Prospect Hot Sheet: July 30

You may have noticed that the Prospect Hot
Sheet looks a little different this year. The content is the same, but
we’ve partnered with Bowman Baseball to present Hot Sheet. So in
addition to getting the skinny on which prospects are doing the
most to help their stock, you can also get a glimpse at the baseball
cards of some of baseball’s best prospects.

As we
have warned for years now, remember that this 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 from July 23 through last night, July 30.

Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Conor Glassey, Tyler Jett and Mike Lemaire.



Team: high Class A Charlotte (Florida State)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Moore earned the No. 2 spot on last week’s Hot Sheet with 21 strikeouts in 13 innings. For an encore he took the mound Wednesday and struck out double-digit hitters for the third straight time.

Since the end of May, no pitcher has been hotter than Moore. Improved control and pitch location has helped him hold opponents to a .123 average this month. Meanwhile, his stuff has remained filthy and he has taken the circuit lead in strikeouts with 153. Moore has struck out at least 10 hitters in five of his last seven starts, and he has walked more than two batters just once in over that span.


Team: low Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 14 SO

The Scoop: It says a lot about the strength of the Phillies system that, over the last year, they’ve been able to swing trades for Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, and yet their system still has talent to go around. The Phillies still boast quality young arms like May and Lakewood teammates Brody Colvin and Jarred Cosart

May turned in his best start of the season Tuesday against Delmarva, just his fifth for the BlueClaws after spending most of the season with high Class A Clearwater. Control problems undermined him in the more-advanced Florida State League, where he went 5-5, 5.01 in 70 innings. His electric low 90s fastball has been too much low Class A hitters though, as he’s fanned 42 of them in 29 innings since being sent down.



Brandon LairdTeam: Double-A Trenton (Eastern)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .520/.600/.920 (13-for-25), 7 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Laird may not have a true plus tool, but he’s upped his status as a prospect this year by showing he has a whole lot of 50s on his scouting report. Laird has recently lost his grip on the minors’ RBI lead (he trails Dan Johnson by three), but his three home runs this week moved him back into the top 10 in the minors with 23. This season, he has shown the ability to drive the ball and a better hit tool than he had shown in the past. Plus, he’s improved defensively at third base. But what stands out the most about Laird is his consistency this season—he’s gone on power binges, but he’s yet to really have a long-term slump.



Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .438/.500/.781 (14-for-32), 2 HR, 5 2B, 8 RBIs, 12 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: No prospect has had a better month of July than Bourjos, who has hit .445/.484/.714 in a 26-game stretch, collecting a hit in all but three games and 10 times snagging three or more in one contest. Bourjos’ slugging percentage for the month is nearly double that of his work from April through June. He has a staggering 53 hits for the month—with two games still to play—which if you multiply by five months in the season gives you 265 hits. It’s enough to make Ichiro’s head spin!

If Bourjos in August settles in somewhere between his incendiary July and his first-three-months numbers (.255/.313/.383), then it would be a fitting way to close a positive developmental year for the gifted defensive center fielder.



Kyle GibsonTeam: Double-A New Britain (Eastern)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 9 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: Gibson hit a rough patch in June, struggling with his command and enduring three consecutive starts in which he permitted five runs or more. It’s been mostly smooth sailing for the last month though. Gibson has continued being a groundball machine and even though he hasn’t won a start since June 30—that’s what can happen when you pitch for the team with the minors’ worst record—he’s put up a 24-5 K-BB ratio in July and has held opponents to one run or less in five of his last seven starts. Gibson’s start last Friday was shortened by a rain delay. He came back on Wednesday and threw six scoreless innings against Trenton, the EL’s best team.



