Prospect Hot Sheet: June 11

It’s time for a little honesty. This isn’t the best week for the Prospect Hot Sheet. There are weeks when you’re choosing between a player with five home runs and a pitcher who had 10 Ks while throwing a one-hitter. This week, the performances were a little more mellow, generally split between second-tier prospects having great weeks and top-tier prospects having solid weeks.

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 June 4 through last night, June 10.

Contributing: Ben Badler, Bubba Brown, J.J. Cooper, Josh Leventhal and Jim



Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)

Age: 23.

Why He’s Here: .542/.621/.917 (13-for-24), 8 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs

The Scoop: Perhaps Pedro Alvarez would have given the Pirates a fighting chance against Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday night. Perhaps we will find out soon enough how the slugger who has drawn comparisons to Willie Stargell fills out the middle of Pittsburgh’s lineup.

Alvarez may not be long for the International League, particularly after a recent run in which he has gone 16-for-36 with seven extra-base hits since June 1. With his Indianapolis teammates (and fellow Bucs Top 10 Prospects) Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata recently promoted to the big leagues, it is likely safe to say that Alvarez is not far behind.

Alvarez has left no doubt that he can handle Triple-A pitching. He finished a single shy of hitting for the cycle in a 3-for-4 outing on Wednesday against Pawtucket, which included his 12th home run of the season. His .291/.380/.552 season line has proven he can hit for power and average, and he has cut his strikeout-to-walk ratio down to 35-to-23 over his last 138 at-bats. Alvarez ranks among the IL leaders in nearly every offensive category, including RBIs (50), hits (65), extra-base hits (30) and runs (40).

“You can’t forget about him,” Pittsburgh manager John Russell told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about Alvarez. “We know he’s there. He’s really developing. We’re not going to pick a (call-up) date. We want to make sure he’s ready to come up. Pedro is getting close.”

(For what it’s worth, an Alvarez-Strasburg matchup could be in the works when Pittsburgh hosts Washington the first weekend of September.)



Team: high Class A Wilmington (Carolina)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .444/.500/.704 (12-for-27), 5 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 SB

The Scoop: When the season began, the Royals had an impressive core of prospects, but none of their top prospects had reached Double-A. Now Mike Montgomery and Mike Moustakas are both succeeding in the Texas League and Hosmer is showing signs he’s ready to join them. There’s nothing really to criticize in Hosmer’s first 60 games this year—he’s hit above .300 in each month (.421 in April and .421 in June). He’s hitting lefties and righties and he’s managing to hit .343/.438/.491 at Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium, something that is nearly impossible to do. Don’t get too hung up on Hosmer’s two home runs, he’s also hit 22 doubles and five triples and the power projects to continue to improve as he matures.



Arodys VizcainoTeam: low Class A Rome (South Atlantic)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 Ks

The Scoop: If you haven’t allowed an earned run in a month, you’re probably either on the disabled list or in extended spring training waiting for Rookie ball to get going. Unless you’re Vizcaino, who hasn’t allowed an earned run (OK, he allowed one unearned run on May 23) over his last five starts, a span that stretches 33 2/3 innings. Vizcaino hasn’t even allowed a walk during his most recent run of dominance, which is why he has a 31-to-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio since May 18. That includes 13 scoreless innings over two starts against Charleston, where Vizcaino would have been playing this year had the Yankees not traded him to Atlanta in the Javier Vazquez deal in the offseason. Luckily for South Atlantic League hitters, Vizcaino will make his next start for high Class A Myrtle Beach.



Carlos CarrascoTeam: Triple-A Columbus (International)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 Ks

The Scoop: Sometimes, Carrasco just gets his teeth kicked in. Before his most recent start, Carrasco gave up 13 runs in 13 innings despite 12 strikeouts and three walks, but that’s what happens when your command isn’t precise and you give up four home runs. Other times, Carrasco shows flashes of why he used to be the Phillies’ top prospect and is still one of Cleveland’s best pitching prospects, such as Wednesday when he shut out Rochester over eight innings. Carrasco just needs to eliminate a few of those clunker outings he has every year because when he’s on, he’s a durable starter who can shut down the opposition deep into a game.



