Each Friday, the Prospect Hot Sheet highlights prospects having great weeks, weighing raw performance, prospect status, age compared to level and the environment in which they play. Bear in mind that this is not a re-ranking of our preseason Top 100 Prospects list--it's a snapshot of top performances by prospects during the May 24-30 period.
Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy and Jim Shonerd.
See also: Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Ben Badler
The Scoop: It’s hard to follow up on being the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year. It’s even harder when you’re sent back to the same level you were playing at for much of your award-winning year. In other words, how do you top hitting 37 home runs in the minors as a 21-year-old?
For much of April and early May, Myers struggled with strikeouts and generally showed only glimpses of the power and hitting ability that makes him one of the best prospects in the minors. Understandably some of those struggles may have come from dealing with the realization that he was still waiting for his first major league callup. But as the weather warms up, and as the window for players to be called up without reaching Super Two arbitration status, Myers is showing once again why he should be in St. Petersberg. Myers is currently working on an eight-game hitting streak which includes five home runs--or more than he had hit in the preceding 41 games.
The Scoop: There’s nothing wrong with a pitcher learning how to manipulate the baseball, but sometimes it can go a little to far. Stephenson spent some of his early-season starts working on his two-seam fastball as he tried to baffle hitters with movement. Six starts into the season he was living with a 5.79 ERA and the realization that he needed to go back to what he does best, blowing away hitters with his 94-97 mph four-seam fastball. In reality, not many hitters can catch up with Stephenson’s best stuff, even if it’s somewhat straight, especially when it’s paired with a changeup and curveball that are both average or better. Since going back to the high-octane approach, Stephenson has given up four runs in five starts, striking out 42 and walking four over 31 2/3 innings.
The Scoop: As a 17-year-old in the South Atlantic League, Mondesi has been erratic, which is to be expected. He has a game where he struck out six times and two more where he struck out four times, but the highs have been very impressive. This week he had a two-home run game which he followed the next day by hitting for the cycle.
The Scoop: It took Bogaerts a couple of weeks to get the timing of his swing down, but he’s been one of the most dangerous hitters in the Eastern League ever since. With quick hands, a clean bat path and plenty of extra-base sock that’s only going to improve as he fills out his projectable frame. Bogaerts has the makings of a perennial all-star, be it at shortstop early in his career or at third base if he has to slide over there.
The Scoop: How much better has Ranaudo been this year than at any other point in his pro career? In 2011 and '12 in 35 pro starts, Ranaudo had worked five or more innings without giving up a run three times. This year he’s done it four times in 10 starts. He’d given up three or more runs in 16 of his first 35 pro starts. This year, he’s done it once in 10 starts.
The Scoop: With his performance in May, Castellanos showcased why some scouts expect him to grow to be a double-plus hitter. Since May 7, he’s gone 30-for-103 (.345) with 11 extra-base hits in 23 games while brandishing a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 16-to-17. Castellanos didn’t even draw that many walks in a half-season at Double-A last season, so this could be him taking a first step toward finding another level.
The Scoop: When the A’s signed Nunez for $2.2 million on July 2, 2010, some scouts thought he had the best chance of any prospect in Venezuela that year to hit for both average and power. After an adjustment period his first year in the Dominican Summer League, Nunez has delivered on that promise. He’s hitting .294/.356/.531 with 10 home runs in 47 games, putting him in a tie for second in the Midwest League in home runs and ranking third in slugging.
No. 8 Tyler Austin, rf, Yankees
Team: Double-A Trenton (Eastern)
Why He's Here: .345/.375/.759 (10-for-29), 3 HR, 3 2B, 8 RBIs, 6 R, 2 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: After tearing up both Class A levels during a breakout 2012 campaign, Austin has (not surprisingly) found the going tougher in Double-A. He's kept his head above water though, and he hasn't lost his plate discipline, drawing 32 walks in 52 games. He started doing some real damage this week, belting three homers after entering the week with just two and going on a seven-game hitting streak that was snapped on Thursday.
The Scoop: If you're looking for a strong candidate for a midseason promotion, Johnson fits the bill. The 43rd overall pick in last year's draft, he has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his 10 starts in low Class A. The 22-year-old has the advanced stuff and could've started the year in high Class A, and now he's surged into second in the Midwest League strikeout race with 60 in 53 innings.
The Scoop: Erlin rebounded from a couple rough road starts (11 runs in 9 1/3 innings) to reestablish himself at home in Tucson. He shut down a talented Sacramento lineup--Jemile Weeks, Grant Green, Michael Choice, Michael Taylor, et al.--over seven innings, not allowing a hit until the sixth inning.
11. Jesus Solorzano, rf/cf, Marlins
Team: low Class A Greensboro (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .500/.594/.769 (13-for-26), 9 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 5-for-5 SB
The Scoop: Solorzano spent four years in pro ball before making his full-season debut this year, but he made steady progress each year. He has the tools to do a bit of everything on the field, and as he’s learned to control his approach at the plate, his offensive game has continued to move in the right direction.
No. 12 Eddie Rosario, 2b, Twins
Team: high Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: .474/.500/.789 (9-for-19), 1 HR, 3 2B, 5 RBIs, 5 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: In his first season spent exclusively at second base, Rosario has shown a wide array of skills that could make him a future above-average regular at the position. He’s hitting .328/.367/.508 through 177 at-bats, ranking third in the Florida State League batting race and third with 34 runs scored. Rosario and Miguel Sano are the driving forces behind the Miracle’s FSL-leading .353 on-base and .444 slugging percentages.