Team: Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .364/.563/1.045 (8-for-22), 5 HR, 9 RBIs, 10 R, 8 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Scouts are torn on Allen. While he has above-average power, his swing also has holes, as he will swing through the high fastball, he can get tied up inside and he can be vulnerable against offspeed pitches. Then again, his numbers this year have been excellent as he has continued to make improvements at the plate. He’s up to .261/.409/.540 on the year with nearly as many walks (61) as strikeouts (67), and while it’s still not clear whether Allen can be a regular at the major league level, he’s forcing the Diamondbacks to give him the chance.



Team: Triple-A Omaha (Pacific Coast)

Age: 26

Why He’s Here: .424/.500/.698 (14-for-33), 3 HR, 6 R, 10 RBIs, 5 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: We don’t like putting the Kila Monster on the Hot Sheet. It’s nothing against Ka’aihue, it’s just that, at this point, we’d like to see what he could do against major league pitching if given regular at-bats. At some point, years of crushing Triple-A pitchers has to mean something. He’s batting .319/.462/.593 in 92 games, with 23 home runs and more walks (86) than strikeouts (68), so there just isn’t anything more he can do to show that he deserves more than the four big league at-bats the Royals have given him this season.



Joe KellyTeam: low Class A Quad Cities (Midwest)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: Kelly set a career high in strikeouts when he notched 11 of them against Kane County in his start on July 28. But it’s not for a lack of stuff. Despite his slim, 6-foot-1, 165-pound frame, Kelly has one of the biggest fastballs in the minor leagues, sitting in the mid-90s and topping out at 99 mph. Until this year, Kelly just hasn’t had the opportunity to rack up high strikeout totals.

Coming into this season, Kelly had just three starts under his belt since high school. He made one in college at UC Riverside (where he threw just 73 innings combined over three years) and then two last year with short-season Batavia. In addition to the strikeouts, Kelly has been one of the best pitchers in the minor leagues at getting hitters to keep the ball on the ground. Of pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched this year, Kelly ranks third in the minor leagues in his 2.98 groundout-to-flyout ratio. It remains to be seen whether Kelly will hold up to the workload required from a starting pitcher but, either way, the Cardinals have a promising power arm.



Team: Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.50, 12 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 2 BB, 17 SO

The Scoop: Control issues plagued Kirkman during his first two full pro seasons. Back in 2006 and ’07, he walked 13.4 and then 8.3 batters per nine innings, which makes his transformation into one of the PCL’s best pitchers all the more remarkable. In his last six starts for the RedHawks, Kirkman has walked 14 batters in 36 innings—or 3.5 per nine—while maintaining a strong strikeout rate. He showed plus velocity and a wipeout breaking ball in the Triple-A all-star game, but he might have to settle for a September callup this year. The Rangers may not be willing to mess with the success they’re having—but with his fine performance this year, Kirkman has put himself in the mix going forward.



Team: high Class A Visalia (California)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .440/.500/.920 (11-for-25), 3 HR, 3 2B, 11 RBIs, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: We tend to stay a bit skeptical of older players putting up big power numbers in the California League, but Goldschmidt’s prowess demands recognition. The Texas State product shared the Pioneer League home run title last year in his pro debut and is currently tied with Triple-A Las Vegas’ J.P. Arencibia for the overall minor league lead at 29 homers in 409 at-bats. There are reasons to be concerned about how well Goldschmidt will fare at higher levels. His swing can get long and his 113 strikeouts on the year rank third in the Cal League. But he can worry about that when the time comes, as he’s doing all he can right now.


Team: Triple-A Tacoma (Pacific Coast)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.64, 11 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 15 SO

The Scoop: After topping out at 94 mph a year ago, Pineda’s fastball has blossomed into a 70 pitch on the 20-80 scale, sitting consistently in the mid-90s and ranging from 93-98 mph. Pineda has been excellent in six of his seven starts since getting promoted to Triple-A in late-June, proving that he’s not far from earning a spot in Seattle’s rotation.

