Prospect Hot Sheet

Wood earns second straight top spot





See also: Previous Prospect Hot Sheets


Brandon Wood is a difficult prospect to get a read on. Just when more people were talking more about his strikeouts than his huge raw power, he's gone out and put together two weeks as good as any we've seen in the minors this year.

And so, for once, we have a repeat leader on the Hot Sheet. But while Wood is repeating, the rest of the Hot Sheet is filled with players who are making their first appearances, including one who only the dedicated Baseball America reader or diehard Mariners fan will know.

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 from the past week (July 25-31) getting the most consideration. The Why He's Here line in the capsules refer to each player's stats during that time.


Contributing: Ben Badler, Kary Booher, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Nathan Rode, Jim Shonerd, Austin Maloney, Anthony Tynan.

No. 1 BRANDON WOOD, 3B
ANGELS
Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)
Age:
23
Why he's here:
.464/.500/1.071 (13-for-28), 5 HR, 2 2B, 7 RBIs, 10 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop:
Wood's hot streak officially has reached ridiculous proportions. He's the first player this season to repeat as king of Prospect Hot Sheet, and the righthanded slugger has clubbed 10 home runs in his past 15 games—and 11 total in 107 July at-bats. Going back two weeks, Wood has hit an unconscious .446/.492/1.036 (25-for-56) with 10 homers, three doubles, 17 RBIs, 20 runs, five walks and 16 strikeouts.

If you were rooting for Wood to be traded this trading deadline to a team willing to give him an extended big league look, you weren't the only one. If he keeps hitting like this, the Angels will have to get creative this offseason.

No. 2 MATT WIETERS, C
ORIOLES
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .450/.593/.900 (9-for-20), 6 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 7 BB (2 IBB), 2 SO
The Scoop: He didn't slip that far in the draft last year. After the Rays landed longtime consensus top pick David Price with the No. 1 overall selection, three teams decided to pass on picking and spending way over slot for Wieters, the top hitting prospect in the draft and the best prospect available after Price. The Royals decided to spend the second pick in the draft on high school shortstop Mike Moustakas, who has struggled in a tough place for hitters in the low Class A Midwest League. The Cubs decided to draft high school third baseman Josh Vitters, who is still in short-season ball. And the Pirates passed on Wieters to take Clemson lefthander Daniel Moskos, whose 6.30 ERA in 95 2/3 innings mesh with his disappointing peripherals and scouting reports. While the teams that passed on Wieters last year may have spent less money in the short term, the Orioles are poised to cash in on the cost-controlled success of Wieters, who is now batting .365/.463/.625 in 104 at-bats since his promotion to Double-A.

No. 3 MARK TRUMBO, 1B
ANGELS
Team: Double-A Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .483/.500/.931 (14-for-29), 6 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: With no more Casey Kotchman, and with Mark Teixeira in line for a larger paycheck when he becomes a free agent after the season, the Angels' first-base situation for 2009 beyond is unclear. Trumbo might not be immediately ready to step in next year, but he knows how to time a good hot streak. In his first Double-A game on Monday, Trumbo racked up 12 total bases, going 5-for-5 with two home runs and a double. Not bad, right? He followed that up with a pair of multi-hit games, though yesterday he came back down to earth with an 0-for-4, three-strikeout thud. Power is the calling card for Trumbo, who hit .283/.329/.553 in 407 at-bats for high Class A Rancho Cucamonga before his callup. He's a slow-twitch athlete, a below-average defender and he doesn't walk much, so there are still plenty of question marks about Trumbo going forward. But his plus power and ability to generate loft with his swing can lead to weeks like this past one when everything clicks.
No. 4 TIM ALDERSON, RHP
GIANTS
Team: high Class A San Jose (California)
Age:
19
Why He's Here:
0-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 7 SO, 0 BB
The Scoop:
If you haven't heard of Alderson, or even seen what he's done this season, turn off the latest Manny or Favre drama and check out some box scores. He's not only the youngest pitcher in the league—he's also one of the best. He's 11-3, 2.97 on the season and with a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's fourth in the league in ERA, second in wins and fourth in strikeouts.

