Prospect Hot Sheet (May 20): Bregman Roars Back Into Action

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players have done from May 13-19. Remember, this feature simply recognizes what the hottest prospects in the minors did in the past week—it's not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.

Contributing: Ben Badler, Matt Eddy, Josh Norris and Vince Lara-Cinisomo

1. Alex Bregman, ss, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .393/.485/.821 (11-for-28), 9 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 5 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Bregman missed two weeks beginning in late April with a hamstring injury, but he roared back into action in the Texas League upon his return. He has hit .327 with 12 extra-base hits and nine walks in his past 14 games, while taking over the league lead for home runs (10), on-base percentage (.433), slugging (.706) and lowest strikeout rate (8.3 percent). Bregman, the No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft, has turned in one of the better full-season debuts we've seen in recent years, and now the Astros are giving him spot duty at third base at Corpus Christi as they prepare for a possible callup in the second half. (ME)

2. Zach Eflin, rhp, Phillies
Team: Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.64, 14 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 11 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: There are certainly more famous names involved in the Phillies' minor league overhaul, but Eflin has quietly put up some dazzling numbers as the fourth-youngest player in the International League at just 22 years old. A scout who saw him recently noted that Eflin had made improvements since last season, when he put up a middling season at Double-A Reading. His four-pitch mix—four- and two-seam fastballs, slider and changeup—has gotten sharper, and his pitchability has improved across the board. (JN)

3. Eloy Jimenez, of, Cubs
Team: low Class A South Bend (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: .500/.536/.885 (13-for-26), 6 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The top international prospect available in 2013, Jimenez has more consistently unlocked his incredible raw power in his full-season debut this season, particularly in May. The long-levered, teen, corner outfielder struck four extra-base hits in the Midwest League this week, and he has recorded a .222 isolated slugging percentage in his last 16 games. (ME)

4. Clint Frazier, of, Indians
Team: Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .478/.586/.652 (11-for-23), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 6 BB, 5 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: At just 21 years old, Frazier is one of the youngest players in the Eastern League. So far, that hasn't mattered. He put up another scorching week and earned his second straight spot on the Hot Sheet. His OPS ranks third in the league, behind just Reading's Dylan Cozens and Hartford's David Dahl. (JN)

5. Jameson Taillon, rhp, Pirates
Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: 2-2, 2.25, 12 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 19 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: Pittsburgh's rotation ranks in the middle of the pack this season with a 4.51 ERA. When the time comes, though, the Pirates have prospects in their Triple-A rotation who could provide help, including Steven Brault, Tyler Glasnow, Chad Kuhl and Taillon. After missing the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery and a hernia, Taillon has returned with a vengeance. His wicked fastball-curveball combination has allowed him to strike out 51 in 50 innings while walking just five. (JN)

6. Chad Kuhl, rhp, Pirates
Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 6 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: Armed with a heavy, low- to mid-90s fastball, slider and changeup and a simple, repeatable delivery, Kuhl this year has stymied hitters in the International League after receiving effusive praise from evaluators last season. He gets plenty of grounders and has surrendered just 22 hits in 40 innings, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is nearly 3-to-1. Also, the 2013 ninth-rounder from Delaware leads the IL with a 0.91 ERA and 0.78 WHIP. (JN)

7. Andrew Moore, rhp, Mariners
Team: high Class A Bakersfield (California)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 2-0, 2.25, 2 GS, 12 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 11 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: With an 88-92 mph fastball, Moore is more pitchability than stuff, but the 2015 supplemental second-round pick has gone 3-1, 1.65 through nine starts in a tough pitching environment at Bakersfield. His changeup is a plus pitch presently, and he does a good job repeating his over-the-top delivery. Moore has struck out 47 and walked 13 through 55 innings this season, and one scout said he could move quickly, especially if moved to the bullpen. (VLC)

8. Alex Verdugo, of, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .450/.522/.900 (9-for-20), 6 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: We snuck Verdugo into the final position of this year's Top 100 Prospects, and the center fielder’s production has trended upward in May after a .260 April. The youngest player in the Texas Leauge on Opening Day, Verdugo hit .450 with power this week and has hit .343/.397/.627 with nine extra-base hits in his last 17 games. The 2014 second-rounder out of high school made steady improvement in 2015, too, showing a tendency to make adjustments to higher levels of play. (ME)

9. Jamie Westbrook, 2b, Diamondbacks

3ds_diamondbacks21Team: Double-A Mobile (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .517/.533/.759 (15-for-29), 4 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The Chanlder, Ariz., prep product tried his hand at third base and left field in the Australian Baseball League last offseason, and the D-backs have tried him at catcher in instructional league, but the only position Westbrook has played in the regular season is second base. And all he has done as a pro is hit. Westbrook ranked fourth in the California League batting race last season (.319), and he's hitting .282 this season in the Southern League after a .365 May. (ME)

10. Chad Pinder, ss, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Nashville (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .524/.583/.762 (11-for-21), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: It's been a difficult start to the 2016 season for Pinder, the Texas League MVP last season, who has swung at too many bad pitches and looked shaky at shortstop, leading to a .250/.284/.379 line through 35 games with a position change possible. This week, however, was a bright spot, highlighted by a four-hit game on Saturday and another 4-for-4 day Thursday. And after making 10 errors in 20 games in April, the college third baseman has committed just two errors in 15 games this month. (BB)

