Prospect Hot Sheet

Friedrich has made easy jump to high Class A





See also: Previous Prospect Hot Sheets

It's trade deadline day, so we offer a public service for teams thinking about trading away prospects: Carlos Santana had another huge week, reminding everyone that sometimes the "and a minor leaguer" in a trade can turn into somethings special.

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 (July 24-30).


Contributing: Ben Badler, Dan Budreika, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Matt Forman, Conor Glassey, Jim Shonerd.

No. 1 CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH, LHP
ROCKIES
Christian FriedrichTeam: high Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 0-0, 0.82, 11 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 22 SO
The Scoop: The California League is known as the best hitting environment in the minor leagues. But don't try to tell that to teams that have to face Friedrich. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound lefthander started the season in low Class A Asheville. He toyed with hitters there, going 3-3, 2.18 with 66 strikeouts and 15 walks over 45 innings.

The performance earned Friedrich a promotion to high Class A and he started off well there too before missing about a month with irritation in the back of his left triceps. The Rockies said they were being conservative with Friedrich and made sure he was pain-free before he began to throw again.

With Asheville earlier in the year, Friedrich was sitting at 91-93 mph with his fastball and touching 95. His curveball grades out as the best in the Rockies system and his slider gives batters another breaking ball to watch for at 81-83 mph, often dive-bombing toward the back foot of righthanded batters. Friedrich is also working on a changeup—a pitch he's still learning to trust.

Once healthy, he picked right back up where he left off. During his time in the Cal League, Friedrich is 2-0, 1.70 with 52 strikeouts and 12 walks over 42 innings.

2009 Stats
No. 2 CARLOS SANTANA, C
INDIANS
Carlos SantanaTeam: Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: .480/.480/1.040 (12-for-25), 4 HR, 2 2B, 12 RBIs, 7 R, 0 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: As the trade deadline hits this afternoon, Santana has continued to remind everyone this week (and all season, frankly) that he was the biggest heist of the 2008 trading deadline, when the Indians picked him up from the Dodgers in exchange for Casey Blake and cash. He's one of the best offensive catchers in the minors, with a well-rounded skill set of patience, power, athleticism and the defensive tools to remain at catcher and eventually take over for Victor Martinez. Santana already has 63 walks in 96 games but didn't walk once this week. He did get plenty of work to practice his home run trot, as he blasted a homer in four consecutive games, including one as a pinch-hitter.
2009 Stats
No. 3 DAN HUDSON, RHP
WHITE SOX
Dan HudsonTeam: Double-A Birmingham (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.00, 14 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 17 K
The Scoop: Hudson started the year in low Class A, but at this rate he could make a case for getting to Triple-A before the season is over. The 2008 fifth-rounder out of Old Dominion is working on a 20-inning scoreless streak and has not allowed an earned run in five of his eight Double-A starts. Hudson's delivery isn't the cleanest—he tends to throw across his body, but there is no arguing with the results.
2009 Stats
No. 4 SEAN O'SULLIVAN, RHP
ANGELS
Sean O'SullivanTeam: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K
The Scoop: O'Sullivan was one walk away from throwing a perfect game in his return to Triple-A Salt Lake, which just adds intrigue to what's been an inexplicable season. O'Sullivan struggled after an April promotion to Salt Lake, but with the big league rotation in need of some help, he was called up anyway, and responded with five very solid starts for the Angels. His 3-0, 3.72 big league record looks a lot better than his 6-3, 5.66 season at Salt Lake, but it's a sign of his maturity that he didn't let a slow start, or a demotion back to Triple-A, affect his pitching.
2009 Stats
No. 5 JASON HEYWARD, RF
BRAVES
Jason HeywardTeam: Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: .455/.500/.818 (10-for-22), 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 6 R, 3 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop:
Heyward will blow out the candles on his 20th birthday cake in a week and a half, but he probably won't have to wait until his 21st birthday to reach the major leagues given his current pace. Heyward, the No. 1 prospect in baseball, is hitting .416/.495/.714 with 13 walks and nine strikeouts in 22 games with Mississippi. Heyward's offensive tools and feel for the strike zone are already outstanding, but the scary thing is that he's still a little less than a decade away from his peak years.
2009 Stats
No. 6 WILL MIDDLEBROOKS, 3B
RED SOX
Will MiddlebrooksTeam: low Class A Greenville (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .500/.552/.1.000 (12-for-24), 3 HR, 3 2B, 10 RBIs, 7 R, 4 BB, 7 SO, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop:
Middlebrooks tried to do too much at the plate in May after tearing his hamstring in March during spring training, forcing him to miss all but six games in April. He hit .179/.309/.209 with just two extra-base hits in 21 games that month. Since then, Middlebrooks has been on a tear, showing why the Red Sox signed him for $925,000 in the fifth-round out of Texarkana HS. In July, Middlebrooks has hit .323/.383/.545 with five home runs and 26 RBIs in 26 games. Middlebrooks was projected to be a sandwich-round selection out of high school, but scared teams away with his asking price. He missed some time last year with shoulder tendinitis, and after struggling during the first few weeks of the season, found success by attacking the ball and being more aggressive at the plate. Middlebrooks started 2009 serving as Greenville's designated hitter with Michael Almanzar seeing most of the time at third base. But Almanzar was overmatched and sent down to short-season Lowell, so Middlebrooks has been able to flash the leather at the hot corner since. Middlebrooks' best game last week came on Tuesday against Lakewood. He went 2-for-4, both hits home runs, with four RBIs.
2009 Stats
No. 7 ALLEN CRAIG, 3B
CARDINALS
Allen CraigTeam: Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25
Why He's Here: .480/.552/1.040 (12-for-25), 2 2B, 4 HR, 7 R, 8 RBIs, 4 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop: No hitter in baseball has posted better numbers than Craig over the last two weeks. In his last 13 games, Craig has slugged nine home runs, skyrocketing his season numbers from pedestrian up to .293/.349/.497 with 17 home runs in 90 games. Craig's production has always talked louder than his tools, but at 25, perhaps it's time to see how his skill set translates against big league pitching.
2009 Stats
No. 8 DESTIN HOOD, LF
NATIONALS
Destin HoodTeam: Short-season Vermont (New York-Penn)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: .440/.464/.840 (11-for-25), 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 R, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: A $1.1 million signing bonus as a second-round pick last year kept Hood from going to Alabama, where he could have played baseball and football. It's starting to look like a smart investment for the Nationals, who promoted Hood to Vermont from the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League this week after he hit .330/.388/.614 in 25 games through the circuit. Hood ranked seventh in the Nationals farm system coming into the season, but you can count on him move him up the charts.

