Prospect Hot Sheet: April 24-30

Pitchers are the theme in this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet, as six of the
top 10 players make their living on the mound. And we just want to
throw out some props to Astros center fielder Josh Anderson, who just
missed the cut. After a slow start, Anderson has been raking at
Double-A Corpus Christi, with two five-hit performances this week to
bring his overall numbers to .330/.383/.402 in 97 at-bats. One of the
best leadoff hitters in the Texas League (though Tulsa shortstop Troy
Tulowitzki might have something to say about that), Anderson also has
nine steals in 12 attempts.

And 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

If you have any comments, feel free to
e-mail Chris
or Matt
with your kudos or


1. Cole Hamels, lhp, Phillies (Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre)
After more or less cruising through the high Class A Florida State
League, where he went 1-1, 1.77 with 29 strikeouts in 20 innings,
Hamels was a force to be reckoned with in his Triple-A debut. Though
the velocity on his fastball ranged anywhere from 86-91 mph, Hamels’
deception in his delivery kept Norfolk hitters off-balance. He whiffed
everyone in the Tides’ lineup at least once, finishing with 14
strikeouts over eight innings. He was arguably better in is second start, tossing a complete-game shutout and striking out 12.
2. Chad Billingsley, rhp, Dodgers (Triple-A Las Vegas)
Billingsley was solid in his last outing–fanning six and allowing just
one hit in eight innings against Colorado Springs. Even though it was
the first time he went deeper than five innings in any one of his five
starts this season, Billingsley’s overall numbers are hard to ignore:
3-0, 1.59 with 31 strikeouts in 28 innings. Throw in the fact that this
is the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and it makes it all that
much more impressive.
3. Wade Davis, rhp, Devil Rays (Low Class A Southwest Michigan)
One of the few pitchers with two qualifying starts for this list, Davis
won them both–though his last outing against Peoria was his best so
far. Over six innings, Davis whiffed 11, walked one and allowed a run
on four hits. In all, the 20-year-old righthander has struck out 40 in
27 innings.
4. Radhames Liz, rhp, Orioles (High Class A Frederick)
Becoming a Hot Sheet staple. Liz hasn’t gone more than five innings in
any one of his four starts, but with 39 strikeouts in 20 innings, he’s
averaging 1.95 K’s per inning. And he’s only allowed nine hits over
that span–only two in his last start.
5. Stephen Drew, ss, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Tucson)
Powered by a 13-game hit streak, Drew climbs up from No. 9 last week.
During the streak, he’s 23-for-54 (.425) with nine extra base hits,
including three of his six home runs. He’s also upped his average from
.229 to .340 over that span.
6. Matt Kemp, of, Dodgers (Double-A Jacksonville)
Kemp has a nice streak of his own going, hitting safely over his last
15 games. He’s 23-for-59 (.389) with 11 extra-base hits over that span.
“He just has such quick hands that allow him to make adjustments to
balls all over the zone,” a scout from a National League organization
said. “He can tend to fly open some, but he hasn’t been flying open all
too much lately.”
7. Matt Harrison, lhp, Braves (High Class A Myrtle Beach)
Harrison just seems to be getting stronger as the season rolls along.
After going nine innings over his first two starts, the 20-year-old
lefthander turned it up a notch–with 20 innings pitched over his next
three outings. He also turned in two performances this week, fanning
seven over six shutout innings in his last start.
8. Ryan Sweeney, of, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)
Still not so much in the power department, but Sweeney is swinging one
of the hottest bats in the Triple-A International League. With 12 hits
in his last 23 at-bats (.522), Sweeney upped his overall numbers to
.298/.356/.383 in 94 at-bats. Still, the lack of extra-base hits–he
has a total of five–are a little disconcerting, but he scored 10 times
for the IL’s best team this past week.
9. Corey Wimberly, 2b, Rockies (High Class A Modesto)
Batting .048 on April 14, Wimberly has been on a tear ever
since–with 12 multi-hit games over his last 15 games. The even better
news for Rockies fans is he’s doing it from both sides of the
plate–hitting .444 from the right side and .333 from the left. Add
plus speed to that and you have one of the top leadoff hitters in the
minors–with 12 steals in 16 attempts.
10. Humberto Sanchez, rhp, Tigers (Double-A Erie)
Sanchez turned in one of the best pitching performances of the week on
Sunday, when he allowed just five hits over seven shutout innings,
striking out 13 against Double-A Bingahmton (and Mets’ righthander Mike
Pelfrey). Overall, he’s 2-1, 1.50 with 41 strikeouts in 30 innings.


