Dylan Bundy's perfect start puts him in top spot





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 all games to this point, covering the period April 5-12.

Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, John Manuel and Jim Shonerd.

No. 1 DYLAN BUNDY, RHP
ORIOLES
Team: low Class A Delmarva (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: If you want to quibble, you can make an argument that a pitcher who throws six innings in two starts shouldn't lead the first Prospect Hot Sheet of the season. We believe the teen righthander's absolute dominance to this point has to be acknowledged.

Throwing three innings per start on six days of rest, the fourth overall pick in last year's draft has been able to air it out on every pitch knowing he's not going to be around long enough to worry about fatigue. And if Bundy had given up a hit, or a baserunner, or thrown one pitch from the stretch in his first two outings, we might be inclined to agree. Besides, it's not Bundy's fault that the Orioles are exercising such caution. Unofficially, he's thrown 76 pitches in his first two starts—a normal night's work for many pitchers. Just six of the 18 batters he's faced have put the ball in play.

Bundy's already making the case that he's too good for low Class A. Scouts heading into last year's draft described him as a college pitcher on a high school team. Scouts who saw him in spring training this year said he was as sure a bet to succeed as any young pitcher you will see. With a fastball that has touched 100 mph, a plus curveball and an already developed changeup, Bundy pitches beyond his 19 years. Expect to see him on the Hot Sheet again (and again).
2012 Stats

No. 2 JOSE CAMPOS, RHP
YANKEES
Team: low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 11 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 11 SO
The Scoop: The RiverDogs have jumped out to an early lead in the South Atlantic League team ERA race thanks in large part to Campos, who has held opponents to one hit and one (unearned) run through 11 innings. With just three walks issued, his WHIP stands at a minuscule 0.36. In other words, Campos has started his Yankees career in sharp contrast with Michael Pineda, the other pitcher New York received from the Mariners for Jesus Montero.
2012 Stats

No. 3 A.J. GRIFFIN, RHP
ATHLETICS
Team: Double-A Midland (Texas)
Age:
24
Why He's Here:
0-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 11 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 16 SO
The Scoop:
Griffin began his season by striking out the first five hitters he faced on Opening Day. There's really nowhere to go but down after that, but it hasn't happened yet. Griffin only has an average fastball, but he can turn to his devastating changeup, an improved curveball and a newfound cutter to slice up opposing lineups, and he has the pitching IQ to mix his offerings effectively. He followed up his five shutout innings against Arkansas on Opening Day with six no-hit innings against Springfield on Tuesday, with a two-out walk in the fifth being the only baserunner he allowed.
2012 Stats

No. 4 TREVOR BAUER, RHP
DIAMONDBACKSS
Team: Double-A Mobile (Southern)
Age:
21
Why He's Here:
2-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 10 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 7 BB, 18 SO
The Scoop:
If you picked Bauer as the favorite to win National League rookie of the year, then don't despair that he began the year in Double-A. So long as he keeps pitching as he has, the Diamondbacks will call on him at the first sign of trouble in the big leagues. Bauer may need another few starts to iron out his control, but those 18 strikeouts are tied with Triple-A Columbus righty Corey Kluber (Indians) for the minor league lead among pitchers at Double-A or higher.
2012 Stats

No. 5 BRAD MILLER, SS
MARINERS
Team: high Class A High Desert (California)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .371/.463/.914 (13-for-35), 12 R, 13 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 6 BB, 9 SO, 1-for-1 SB.
The Scoop: Home or road, Miller couldn't lose on Opening Day. That's because he and his High Desert teammates were playing Lancaster, and both teams play in parks that would make Coors Field blush. The Mavericks opened at home this year and Miller, the Mariners' second round pick last year, took full advantage, hitting four home runs in the four-game series. As a team, High Desert scored 42 runs in the four games. Miller collected a hit in each game of the Mavericks' seven-game homestand to start the season. Don't expect him to hit four homers every week, but he's a great athlete who can stick at shortstop if he cleans up some mechanical issues and his footwork. And nothing can help a hitter's confidence like an assignment to High Desert.
2012 Stats

