Prospect Hot Sheet: June 25

See also: Previous Prospect Hot Sheet

With Class A all-star games cutting into playing time for prospects in those five leagues last week, this week’s Hot Sheet leans even heavier on Double- and Triple-A prospects.

Thirteen players from those levels found their way to our latest installment of Hot Sheet, including seven of the top 10. And the presence of perennial Hot Sheeters Clayton Kershaw and Wes Hodges should surprise no one.

1. Daric Barton, 1b/3b, Triple-A Sacramento (Athletics)

Despite splitting time between his natural position of first base and the new-this-year third base, Barton has flat-out hit this season, his second with the River Cats. The 21-year-old Barton led all PCL batters in average (.680), hits (17) and runs (nine), while finishing second in doubles (five) and on-base percentage (.667).

If those credentials don’t impress you, check out Barton’s June numbers: .512/.549/.732 with 13 doubles.

Drafted as a catcher by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2003 draft–and subsequently traded to the A’s for Mark Mulder–Barton has had his growing pains at the hot corner. An average defender at first base, Barton has committed nine errors in 17 games (.816) at third base.

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

Though his scoreless-innings streak can’t compare with that of Nick Blackburn, Mason’s back-to-back scoreless outings, including a complete-game shutout on Sunday, are still quite impressive.

3. Nick Blackburn, rhp, Triple-A Rochester (Twins)

Blackburn, a 29th-round draft-and-follow from 2001, hasn’t given up an earned run in June, a streak that goes back 34 innings–including two innings in May. That’s four consecutive starts in which he has not allowed an earned run, with two complete game shutouts thrown in. Blackburn, 25, has gone 4-1, 1.79 in 50 1/3 innings since being promoted from Double-A New Britain in May. He’s also shown that his velocity has recovered after a knee injury–he’s now throwing in the low to mid 90s.

4. Brandon Wood, 3b, Triple-A Salt Lake (Angels)

Wood has come alive in June, after slogging through April and May with six homers in 167 at-bats. He’s put his poor, three-game major league tryout firmly behind him by hitting .321/.396/.667 this month with six bombs, eight doubles and 21 RBIs in 21 games.

5. Clay Buchholz, rhp, Double-A Portland (Red Sox)

At this point it’s more noteworthy if Buchholz isn’t on the Hot Sheet. Buchholz threw five scoreless innings in his one start last week and has now struck out 31 batters in 23 innings this month.

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

Kershaw was denied a decision this week but still struck out nine in six innings. He gave up four hits and two walks.

7. Wes Hodges, 3b, high Class A Kinston (Indians)

Sure, it doesn’t compare with Brandon Watson’s 43-game streak, but Hodges had a 20-game run–which included his two-week stint on the DL–come to an end on Sunday. Hodges had 13 multi-hit games during the streak, including one home run and six doubles and boosted his average from .253 on May 14 to .326.

8. Evan Longoria, 3b, Double-A Montgomery (Devil Rays)

Longoria is flirting with a .300/.400/.550 season. He’s hit .444 with three home runs and 10 RBIs over the past 10 games.

9. Eric Campbell, 3b, high Class A Myrtle Beach (Braves)

The Braves’ sixth-ranked prospect had a rough start to his first season at High-A–the 21-year-old was hitting a mere .189 on June 1–but has since raised his average to .247 after stringing together six multi-hit games. Since June 15, Campbell has gone 17-for-34 with two homers and nine RBIs.

10. Jeff Clement, c, Triple-A Tacoma (Mariners)

The No. 3 overall pick in 2005, Clement was rushed to Triple-A in 2006 and he’s now starting to catch up to the level of competition. The 23-year-old catcher hit .480 last week with a PCL-leading seven extra-base hits to boost his June numbers to .368/.438/.737 with six homers and 10 doubles.

11. Ian Kennedy, rhp, Double-A Trenton (Yankees)

The Hot Sheet regular had one rough outing after getting promoted June 5 from high Class A Tampa (where he went 6-1, 1.29) but has since settled down. Kennedy yielded four earned runs in his Double-A debut, but has since given up three runs in three starts, striking out 20 and walking six in 11 innings.

12. Josh Outman, lhp, high Class A Clearwater (Phillies)

The 21-year-old has slowly lowered his ERA from a bloated 23.14 after a disastrous Opening Day and reached a season-low 2.70 after yielding one earned run on six hits over six innings on Saturday. He’s yielded just four runs in his past four starts, striking out 26 and over 27 innings.

