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 July 15-21.

Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Kyle Dugan, Matt Eddy, Michael Kanen and Jim Shonerd.

No. 1 RYAN LAVARNWAY, C/DH
RED SOX
Ryan Lavarnway
Team: Triple-A Pawtucket (International)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: .481/.548/1.696 (13-for-27), 5 HR, 3 2B, 11 RBIs, 9 R, 4 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: At this point, about the only thing that could prevent Lavarnway from adding "30-homer catcher" to résumé would be a big league callup. But since that probably will have to wait until September, he'll have time to add to his total of 26 homers, which he's distributed evenly at the Double-A (14 in 239 plate appearances) and Triple-A (12 in 146 PAs) levels.

Lavarnway has hit .377/.445/.746 in 34 games since his promotion to Pawtucket, during which time he's been not only the hottest hitter in Triple-A, but also one of the top performers in the minors. In the three weeks since July 1, only high Class A Stockton's Michael Choice has a higher OPS than Lavarnway's 1.338 mark. That's a .414/.481/.857 batting line that includes 15 extra-base hits in 19 games for a man who dons catcher's gear in half of his appearances.

2011 Stats

No. 2 WILIN ROSARIO, C
ROCKIES
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .450/.542/1.050 (9-for-20), 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 8 R, 4 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: Combine Rosario's two half-seasons at Double-A and you've got a .272/.322/.514 hitter with 35 homers and 22 doubles in 551 at-bats. In that time, he's gunned down and above-average 38 percent of 132 would-be basethiefs. Rosario's raw tools suggest that the power and arm strength he's shown with Tulsa are very real, and it's easy to see why scouts project him to be an above-average regular at the big league level, possibly as soon as next season. One caveat: Rosario has mashed 12 of 16 homers this season versus Texas League righthanders, but he's also gone just 43-for-192 (.224) against them.
2011 Stats

No. 3 JULIO RODRIGUEZ, RHP
PHILLIES
Team: high Class A Clearwater (Phillies)
Age:
20
Why He's Here:
2-0, 1.29, 2 GS, 14 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 16 SO
The Scoop:
A bit lost in the shuffle as part of a stacked Clearwater rotation, Rodriguez leads the Florida State League with 12 wins and a .189 opponent average. He's not far off the pace in terms of strikeouts (106, third) or WHIP (1.08, third). Rodriguez has a lot of deception in his motion, which has helped him to dominate righthanded batters this year (3.88 strikeout-to-walk ratio), but his work against lefties is significantly less stellar (1.38 ratio). However, few batters seem to square up Rodriguez with regularity and, consequently, his rate of 5.9 hits per nine innings ranks first among qualified FSL starters. While the raw stuff won't blow you away (he pitches mostly in the high 80s), he's been able to use every morsel of it to produce results.

2011 Stats

No. 4 JOHNNY GIAVOTELLA, 2B
ROYALS
Team: Triple-A Omaha (Pacific Coast)
Age:
24
Why He's Here:
.500/.533/.786 (14-for-28), 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 R, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop:
As the Royals start shedding pieces in their annual trade deadline swap meet, it's about time to let Giavotella show what he can do in the big leagues. Yet another in a long line of short second baseman, the stocky Giavotella has hit .401 since June 1. He's not a slam dunk as a long-term big league regular because second base always will be a challenge for him defensively. He must emphasize conditioning and agility work to just be adequate at the position, especially on balls hit to his right. But the New Orleans product can catch up to almost anyone's fastball at the plate, and he rarely gets himself out. With Christian Colon's struggles this season, there now exists a window of opportunity for Giavotella to claim the job. The Royals' current second baseman, Chris Getz (.256/.312/.285 this season), isn't much of an obstacle.

