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 April 13-19.

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

No. 1 BILLY HAMILTON, SS
REDS
Team: high Class A Bakersfield (California)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .536/.594/.821 (15-for-28), 9 R, 2 2B, 3 3B, 2 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO, 6-for-10 SB
The Scoop: No one has ever questioned Hamilton's ability to run and steal bases, but the young shortstop has heard plenty of questions about how much he's going to hit. Last year he struggled to get his average over the Mendoza line early in the year, and it took a strong finish for Hamilton to bat .278/.340/.360. But at the end of the season, Midwest League observers explained that Hamilton's off-the-charts athleticism meant that he could make dramatic improvement that the average player could only dream of.

Playing in the California League helps every hitter, and Hamilton is no exception. He has shown improvement, however, as he's hitting for average, getting on base and even showing some pop. Roughly 10 percent of the way through the season, Hamilton has nine extra-base hits including three triples. He had 30 long hits all of last year.

Hamilton currently has a 10-game hitting streak and five straight multi-hit games. He's done it while playing at home and at San Jose and Visalia, which are not as hitter-happy as some other Cal League locales. Hamilton will never be a power hitter, but if he can sting the ball enough to find the gaps, his speed will take care of the rest. Interestingly, the weakest part of Hamilton's game this week was his basestealing. He was thrown out in three straight games and is now 12-for-16 for the season (75 percent success rate).
2012 Stats

No. 2 DANNY HULTZEN, LHP
MARINERS
Team: Double-A Jackson (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 1-1, 0.00, 12 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 14 SO
The Scoop: Because of his polish, few believe that Hultzen will spend much time in the minors, but his first pro start was a rude awakening to the realities of life in the upper minors. He walked three, gave up four hits and five earned runs in four innings. Since then, we've seen the Hultzen who dominated Atlantic Coast Conference hitters at Virginia. The lefty struck out nine of the 22 batters he faced while allowing one unearned run in his second start, then picked up his first pro win on Thursday night with a gem (6 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO). Hultzen is still on track to reach Seattle at some point this year, but for now just keeping up with his rotation-mates Taijuan Walker (2-0, 1.64) and James Paxton (1-0, 1.20) is incentive enough for Hultzen.
2012 Stats

No. 3 TYLER AUSTIN, RF
YANKEES
Team: low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Age:
20
Why He's Here:
.520/.586/.960 (13-for-25), 10 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop:
Feast your eyes on the hottest hitter in minor league baseball. As you can see on our leaderboard, Austin ranks fifth in the minors in average (.432), first in slugging (.932) and first in OPS (1.411). Considering Austin brought a .350/.402/.542 career batting line into the 2012 season, it's hard to call this a fluke. He's easily been the best hitter in a very loaded Charleston lineup. He also may have found a home defensively. Last year, Austin, a high school catcher, tried to adjust to playing third base, but it didn't go well, as he made 11 errors in fewer than 30 games. Austin is now playing right field where his speed and arm fit, while his less than ideal footwork is not as much of a problem. Austin was part of what was considered an outstanding 2010 high school draft class in Georgia. Two years later, this 13th-round pick is outproducing the five Georgia first-rounders who preceded him.
2012 Stats

No. 4 BRAD PEACOCK, RHP
ATHLETICS
Team: Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)
Age:
24
Why He's Here:
0-1, 1.50, 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 11 SO
The Scoop:
Peacock was hit hard in big league spring training, giving up 10 earned runs in seven Cactus League innings. Despite the poor performance, his stuff still made a positive impression with scouts, who liked Peacock's curveball as a complement to a low-90s fastball. He's put the disappointment of not making the big league team in the rearview mirror, cruising through his first three starts for Sacramento, allowing just three earned runs in 19 innings of work. He allowed only one hit in six innings while striking out eight against Reno last Friday and followed that up with seven strong innings against Tacoma on Wednesday, limiting the Rainiers to one run on five hits to drop his ERA for the year to 1.42.
2012 Stats

No. 5 WILL MIDDLEBROOKS, 3B
RED SOX
Team: Triple-A Pawtucket (International)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: .423/.464/.923 (11-for-26), 4 HR, 1 2B, 13 RBIs, 7 R, 2 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop: Middlebrooks hit a total of 19 home runs in 217 games at two Class A stops, but he's turned up the power production since advancing to Double-A last season. He hit 20 home runs in 2011 alone, indicating that the old scouting adage may be true and power is the last tool to develop. Middlebrooks has kept mashing in 2012 by going deep five times in 14 games thus far and slugging .684 in the International League. That is a positive development for any corner player, particularly one with designs on being a first-division regular.
2012 Stats