2009 Stats
No. 9 YORMAN RODRIGUEZ, CF
REDS
Yorman RodriguezTeam: Rookie-level Billings (Pioneer)
Age: 16
Why He's Here: .428/.538/.810 (9-for-21, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 8 Ks).
The Scoop: Rodriguez was one of the most divisive signees from the 2008 Latin American class of 16-year-olds. The Reds saw a five-tool talent with a solid swing, while other scouts worried that he'd never swing the bat well enough for his tools to matter. It's way too early for judgment on who was right, but Rodriguez has more than held his own. The Reds promoted him from the Gulf Coast League to Billings last Friday and he responded by tearing up the league in his first six games. Overall he's now hitting .305/.388/.419 with six steals in six attempts, which is a pretty impressive start for a raw 16-year-old. He has everything at 16 that Dominic Brown had at 18, a scout who saw him recently said, but with more raw power.
2009 Stats
No. 10 DEE GORDON, SS
DODGERS
Dee GordonTeam: low Class A Great Lakes (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .438 (14-for-32), 10 runs, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 B, 2 K, 4 SB, 2 CS
The Scoop: Gordon is an example of the advantage good scouting can give a team. He was declared ineligible at Seminole (Fla.) CC before the 2008 season, which meant that no one got to see him in game action that year. But the Dodgers liked what they saw in a pre-draft workout and selected him in the fourth round anyway. He's paying the Dodgers back for their belief by quickly turning into one of the better shortstop prospects in the minors. He leads the minors in stolen bases (58) and leads the Midwest League in hits (129), runs scored (80) and triples (10).
2009 Stats
No. 11 TREVOR RECKLING, LHP
ANGELS
Trevor RecklingTeam: Double-A Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 9 Ks
The Scoop: There's no doubting Reckling's stuff—he has three solid average to plus pitches and a clean delivery. He almost matched O'Sullivan this week to give the Angels two minor league no-hitters. Reckling allowed only a second-inning double that bounced off Peter Bourjos' glove on his attempt for a basket catch at the warning track. The Travelers' bullpen finished the game off with two hitless innings to preserve the one-hitter. Reckling does a good job of keeping the ball in the park and he's deadly on lefties—they have three extra-base hits in 101 at-bats this year. Command is the only thing he needs to polish as he moves up. He's walking 4.9 batters per nine innings, and his control troubles have gotten worse as the season has gone along. He's walked four or more in four of his past five starts.
2009 Stats
No. 12 CASPER WELLS, CF
TIGERS
Casper WellsTeam: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .429/.556/1.000 (9-for-21), 3 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, 6 R, 6 RBI, 5 BB,
The Scoop: Wells has steadily improved since he was a 14th-round pick out of Towson in 2005, turning himself into a solid prospect along the way.
Wells is back in Double-A as a 24-year-old after getting 270 at-bats there last year. But he may force a promotion soon if he keeps have weeks like this past one. Last year, he was one of only two minor leaguers (the other being Greg Halman) with at least 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases. While he's not on track to reach those totals this year (with nine home runs and five stolen bases), he's still putting up solid overall numbers. Through 176 at-bats, the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder is hitting .273/.393/.528.
2009 Stats
No. 13 SIMON CASTRO, RHP
PADRES
Simon CastroTeam: low Class A Fort Wayne (Midwest)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO
The Scoop: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006, Castro is opening eyes during his first full season. The 6-foot-5, 203-pound righthander features a fastball in the 92-95 mph range that he's using to breeze through the Midwest League. Over 104 innings, he's 7-4, 3.47 with 119 strikeouts. Control has been an issue in the past, but this year he only has 29 walks. The Padres appear to be handling him carefully—he's thrown exactly five innings over his last five starts and hasn't thrown more than six innings in a start all year.
2009 Stats

