Prospect Hot Sheet: April 23

See also: Previous Prospect Hot Sheet

If he keeps pitching like this, we won’t get many chances to honor Tim Lincecum on the Prospect Hot Sheet, so we decided to make sure to honor him with the top spot while we can.

In addition to some of the usual names (Lincecum, Phil Hughes, Luke Hochevar) there are some lesser known prospects earning spots on this week’s list. Remember, this is not a rewrite of our Top 100 prospects list. This is simply a snapshot of which prospects are currently riding the biggest hot streaks.

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1. Tim Lincecum, rhp, Triple-A Fresno (Giants).

Though he had no decisions last week, Lincecum struck out 11 batters in his only start and extended his season-long scoreless innings streak to 18 2/3. For the season, he’s got 28 strikeouts and has allowed nine hits, five walks, zero home runs allowed and a 1.64 groundouts for every fly out. Not bad for a guy pitching in the PCL in his first pro season. Lincecum is certainly stating his case to be the first impact rookie pitcher to be called to the big leagues.

2. Jacoby Ellsbury, of, Double-A Portland (Red Sox).

He has a hit in every game except one this season and hit .563 on the week. Former Oregon State star has attained a .705 slugging percentage the hard way: seven doubles, two triples and no home runs.

3. Tommy Hanson, rhp, low Class A Rome (Braves).

Minor league strikeouts leader (with 33) didn’™t win either of his two starts last week, but posted 0.81 ERA and recorded 17 strikeouts and no walks in 11 innings.

4. Billy Butler, of, Triple-A Omaha (Royals).

Left fielder went 9-for-23 (.391) with a pair of homers, eight runs scored and a PCL-leading 10 RBIs last week. Now hitting .344/.449/.641 for the year.

5. Nick Adenhart, rhp, Double-A Arkansas (Angels).

After a strong finish to spring training, Adenhart has dominated Double-A (3-0, 0.49) with his usual plus fastball and changeup and hard curveball. There’s little room in the Angels rotation though, as evidenced by Joe Saunders (2-0, 1.96) being optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake.

6. Virgil Vasquez, rhp, Triple-A Toledo (Tigers).

The IL pitching triple crown winner last week with 2-0, 0.00 numbers and 19 strikeouts. His 28 strikeouts on the season are also tops in league.

7. Brandon Hynick, rhp, high Class A Modesto (Rockies).

Former Birmingham-Southern star has 0.00 ERA in 18 innings after jumping low Class A, and has allowed just two walks.

8. Phil Hughes, rhp, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees).

Busted out with 10-strikeout, two-hit, no-run gem against Syracuse, after allowing five runs in his previous start.

9. Luke Hochevar, Double-A Wichita (Royals).

Somewhere, Max Scherzer is smiling, because Hochevar is making the hold-out-for-a-year-and-go-back-in-the-draft approach look good, with two wins, 18 strikeouts and no walks in his last two starts, putting him at 2-1, 3.27 for the season.

10. Danny Putnam, of, Double-A Midland (Athletics).

See ya later, Texas League–a .327/.386/.615 start, combined with Milton Bradley’s bum hamstring, earned Putnam his first big league promotion.

11. Joe Mather, 1b/of, Double-A Springfield (Cardinals).

Our 2001 Cardinals draft report card said: “Down the road, 3B Joe Mather (3) should hit for average and power.” It took a while, but he’s hitting .380 with a minors-best seven homers.

12. Chris Valaika, ss, low Class A Dayton (Reds).

After setting a Northwest League record with a 32-game hitting streak last year, Valaika had to settle for an 11-game streak this April–his 0-for-4 night on Sunday slowed what had been a torrid hot streak. Valiaka had five multi-hit games last week, including a 4-for-5 night and the shortstop is hitting .423/.456/.596 overall.

13. Chris Carter, 1b, Triple-A Tucson (Diamondbacks).

Hasn’t shown the power expected of a first baseman yet this season, but he batted .577 last week and leads the minor league with 28 hits.