No. 13 Rosell Herrera, ss, Rockies
Team: low Class A Asheville (South Atlantic)
Why He's Here: .348/.464/.783 (8-for-23), 3 HR, 1 2B, 10 RBIs, 6 R, 5 BB, 4 SO, 3-for-4 SB
The Scoop: Herrera's first try at low Class A last year didn't go well, as he hit just .202 and was sent back to the short-season Northwest League at midseason. He's come back with a vengeance this year, ranking third in the SAL with a .340 average, and his 10 homers already exceed his career total from his first three seasons (nine). A switch-hitter, he's got more pop in his lefthanded swing and true to form, all 10 of his homers have come from that side.
IN THE TEAM PHOTO
Archie Bradley, rhp, Diamondbacks: “Binary” Bradley has allowed either one or zero runs in each of his six starts for Double-A Mobile, this week taking two turns and going 1-1, 0.64 with 12 strikeouts and eight walks in 14 innings. The 20-year-old could close the first half as the minor league leader for strikeouts and ERA if he finishes with a flourish. Bradley leads all pitchers with 80 strikeouts and ranks second only to Corpus Christi righthander Jake Buchanan with a 1.01 ERA.
Wilmer Flores, 2b, Mets: If you focus on what Flores can’t do, you’ll have a pretty lengthy list. The 21-year-old can’t run. Because of his slow feet, he’s struggled to find a permanent position, which is why second base is his latest landing spot (after stints at shortstop and third base in the past). And while his power plays as a middle infielder, it may not be enough if he ends up at first base. But focusing on what he can do, the man can square up a baseball. Flores hit .406/.406/.625 this week for Triple-A Las Vegas, with another reminder that he could be a .300 hitter in the big leagues--if he can find a position.
Zach Lee, rhp, Dodgers: The 21-year-old Lee lacks a real plus pitch, but he makes up for that with his consistency, quality stuff and feel for pitching. His 2013 season matches that scouting report to the letter. He hasn’t been dominant very often, but he’s rarely knocked out of the game early, and his six scoreless innings of two-hit ball this week lowered his ERA to an impressive 2.67.
Enny Romero, lhp, Rays: The 22-year-old Romero has recently provided a glimpse of how dominant he can be when he commands the ball. He hasn’t allowed a run in any of his last three starts for Double-A Montgomery, allowing a mere nine hits in 18 2/3 innings while striking out 13 and walking eight.
George Springer, cf, Astros: Astros fans are understandably anxious to get their first look at Springer, the tooled-up 2011 first-rounder whose name is peppered all over the Double-A Texas League leaderboards. He homered three times this week to take the league homer lead with 16 in 50 games, and he batted .296 (8-for-27) with five walks and nine RBIs along the way. But as always, strikeouts were an issue. He whiffed 10 times.
Blake Swihart, c, Red Sox: Swihart's bat has started showing the kind of life the Red Sox believed was in there when they made him the 26th overall pick in 2011. Though the 21-year-old is still looking for his first homer of 2013, he hit .318/.403/.470 in May for high Class A Salem and finished it off with a 7-for-15 week during which he also drew five walks and hit three doubles
Danry Vasquez, lf, Tigers: With a skinny 6-foot-3 frame, Vasquez doesn’t have much power yet, but the 19-year-old has shown he’s still adept at handling the bat in the low Class A Midwest League, where he’s hitting .280//.314/.390 in 48 games for West Michigan after going 11-for-22 with five extra-base hits this week.
NOT SO HOT
Trevor Bauer, rhp, Indians: Having surrendered four home runs in his Wednesday start at Louisville, and one each in his two turns before that, Bauer has run up an 8.82 ERA over his last 16 1/3 innings for Triple-A Columbus. Little has been working lately. The 22-year-old has allowed 17 hits, 14 walks and 18 runs in that time while striking out 10, which isn’t exactly the formula that equals a big league callup.
Jeimer Candelario, 3b, Cubs: The 19-year-old hitting machine ranks second in the Midwest League with 17 doubles, though he endured a rough week with low Class A Kane County, going 2-for-23 (.087) at the dish with two walks (one intentional) and four strikeouts.
Larry Greene, lf, Phillies: A former two-sport standout in high school, Greene's development is going to need time. His power bat is expected to be his calling card, but he's yet to hit a home run in 33 games at low Class A Lakewood and has batted just .184 with 45 strikeouts. The 20-year-old went 2-for-23 this week.
Mark Sappington, rhp, Angels: Sappington has been one of the bright spots in the Angels organization this year. He has shown power stuff and has pitched well in the high Class A California League, where he has a 3.53 ERA in 63 2/3 innings. His last two starts have been ugly, though, as he’s allowed 13 runs and eight walks over his last 11 innings.
Julio Urias, lhp, Dodgers: Urias was one of the top pitchers on the international market last year, so it figured that he would spend the year getting acclimated to pro ball as a 16-year-old in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Instead, the Dodgers last week sent him to low Class A Great Lakes for a spot start, where he pitched like he may as well have been a first-round pick out of high school. Urias threw three shutout innings, allowed two hits and a walk while striking out six of the 11 batters he faced. With a fastball that gets into the low 90s, along with an excellent changeup for his age and advanced feel for pitching, Urias has major breakout potential.