Prospect Hot Sheet: April 30

See also: Previous Prospect Hot Sheet

Well, we’re a month into the season and hopefully all the wacky weather is put squarely in the past.

In the last week we’ve seen a brawl between high Class A Winston-Salem and Potomac which resulted in over $2,000 in fines, two players being taken to the hospital (Potomac catcher Brian Peacock and P-Nats’ lefthander Clint Everts) and yet only one suspension (Warthogs infielder Victor Mercedes).

We’ve seen Lynchburg first baseman Steven Pearce hit eight home runs.

We’ve seen Visalia outfielder Justin Upton hit five.

We’ve seen Fresno righthander Tim Lincecum strike out 14, Birmingham lefty Gio Gonzalez whiff 13.

So with the season in full swing, it’s time to get to Hot Sheet Version 3.0, with Upton leading the way.

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

Sure, Upton is in the Cal League. Sure, the ball flies there like crazy. But after the 2005 first-rounder’s average bottomed out at .152 on April 15, he flipped the switch and has been on fire ever since. Upton currently owns a 12-game hit streak and has homered in his last five games. During the streak, Upton is hitting .510 with all those home runs and 11 RBIs. Overall, the 19-year-old outfielder is hitting .366/.443/.622 in 82 at-bats.

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

Last week’s No. 1 moves down a spot, though you could go either way. After walking six on April 23, Lincecum bounced back to whiff 14 over six innings on Sunday. He’s allowed just one earned run in 31 innings. If Brian Sabean doesn’t have Lincecum’s cell number on speed-dial, he should now.

3. Steven Pearce, 1b, Pirates (high Class A Lynchburg)

Eight home runs in a week is impressive enough, but consider that three of those came in Myrtle Beach and it’s even more so. When does the 24-year-old infielder replace 29-year-old Randy Ruiz in Double-A?

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

Just keeps doing it. Leading the minors in batting with a .455 average, Ellsbury also reached double-digits in doubles last week.

5. Gio Gonzalez, lhp, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham)

Chalk one up for Kenny Williams. Gonzalez racked up 25 strikeouts in his last two starts and now has 43 in 28 innings.

6. Wade Davis, rhp, Devil Rays (high Class A Vero Beach)

Davis allowed one run over his last 14 innings and now has a 28-7 strikeout-walk ratio in 29 innings.

7. Andy Sonnanstine, rhp, Devil Rays (Triple-A Durham)

Twin seven-inning, one-run outings were good for just one win. Though an IL-leading 18 strikeouts meant Sonnanstine’s week was anything but ordinary. Both runs he allowed last week came on solo homers.

8. Travis Snider, of, Blue Jays (low Class A Lansing)

Putting questions about his speed aside, Snider stole three bases in three attempts. He also smacked four doubles in a 13-for-25 showing at the plate. The Midwest League’s triples leader (4) is now batting .392/.407/.649 through 74 at-bats.

9. Carlos Rosa, rhp, Royals (Double-A Wichita)

Dominated the Carolina League so quickly that the Royals moved him to Double-A before April ended. Won his first Texas League start by tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings.

10. Chris Mason, rhp, Devil Rays (Double-A Montgomery)

Mason’s won three straight starts and now holds a 26-4 strikeout-walk ratio in 29 innings.

11. Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Dodgers (low Class A Great Lakes)

He struck out 12 of the 19 batters he faced while walking one and allowing three hits in six innings of work. The lefty owns a 1.42 ERA and 28 strikeouts vs. 12 walks in 19 innings this season.

12. Eric Hurley, rhp, Rangers (Double-A Frisco)

Quietly dominating the Texas League, Hurley is now 3-0, 1.50 with a 23-4 strikeout-walk ratio in 30 innings

13. Jordan Brown, 1b, Indians (Double-A Akron)

Brown batted .520 last week and had six doubles. He’s also being super-selective at the plate with 10 walks compared to seven strikeouts.

14. Wladimir Balentien, of, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma)

Balentien’s loud Triple-A overture continued last week with an 11-for-24 performance (.458) and two home runs and nine RBIs. Just 22, he jumped to the PCL despite a so-so performance in the Texas League last year.

15. Adam Miller, rhp, Indians (Triple-A Buffalo)

Miller augmented his already-impressive game log with seven two-hit, shutout innings. Eight strikeouts and two walks improved his season ratio to 23-8 in 25 innings. Better still, he’s yet to allow a home run.

16. Clint Sammons, c, Braves (high Class A Myrtle Beach)

Sammons hit a pair of home runs on Myrtle Beach’s last homestand and batted .381 with nine RBIs.

17. John Mayberry, Jr., of, Rangers (high Class A Bakersfield)

Might not be hitting for high average, but the power is coming around–Mayberry hit three homers last week.

18. Nevin Ashley, c, Devil Rays (low Class A Columbus)

Seems to have a 2-for-4 night every night. Ashley is now hitting .325/.376/.446 in 83 at-bats.

19. James Boone, of, Pirates (low Class A Hickory)

If he wasn’t a 24-year-old in low Class A, Boone would likely be much higher on this list. The 2005 third-round pick batted .391 with three homers.

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

Hasn’t given up in run in his last 18 innings–only run allowed all season was back on April 9th. Allowed one hit in six innings while striking out six. Season total of 11 hits allowed in 23 innings with one walk and 19 strikeouts (0.39 ERA).

Jason Neighborgall, rhp, Diamondbacks (low Class A South Bend)

When five outings equals just one inning, you know there are issues. Over that one inning, Neighborgall has walked 12 (which turned into 12 earned runs) and hit three batters. Don’t be surprised if he gets shipped out to extended soon for a mechanical overhaul.

Daniel Bard, rhp, Red Sox (high Class A Lancaster)

22 walks, nine strikeouts, 21 hits, 15 earned runs in 13 innings. Is there anything else to really say?

Andrew Miller, lhp, Tigers (high Class A Lakeland)

Not a good week for 2006 draft picks from North Carolina–Miller allowed 11 runs on 19 hits over his last two outings.

Steven Jackson, rhp, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)

Jackson’s allowed five homers in four starts and 10 earned runs over his last eight innings.

Sendy Vasquez, rhp, Tigers (high Class A Lakeland)

Vasquez ranked 12th in Detroit’s system coming into this season, but will sit out for the next 50 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. And it’s not like they were helping based on the 0-3, 8.20 numbers the 24-year-old put up in 19 innings this season.


Taylor Wilding, rhp, Giants (high Class A San Jose)

A 13th-rounder in 2005, Wilding struck out 12 in six innings last week.

David Hernandez, rhp, Orioles (high Class A Frederick)

A 2005 16th-round pick, Hernandez struck out 15 and walked two over his two starts.

Rafael Lluberes, lhp, Brewers (high Class A Brevard County)

Left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft last year, Lluberes whiffed 11 over 12 innings and won both his starts last week.

Jeff Stevens, rhp, Indians (high Class A Kinston)

17-inning scoreless streak; allowed just three hits and struck out 22 over that span.


Lou Palmisano, c, Brewers (Double-A Huntsville)

Palmisano fell off the prospect radar somewhat over the last two seasons, but he’s doing his best to get noticed again. The 2003 third-rounder batted .421 with a pair of homers and drove in 10 for the Stars last week.

Nate Spears, 2b, Cubs (high Class A Dayton)

Spears was on a steady climb through the Orioles system before being sent to Chicago in the Corey Patterson deal. After that, he hit just .246/.323/.308 for Daytona last year. Not sure a 21-year-old guy is a true ‘Blast From The Past,’ but Spears, who turns 22 on Thursday, batted .417 last week in his return trip to the Florida State League.