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
|The Scoop: Porcello’s loss came in a game where some brutal defense caused him to allow four unearned runs. Even so, Porcello has only allowed five hits in two outings. Did we mention he’s only 19, facing mostly 21-22 year-olds? Oh, and he hasn’t even been out of high school for a year.|
|No. 10 DEXTER FOWLER, CF||ROCKIES|
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Born: March 22, 1986 in Alpharetta, Ga.
Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 173. Bats: B. Throws: R.
School: Milton (Ga.) HS.
Acquired: Selected by Rockies in 14th round of 2004 draft; signed Aug. 17, 2004.
Ranking: Ranked third in Rockies system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: .355/.394/.742 in 31 at-bats with 3 3Bs and 2 HRs.
|The Scoop: At one point, Fowler was considered just a tick behind Colby Rasmus, Cameron Maybin, and Jay Bruce in the talented center fielders debate. Injuries have hindered Fowler’s development, but the 22-year-old still has the premium tools to break out in a hurry. Fowler has shown flashes of power and well-above-average speed, as his three triples lead the Texas League.|
|No. 11 DAVID PURCEY, RHP||BLUE JAYS|
Team: Triple-A Syracuse (International)
Born: April 22, 1982 in St. Charles, Ill.
Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 235. Bats: L. Throws: L.
Acquired: Selected by Blue Jays in first round (16th overall) of 2004 draft; signed July 23, 2004.
Ranking: Ranked ninth in Blue Jays system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.50 in 12 IP, 8 hits, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 14 Ks
|The Scoop: Is it déjí vu all over again? Purcey got off to a fast start in 2006 with Syracuse only to fade. He faded a bit further upon a demotion to Double-A, and then he missed about half of 2007 after having surgery to remove cysts from his forearm and triceps. So are we seeing the same old Purcey—tantalizing with a low-90s fastball and power curveball one moment and walking the park the next? It doesn’t seem that way. He finished two whiffs off the Arizona Fall League pace last winter, with 25 in 22 innings, and limited batters to a .163 average. His strikeout-to-walk ratio thus far with the Chiefs is 3.5, and he’s leading all International League hurlers with 14 strikeouts. His K-to-BB ratio in April 2006 was 1.2. It’s fair to say that this time it counts.|
|No. 12 GERARDO PARRA, CF||DIAMONDBACKS|
Team: High Class A Visalia (California)
Born: May 6, 1987 in Santa Barbara del Zulia, Dominican Republic.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 188. Bats: L. Throws: L.
Acquired: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Diamondbacks, Aug. 30, 2004.
Ranking: Ranked fifth in Diamondbacks system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: .344/.462/.656 in 32 at-bats with minor league leading 3 3Bs.
|The Scoop: Sure, the California League favors hitters, but you have to make contact first. Parra’s power is developing, and he already knows how to draw a walk while spraying the ball all over the field. Three triples and three steals are indicative of Parra’s developing speed.|
|No. 13 SEAN RODRIGUEZ, 2B||ANGELS|
Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)
Born: April 26, 1985 in Miami.
Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 190. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Braddock HS, Miami.
Career Transactions: Selected by Angels in third round of 2003 draft; signed June 4, 2003.
Ranking: Ranked seventh in Braves system in 2008 Prospect Handbook
Why He’s Here: .357/.514/.714, 28 AB, 4 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1/1 SB, 5/7 BB/K.
|The Scoop: Like all Angels position players, from Casey Kotchman to Howie Kendrick to Brandon Wood, Rodriguez had it made in the shade once he graduated from the low Class A Midwest League. That’s because all of Los Angeles’ affiliates above that level play in either leagues or parks—or both, in the case of Double-A and Triple-A—conducive to offense. Primarily a shortstop since signing, Rodriguez has served this season as Salt Lake’s second baseman, across the bag from Wood. He’s also spent a game in left field, which is the type of versatility that could be key for his future, seeing as the Angels are well-stocked with middle-infield types—Kendrick, Wood, Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis—and all of them can bat righthanded, as Rodriguez does. His fast start helps ease concern about his sluggish 2007 in the Texas League (.254/.345/.423) and then the Arizona Fall League (.217/.298/.398).|
|IN THE TEAM PHOTO|
|Angels prospect Nick Adenhart (2-0, 0.82, 11 IP, 7 H, 0 HR, 5 BB, 8 SO) has more than held his own as a 21-year-old in Triple-A . . . Rangers prospect Chris Davis (.357/.357/.607) has shown he can slug and use the whole field. “He hasn’t just gone up there and tried to hook everything and try to hit home runs every time,” Frisco manager Scott Little said. “He just goes up there and tries to use the whole field.” . . . Marlins infielder Chris Coghlan (.360/.429/.560) struggled in a short stint at high Class A last year, but he’s handle the jump to Double-A with no problems . . . Athletics righthander Craig Italiano’s overall numbers are only good (1-0, 2.79), but he did throw the first 5 2/3 innings of a seven-inning no-hitter on Wednesday.|
|• Cubs righthander Dae-Eun Rhee (2-0, 0.90, 12 K in 10 IP). Rhee has had no problems adjusting to pitching in the States in two stars with low Class A Peoria (Midwest). Chicago signed Rhee for $525,000 in July 2007, but kept him in instructional league in for the rest of the summer. Rhee, the Cubs’ No. 16 prospect coming into the season, features an intriguing array of talent including a low 90s fastball and a changeup that moves like a splitter. He was unproven coming into the season, but is changing that notion quickly after his first two professional starts in the U.S.
• Jhoulys Chacin, rhp, Rockies (1-0, 0.00 with 4 H, 6 BB and 13 K in 14 IP). Chacin allowed only one hit in six innings in his 2008 opener. Signed as a 16-year-old in 2004, Chacin made his U.S. debut in 2007 with Rookie-level Casper and finished the year going 5-2, 1.20 in his last 10 starts. Now in 2008 he’s yet to permit a run in two starts and carried a perfect game into the sixth in his last start against Kannapolis.
|NOT SO HOT|
• Mike Moustakas, ss, Royals. It’s been a rough introduction to the Midwest League for Moustakas (.185/.214/.185). The No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 draft, Moustakas, has yet to register an extra-base hit and, to add insult to injury, was ejected for arguing a called third strike on Wednesday night against Kane County.