2011 Stats

No. 5 CHIH-HSIEN CHIANG, RF
RED SOX
Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: .448/.515/.897 (13-for-29), 4 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 10 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Chiang represents another piece of evidence that it's generally wise to not write prospects off too quickly. Coming into the season, there wasn't a whole lot to be excited about when watching the erstwhile second baseman make the transition to the outfield. Chiang, a native of Taiwan, had struggled at the plate in 2009 and 2010 and generally did nothing to show he had even one plus tool. But in the offseason, the Red Sox hired a Chinese-speaking nurtitionist who helped Chiang get a better handle on his Type 1 diabetes (as BA correspondent Alex Speier explained). The results are striking. With his blood-sugar levels under control, Chiang has kick-started his career to the extent that he earned a spot on the Futures Game roster. He's hitting for more power and has stopped giving away at-bats, and now he's a prospect again. He's slugging .648 this year, and if that translates at the higher levels, then he'll have enough power to handle a corner-outfield spot.

2011 Stats

No. 6 TIM WHEELER, CF
ROCKIES
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: .290/.421/.806 (9-for-31), 4 HR, 4 2B, 7 RBIs, 9 R, 6 BB, 11 SO
The Scoop: It's been a bounce back year for Wheeler, the 32nd overall pick in 2009 who hit .249/.341/.384 in the high Class A California League last year. He's been noted for his plus raw power before, but he's been on a major surge of late. Wheeler has gone deep nine times in his last 18 games (he hit 12 in 129 games last year), moving into a tie for the minor league home run lead with 28 on the year. It's worth noting the lefthanded-hitting Wheeler still has a fairly sizable platoon split, a carryover from last year. But he did hit one of his homers this week against a lefty, his sixth long ball against a southpaw out of his 28 this year.
2011 Stats

No. 7 WILY PERALTA, RHP
BREWERS
Team: Double-A Huntsville (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 0-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 1 BB, 9 SO
The Scoop: The Brewers system may be thin on talent, but that does not make it completely bereft of future big leaguers. In a system with a better reputation, Peralta might be mentioned in the same breath as other pitching prospects. But with Milwaukee, he does not benefit from the halo effect. Even in relative obscurity, Peralta has made a name for himself with a fine season in Double-A. He throws hard (up to 95 mph), he throws strikes (3.3 walks per nine innings) and the throws three pitches. He ranks fourth in the Southern League with 9.0 strikeouts per nine, behind some guys named Matt Moore, Chris Withrow and Nathan Eovaldi. And he's trending in the right direction. In five second-half starts, Peralta has gone 2-0, 2.15 with a shiny 25-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 29 1/3 innings. You can bet he'll be on the tip of the tongue of any general manager who proposes a trade to the Brewers next week.
2011 Stats

No. 8 CHAD JAMES, LHP
MARLINS
Team: high Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 12 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 6 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: It's easy to declare this the best week of James' 2011 season, if for no other reason than it managed to end his status as a pitching punch line. No matter if he pitched well or poorly, losses have followed James around like his own personal storm cloud. James entered the week with an 0-13 record that seems unfathomable when you consider that he's posted a 3.40 ERA this year. His fellow Jupiter starter Rob Rasmussen is 8-8 with a 4.13 ERA. We have reached a point where most everyone realizes that won-loss record is not the best indicator of a pitcher's success—particularly at the minor league level—but no one wants to see an 0-13 record beside his name. In James' case, he's been a true victim of bad luck—the Hammerheads rarely hit when he pitches. Jupiter has gone 5-15 in games he's pitched, so he hasn't had a whole lot of opportunities to pick up wins. In his first start of the season he was pulled after four innings because of his pitch limit with a 7-0 lead. But since then, he had only left the game with the lead once until this week. But by pitching six scoreless innings in each start, he made things easy for Jupiter.
2011 Stats

No. 9 JESSE BIDDLE, LHP
PHILLIES
Team: low Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 1-0, 1.38, 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 16 SO
The Scoop: In most systems, Biddle would be one the most highly touted arms. After all, he is a big-bodied lefthander who has reached 94 mph and boasts three in-progress offspeed offerings. But with the Phillies, he operates in the shadow cast by Jarred Cosart, Brody Colvin, Trevor May and others. A hometown kid taken with the 27th overall pick in 2010, Biddle has impressed in his first year of full-season ball with Lakewood, registering a 3.10 ERA and a strikeout per inning while yielding just three home runs through 18 starts.
2011 Stats