Carlos Ruiz, c, Phillies (Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre): Ranks fifth in the minors in batting; also throwing out 50 percent of runners.
Lastings Milledge, of, Mets (Triple-A Norfolk): Still in the picture, ranks fourth in the minors in OBP (.500).
Kevin Slowey, rhp, Twins (High Class A Florida State League): Nothing slow about it–now tied with teammate Matt Garza with 34 strikeouts, but has only walked two in 29 innings.
Dana Eveland, lhp, Brewers (Triple-A Nashville): 24 strikeouts in 24 innings and has only allowed two earned runs over that span.
Gio Gonzalez, lhp, Phillies (Double-A Reading): Still has been more untouchable than teammate Scott Mathieson over his last two starts–and that’s tough to do.
Matt Tuiasosopo, ss, Mariners (High Class A Inland Empire): Coming to life–Tuiasosopo batted .462 this week, upping his average to .325 overall.
Jered Weaver, rhp, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake): Spectacular
in his last start, allowing a run on four hits and striking out 12 in
six innings–now has a 38-5 strikeout-walk ratio in 29 innings overall.
George Kottaras, c, Padres (Double-A Mobile): Hitting and hitting for some power–eight hits in his last 20 at-bats, with a pair of homers.
Colby Rasmus, of, Cardinals (Low Class A Quad Cities): Talk about tears . . . Rasmus has 23 hits in his last 52 at-bats (.442), with 10 multi-hit games.
Jose Tabata, of, Yankees (Low Class A Charleston): Hitting .440 over the last seven games, Tabata still doesn’t walk–with just two compared to 20 strikeouts.
Chad Reineke, rhp, Astros (High Class A Salem): After
a poor outing against Frederick–in which he allowed five earned runs
in as many innings, Reineke’s allowed just one over his last 19 innings.
Yovani Gallardo, rhp, Brewers (High Class A Brevard County): Gallardo
took the loss in two of his starts, in which he struck out 10 and 12,
respectively . . . now has whiffed 38 in 27 innings.
Philip Hughes, rhp, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): We
haven’t seen him in Double-A yet, but the Florida State League version
was nearly impeccable with a 30-2 strikeout-walk ratio.
Mike Pelfrey, rhp, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): Just
as impressive in his Double-A debut as he was in the FSL: another eight
strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, bringing his total to 34.
Homer Bailey, rhp, Reds (High Class A Sarasota): He
might be 1-2, 3.08 overall, but Bailey turned in one of the best
performances of his career in his last start, fanning nine in six


Delmon Young, of, Devil Rays (Triple-A Durham)
Enough said
Marcos Vechionacci, 3b, Yankees (High Class A Tampa)
Hitless since April 18, Vechionacci is now hitting .136/.226/.185 in 81 at-bats.
Jason Hirsh, rhp, Astros (Triple-A Round Rock)
Brutal in his last start against Omaha, the Astros’ No. 1 prospect has allowed 20 runs on 26 hits in 24 innings.
Cliff Pennington, ss, Athletics (High Class A Stockton)
Has a base hit more recently than Vechionacci, but his overall numbers
are worse: .103/.222/.115 with just one extra-base hit in 78 at-bats.
Rafael Rodriguez, rhp, Angels (Double-A Arkansas)
Welcome to Double-A, Raffy. In two starts in the Texas League after
dominating at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga, Rodriguez has allowed 12
runs on 11 hits in just seven innings–and six of those hits left the


Corey Smith, 3b, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham)
Indians’ first-round pick (26th overall) in 2000, then traded to the
Padres for utility infielder Jake Gautreau, then released and signed by
the White Sox . . . This is Smith’s third straight year in the Southern
League and the 24-year-old broke out this week, hitting .500 with three
homers at Double-A Birmingham.


Steven Pearce, 1b, Pirates (Low Class A Hickory)
Sure, he’s 23 and in low Class A, but in this organization, anything
can happen. Pearce went off for the Crawdads, hitting seven homers this
week and three in his last two games. The Pirates’ eighth-round pick
last year out of South Carolina is now tied for the minor league home
run lead with Cardinals outfielder Reid Gorecki with nine.