13. Chris Coghlan, 2b, low Class A Greensboro (Marlins)

The Marlins’ supplemental first-round pick in 2006, Coghlan continued to rough up South Atlantic League pitching, going 7-for-12 in four games against Augusta. He had two home runs and three RBIs.

14. Matt Garza, rhp, Triple-A Rochester (Twins)

Though he can’t match the exploits of Nick Blackburn, his Rochester rotation-mate, Garza has struck out six or more batters in each of his five June starts, for a total of 36 in 31 innings to lead all IL pitchers. Two of those starts have been rocky (nine runs in 12 innings), but after seven shutout innings last night, Garza is now 2-1, 3.77 in June.

15. Carlos Carrasco, rhp, Double-A Reading (Phillies)

The Phillies’ top-rated prospect earned a promotion to Double-A after going 6-2, 2.84 with 53 strikeouts for Clearwater. Carrasco earned a win in his first EL start, yielding one run on four hits while striking out four over five innings.

16. Cody White, lhp, low Class A, Great Lakes (Dodgers)

Another Dodgers’ southpaw, White hurled eight strong innings against South Bend this week. He allowed only one earned run and three walks while striking out five. He is now 8-5, 2.48 on the season.

17. Edwar Ramirez, rhp, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)

A former indy leaguer, Ramirez has gotten results out of the Scranton bullpen with his plus-plus changeup, striking out 41 batters and walking nine in 23 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old Ramirez may not have much in the way of primary stuff, but he’s not afraid to double-, triple- or even quintuple-up on his changeup, giving opposing batters a most unique look.

18. Neil Walker, 3b, Double-A Altoona (Pirates)

Walker’s cooled off a little over the last week, but he’s still hitting .397 this month, and he’s making everyone forget that he was once a catcher.

19. Adrian Cardenas, 2b, low Class A Lakewood (Phillies)

Cardenas matched Coghlan’s average (.438) this week but showed less power with no extra-base hits. He added three runs and two RBIs.

20. Landon Powell, c, Double-A Midland (Athletics)

He didn’t triple last week, but Powell did hit three home runs last week and he’s now hitting .425 for the month.


Blake Hawksworth, rhp, Triple-A Memphis (Cardinals)

After a successful May, Hawksworth has not won in five June starts, going 0-3, 9.75 with just 13 strikeouts and as many walks as home runs allowed, nine, in 24 innings.

Heath Rollins, rhp, low Class A Columbus (Devil Rays)

A win couldn’t shake any “Not” votes this week. Rollins gave up just one earned in six innings while striking out four, but his June stats read 1-3, 7.83 in 23 innings.

Matt Walker, rhp, high Class A Vero Beach (Devil Rays)

The Devil Rays ninth-ranked prospect entered the season after a strong MWL showing in 2006, but has yet to find his footing in the Florida State League, going 2-6, 5.85 with 50 walks and 42 strikeouts in 60 innings. Walker has lasted more than four innings just once in his last four starts, yielding a total of 11 runs over 16 innings with 19 walks and nine strikeouts.

Adam Russell, rhp, Double-A Birmingham (White Sox)

Russell has struggled to find the same success in his first full year at Double-A that he encountered during each of his first three professional seasons (23-15, 3.61 career mark). Russell has yielded 20 runs over his past five starts, walking 12 and striking out 16 over 25 innings.

Cody Strait, of, high Class A Sarasota (Reds)

Taking a foul ball of your face can apparently hurt your batting average as much as your head. Strait hit just .164 with Double-A Chattanooga in June leading to a demotion to high Class A Sarasota.


Alejandro Sanabia, rhp, short-season Jamestown (Marlins)

Who? Ah yes, it’s the time of year for short-season baseball, where this year’s amateurs and last year’s complex league stars come to shine. Sanabia, a 32nd-round pick in 2006, went 3-1, 3.24 in 17 innings last year in the Gulf Coast League. He’s continued a solid start to his pro career, pitching 7 1/3 scoreless innings over two starts, yielding five hits while striking out 11 and walking one.


John-Ford Griffin, of, Triple-A Syracuse (Blue Jays)

Griffin, who topped the IL with 30 homers and 103 RBIs in 2005, is slugging again after missing most of 2006 to injury. Drafted 23rd overall by the Yankees in 2001, and then traded in both 2002 and 2003, Griffin, 27, is hitting .260/.338/.492 with 14 home runs for the Chiefs. More of a hitter for average as an amateur at Florida State, Griffin has gradually increased his power output as he’s moved through the minors.