No. 6 ZACK WHEELER, RHP
METS
Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 0-1, 3.00, 2 GS, 12 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 17 SO, 2 BB, 3 HBP
The Scoop: Wheeler notched nine strikeouts against Portland on Friday and eight more against New Hampshire on Wednesday to take over the Eastern League lead with 21 punchouts. The EL is a long way from the big leagues, granted, but one couldn't ask for much more from Wheeler than he's shown thus far. He's throwing strikes with two plus pitches and showing flashes with his third and fourth offerings. Monitor Wheeler's lefty-righty splits this season to check on the progress of the changeup and cutter, two weapons he needs to combat lefthanded batters.
2012 Stats

No. 7 TYLER THORNBURG, RHP
BREWERS
Team: Double-A Huntsville (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: 1-0, 1.23, 7 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 11 SO
The Scoop: Of the 66 batters Thornburg has faced this season, 24 of them have marched back to the dugout after becoming the latest of Thornburg's strikeout victims. Striking out 36 percent of the batters you face is about as dominant as it gets in Double-A, where Thornburg carried a perfect game into the eighth inning of his last start before a single ended his night. Thornburg doesn't have a traditional delivery, but he repeats it well to throw three quality pitches for strikes, which could make him a solid mid-rotation starter at some point in Milwaukee.
2012 Stats

No. 8 EVAN GATTIS, C
BRAVES
Team: high Class A Lynchburg (Carolina)
Age: 25
Why He's Here: .462/.563/1.000 (12-for-26), 8 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBIs, 3 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: By now you're heard the story. Gattis took four years off from baseball, spent some time in drug rehab and lived out of his truck for a while. He eventually got back to playing, was spotted by the Braves' Gerald Turner at Texas-Periman Basis in 2010 and became a bargain $1,000 signing as a 23rd-round pick. But in the past year, Gattis has proven he's more than the subject of a potential movie script. The catcher won the Sally League batting title last year and has done nothing to slow down early in 2012. Gattis is second in the minors in OPS (1.357), third in average (.435), third in slugging (.848) and seventh in on-base percentage (.509). Because of his long layoff, Gattis is way too old for the Carolina League, and he'll have to move quickly to Double-A if he has a hope of ever being more than a useful backup, but considering how far he's come, those must seem like minor hurdles to Gattis.
2012 Stats

No. 9 EDWAR CABRERA, LHP
ROCKIES
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO
The Scoop: Tyler Thornburg wasn't the only pitching prospect to make a run at a perfect game this week. Cabrera actually took his a little bit further, completing eight perfect innings against Corpus Christi on Tuesday. Cabrera was given a chance to go out for the ninth but a Chris Wallace single to lead off the inning ended his shot at perfection. Cabrera was immediately taken out, having thrown 102 pitches. Nevertheless, it's been a promising start for the southpaw. Cabrera led the minors in strikeouts last year, pitching at two Class A stops, on the strength of his knockout changeup. Cabrera doesn't have an overpowering fastball, but the more advanced hitters he's facing in Double-A haven't been able to figure him out either, as he's allowed just nine hits in 20 innings to with a 1.35 ERA.
2012 Stats

No. 10 MATT BARNES, RHP
RED SOX
Team: low Class A Greenville (South Atlantic)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 11 IP, 4 H, 0 R 0 BB, 16 SO
The Scoop: As a first-round pick last year out of Connecticut, Barnes should be expected to breeze through a relatively conservative assignment to Greenville. Still, the way he's completely overmatched South Atlantic League hitters has been eye-catching. Through three starts, Barnes has yet to allow a run and has barely allowed any baserunners, with a 25-2 K-BB ratio and just six hits allowed in 16 innings. Given his stuff and polish, Barnes probably can keep his suitcase packed because a bump to high Class A Salem would seem to be imminent.
2012 Stats