No. 6 JAMES PAXTON, LHP
MARINERS
Team: Double-A Jackson (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.87, 2 GS, 10 1/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 1 BB, 17 SO
The Scoop: Generals fielders might have the cushiest gig in the minors. That's because few Southern League opponents have managed to put the ball in play against Jackson's prospect-laden rotation, which includes Paxton (14.8 strikeouts per nine innings), Taijuan Walker (14.4 SO/9) and Danny Hultzen (15.8 SO/9). Jackson pitchers lead the SL in strikeout rate (10.1 SO/9), K-BB ratio (3.68) and WHIP (1.07).
2012 Stats

No. 7 JOSE FERNANDEZ, RHP
MARLINS
Team: low Class A Greensboro (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 1-0, 1.64, 2 GS, 11 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 18 SO
The Scoop: The early success of Bundy and other 2011 high school arms like Fernandez and Archie Bradley shouldn't obscure the fact that starting the season in low Class A is a pretty impressive jump for even the best recent high school draftees. You wouldn't know that from Hernandez's two starts. He struck out 10 of the 23 batters he faced in his debut against Lexington, then fanned eight of the 19 Delmarva Shorebirds he faced in his second start. The second start was true domination as not one Shorebird reached third base in Fernandez's five innings of work.
2012 Stats

No. 8 MIKE TROUT, CF
ANGELS
Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .389/.425/.556 (14-for-36), 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 R, 4 RBIs, 3 BB, 10 SO, 3-for-4 SB
The Scoop: So far illness has been the only thing to slow down Trout's ascent to the big leagues. After recovering from a nasty virus this spring, Trout is taking it out on pitchers in the Pacific Coast League, where he's the circuit's youngest player. Everything now seems back to normal, with Trout lacing line drives to all fields, using his 80 speed at the plate and in the field while sprinkling in some extra-base power. The Angels are paying the price for the January 2011 trade that sent Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera to the Blue Jays to bring in Vernon Wells, but the new regime isn't likely to give Wells a long leash, given that a healthy Trout may already be the better player.
2012 Stats

No. 9 CODY BUCKEL, RHP
RANGERS
Team: high Class A Myrtle Beach (Carolina)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 0-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 10 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 16 SO
The Scoop: Buckel quietly put together a fine season in low Class A last year, going 8-3, 2.61 in 97 innings for Hickory. Moving up to the Carolina League this year hasn't slowed him down at all. Buckel doesn't look imposing on the mound, standing just 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, but he can run his fastball up at 92 mph and bump 94 on occasion, while his delivery draws comparisons to Trevor Bauer's. Buckel pitched four scoreless innings on Opening Day, then authored six scoreless on Thursday. Along the way on Thursday, he struck out nine and retired the last 10 hitters he faced.
2012 Stats

No. 10 KOLTEN WONG, 2B
CARDINALS
Team: Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .440/.517/.760 (11-for-25), 5 R, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 3B, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Wong's natural hitting ability attracted the Cardinals with the 22nd overall pick in last year's draft, and the second baseman out of Hawaii hasn't disappointed so far in his pro career. Wong hit .335/.401/.510 in 47 games at low Class A after signing last year, and he's picked up where he left off after the Cardinals skipped him over high Class A and dispatched him to Double-A to start 2012. Wong opened the year on a five-game hitting streak and already has four multi-hit games out of seven played. He will be a good bet to rack up doubles and triples with his line-drive stroke and good speed, though his two triples in the first weeks of this season matches his total from low Class A last year.
2012 Stats

No. 11 MANNY MACHADO, SS
ORIOLES
Team:  Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: .323/.417/.581, 10-for-31, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 5 BB, 9 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: If you look hard, you can find prospects who put up better numbers than Machado did during the first week of the season. But you can't find a teenage shortstop in Double-A who did any better.
The youngest player in the Eastern League, and the third youngest player in Double-A (behind Jurickson Profar and Taijuan Walker), Machado already is showing he not only belongs in the Eastern League, he's likely to be one of the circuit's best players.
The Orioles system doesn't have much depth when it comes to prospects, but with Bundy and Machado at the top of the system's rankings, it does have ample star power on its way.
2012 Stats

