Prospect Hot Sheet: May 15

See also: Previous Prospect Hot Sheet

Another week, another Hot Sheet.

We’re a day late this week, mostly because the Baseball America World Headquarters is currently abuzz with happenings for the upcoming draft. Hot Sheet will go back to its regularly scheduled Monday timeslot beginning next week.

We’d like to give a special shout out to Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie. Sure, the 2005 first-rounder out of Stanford is hitting .226/.365/.355 overall, but batted .381 with four doubles last week while playing a solid shortstop.

We’re getting into high promotion territory already, as Andrew Miller (Tigers), Justin Upton (Diamondbacks) and Michael Bowden (Red Sox) led the list of high-profile prospects jumping to Double-A.

Even Astros catcher J.R. Towles found himself on the move to Double-A Corpus Christi after hitting just .200/.339/.278 at high Class A Salem. But the 2004 second-rounder was throwing out 40 percent of would-be basestealers in the Carolina League, and with Lou Santangelo recently busted for performance-enhancing drugs no longer on the depth chart ahead of him, the Astros needed a catcher in Corpus Christi.

So anyway, let’s get after it.

Devil Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was our easy No. 1, even before he went 3-for-4 with his 10th homer on Monday night.

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

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

Just about every night, we take a walk down the street to see the Durham Bulls. And every night as we walk back to the parking deck located next to our offices, we wonder why we didn’t just see Evan Longoria playing third base in Triple-A.

Longoria is wreaking havoc in the Southern League, batting .366 with four bombs and 11 RBIs last week alone. In all, the third overall pick last year is hitting .333/.451/.621 with 18 extra-base hits and nearly as many walks (25) as strikeouts (27).

Enough of Joel Guzman’s tired act already. Guzman looks lethargic; like he’s just not having fun. Guess a .240 on-base will do that to a guy. One thing’s for sure, you know Longoria will bring the same energy to the park every day.

2. Joba Chamberlain, rhp, high Class A Tampa (Yankees)

Bo Shuda! Chamberlain finally arrived from extended spring training and did not disappoint, striking out 11 over his first two starts.

3. Brett Anderson, lhp, low Class A South Bend (Diamondbacks)

The 2006 second-rounder was experiencing few growing pains in his first exposure to pro batters, going 4-3, 1.74 on the season. He fanned 10 in seven innings last week, allowing no walks and just three hits, and his 50 strikeouts are the second-highest total at low Class A.

4. Andrew Miller, lhp, Double-A Erie (Tigers)

Miller dealt in his final two Florida State League starts, then continued that trend in Double-A, punching out seven over eight innings against Akron.

5. Chuck Lofgren, lhp, Double-A Akron (Indians)

Lofgren’s worst start of the year came in his second start on a frigid night against Bowie, when he allowed four earned runs but still struck out seven. Over his last two starts, the 21-year-old has 11 strikeouts in 13 innings, allowing just three hits.

6. Eric Patterson, 2b, Triple-A Iowa (Cubs)

Few batters were hotter than Patterson last week, as he went 15-for-30 with three home runs and 11 runs scored. With five homers already, Patterson is already half-way to his 2006 total.

7. Mark Reynolds, 3b, Double-A Mobile (Diamondbacks)

The super-utility man has spent the bulk of this season at third base for the BayBears, and batted .529 last week.

8. Justin Upton, of, Double-A Mobile (Diamondbacks)

After a tough 2006 season in the Midwest League, the top overall pick in the 2005 draft raced through the California League and earned a promotion to Double-A Mobile–where he homered in his first game with the BayBears Tuesday. Upton hit one homer last week to bring his season total to six and leaves Visalia hitting .341/.433/.540.

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

Pure dominance. Sure, the 22-year-old allowed 10 hits over his last two starts, but struck out 19 in 12 innings.

10. Mark Holliman, rhp, Double-A Tennessee (Cubs)

Wow, two Cubs in the top 10. Holliman took his first loss on Monday, but before that the 2005 third-rounder went 5-0, 0.44 in 41 innings.

11. Colby Rasmus, of, Double-A Springfield (Cardinals)

The 20-year-old went 9-for-25 (.360) with three doubles and a home run. Throw in five walks and Rasmus reached base in half his plate appearances on the week. He leads all Double-A batters with 22 extra-base hits.

12. Jay Bruce, of, high Class A Sarasota (Reds)

Big Bad Bruce makes his second straight Hot Sheet appearance after blasting two homers and driving in seven runs in 21 at-bats, raising his season average to .331 (fifth-best in the FSL) with eight homers (tied for first).

13. Michael Bowden, rhp, Double-A Portland (Red Sox)

The 2005 first-round pick was promoted to Double-A Portland after taming Lancaster’s hitter-friendly park. He lowered his ERA to 1.37 after limiting San Jose to one hit over seven innings while striking out five and walking one.