IN THE TEAM PHOTO

High Class A High Desert outfielder Tyson Gillies had an even better performance this week than he did last week, going 11-for-26 with a double, two home runs and two stolen bases. , He's now hitting .341/.438/.480 on the season . . . Jacksonville first baseman Logan Morrison continued to mash his way through the Southern League. He went 7-for-18 on the week, with a double, two home runs and seven walks. He's now hitting .279/.433/.479 overall, with a remarkable 45 walks and just 25 strikeouts over 48 games . . . Talk about making a great first impression. In his first start for high Class A West Virginia after the Pirates acquired him from the Red Sox in the Adam LaRoche deal, righthander Hunter Strickland, 20, fired six perfect innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Strickland's stock has been rising this year and so has his fastball, which has been touching 94 mph. The 2007 18th-round pick had gone 5-4, 3.35 with low Class A Greenville before the trade . . . With their compensatory first-round pick for not signing Aaron Crow, the Nationals wanted to take a pick who would quickly sign. Stanford righthander Drew Storen fit that bill, but he's also showing that he can quickly move up the ladder to the Nationals bullpen. Storen, 21, didn't allow a hit or walk in his last 6 2/3 innings in low Class A Hagerstown (he struck out 15 of the 22 batters he faced) to earn a promotion to high Class A Potomac. He's been nearly as good there, striking out eight, while allowing two hits and one walk in his first 6 1/3 innings . . . Double-A Midland first baseman Chris Carter (Athletics), 22, went 0-for-3 with a walk in an uneventful Future's Game performance, but has hit safely in 14-of-16 games since. Over that same span, Carter has gone deep four times, hit five doubles and plated 16 runs. In the last two months, Carter, a key piece in the Dan Haren deal, is hitting .333/.432/.554 with 11 big flies, showing off his plus-plus fence-rattling power . . . Cardinals SS Tyler Greene was a monster this week for Triple-A Memphis, hitting five home runs in seven games with a .385/.429/.962 batting line. Green's hot week brings the 25-year-old's season line with Memphis to .294/.390/.482 in 52 games . . . The way this season has gone, Derek Norris has an outside chance at hitting 30 home runs. The Nationals low Class A catcher already has 23 homers on the year, including two this week when the 20-year-old posted a 1.176 OPS for Hagerstown.