No. 11 NICK TROPEANO, RHP
ASTROS
Team: low Class A Lexington (South Atlantic)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 14 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 17 SO
The Scoop: The release of Colin DeLome this week closes the book on the Astros' 2007 draft. Houston literally has no draftee from that year left in the organization. What ranks among the worst drafts of all time didn't produce a single big leaguer or really anyone who came close to the big leagues. We mention that only to point out what a new day it is for Astros fans. For the first time in a long time, there are plenty of reasons for Houston fans to check minor league box scores every night. Much of that is because of trade acquisitions like Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart and Paul Clemens, but recent Astros' draftees like Tropeano are helping out as well. A fifth-round pick last year out of Stony Brook, Tropeano has struck out at least eight in all three of his South Atlantic League stars. The only run he's given up came when rehabbing big leaguer Rick Ankiel lined a single to score a run in his first outing of the season. With newfound depth in the farm system, Houston is trying to take things slower in promoting prospects. But if Tropeano keeps this up, he may have to prove the exception to the rule.
2012 Stats

No. 12 DANNY ROSENBAUM, LHP
NATIONALS
Team:  Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: 2-0, 2.70, 2 GS, 15 2/3 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 15 SO
The Scoop: Rosenbaum went 3-1, 2.29 in six starts down the stretch for Harrisburg last season and he's picked up where he left off in his return to the Eastern League to begin 2012. Despite pitching his college ball out of the limelight at Xavier and only being a 22nd-round pick in 2009, Rosenbaum has earned his way onto the prospect map by excelling at every level of the minors so far. The lefty doesn't blow hitters away, but he has deception and a quality curveball. He especially made progress with his command last season, and he's kept that going as he's yet to issue a walk in 21 2/3 innings on the year while holding hitters to a .177 average.
2012 Stats

No. 13 CHRIS OWINGS, SS
DIAMONDBACKS
Team: high Class A Visalia (California)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .423/.483/.885 (11-for-26), 3 HR, 3 2B, 6 R, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 11 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Briefly look past the six extra-base hits and notice that Owings drew three walks this week. That would have accounted for 20 percent of his season total (15 in 121 games) from last year. Owings is repeating the Cal League and still needs considerable work tightening the holes in his swing, but the wait might be worth it. In three years, Owings could be an above-average defensive shortstop with plus power for the position—but only if he can cut down on the strikeouts.
2012 Stats


IN THE TEAM PHOTO

It's easy to forget because his swing is so advanced, but Rangers 18-year-old 2B Rougned Odor has only been in pro ball for 16 months. While most of his peers are either going back to the Dominican Summer League for a second season or getting ready to debut in a U.S. complex league this summer, Odor is already in low Class A Hickory and hitting .302/.367/.509 through 13 games . . . A part of the raft of prospects the Athletics brought in over the offseason, sweet-swinging 3B/1B Miles Head has gotten off to a torrid start with high Class A Stockton. The 20-year-old, who came to Oakland in the Andrew Bailey deal with the Red Sox, has opened the season on a 14-game hitting streak, batting .400/.441/.764 in 55 at-bats with four homers. For the week, Head batted .462/.500/.846 (12-for-26) with two homers, two doubles, a triple and six RBIs … 3B Kyle Kubitza's combination of power and patience led the Braves to make the Texas State product their third-round pick last June. He has three homers in his first 12 games this year with low Class A Rome, but his line-drive stroke has helped him put up a total of 10 extra-base hits in 12 games, adding four doubles and three triples as well. This week, the 21-year-old hit .458/.567/.917 (11-for-24) with a homer and eight RBIs. Kubitza, who runs well for a corner infielder, mixed in three stolen bases as well … After going back and forth between starting and relieving over the last two years, Braves RHP David Hale looks like he's settled in as a starter. He finished last season strong in high Class A and made the move to Double-A Mississippi to start the year. He bounced back from getting roughed up in his first start to post two quality outings this week, including six no-hit innings against Montgomery last Friday. Hale went 2-0, 0.00 on the week, allowing just two his and one run (none earned) in 13 innings, striking 11 and walking four . . . Even after jettisoning the Carolina Mudcats to the high Class A Carolina League, the Double-A Southern League still has a schedule that lets teams come and stay awhile, Southern style. However, Montgomery will be happy to see Mobile 3B Matt Davidson leave town. Davidson did almost all of his .400/.516/.800 damage this week in a six-game road trip to Montgomery. The 21-year-old ranks among the minors' leaders in multiple categories and currently has 12 walks to just 10 strikeouts . . .  Royals RHP Jason Adam appeared ticketed to return to low Class A Kane County after a solid but unspectacular first full pro season. The 21-year-old managed to convince the club he was ready for a promotion to high Class A Wilmington with a strong spring and up to now, he's paid off the Royals' faith in him. Adam didn't allow an earned run in 12 2/3 innings this week, going 0-1, 0.00 with 12 strikeouts and three walks . . . If Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo isn't careful, he might give people the impression that the Pacific Coast League is a hitter's league. He went 10-for-25 (.400) this week with four homers (including two in Albuquerque), a double, six RBIs and eight runs scored for Triple-A Iowa, a performance that upped his season OPS to 1.291. The 22-year-old Rizzo owns a career batting line of .340/.408/.670 with 33 homers and 117 RBIs in 473 plate appearances in the PCL.