11. Hunter Renfroe, of, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .452/.452/.742 (14-for-31), 5 R, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Renfroe has some of the best power in the Padres organization, perhaps rivaled only by low Class A slugger Brad Zunica. Strikeouts are the tradeoff for Renfroe’s power, but the Padres have worked with him to shorten his leg kick and adjust his hands, which helped the right fielder become shorter and quicker to the ball. (VLC)

12. Hunter Wood, rhp, Rays
Team: high Class A Charlotte (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 0-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 6 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: With mid-90s heat and a tight-spinning breaking ball, Wood is one of the more difficult pitchers in the minors to square up. After completing seven innings of two-hit ball this week, he has allowed a .150 average on the season, which ranks him sixth in the minors. A 29th-round pick in 2013, Wood looks more and more like another one of the Rays' pitching sleepers. (ME)

13. J.D. Davis, 3b, Astros

HoustonAstrosTeam: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .419/.419/1.000 (13-for-31), 6 R, 3 2B, 5 HR, 9 RBIs, 0 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Davis' power is his calling card, and he was dialed in this week, blasting five homers, including three on Thursday. The former Cal State Fullerton star has average bat speed and a long swing, but he should make enough contact to be a fringe-average hitter. After playing first base, right field and DH in college, the Astros moved him to third base to take advantage of his arm strength. (VLC)

14. Tim Anderson, ss, White Sox
Team: Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .400/.400/.629 (14-for-35), 7 R, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 0 BB, 6 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: The top White Sox prospect perfectly encapsulated his good and bad traits this week at Charlotte. He used his electric bat speed to rifle 14 hits in seven games while using his foot speed to leg out a triple, steal three bases and score seven runs. Anderson, however, struck out six times against zero walks and sports a 40-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season (after he didn't draw a single walk in April). Anywhere is better than where he was in April, however, when he hit .235 while striking out 30 percent of the time. (ME)

15. Cody Bellinger, 1b, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .400/.478/.950 (8-for-20), 5 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: A week ago Bellinger—who hit 30 homers last season—was hitting .137 without a homer in his first stab at Double-A. Flash forward a week, and that's all forgotten. Bellinger hit his third homer in five games and went 4-for-4 Thursday. A hip issue might have contributed to his early struggles, but his plus power is showing up, and his rising walk rate shows good aptitude. (VLC)

16. Sam Howard, lhp, Rockies
Team: high Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: 1-1, 1.32, 2 GS, 13.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 19 SO

The Scoop: A third-round pick out of Georgia Southern in 2014, Howard pitches off a fastball that sits in the low 90s and is missing more bats than ever this season. After striking out 10 and then nine batters in his last two starts, he is up to 49 strikeouts in 43 innings for a 26 percent strikeout rate this season. Colorado's No. 25 prospect entering the season, Howard doesn't get much attention in a talent-rich farm system, but he could develop into a back-end starter. (BB)

17. Nick Travieso, rhp, Reds
Team: Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: The Reds are right to be excited about their stash of pitching prospects. Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett are all promising arms in the upper minors, with Reed and Garrett in particular off to excellent starts. The next highest-ranked arm in the system belongs to Travieso at No. 7, but he hasn't had the same early success. He does have 34 strikeouts in 33 innings, but he has a 4.68 ERA and 18 walks. (BB)

18. Ben Lively, rhp, Phillies
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: On a pure stuff level, nothing jumps out about Lively, for he has no plus pitch. Back in Double-A Reading again this season after recording a 4.13 ERA there last year, he has produced much better results with a 1.53 ERA and 46-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 47 innings. If Lively can develop into an effective back-end starter, that would be a win for the Phillies. (BB)

19. Yoan Moncada, 2b, Red Sox
Team: high Class A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .348/.485/.435 (8-for-23), 6 R, 2 2B, 3 RBIs, 8 BB, 8 SO, 7-for-9 SB

The Scoop: Compared to a football defensive back by evaluators, much like Mike Trout when he was a prospect, Moncada is a menace on the basepaths. Since his arrival in the U.S. almost a year ago, the Cuban sensation has swiped 77 bases in 86 tries, good for a near 90 percent success rate. His 24 overall this year are tied for the minor league lead, and his .460 on-base percentage leads the Carolina League. (JN)

20. Jon Harris, rhp, Blue Jays

3ds_bluejays81Team: low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 0-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 11 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: The former Missouri State star struggled last season in his pro debut, partly because of fatigue. This season has been a different story for the 29th overall pick last June. Harris is in the midst of a 25-inning scoreless string and has gone 2-0, 1.05 with 23 strikeouts and 11 walks in 26 innings. Harris has a four-pitch mix, leading with a fastball that brushes mid-90s. Even during his rough pro debut last year, one Northwest League manager called Harris' stuff "filthy, filthy." (VLC)


Brandon Barker, rhp, Braves

3ds_braves83The Braves emphasized pitchers in their system overhaul, and it shows. Still, the organization's leader in wins (12) and strikeouts (109) last year doesn't often get mentioned among Atlanta’s elite arms. Barker has continued his tear this year, and thus far has gone 3-2, 2.00 with 8.0 strikeouts and 2.4 walks per nine innings in the first six weeks at Double-A Mississippi.

Barker, a 23-year-old born in Panama, is aided by a funky delivery that one scout compared to a righthanded version of former Brave Alex Wood. He also brings a fastball that sits 89-93 mph but can touch 95 at times. He couples the pitch with a curveball with slurve-type break, as well as a changeup that has helped him elevate his game a bit.

The Braves' 2014 16th-rounder out of Mercer worked primarily with two pitches while at low Class A Rome in 2015 but added his changeup at high Class A later that season. The addition seems to have paid dividends.