No. 5 TRAVIS SNIDER, LF
BLUE JAYS
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .391/.533/.783 (9-for-23), 8 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 7 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: Snider is 20 years old and already tapping on Triple-A's door after smashing his way to .266/.357/.471 in 346 Double-A at-bats. He could make his big league debut next year and become a big league regular at 21, and the list of those who have done that includes a pretty sweet group of hitters. The caveat with Snider is always the strikeouts, but that comes with the power-hitting territory, and remember that Snider is well ahead of the normal prospect developmental curve.

No. 6 SHOOTER HUNT, RHP
TWINS
Team: low Class A Beloit (Midwest)
Age:
21
Why He's Here:
0-1, 0.90, 10 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 18 SO
The Scoop:
The Rookie-level Appalachian League clearly wasn't much of a challenge for Hunt, the Twins' 2008 supplemental first-rounder. So Minnesota bumped him up to low Class A Beloit after Hunt piled up a 34-6 K-BB mark in 19 innings for Elizabethton, and he hasn't stopped blowing hitters away through his first two starts for the Snappers. Hunt made a pair of five-inning starts his first week in Beloit and struck out nine hitters in each of them, and the game he lost was by a 1-0 score.

No. 7 MIKE MOUSTAKAS, 3B
ROYALS
Team: low Class A Burlington Bees (Royals)
Age: 19
Why he's here: .333/.438/.704 (9-for-27), 9 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 5 BB, 8 SO
The Scoop:
Kansas City's first-round pick in 2007, Moustakas blitzed through July hitting at a .303 clip, his best month of the season, and it might have been more impressive had he not missed more than a week because of a strained oblique. Even better for the Royals, the lefthanded hitter has seen his on-base percentage tick upward (it was a season-best .376 in July) as Moustakas eases in to the Midwest League and third base, where he has played almost every day since June 8.

No. 8 JHARMIDY DeJESUS, 3B
MARINERS
Team: Rookie-level AZL Mariners (Arizona League)
Age: 18
Why He's Here: .400/.455/1.050 (8-for-20), 1 2B, 4 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: It takes a pretty impressive performance from a complex-league player to land on the Hot Sheet, but DeJesus turned some heads with the power he displayed this week. DeJesus was signed last year out of the Dominican Republic for $1 million as a shortstop, but his big frame has already warranted a move to third base. Many draw comparisons between DeJesus and Carlos Triunfel, another prized Mariners shortstop prospect, but DeJesus has shown more power than Triunfel displayed in his first two professional seasons. DeJesus' success should not come as a complete surprise as he was highly touted coming out of the Dominican Republic and is a year older than most international signees from 2007, because he didn't sign in 2006, when he was eligible, due to his bonus demands.

No. 9 ELVIS ANDRUS, SS
RANGERS
Team: Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Age:
19
Why He's Here:
.360/.433/.600 (9-for-25), 4 R, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 5-for-7 SB
The Scoop:
The beginning of the season was not too kind to Andrus, who headed into the Texas League all-star break hitting .277/.335/.335 in 242 at-bats. Since the break, however, Andrus hasn't just been good for his age, he's been flat-out one of the best players in the league, batting .327/.385/.416 in 113 at-bats. Andrus hit two of his three home runs this week, but he is more notable for his short stroke to the ball and what scouts project as his future ability to hit for a high batting average. His season line now sits at .293/.351/.361, and those first two averages are promising signs for his future.
No. 10 MADISON BUMGARNER, LHP
GIANTS
Team: low Class A Augusta (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: Another week, another dominant start for Bumgarner. It should be an interesting decision between Bumgarner, Tim Alderson and Buster Posey to see who gets the nod as the Giants' No. 1 prospect in the fall. For now, Bumgarner has continued dominating Sally League hitters while refining his slider and changeup to go with his overpowering fastball. His seven shutout innings against Rome on Monday was just the latest in a streak that's seen Bumgarner give up three or fewer runs in 18 consecutive starts. Oh, and today happens to be Bumgarner's 19th birthday.
No. 11 PETER KOZMA, SS
CARDINALS
Team: low Class A Quad Cities (Midwest)
Age:
20
Why He's Here:
.435/.567/.739 (10-for-23), 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 6 R, 6 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop:
The Cardinals' 2007 first-rounder has quietly been having a solid year in the tough hitter's environment that is the Midwest League. Kozma had a 15-game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday, but he still is hitting over .300 since the all-star break in mid-June. He has enjoyed the benefit of having 2008 first-rounder Brett Wallace hitting behind him in the lineup, batting .337/.396/.505 since the third baseman joined the River Bandits on July 2. Kozma's two home runs this week were the first he'd hit since April, and included a clutch game-tying shot in the ninth inning of Sunday's game with Great Lakes.
No. 12 DAVID PRICE, LHP
RAYS
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age:
22
Why He's Here:
1-0, 2.25, 8 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 HR, 0 BB, 7 SO
The Scoop:
Price sure would fill out a Team USA jersey nicely for the Olympics later this month, but there's a good chance Price will be pitching high-leverage innings for the Rays in Tampa's inaugural push for the playoffs. The current pattern of the Rays' management for developing pitching prospects has been to have them step up one rung at a time, but Price's talent and quickly-established dominance of minor league hitters (not to mention his big league deal) could have him quickly climbing to the top of the ladder. With a lethal slider and a fastball that has topped out at 99 mph this season, Price could be Tampa's lights-out arm coming out of the bullpen should the Rays decide to use him in that capacity. In the meantime, Price is a Double-A starter, and a darn good one. Despite his high-octane stuff, Price has walked just two batters in his last 19 innings, and one of those free passes was intentional.