Team: Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 Ks

The Scoop: Dan Hudson is playing a waiting game at this point. He struggled in April as he got over the disappointment of not making the big league roster, but since then, he’s 6-0, 2.02 in his last eight starts. He’s been even better this month, as he’s allowed one run in 12 innings. But even though the White Sox’s starting rotation has been a serious disappointment (John Danks is the only starter with an ERA under 4.80), there’s no obvious candidate to be released, so Hudson will likely have to wait until an injury or the White Sox go into fire-sale mode to make it back to the big leagues.



Wil MyersTeam: high Class A (Wilmington)

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .389/.542/1.000 (7-for-18), 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Wil Myers appears to be on the Mike Moustakas career path. Like Moustakas, Myers struggled in the cold of a Midwest League April, but he’s quickly heated up to be one of the league’s best hitters. Myers’ two-home run binge on Thursday night allowed him to become only the fourth Midwest League to reach double digits in home runs this season. Moustakas’ 2007 season in Burlington stood out because it was an impressive display of power for a teenager in a difficult league to hit. Even with a bad April, Myers is on pace to top Moustakas’ numbers. Defensively, there are a few more questions—Myers has allowed 14 passed balls this season while no other MWL catcher has more than 11.



Jonathan SingletonTeam: low Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)

Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .409/.500/.773 (9-for-22), 2 HR, 2 2B, 5 RBIs, 6 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Singleton looks well on his way to becoming one of 2010’s top breakout prospects. The Phillies’ 6-foot-2, 215 pound first baseman has shown a little bit of everything since being called up to Lakewood a little over a month ago. He’s shown natural power and loft in his swing with six home runs and an ability to stay patient and work the count. And he can flat out rake—he’s reached base in all but two of the 28 games he’s played. Singleton would be leading the Sally League batting race by almost 50 points if he had enough at-bats to qualify, and his .410 average since joining the BlueClaws on May 13 ranks fourth in the minors over that span.



Brett JacksonTeam: high Class A Daytona (Florida State)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .333/.429/.567 (10-for-30), 1 HR, 2 2B, 1 3B, 10 RBIs, 10 R, 5 BB, 6 SO, 4-for-5 SB

The Scoop: Jackson’s raw power has yet to show through in the heavy air of the Florida State League. The Cubs’ 2009 first-round pick out of California has just three home runs, including his grand slam on Wednesday against Brevard County, but he’s otherwise been holding his own. Jackson, who’s been Daytona’s leadoff hitter all year, has had issues making contact (54 strikeouts in 214 at-bats), but that was a known problem for him, and he’s been patient enough to already have drawn 39 walks, the most by any FSL hitter. Jackson’s biggest obstacle so far might be his home park, where he’s hitting just .238/.370/.343 in 105 at-bats compared to .321/.426/.486 in 109 road at-bats.



Team: Double-A West Tenn (Southern)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .500/.538/.818 (11-for-22), 4 2B, 1 HR, 8 R, 10 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: With July 2 three weeks away, let’s not forget that the international signing period isn’t just for signing 16-year-olds from Latin America. OK, so Italy isn’t exactly blanketed by scouts just yet, but Italian baseball fans are keeping close tabs on Liddi, the first Italian-born position player to play in the minor leagues. While leaving high Class A High Desert tends to deflate a player’s numbers, Liddi has followed up on his breakout 2009 campaign by hitting .296/.360/.474 in 57 games for the Diamond Jaxx. There are still things Liddi needs to work on—hitting offspeed pitches and cleaning up his defense being the primary points—but his bat should carry him to the big leagues.



Chris ArcherTeam: high Class A Daytona (Florida State)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 Ks

The Scoop: From 2006-2008, Archer’s seasons with the Indians were chock-full of mediocrity and wildness. After Cleveland included Archer in the Mark DeRosa trade following the ’08 season, Archer put together a solid season for low Class A Peoria, though his control was still a work in progress. This year, Archer has taken the next step, holding down a 3.09 ERA in 55 1/3 innings while averaging 10.3 strikeouts and 3.7 walks per nine, and at 21 he’s plenty age-appropriate for the Florida State League. Archer hasn’t allowed a run in four of his last seven starts, and in two of those other seven starts he’s limited his opponents to only one run. With Andrew Cashner in the big leagues and Jay Jackson pushing for a promotion in Triple-A, all of a sudden Archer has positioned himself as one of the top arms in the Cubs system.