No. 12 ARCHIE BRADLEY, RHP
DIAMONDBACKS
Team:  low Class A South Bend (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 1-1, 1.64, 2 GS, 11 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 14 SO
The Scoop: Yeah, the Diamondbacks have a little bit of pitching. Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs are the next wave for the Diamondbacks to add to a young pitching staff that already includes Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Trevor Cahill. Bradley may be further away, but he too has frontline starter potential and could move quickly given his feel for pitching.
2012 Stats

No. 13 AUSTIN WOOD, RHP
ANGELS
Team: low Class A Cedar Rapids (Midwest)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.90; 10 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 15 SO
The Scoop: There are two Austin Woods. On the one hand, you have the Tigers lefthander famous for his heroics/abuse in college at Texas (depending on how you look at it) and this guy, the Floridian who played college ball at Southern California. This Austin Wood has a big body (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) and a big arm to match, and he has started to put up results to match his power. He's always thrown hard and has reached 98 mph this week, though he sits in the 92-95 mph range as a starter. He added five no-hit innings against Clinton in his second start and may not be long for the Midwest League. The arm strength merits notice, but Wood has teased before, such as when he dominated the Cape Cod League in 2010. The difference this year so far is an improved slider, tighter and with more plus potential than his slower, slurvier pitch that nudged average in the past. If Wood can maintain the improvement with his slide piece, he'll have a chance to move quickly and potentially stay in the rotation down the line. 
2012 Stats


IN THE TEAM PHOTO

High Class A Lakeland LF Tyler Collins hasn't stopped hitting since, well, since as far back as we can find. The 2011 NJCAA Division I player of the year hit .488/.561/.949 with 19 home runs last spring for Howard (Texas) JC, then hit .310 in the Texas Collegiate League to earn top prospect honors there. He kept swinging well after signing last summer for $210,000, hitting .313 for short-season Connecticut. His advanced bat prompted the Tigers to push him to the Florida State League, and he's off to a 13-for-27 (.481) start, though with just three extra-base hits . . . Astros slugger Telvin Nash crushed a long home run off Dodgers No. 1 prospect Zach Lee—crushed so much that Houston GM Jeff Luhnow tweeted a link to the video—but that's to be expected. At 6-foot-1, 248 pounds, Nash is a physical beast with enough power to profile at left field or first base. He's hit five bombs in high Class A Lancaster's first eight games, with two multi-homer games, but also struck out five times in his last eight at-bats . . . When talking about precocious outfielder Oscar Taveras last year, then Quad Cities manager Johnny Rodriguez said he was either the best hitter in the Cardinals farm system or the second best behind 1B Matt "Patch" Adams. It was quite a compliment for Taveras, who seemed to come out of the womb spraying line drives, but it's also a tip of the cap to Adams, a one-time 23rd round pick who has turned himself into a significant prospect by hitting everywhere he goes. Adams, 23, brought a .316 career average to Triple-A Memphis this spring, and he improved upon it in the first week by batting .419/.455/.806 (13-for-31) with three doubles and three homers. He even a stole base . . . Many question whether Nationals 1B Tyler Moore's pull-everything approach will translate into big league success, but there are also times where you just have to admire the power. The Mississippi State product had just eight hits this week, but he still put up a .308/.379/.769 line (8-for-26) for Triple-A Syracuse thanks to four home runs. Moore had 31 home runs for high Class A Potomac in 2010 and 31 more for Double-A Harrisburg in 2011. He's well on the way to matching those numbers again in 2012 . . . The Athletics have been waiting (and waiting) for RF Michael Taylor to break through to the majors. Beginning his third straight year with Triple-A Sacramento, the 25-year-old might finally be on his way to doing just that. He's hit .429/.462/.686 (15-for-35) in eight games, with a homer and six doubles. His doubles total leads the Pacific Coast League and he's tied for second with 11 RBIs  . . . With the exception of nine strikeouts through eight games, Phillies Double-A outfielder Jiwan James has gotten off to an ideal start with Reading. The 23-year-old has batted 11-for-28 (.393) with five extra-base hits (.786 slugging, including two homers) and one stolen base . . . At 25, it's time for Giants outfielder Roger Kieschnick to show he's ready now to contribute in San Francisco. He's off to a good start, battin .500/.528/.971 with three home runs in eight games for Triple-A Fresno.