No. 12 ZACH LUTZ, 3B


Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)

Why He’s Here: .500/.538/1.167 (6-for-12), 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: After rehabbing a stress fracture in his left foot for about six weeks, Lutz made a triumphant return to Binghamton, hitting a home run in his first at-bat. Lutz made a rehab appearance at high Class A St. Lucie before seeing action in two games at Binghamton this week, but he picked up right where he left off before the injury. Lutz, who missed most of his ’07 debut season with a fractured his left foot, has 18 extra-base hits in 37 Double-A games this year, including 10 home runs.



Team:  Double-A New Hampshire (Blue Jays)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 2 G, 10 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: In 2009, Stewart was a constant on the Hot Sheet and in prospect reports thanks to a run as the minors ERA leader (a deadline deal to the Blue Jays didn’t hurt either). He’s slipped back into the background this season. But that doesn’t mean that he should be forgotten. Stewart still has a nasty low-90s sinker that can generate lots of ground balls when he’s on. And after a slow start, Stewart has definitely been on recently. He’s 6-1, 2.28 since June 1, and he’s reminding Blue Jays fans that he’s well worth paying attention to, even if he isn’t generating a whole lot of headlines.



Between Tommy John surgery and visa issues in 2009, the Rangers have had to be very, very patient with lefthander Miguel de los Santos. And then de los Santos will have a week like this past week which reminds everyone why Texas is willing to wait. The 22-year-old allowed one hit in five innings for short-season Spokane while striking out 12. Ideally, he would be excelling at low Class A Hickory, but he does have a plus fastball that gives him a chance to develop into a power reliever down the road . . . Considering Travis Wood’s success in the big leagues as a fill-in for Homer Bailey and Edinson Volquez’s return to the Reds’ rotation, LHP Matt Maloney, 26, is further from a big league starting job now than he was at the beginning of the season. That seems almost unfair, as Maloney pitched well in two big league starts this season (after a successful September callup last year). But all that he can do for now is dominate the International League, something he’s been doing a pretty good job of all season. In two starts this week, Maloney went 2-0, 0.66 for Triple-A Louisville, lowering his ERA for the season to 2.91 . . . Leaving high Class A Lancaster has taken the smoke and mirrors away from Jonathan Gaston’s performance, but the Astros 23-year-old outfielder did have a solid week, going 13-for-28 with five extra-base hits for Double-A Corpus Christi . . . He’s getting a boost from playing in high Class A High Desert, but Mariners 21-year-old OF Johermyn Chavez’s power is real. He hit two home runs this week to bring his total to 25 on the year after batting .571/.609/.857 in 23 plate appearances on the week . . . Twins 1B/OF Chris Parmelee got off to such a tough start for Double-A New Britain (.186/.241/.333 in 112 at-bats) that the 22-year-old was dispatched back to high Class A Fort Myers. Getting a month to tune up against  FSL pitchers looks like it’s done Parmelee’s bat a world of good, as he’s hit .313/.364/.408 in 179 at-bats since rejoining the Rock Cats in June. He hit .519/.552/.704 (14-for-27) with five doubles and four RBIs this week . . . Pirates RHP Phillip Irwin is the kind of pitcher who should succeed in the South Atlantic League. He’s a relatively polished college righthander from a major program (Mississippi). But when a pitcher has a week like Irwin had, you have to honor it. In his start last Saturday, Irwin, 23, threw seven hitless innings, striking out eight while walking two. He followed it up by allowing two hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out nine in five innings on Thursday. The 2009 21st-round pick’s fastball is a little short, but he makes up for it with a solid breaking ball and a decent changeup . . . When scouts see Pirates LHP Rudy Owens lack of a plus pitch (and his lack of an average pitch some days), they wonder how much longer he’ll be able to keep this up. A year after going 11-2, 2.10 in stops at low Class A and high Class A, Owens lowered his ERA to 2.92 with Double-A Altoona with two solid starts. Owens allowed 10 hits and three runs (two earned) while striking out 15 and walking one in 13 innings.