No. 10 TYLER THORNBURG, RHP
BREWERS
Team: high Class A Brevard County (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 0-1, 0.00, 2 GS, 11 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 6 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: Thornburg has had little trouble handling the Florida State League after a late-June promotion from the Midwest League. He stumbled in a July 6 start against Clearwater (four runs in five innings), but he rebounded with two solid efforts this past week after strutting his stuff at the Futures Game. Thornburg has been hard to hit, surrendering just 15 base knocks in 27 innings with the Manatees, though he's been putting runners on for free a little too often (4.3 walks per nine innings).
2011 Stats

No. 11 MIGUEL SANO, 3B
TWINS
Team:  Rookie-level Appalachian (Appalachian)
Age: 18
Why He's Here: .444/.483/1.074 (12-for-27), 3 HR, 4 2B, 2 3B, 6 RBIs, 8 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Scouts have talked about Sano's ability to hit and hit for power since he was 14. Four years later, Sano is showing why, with a quick swing that produces thundering power. Sano hit his sixth home run of the season this week, pushing his slash stats to .298/.338/.612 through 30 games. Of his 36 hits, more than half (21) have gone for extra bases. His 32 strikeouts are a touch high, but he has a good swing and enough power to produce 30-plus home runs in a season if it all comes together for him. The question right now with Sano is whether he'll finish the season with more extra-base hits or errors. Extra-base hits have the lead for now, but Sano already has 16 errors—seven in 10 games at shortstop, another nine in 20 games at third base. Sano's bazooka arm would be a weapon at third base, but to even stay at the position is going to take quite a bit of work.
2011 Stats

No. 12 JURICKSON PROFAR, SS
RANGERS
Team:  low Class A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Age: 18
Why He's Here: .458/.480/.833 (11-for-24), 1 HR, 6 2B, 9 RBIs, 4 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Profar's season batting line of .284/.387/.521 would be impressive on its on merits, but put in context his performance makes him one of the two best shortstop prospects in the minors (the other being Manny Machado). The South Atlantic League's youngest player, Profar has continued developing his power—10 homers this year—while showing plate discipline that would be uncanny for anyone, let alone a player so young. Profar has drawn 42 walks in 77 games, while striking out just 40 times. He's been the fourth-hardest hitter to strike out in the SAL, going down on strikes just once every 8.7 plate appearances. We ranked him 12th on our midseason Top 50 prospects list, and scouts are saying now that we could have been even more aggressive in moving him up.
2011 Stats

No. 13 YADIEL RIVERA, SS
BREWERS
Team: Rookie-level Helena (Pioneer)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: .556/.625/.889 (15-for-27), 1 HR, 4 2B, 1 3B, 7 RBIs, 12 R, 5 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: Let the waters of the Pioneer League wash over you. Feel the frustration of past hitting transgressions drift away. Rivera, a ninth-round pick in 2010 out of a Puerto Rico high school, evidenced little hitting ability in the low Class A Midwest League this season (.486 OPS) or in the Rookie-level Arizona League last summer (.500 OPS). Demoted to Helena in June, Rivera has enjoyed a turnaround with the bat, going 43-for-131 (.328) and leading the PL in hits and total bases (75). Most of that is the Pioneer League effect—no minor league is more friendly for hitters—but Rivera did recently reel off seven straight multi-hit games, and on Monday he went 5-for-5 and hit for the cycle (two doubles) in a game against Casper. Throw in strong defensive actions at shortstop and you have a prospect who bears watching—just be warned that Rivera also leads the PL with 40 strikeouts.