No. 13 ZACH McALLISTER, RHP
YANKEES
Team: high Class A Tampa (Florida State)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.00, 14 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 11 SO, 2 BB
The Scoop: McAllister's season had been fairly pedestrian up until the past week. He was 6-3, 2.45 for low Class A Charleston before a promotion to the FSL. Since then, he's 6-5, 2.01 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 48-to-8. He doesn't get much in the way of run support because of his five losses for Tampa, four are quality starts. Also, his two walks came in his most recent game. He's hasn't walked more than two batters in an appearance this season.

IN THE TEAM PHOTO

In 2007, high Class A High Desert SS Carlos Triunfel (Mariners) went 371 at-bats without a home run. It took him 184 at-bats before he went deep this year, so that's 555 career at-bats before a long ball. This week he hit .423/.444/.808 with three home runs (albeit in Lancaster), giving him seven home runs in his last 156 at-bats and suggesting the 18-year-old may have figured some things out . . . High Class A Clearwater LF Michael Taylor (Phillies) was slowed by back problems last season in the New York-Penn League, but the 22-year-old is making progress this season. He hit .519/.581/.741 this week with six RBIs and seven runs scored. He has raised his season (two levels) line to .335/.407/.510 in 382 at-bats . . .  Perhaps Kansas City has stumbled upon its first baseman of the future. Triple-A Omaha 1B Kila Ka'aihue (Royals) batted .478/.520/.1.433 (11-for-23) this week with three home runs, a double, 13 RBIs and eight runs scored as he made the jump from Double-A Northwest Arkansas. His size may not be ideal (6-foot-3, 233 pounds), but his power and patience seem to be very nearly so. The 24-year-old Ka'aihue has batted an aggregate .316/.465/.639 in 291 at-bats on the season, with about twice as many walks (81) as strikeouts (42) . . . Triple-A Syracuse LHP Brett Cecil (Blue Jays) struck out eight in six shutout innings, while allowing three hits and a walk, in his Fisher Cats send-off last Sunday. It doesn't stop there. The 22-year-old Cecil, a supplemental first-rounder in 2007, went 6-2, 2.55 with 87 strikeouts and 23 walks in 78 Double-A innings. Now Triple-A batters get to contend with his low-90s heat and vicious slider . . .  Double-A Midland RHP Vin Mazzaro (Athletics) appears ripe for a promotion now that the 21-year-old won his fourth consecutive start on Wednesday, working five innings, and has a Texas League-best 1.90 ERA through 137 1/3 innings. Opposing managers like his fastball command and the way he wisely pitches to contact, a recipe that has led to a 12-3 record . . . Low Class A South Bend RHP Jarrod Parker (Diamondbacks) has had a solid season in his first taste of pro ball at age 19. He's won his last three starts and in his two outings this week, Parker allowed only four earned runs on six hits in 12 innings while striking out 11 and walking five to improve to 10-5, 3.87 for the year . . . Low Class A Rome LHP Cole Rohrbough (Braves) has been plagued by injuries for much of the season, but he may be settling in now. The 21-year-old lefty fanned 20 hitters in 11 2/3 innings over his two starts this week, although the six runs on 11 hits and six walks he gave up kept him off the main Hot Sheet.