BLAST FROM THE PAST

Brad Eldred, 1b, Tigers. The Pirates gave Eldred his only extended big league look in 2005, the season after he mashed 38 homers in the minors and ranked as the organization's No. 8 prospect. Things may have played out differently for Eldred, then 25, had he run with the opportunity, but he batted just .221/.279/.458 in 208 plate appearances. Life as a Triple-A slugger can be lucrative, though, and Eldred has made the most of it. He's been in demand as he's bounced from Indianapolis to Charlotte to Syracuse to Colorado Springs to Fresno to Toledo while slugging .529 and belting 146 homers in parts of eight seasons. This week, Eldred mashed five home runs for the Mud Hens (to give him an International League-leading eight on the year) while batting 11-for-31 (.355) with 12 RBIs. The 31-year-old now has 235 career home runs in the minors, a total that puts him neck-and-neck with Buffalo's Valentino Pascucci in second place behind active leader Mike Hessman.


NOT-SO HOT SHEET

Chris Archer, rhp, Rays: The Rays are extremely willing to give pitchers time to develop. That's good news for Archer, because right now he's requiring a whole lot of patience. The 23-year-old righthander seemed to be on the cusp of greatness back in 2010 when he dominated the Florida State and the Southern leagues. But since being traded the following offseason to the Rays in the Matt Garza trade, Archer has taken significant steps back. He struggles to repeat his delivery and doesn't get ahead of enough hitters to fully take advantage of his plus slider. Archer still isn't giving up many hits, but 10 walks in 6 2/3 innings this week explains why he went 0-2, 43.88.

Edinson Rincon, lf, Padres: Rincon was not blessed with great defensive ability, so it will have to be his bat that carries him. Other than a 4-for-4 game during the first week of the season, Rincon's bat has yet to show up for Double-A San Antonio. The 21-year-old is off to a .190/.213/.214 start through 13 games. He's coming off a huge year in the high Class A California League and is still one of the youngest players in the Texas League, but this certainly wasn't the start the Padres had hoped for from Rincon.

Guillermo Pimentel, lf, Mariners: In recent years, the Mariners have signed several expensive Dominican hitters who have struggled as they moved up the ladder. The most successful might be Carlos Peguero, who reached Seattle last year but probably fits best on the bench or on a second-division club. Pimentel, who signed out of the Dominican Republic for $2 million in 2009, has gotten off to a wretched start in low Class A Clinton, where he's hitting .120/.154/.200 in 50 at-bats. Does Pimentel have huge power? Absolutely, but he's going to have to show he can take it to games or it really won't matter.

Carlos Perez, lhp, Braves. Opponents have hit Perez for a .367 average through three stats, and the nightmare continues for the Appalachian League's top prospect in 2010. After dealing four scoreless innings for low Class A Rome in start No. 1, Perez has gotten rocked for 15 runs on 16 hits in his two follow-up turns. In that time he's walked eight and struck out five in seven innings. Perez now carries a 5.35 ERA and 1.70 WHIP through 143 career South Atlantic League innings.

MAN AMONG BOYS

Andre Rienzo, rhp, White Sox: Hailing from Brazil, Rienzo spent his first two professional summers in the Dominican Summer League. From there he spent another year in the Appalachian League, one in low Class A and now he's embarking on his second year with high Class A Winston-Salem. The 23-year-old Rienzo leads the Carolina League with 23 strikeouts and could be on the verge of a bump to Double-A after going 2-0, 1.00 in three starts, while limiting opponents to 14 hits and five walks through 18 innings.

HELIUM WATCH

Domingo Tapia, rhp, Mets. Arm strength never has been an issue for Tapia, who sat 94-96 mph last year in Rookie ball, but missing bats had not come easy. He struck out 5.4 batters per nine innings last year in Appalachian League, and 5.6 the year before in the Gulf Coast League. If the early results are to be believed, that may no longer be an issue for Tapia, a 20-year-old Dominican who was fanned 11 and walked one through 12 innings for low Class A Savannah this season. Look for more on this Mets sleeper in a Prospect Bulletin later today.