2011 Stats


IN THE TEAM PHOTO

The Reds love to draft college middle infielders whose defining characteristics are grit and feel for the game rather than foot speed or power. Run down the old scouting axioms if you want, but in the Reds' case, it's paid off pretty well. Adam Rosales, Chris Valaika and Justin Turner have made the big leagues while sporting that profile. Now 2B/SS Brodie Greene is trying to follow the same path. Drafted last year in the fourth round as a senior out of Texas A&M, the 23-year-old went .640/.679/1.360 (16-for-25) with four home runs and nine extra-base hits this week. Three of those home runs did come at High Desert, but a .640 week is hard to do no matter where you're playing . . . If you manage to get tickets to a low Class A Dayton Dragons game (considering every game's a sellout, it's not always easy) and you see that a pitcher named Daniel is on the mound, you're likely to see a solid pitching performance. Daniel Corcino has been a revelation for the Dragons, as he's living up to the Johnny Cueto comps, but Daniel Renken has been equally impressive statistically. Renken's delivery does a good job of hiding the ball, which allows his 91-93 mph fastball to get on hitters quicker than they expect. That combined with a developing slider and changeup have allowed him to rack up 137 strikeouts in 107 2/3 innings. This week, he was dominating. Renken allowed one hit in 11 2/3 scoreless innings, walking five and striking out 17 . . . Cardinals RF Oscar Taveras' assault on Midwest League pitchers continues. As we explained in a Prospect Bulletin this week (subscribers only), Taveras, 19, has excellent feel for the bat head, squaring up pitches he likes and fouling off those he doesn't. His average has not dipped below .342 all season, and since hitting that low point on July 6, he's gone on a tear, raising his average back to .396. This month, Taveras has two games where he's gone hitless. He's made up for that by having nine multi-hit games. He hit .481/.548/.889 (13-for-27) with seven extra-base hits this week . . . The Little Red Machine keeps plugging away for low Class A Dayton, where 5-foot-7 second baseman Ronald Torreyes (Reds) went 5-for-5 with a walk yesterday and has nine hits in his last 10 at-bats. Torreyes, 18, went 15-for-29 (.517) this week and has only one strikeout for all of June, which is why he's hitting .402/.444/.547 in 28 games with the Dragons . . . Dodgers CF Trayvon Robinson continues to beat the drum for a promotion from Triple-A Albuquerque. The 23-year-old homered in four straight games this week, part of a .321/.387/.750 (9-for-28) week with 10 RBIs. For those wondering about his home/road splits, given Albuquerque's reputation as a hitter's haven, 12 of Robinson's 25 homers this year have come on the road, and his road OPS (.952) is virtually identical to his home OPS (.950). He's playing left field more frequently these days, strong evidence that the Dodgers will soon set him loose there in the big leagues . . . Pirates RF Robbie Grossman's second tour of the high Class A Florida State League has gone considerably better than his first. After he hit just .245 for Bradenton last year, Grossman owns a .287/.424/.417 line this year, leading the FSL in OBP and runs scored (89). The 21-year-old is riding a nine-game hitting streak currently and batted .385/.500/.769 (10-for-26) with two homers and eight RBIs this week . . . Brewers 1B Nick Ramirez may be in the Rookie-level Pioneer League, but his numbers would stand out anywhere. A fourth-round selection out of Cal State Fullerton, Ramirez capped off a sensational college career with a .291/.391/.507 spring with 16 saves as the Titans' closer. That performance earned him second-team honors on BA's all-America team. Ramirez signed quickly and has put on a power show with Helena, knocking eight home runs in first 20 games. This past week, Ramirez went 17-for-30 (.567) with three doubles and six home runs. A 9-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio could lead to trouble ahead.


NOT-SO HOT SHEET

• Dayan Viciedo, rf, White Sox. Viciedo went 1-for-4, reached on an error and scored a run in the Triple-A all-star game, but those are just warm memories with the way he's played since that exhibition game. The 22-year-old masher has done anything but in his last seven games for Charlotte, going 3-for-25 (.120) with nary an extra-base hit. The silver lining: Viciedo has drawn five walks (one intentional) and struck out three times in that timeframe.