NOT-SO HOT SHEET

Andrew McCutchen, cf, Pirates. It sure is tiring to be the only player to play in both the Futures Game and the Triple-A all-star game—and then narrowly miss out on making Team USA. That could be one explanation for the 21-year-old McCutchen's lackluster week for Triple-A Indianapolis. He batted .167/.200/.167 (4-for-24) with no extra-base hits and just one walk this week and four strikeouts this week. And for the month of July, he's slumped to .247/.363/.329 in 85 at-bats.

Chris Valaika, ss, Reds. Valaika's .363/.393/.585 start in 135 high Class A Florida State League at-bats earned him a quick promotion to Double-A Chattanooga, where he has been solid at .297/.349/.440 in 293 at-bats. But his past seven days were not his finest. Valaika went 3-for-26 with no extra-base hits and no walks, leading to a .115/.115/.115 line. Eight strikeouts and an error didn't help much either, but Valaika is still a promising prospect, even if he ultimately ends up moving off shortstop.

• Peter Bourjos, cf, Angels. Bourjos was at least on our watch list for the Hot Sheet every week this season—until this one. He hit a major bump hitting just .038/.074/.038 (1-for-26) for high Class A Rancho Cucamonga, with one run scored, one walk and seven strikeouts. It's been a tough month for him overall as he's hitting just .215/.250/.339 after hitting .347/.381/.486 in the first three months.

Michael Burgess, of, Nationals. Maybe it was the home run derby. Burgess won the event at the SAL all-star game in June, but has hit just four home runs since and none in the last three weeks. He hit only .182/.250/.273 (4-for-22) this week for low Class A Hagerstown and has continued to strikeout at a high rate, which was more palatable when he was hitting home runs, but not so much when the power dries up.

Ike Davis, 1B, Mets. A first-round pick this summer, Davis has had a difficult transition to wood bats thus far for short-season Brooklyn. After hitting .385 and slugging 16 home runs this spring for Arizona State, Davis has slumped his way to a .244 average in 31 games with the Cyclones. Worse yet, Davis is yet to hit a home run and he has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 24-to-5.

MEN AMONG BOYS

Brian Baisley, 1b, Yankees. Baisley's twin brother Jeff is a prospect in the Athletics' organization and is currently with Triple-A Sacramento. Jeff was the MVP in the Midwest League in 2006. Brian's career has been a bit different. He was drafted in 2006 and started this season with low Class A Charleston in the South Atlantic League, but hit just .252 in 33 games. After a demotion to the New York-Penn League, the 25-year old Baisley is hitting .339 with four home runs in 29 games.  He's hitting well, but you won't find many 25-year-olds in the New York-Penn League.

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Josh Phelps, 1b, Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast). As good as Brandon Wood's week was, it was arguably only the second most impressive week in the Pacific Coast League. Phelps, 30, homered on Saturday, followed it up with two home runs on Monday, three more on Tuesday and single home runs on Wednesday and Thursday. Seven of his last eight hits are home runs. Phelps actually hit very well (.306/.399/.503) for the Yankees and Pirates in the big leagues last year, but like several veteran minor league first basemen, his chances at sticking in the big leagues depend as much on opportunity and luck as anything else.
HELIUM WATCH

DEREK NORRIS, C
NATIONALS
Team: short-season Vermont (New York-Penn)
Age:
19
Why He's Here:
.455/.676/.818 (10-for-22), 2 2B, 2HR, 6 RBIs, 14 BB, 2 IBB, 3 SO
The Scoop:
Norris is putting up impressive numbers in the NYP this year after scuffling through his first stint in pro ball in the Gulf Coast League last summer. Norris is relatively inexperienced as a catcher—he just began catching his senior year in high school—but his offensive approach is extremely mature as evidenced by his 14 walks in the past week. Perhaps the most telling sign of Norris' maturity at the plate was his 3-for-4 performance in an 18-inning victory over Lowell. Norris came to the plate nine times in the game, but was only retired once, as he drew five walks in addition to his three hits. Norris certainly won't walk his way to the big leagues, but his advanced approach at the plate is a contrast to his inexperience behind the plate.