BLAST FROM THE PAST

We'll get off the Jason Lane tip when we're good and ready. Right now, his story's too cool. The former Astros outfielder is remaking himself as a two-way player this year, and Thursday night was the ultimate example of his versatility. Lane threw two scoreless innings against Salt Lake—retiring Mike Trout on an infield popout in the 12th—then won the game for Reno, 7-6, with his bat with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th off Jeremy Berg. It was Lane's first professional victory, and he has yet to give up a run in 7 1/3 innings, yielding five hits and a walk so far while striking out three. (He's also 2-for-6.)


NOT-SO HOT SHEET

Manny Banuelos, lhp, Yankees. All Triple-A Yankees players will live a somewhat nomadic existence this season while the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of Moosic, Pa., ballpark gets gussied up for 2013. The re-branded Empire State Yankees will call Rochester home most of the time, and maybe some home cooking will benefit the 21-year-old Banuelos, because his first two road starts teetered on the edge of disaster. Banuelos allowed four runs on 11 hits through 3 1/3 innings in his first turn at Syracuse, and followed that with six walks in two innings at Buffalo. In all, he's allowed a 10.13 ERA and 3.94 WHIP through 5 1/3 frames.

[Update: Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that Banuelos will miss at least one start with a latissimus muscle issue in his back. Thanks to Yankees correspondent George King for the tip.]
 
Tanner Bushue, rhp, Astros. The adjustment to pro ball hasn't been easy for Bushue. The 2010 second-round pick is in his third season at low Class A Lexington and up to now he's not exactly making the case to move on to high Class A Lancaster. Bushue, 20, has yet to pitch into the fourth inning of either start, and the third inning has been his nightmare. He gave up seven runs before being lifted in his first start and five more in the third inning of his second start. Overall, his 0-2, 21.94 line is scary, but the 17 hits allowed in 5 1/3 innings may be more frightening.

Joe Ross, rhp, Padres. At some point, the Padres are going to get it right with one of their first-round picks. Perhaps Ross, the 25th overall pick last year, will break San Diego's recent trend, but his full-season debut was uninspiring. Ross, 18, left after getting just four outs, surrendering seven runs (six earned), seven hits and three walks with only one strikeout.

Cito Culver, ss, Yankees. That Culver's glove is more advanced than his bat isn't exactly news, but it's hard to ignore the rough start the 19-year-old has gotten out to with low Class A Charleston. The Yankees' 2010 first-round pick has just one hit in his first six games, miring himself in a 1-for-22 (.045/.192/.045) slump to start the season, including 10 strikeouts to go with three walks.

MAN AMONG BOYS

Jason Martinson, ss, Nationals: Over the second half of the 2011 season, Martinson was one of the best sluggers in the South Atlantic League, as he hit 14 of his 19 home runs in a second-half power binge. He still had some significant contact issues, however, as evidenced by his 144 strikeouts last season and his career .248 batting average. That explains why the Nationals sent Martinson back to low Class A Hagerstown this spring so that he can work on his swing—and his glove (he committed 33 errors last year).

So far, so good. Martinson still strikes out a lot (13 whiffs in 28 at-bats this year), but he's also drawn 11 walks to go with four extra-base hits and a .321/.513/.607 batting line and 6-for-6 showing in stolen bases. The Nationals don't have a prospect at shortstop blocking him from moving up to high Class A Potomac, so the former Texas State star's timetable for a promotion depends more on his development than any external factors.

HELIUM WATCH

Alen Hanson, ss, Pirates. Hanson was a sleeper coming into the 2011 season, then got some attention in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, where he ranked as the league's No. 14 prospect. We may be looking at a true breakout here in 2012. After hitting two home runs in 52 GCL games last year, Hanson already has three in eight games for low Class A West Virginia. Hanson, 19, is hitting .412/.474/.824 in 34 at-bats and is a clean 3-for-3 stealing bases. Hanson may end up moving over to second baseman, but he profiles as an offensive-oriented, switch-hitting middle infielder.