14. Rowdy Hardy, lhp, high Class A Wilmington (Royals)

The 2006 nondrafted free agent has not given up more than one earned run in his eight appearances (four starts) this season and continued that trend last week. In two starts, he went 2-0, 1.20 with 13 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched–lowering his season totals to 3-0, 0.94.

15. Yunel Escobar, ss, Triple-A Richmond (Braves)

Escobar won last year’s Arizona Fall League batting title with a .407 mark and he’s continued to hit at Triple-A. The 24-year-old Cuban defector, whom the Braves took in 2005’s second round, went 12-for-26 (.462) last week with a home run.

16. Chris Marrero, of, low Class A Hagerstown (Nationals)

Six game hit streak. Four homers in his last four games. Now hitting .311/.338/.555 with eight homers and 31 RBIs overall . . . and doesn’t turn 19 until July.

17. John Whittleman, 3b, low Class A Clinton (Rangers)

Six game hit streak in which he’s hitting .565 (13-for-23) with three homers . . . as a 20-year-old.

18. Chris Carter, 1b, low Class A Kannapolis (White Sox)

Sure, Carter is repeating low Class A, but he’s still just 20-years-old. And sure, he’s a righthanded batter limited to first base–but have you seen his numbers? Carter went 11-for-26 (.423) last week with two homers, eight RBIs and a league-leading seven extra-base hits (.885 slugging).

19. Mark Hamilton, 1b, high Class A Palm Beach (Cardinals)

The 2006 third-round pick hit three home runs last week, including a two-homer, five-RBI game against Dunedin.

20. Jared Goedert, 3b, low Class A Lake County (Indians)

Overtook Pirates first baseman Steven Pearce (again) for the minor league lead with 14 homers. He’s not “donkey-strong,” but he’s Kevin Kouzmanoff defensively with more upside in the box.


Emmanuel Burriss, high Class A San Jose (Giants)

The team’s fourth-ranked prospect has had a hard time duplicating his sparkling 2006 pro debut and managed just one hit in 20 at-bats last week and is hitting a mere .171/.241/.186. He remains a burner on the basepaths with 16 steals in 19 attempts.

Mike Hinckley, lhp, Double-A Harrisburg (Nationals)

11 earned runs on eight walks in his last two starts; ridiculous home-road splits: 3-1, 1.96 on the road, 1-2, 8.16 at the Commerce Bank Park, which is located on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna River. Reason for some CBS executive to pitch “Survivor: Harrisburg.”

Matt Torra, rhp, high Class A Visalia (Diamondbacks)

Just when you thought Red Sox righthander Daniel Bard struggled in the Cal League, along came Matt Torra. The 2005 first-round pick has given up 43 runs on 61 hits in just 35 innings. Torra’s best outing–not including his one win in which he allowed six earned runs–came on April 15 when he allowed four runs on six hits over four innings.

Ryan Tucker, rhp, high Class A Jupiter (Marlins)

Tucker got rocked in his last start, allowing six earned runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings, with Jay Bruce taking him deep. Tucker has been anything but sharp this season, allowing 22 earned runs on 42 hits in 34 innings.

Francisco Cruceta, rhp, Triple-A Oklahoma (Rangers)
Lou Santangelo, c, Double-A Corpus Christi (Astros)

As we touched on earlier, Santangelo was suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. So was Cruceta, who was pitching for his fifth organization since he was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 1999. Oh well. At least Santangelo won $250 bucks when he tied for the home run derby win at the California-Carolina League all-star game last year in Salem. Santangelo hit one homer. Hope it was worth it, Lou. See you in 50.


Brandon Buckman, 1b, low Class A Quad Cities (Cardinals)

6-foot-6 19th-round pick last year raking to the tune of .329/.371/.616 with nine homers and 37 RBIs in 146 at-bats.

Duane Below, lhp, low Class A West Michigan (Tigers)

Also a 2006 19th-rounder, Below struck out 14 over six innings in his last start and is now 3-1, 2.19 with 48 strikeouts in 37 innings.


Nathan Haynes, of, Triple-A Salt Lake (Angels)

Haynes hit .500/.559/.667 last week and currently leads all Triple-A batters in average (.400), on-base percentage (.486) and triples (five). The A’s selected Haynes 32nd overall in 1997 and moved him to the Angels two years later for Omar Olivares and Randy Velarde. The 27-year-old Haynes has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but his strong early showing with the bat and with his legs (he plays center field and has swiped 12 bases) might get him consideration for a call up.

Marlon Byrd, of, Triple-A Oklahoma (Rangers)

Like Haynes, Byrd has been one of the Pacific Coast League’s best players. Unlike Haynes, Byrd has gotten extended big league looks (.263/.327/.373 in 1,302 at-bats), but has not been able to stick. Byrd, whom the Phillies drafted in the 10th round of the 1999 draft out of Georgia Perimeter College, peaked as the organization’s No. 1 prospect in 2002. The 29-year-old Byrd was off to a .370/.441/.563 start with the RedHawks with four home runs and 12 doubles.