NOT-SO HOT SHEET

Joe Savery, lhp, Phillies: The Phillies' 2007 first-round pick raced to a 10-1 record through June to lead the Eastern League in wins. It looked like Savery had put any questions to rest about whether he had left his best stuff at Rice. But so far, July has been a struggle, and he's looked like the Savery of last year. In the last month, Savery is 2-3 and has given up at least six hits and three runs in each of his five starts. In 28 July innings, Savery has allowed 26 runs on a whopping 41 hits, while striking out 19 and walking 14. And other teams don't seem to value Savery, even though he's displayed flashes this year; with Philadelphia's front office in trade talks over the past few weeks, Savery's name was not mentioned as a potential trade chip. Still, Savery has proven that he can be an innings eater, though he needs to show that he can maintain his stuff through a full season.

Polin Trinidad, lhp, Astros: It's nearly impossible for a team to win when the starting pitcher gives up six home runs. Tim Wakefield gave up six home runs for the Red Sox on Aug. 8, 2004 in an 11-9 victory over the Tigers, but that's the only time in the last 50 years that a major league pitcher has given up six home runs or more and still been on the winning team. In Tuesday's start for Triple-A Round Rock, Trinidad surrendered six home runs in five innings, allowing nine runs total. Unfortunately Trinidad, 24, wasn't quite as lucky as Wakefield, as Memphis crushed the Express 14-5.

Evan Anundsen, rhp, Brewers: It took nearly 100 innings for the sinkerballing Anundsen to surrender his first home run this season. In his 17th start of the season, St. Lucie's Carlos Guzman took him deep in the second inning to break that streak, but that was only the start of a bad, bad day. St. Lucie battered Anundsen for nine runs (all earned) in 1 2/3 innings. Anundsen, 21, saw his microscopic ERA climb by nearly a run. Luckily for Brewers fans Anundsen returned to form later in the week against Sarasota and went seven strong innings while only allowing two runs.

Josh Phegley, c, White Sox: It looked like Phegley would tear up the South Atlantic League after signing quickly and collecting two multi-hit games in his first three professional games. But since then, Phegley, who was considered one of the best bats among the college catching crop, has collected just eight hits in 67 at-bats. He did hit two home runs last week, but his line of .163/.202/.350 with three walks and 13 strikeouts in 21 games for Kannapolis isn't impressive. Setting up with a low crouch and open stance, there were few questions about Phegley's ability to rake. Rather, scouts wondered how well he would handle putting on the tools of ignorance every day and catch pitchers with movement. Still, Phegley, 21, has shown the ability to make adjustments in the past. Now he needs to show he can make them in the pros.

MEN AMONG BOYS

Jordan Brown, 1b, Indians: After spending his first two pro seasons winning the Carolina and Eastern League MVP awards in 2006 and 2007, respectively, Brown seemed to hit a wall when he reached Triple-A last year. But this year, Brown has been quietly steady all season for Triple-A Columbus, hitting .333/.377/.532 with 24 walks, 51 strikeouts and 12 home runs in 93 games. Brown is already 25 and is unlikely to have more than average power, but he's rebounded nicely from a disappointing 2008 season.

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Rewind back to Opening Day 2007 and you may recall Alejandro De Aza winning the Marlins starting center field job seemingly out of nowhere. At that point in time he had no Triple-A experience as a 23-year-old coming off a .278/.346/.374 showing in Double-A with 27 stolen bases. But after a strong start that year, De Aza's career has gone downhill. He broke his ankle early in the season, then struggled upon his return. He injured his ankle again during spring training in 2008, which forced him to miss the entire season. Finally healthy, De Aza, 25, is trying to resurrect his career in New Orleans. He's doing a good job of it, as he's hitting .303/.361/.513 in 195 at-bats with some surprising power. He has a career high six home runs this season and had a trio of three-hit games this past week.

HELIUM WATCH

With a big frame and a fastball in the 92-94 mph range, righthander Trevor May ranked as the top draft-eligible player out of the state of Washington last year and the Phillies took him in the fourth round. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound hails from Kelso High, the same school that produced Jason Schmidt. He got his feet wet by throwing 12 innings in the Gulf Coast League last year and has pitched this season for low Class A Lakewood. Last week, May went 1-0, 0.00 with nine strikeouts over five innings. On the year, he's 2-1, 2.88 with 50 strikeouts and 22 walks over 41 innings.