Allen CraigTeam: Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)

Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .538/.552/.923 (14-for-25), 1 HR, 5 2B, 1 3B, 10 RBIs, 8 R, 2 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Craig made the Cardinals’ big league roster coming out of spring training but struggled in a part-time role. A .306 lifetime hitter in the minors before this year, Craig went just 1-for-18 in seven appearances for the Cardinals in April before getting sent back to Memphis to get regular at-bats and rediscover his stroke. Mission accomplished. Craig took a little time to get going again, but he’s hitting .350/.402/.534 with 31 RBIs over the last month. The only red flag has been Craig’s lack of power, which is supposed to be his best tool, as he has just three home runs since coming back to Memphis, but most of the other signs are positive.



John TolisanoTeam: high Class A Dunedin (Florida State)

Age: 21

Why He’s
9-for-21, 2 HR, 2 2B

The Scoop: Tolisano, the Blue Jays’ second-round pick from 2007, struggled as a 20-year-old in his first go-round of the Florida State League last season, putting up a .232/.305/.379 line, which marked his second straight full season of hitting under .235. This season, however, has been a different story. After missing time with a hamstring injury, Tolisano has rebounded nicely and is batting .309 while sporting a solid .874 OPS. Making his turnaround even more impressive is the fact that he’s done it while learning a new position after the Blue Jays asked him to move from second base to third. His power, which he displayed when he led the Gulf Coast League in homers in 2007, has been mostly dormant this season, but he doubled his homer total by smashing two this week. A slightly above-average runner, Tolisano is not a huge threat to steal bases, but even that part of his game was on display this week after having stolen just six bags since the start of 2009. He is still striking out too much, as evidenced by his 40 strikeouts in 136 at-bats, but Tolisano’s progress this season is encouraging.



Michael KirkmanTeam: Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 3H, 9 K, 1B

The Scoop: How’s this for bouncing back? Michael Kirkman’s best outing of the season came just five days after his worst, when he got knocked around for six earned runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings against Memphis. Kirkman responded with seven shutout frames against Omaha, running his shutout streak against the O-Royals to 12 innings after shutting them down earlier this season.

Kirkman continues to revitalize a career that got sidetracked by injuries soon after being selected in the fifth round of the 2005 draft. He is 6-1, 3.17 on the season, and in his last two starts has struck out 17 batters while walking just two.



RHP Randall Delgado (Braves) does get to pitch in one of the better pitcher’s parks in the minors, but don’t think that his success is based on it. Delgado’s ERA is nearly a run better on the road than at home. This week Delgado, 20, was good on the home and on the road—he allowed two earned runs in 12 2/3 IP, striking out 15 and walking five . . .  1B Brandon Belt (Giants) has been about as consistent as a hitter can be this year. A reworked swing has paid off handsomely for the 22-year-old—he leads the California League in batting (.390) and on-base percentage (.490) and is third in the league in slugging percentage (.600). Lately his hits have been coming in bunches—he has six multi-hit games in his last eight starts which explains how he hit .407/.529/.741 this week . . . Marlins LHP Brad Hand was just 2-2, 4.23 through his first 10 starts for high Class A Jupiter, but the 20-year-old has turned it on lately. Hand has reeled off a 17-inning shutout streak spanning his last three starts, including a complete game shutout against Tampa on Tuesday. He struck out four, walked one and gave up just four hits. A physical lefty with a power fastball, Hand has put together a 70-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 70 1/3 innings ‘¦ White Sox C Tyler Flowers has gotten off to an uncharacteristic slow start this season that has seen him hit just .222/.323/.468. The 24-year-old’s power has stuck around through his slump, as he’s hit 11 homers, and now it appears the rest of his bat is catching up. The slugger hit .333 this week with three homers and a double . . . Reds 3B Todd Frazierrarely saw his average creep over .200 over the season’s first two months with Triple-A Louisville, and it was still below the Mendoza line at .197 at the end of May. Frazier, 24, has finally started coming on since the calendar turned to June as he’s put together a seven-game hitting streak and hit .444/.500/.704 (12-for-27) with a homer, two doubles and six RBIs on the week ‘¦ Playing through a shoulder injury didn’t go too well for Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, who needed a couple weeks on the sidelines to get back to full strength. The 21-year-old has been raking since getting back in Double-A Akron’s lineup in late May, hitting .349/.426/.698 in 43 at-bats. This week, Chisenhall belted two home runs on his way to hitting .300/.440/.750 (6-for-20) with seven RBIs . . . Indians’ 24-year-old LHP Eric Bergerhas struggled this season with Double-A Akron after posting a 3-1 record with a 2.67 ERA in 33.2 innings there at the end of last year, but has begun to turn things around. The deceptive lefty gave up just two runs and struck out 17 batters in 13 2/3 innings while chalking up two wins this week.