Bryce Harper, rf, Nationals. So Bryce Harper is human after all. Baseball's No. 1 prospect destroyed the low Class A South Atlantic League by posting a .977 OPS to go with 14 homers in 72 games, but a two-level jump to Double-A Harrisburg has brought on Harper's first extended slump. He went 2-for-23 (both singles) with six strikeouts this week, and his Double-A batting line has slipped to .175/.250/.175. Expectations are monumentally high for Harper, but keep in mind the fact that he's still 19 years old.

 Jared Mitchell, cf, White Sox. The 23rd overall pick in 2009, Mitchell won national championships in football and baseball with Louisiana State and took home most outstanding player honors at the '09 College World Series. He ranked as Chicago's top prospect heading into 2010 and was one of the most athletic players at White Sox camp that spring—but then he tore a tendon in his left ankle, forcing him to miss all of last season. Now 22, Mitchell has struggled mightily to make contact with high Class A Winston-Salem, striking out 128 times in his first 91 games. He hit rock bottom this past week, going 1-for-22 with 11 strikeouts. Mitchell has shown some pop upon his return—37 of his 77 hits have gone for extra bases—but his speed appears to have tapered off as he is just 6-for-10 in stolen bases. It's shaping up as an uphill battle for Mitchell to return to elite prospect status.

Cory Spangenberg, 2b, Padres. After Spangenberg hit .384/.545/.535 in 86 at-bats with short-season Eugene, the Padres decided the No. 10 overall pick in this year's draft was ready for a move up to low Class A Fort Wayne. So far, not so good. The 20-year-old went hitless in his first 13 at-bats for Fort Wayne and has just two hits in eight games so far. Within the last week, he hit .087/.160/.130 (2-for-23) with one double and five strikeouts.

MAN AMONG BOYS

Drew Granier, rhp, Athletics: If you were to design a pitcher to dominate the Rookie-level Arizona League, then your couldn't do much better than building a righthander like Granier. A 32nd-round pick and senior sign out of Louisiana-Monroe (and a former Valley League Top 10 summer league prospect (subscribers only)), Granier has an average fastball but an above-average changeup. Teenage hitters don't mind seeing a good fastball to try to turn around, but a lot of the hitters in the AZL rarely have seen a good changeup. Granier's taking care of that indoctrination. He didn't allow a hit in two starts this week, working 10 innings, walking three and striking out 15.

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Just when you thought it was safe to write off Triple-A Omaha's Luis Mendoza—he of the historically awful 8.43 ERA in the big leagues—the 27-year-old righthander stormed to the forefront of the minor league landscape with a dominating start on July 18. For about 48 hours, the Pacific Coast League recognized Mendoza's shutout of Memphis as a no-hitter, but the league subsequently overturned the contested no-no, and he had to settle for a one-hitter. Regardless, Mendoza leads the PCL in ERA (2.30), WHIP (1.21) and opponent average (.233). He hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start in two months, not since May 20. No Triple-A pitcher has a lower ERA than Mendoza's 0.92 in the past two months, a span of 11 appearances during which he's walked just 18 in 68 1/3 innings (2.4 per nine) while allowing a .193 average (46-for-238) to opponents.

HELIUM WATCH

Marco Hernandez, ss, Cubs: The Cubs have added a wave of Latin American talent to the lower levels of their farm system. As a result, the organization now faces a dilemma, albeit a good one, in trying to sort out playing time for Hernandez and Gioskar Amaya with its Rookie-level Arizona club. Amaya, an 18-year-old from Venezuela, has played mostly second base, though he's also spent time at shortstop and third base, while Hernandez, an 18-year-old Dominican, has been the primary shortstop but also has played a bit at second. At the plate, they have both excelled in their U.S. debuts. Amaya is hitting .390/.427/.476, showing advanced baseball instincts for his age. Hernandez is the better athlete with a more lively, projectable body (6 feet, 170 pounds) and has hit .310/.355/.410 through 24 games. Hernandez has good bat speed from the left side and shows good bat-to-ball ability, though he projects more as a doubles hitter than a power threat.