14. Justin Upton, of, high Class A Visalia (Diamondbacks).

His start was nothing but atrocious, but an 11-for-22 week with six steals raised his average nearly 150 points to a respectable .291.

15. Cedric Hunter, of, low Class A Fort Wayne (Padres).

Center fielder entered play last week with .160/.250/.280 numbers, but a 10-hit week–with a homer and two doubles–changed that. Now at .283/.400/.391.

16. Jamie D’Antona, 3b/c, Triple-A Tucson (Diamondbacks).

Cooled off in the last week to drop his average all the way to .500, but he remains second in the minor leagues in batting, on-base percentage (.569) and slugging (.796).

17. Ryan Braun, 3b, Triple-A Nashville (Brewers).

Defending Hot Sheet champion went just 6-for-26 (.231) last week, but did homer, hit three doubles and draw four walks.

18. Lars Anderson, 1b, low Class A Greenville (Red Sox).

While he’s struck out about once every three at-bats, Anderson’s also shown excellent power (.525 slugging, six doubles) for a high schooler in his first pro season.

19. Adam Cowart, rhp, low Class A Augusta (Giants).

No earned runs and four strikeouts in one seven-inning start last week moves him to 4-0, 0.75 on the season. Key number: 2.87 groundouts-fly outs.

20. Daryl Thompson, rhp, low Class A Dayton (Reds).

The forgotten man in the trade that sent Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to Washington. A 2005 shoulder surgery means he hasn’t made it out of low Class A in five pro seasons, but early returns encouraging: 3-0, 0.53 on the season and 2-0, 0.00 with eight strikeouts in 12 innings last week.


Mike Costanzo, 3b, Double-A Reading (Phillies).

Costanzo showed up in better shape with more flexibility this year, but it hasn’t payed off yet. Costanzo was an ugly 5-for-23 with 12 strikeouts and no walks last week. For the season, he’s hitting .224/.262/.414.

Trevor Crowe, of, Double-A Akron (Indians).

When Crowe hit .234/.318/.325 in a 154 at-bat stint with Double-A Akron last year, it was written off as a side effect of trying to learn second base. He’s back in center field this year but the bat has not bounced back. Crowe was 3-of-25 last week and is now hitting .140/.180/.271 overall.

Tyler Lumsden, lhp, Triple-A Omaha (Royals).

Healthy groundball pitcher last year has compiled a fine 1.81 groundouts-to-fly outs ratio this year, but he sure hasn’t been fooling many batters. The 23-year-old has gone 1-3, 8.83 for the season, and he allowed 10 runs in nine innings last week. It can’t all be the Angel Berroa effect.

Preston Mattingly, ss, low Class A Great Lakes (Dodgers).

The Dodgers knew that Mattingly would have a rough adjustment to full-season ball because he’s a high school sign who didn’t play the showcase circuit. Those expectations are being met. There’s a lot not to like in his early season stats, from the 15-0 strikeouts-to-walks to the .150/.143/.225 overall numbers. He’s struggled defensively at shortstop as well.

Joey Votto, 1b, Triple-A Louisville (Reds).

Not the start he or the Reds had envisioned. Top first-base prospect has posted a frigid .161/.319/.268 line with just three extra-base hits. Note the on-base percentage, the product of 11 walks in 16 games, perhaps because the Bats have been one of the IL’s worst offensive units thus far.


Brad Nelson, 1b/of, Triple-A Nashville (Brewers).

The 24-year-old ranked as Milwaukee’s top prospect in 2003, but a hand injury and advanced competition have conspired against him since. A three-homer week–complete with PCL-leading 1.105 slugging percentage–serves as a reminder of the kind of power Nelson still possesses.


Carlos Fisher, rhp, high Class A Sarasota (Reds).

A couple of more starts like these and Fisher will put the sleeper tag behind him. A 2005 11th-round pick out of Lewis-Clark State, Fisher has succeeded by pounding the bottom of the zone with a heavy sinker. He has quality stuff (91-94 mph fastball), has a durable frame and has been getting great results: 3-0, 0.36 with four walks and 21 strikeouts in 25 innings.