• Josh Donaldson, c, Athletics: The A’s believed in Donaldson’s power potential and that’s been showing through this year. The 24-year-old has slugged a career-high 16 homers for Triple-A Sacramento, plus one in the majors during a May callup. However, Donaldson’s been a pretty one-dimensional hitter for a couple months now. He’s hitting just .185/.304/.401 in 157 at-bats since the start of June, and his average is the lowest among all qualifying PCL hitters over that span. His week this week was about as bad as a hitter could have: .000/.000/.000 (0-for-21) with 11 strikeouts.

• Chris Tillman, rhp, Orioles: Tillman had his two worst Triple-A starts of the season in back-to-back outings on July 24 and July 29. Over the two starts combined, Tillman went 0-2, 10.13 with five walks and five strikeouts over eight innings. The bad outings took Tillman’s ERA from 2.72 (one of the top 5 best in the league) to 3.40. Overall, Tillman’s season must be frustrating. He’s mostly been good (8-6, 3.40 with 65 strikeouts and 22 walks over 87 innings) and has even shown flashes of brilliance, like his no-hitter on April 28 and recording 10 strikeouts in a 7-inning start on May 9. But he’s been shuttled back and forth between Norfolk and Baltimore twice this season, unable to hold down a big league job, even on the team with the worst record in the majors.

Kasey Kiker, lhp, Rangers: Kiker’s prospect stock dropped last year and has plummeted in 2010. After struggling early in the year in Double-A Frisco’s rotation, Kiker moved to the bullpen, where he’s been since late June. Kiker has been even worse in relief, showing fringy stuff and little control. In two relief outings this week, Kiker managed to record just two outs but still allowed nine runs and eight walks, bloating his ERA to 7.65 in 40 innings with 46 walks and 42 strikeouts.

Ethan Martin, rhp, Dodgers: Inland Empire isn’t known for being friendly to pitchers, but Martin has been letting balls fly out of the park more than usual recently. After allowing just one home run in the first three months, Martin has allowed five in his last three starts. He also has a forgettable 17-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio and it is clear that, despite his electric stuff, Martin’s pitchability hasn’t caught up. He ranks ninth in the California League in strikeouts, but he also leads the circuit in walks by a long margin and has the fourth highest WHIP among qualified pitchers. His home ballpark may have slightly inflated his numbers, but until he learns to harness his stuff better, Martin will continue to get himself into trouble.


•  Marlins RHP Rick VandenHurk continued his hot streak by tossing a complete game as Triple-A New Orleans beat Memphis 10-1 on Wednesday. VandenHurk, 25, has won his last four starts in the Pacific Coast League with a 1.33 ERA during that stretch. The four-year major league veteran skipped over Triple-A in large part on his way up to the big leagues, so this is his first full season at the level.


Mike Lowell, 3b/1b/dh, Red Sox: Who said Lowell is finished? Well, he might be, but since joining Triple-A Pawtucket eight days ago, Lowell has been the best hitter in the International League and perhaps all of the minors. In his second game, Lowell went 4-for-4 and smacked three doubles. Three days later, Lowell smacked three home runs at Toledo. He followed that up in his next game with another three-hit night, this time going 3-for-4 with a double and a home run, leaving his numbers through five games at .500/.500/1.727. Suffice to say, at 36 years old, there isn’t much projection for this Triple-A slugger, but if the Red Sox are trying to showcase Lowell for a trade, this week couldn’t have gone any better.


• Matt Rizzotti, 1b, Phillies: John Lindsey and Brandon Belt have been battling for the minor league batting title all season, with Lindsey currently sitting atop the list at .381. But the third name—Matt Rizzotti—may surprise you The 24-year-old hit his way out of the Florida State League, and he’s hitting just as well with Reading in the Eastern League. A .526/.700/.789 week has upped his Double-A average to .361 and his overall average to .360, but Rizzotti’s best tool is his power—coming into the season the question was whether he would make enough contact to let his power come out. That hasn’t been a problem this year. Rizzotti will have to keep hitting because he’s limited to first base.