Aroldis Chapman, lhp, Reds. The same week that Stephen Strasburg blew everyone away in his big league debut, the minors’ other highly-touted member of the 100 mph club was struggling in Triple-A. Chapman’s stuff is so good that if he has his mechanics in any sort of order, he can dominate (0 or 1 runs in six of hi 11 starts), but when his mechanics fall apart, things get ugly quickly. Chapman (2 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 6 BB, 1 K) is now walking 5.6 batters per nine innings, and his control is getting worse as the season goes on. Chapman, 22, may give the Reds’ some help in the big-league bullpen before long, but right now it’s hard to see him stepping into a very crowded big league rotation any time soon.

Beau Mills, 1b, Indians: While Shin-Soo Choo is one of the game’s most underrated players and Austin Kearns’ season has been a pleasant surprise, you have to think the Indians wish they had spent the 13th overall pick in the 2007 draft on Jason Heyward, who went one pick later, instead of Mills. After winning the high Class A Carolina League MVP award in 2008, Mills’ career has gone downhill. He struggled badly last year with Double-A Akron, and repeating the level this year as a 23-year-old doesn’t seem to be helping. Mills is hitting just .205/.281/.302 through 54 games for the Aeros, a disappointing regression for a guy who’s supposed to be a bat-only player.

Philippe Aumont, rhp, Phillies. Aumont’s season keeps getting worse. After picking him up in the Cliff Lee trade, the Phillies moved him back into the starting rotation and tweaked his delivery. The results, up to now, haven’t been pretty. Aumont, 21, was demoted from Double-A Reading after going 1-6, 7.43. His first start at high Class A Clearwater was even worse: 2/3 IP, 3 H, 5 R, R ER, 4 BB, 0 Ks.

Jefry Marte, 3B, Mets. Marte struggled throughout the 2009 season, but it could be explained away by the fact that he was one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League. Marte, 18, is still one the league’s younger players, but a second trip through the league hasn’t made hitting any easier. Marte is hitting .231/.313/.333 this season and is in the midst of a 3-for-21 slump this week. There are signs of hope though—Marte has upped his walk rate and cut his strikeout rate this year, he’s just not yet driving the ball with much authority.


Dexter Fowler, of, Rockies. When he was putting together a very solid rookie season at Coors Field, Fowler never figured he’d be back here on the Hot Sheet. But after he hit .217/.327/.317 over two months at Coors Field, the Rockies decided they had given Fowler enough time to turn it around. He has handled his demotion well. He’s hitting .459/.565/.730 in nine games with Triple-A Colorado Springs. With Carlos Gonzalez’ manning center now, Fowler’s return to Colorado will depend as much on what others do as what he does, but it’s a solid sign that he’s not sulking.


Michael McDade, 1b, Dunedin: When McDade was in high school, he presented a strange sight to scouts. McDade has always carried a good bit of weight, but because of his strong arm his high school team put him behind the plate—think Prince Fielder with a chest protector and a catcher’s mitt. The Blue Jays have wisely moved him from catcher to first base where the switch-hitter can focus on what he does best—mash baseballs with excellent raw power. He McDade, 21, leads the Florida State League with 12 home runs and he’s also hitting for average (.295/339/.530 overall). In the past week he’s hit .400/.455/.800 with four doubles, a triple and two home runs.