Prospect Hot Sheet: May 8

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Prospect Hot Sheets

We’re only a month into the season, but already we’re starting to see some familiar names on the Hot Sheet. Just like he did last year, Tommy Hanson has settled onto the Sheet and it looks like it will take a promotion to the big leagues to get him off. Hot-cold-hot hitter Fernando Martinez keeps popping up as well.

Remember as always, this is not a re-ranking of our
Top 100 Prospects list. Instead, it’s a snapshot of who are the hottest
prospects in baseball right
now, with stats taken from the past week of games (May 1-7).

Contributing: Ben Badler, Kary Booher,
J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy and


Triple-A New Orleans (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .522/.625/1.043 (12-for-23), 3 HR, 3 2B, 14 RBIs, 8 BB, 0 SO, 4-for-5 SB
The Scoop: We’ve got a Marlin atop the Hot Sheet for the second time in three weeks, but it’s not one of the usual suspects. Coghlan’s name is easy to overlook behind the likes of Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison, Matt Dominguez and Kyle Skipworth in Florida’s loaded system, but his bat has been as loud as anyone’s through his first 25 games in Triple-A.

A disciplined, professional hitter, Coghlan has anchored New Orleans’ lineup along with first baseman Gaby Sanchez (who’s currently sidelined with a sprained right knee) by hitting .344/.418/.552 through 96 at-bats. He leads the Zephyrs in average, RBIs (22) and stolen bases (9-for-10). He’s always had gap power, but home runs generally haven’t been one of Coghlan’s trademarks, as he hit only 19 over his first three pro seasons combined and had none this year before this week. Yet Coghlan slugged three long balls this week, including two in back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday against Round Rock.

To cap a fine week’s work, Coghlan received his first big league callup today.


Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here:
1-0, 0.00, 13 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 18 SO
A reliever in 2007 and the first half of the 2008 season,
Medlen has been nearly untouchable since the Braves made him a starter
last June with Double-A Mississippi. Medlen had a 3.11 ERA in 17 starts
last year with 90 strikeouts and 21 walks in 89 2/3 innings. This year?
It’s only been better in Triple-A, where Medlen has a 1.17 ERA in 30
2/3 innings with 38 strikeouts and seven walks. His low-90s fastball
and plus curveball could carry him into the big league rotation—perhaps

high Class A Clearwater (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .400/.484/.840 (10-for-25), 2 HR, 3 2B, 1 3B, 7 R, 4 RBIs, 5 BB, 7 SO, 3-for-6 SB
The Scoop: A 20th-round pick out of Redan, Ga., in 2006, Brown continues to assert himself as the top prospect in the Phillies system. The obvious concerns have centered on his power as a lefthanded hitter, but Brown has parlayed a nine-homer season last year at low Class A Lakewood into a—get this—a five home-run campaign in the FSL, which is no easy task. He hit just 12 points below .300 last month, giving him just the right momentum to take into May, in which he has six multi-hit performances in his past 10 games.

Team: low Class A Fort Wayne (Midwest)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 11 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: Numerous injuries have slowed the start of Latos’ career. He was plagued by shoulder and oblique problems last year and didn’t get back on the mound until this week after battling an ankle injury this spring, but he made a loud statement when he did. Latos made his season debut last Saturday by coming out of the bullpen and tossing six shutout innings against Dayton. He then made his first start last night against Kane County, one of the MWL’s better offensive teams, and threw 5 2/3 shutout innings and fanned six. Latos’ stuff has never been in doubt, and he shouldn’t stay in low Class A long if he stays injury free and keeps dominating.

Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .538/.613/.654 (14-for-26), 3 2B, 6 RBIs, 5 BB, 3 SO, 5-for-5 SB
The Scoop: Pettit emerged on Hot Sheet a week ago on the strength of a strong finish to April in which he had a four-hit game on April 28. He delivered another four-hit performance on Wednesday in what’s becoming an interesting storyline in the Angels system. Pettit suffered a broken ankle on Opening Day last year and missed half the season before recovering in time to play in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .359/.417/.545 in 37 games.

Team: Triple-A Buffalo (International)
Why He’s Here:
.458/.480/.917 (11-for-24), 2 HR, 3 2B, 1 3B, 6 RBIs, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop:
Martinez earned not-so hot honors last week for going 1-for-18, but even then we noted that he was just as likely to crack the Hot Sheet on the positive side of the ledger the next time around. Mission accomplished. While the Bisons remain mired in last place in the Northern Division at 5-20, they have won three of their last six games, which amounts to a hot streak for them. Martinez has been a big part of their renaissance, chipping in four multi-hit games on the week, while homering twice. He now leads the IL with 11 doubles and 16 extra-base hits, but most encouragingly, he’s slashed his strikeout rate from one every 3.8 at-bats in April to one every 12 so far in May.


Team: Double-A Midland (Texas)
Why He’s Here:
.588/.611/1.471 (10-for-17), 3 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop:
Brown didn’t get as much playing time this week as some of his fellow Hot Sheet representatives, but what he did when he was on the field was remarkable. Brown has only played in 13 games all season due to injury, but he’s made the most of his playing time by going 20-for-46 with six doubles, four homers and six walks, good enough for a .435/.509/.826 batting line. Brown struck out at an alarming rate last year, but so far he hasn’t shown major contact issues, with 11 strikeouts in 53 plate appearances.

Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.50, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 10 SO
The Scoop: Hanson’s stuff is making Triple-A hitters look downright silly. His ability to miss bats has helped him compile a 1.65 ERA, with a plus fastball and a pair of breaking balls that are consistently plus to plus-plus offerings. His numbers this year—48 strikeouts and 11 walks in 32 2/3 innings—look remarkably similar to another pitching prospect who breezed though Triple-A in 2007 with 46 strikeouts and 11 walks in 31 innings: Tim Lincecum.
Team: low Class A Lexington (South Atlantic)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 2.84 ERA, 12 2/3 IP, 12 H, 4 R, 2 HR, 0 BB, 15 SO
The Scoop: A key piece of the Astros’ 2008 draft class (first round supplemental), Lyles is becoming a central conversation piece in the South Atlantic League—and doing it on a staff that also features supplemental third-round pick Ross Seaton, who ranks second in the league in ERA. Lyles, who signed out of Hartsville, S.C., for $930,000, ranks fourth in the SAL in strikeouts (35) and has issued just six walks in 30 2/3 innings. His last start was his best so far as the righthander struck out eight and yielded a home run in seven innings.

Team: Triple-A Tacoma (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here:
.318/.444/1.399 (7-for-22), 4 HR, 2 2B, 7 RBIs, 6 R, 4 BB, 7 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop:
Saunders would have been forgiven for staring slow upon his return to the field last Thursday. He missed all of April while he recovered from offseason surgery to the labrum of his right shoulder. He did just the opposite, though, belting a three-run home run in a Rainiers win. While that game does not count toward Saunders’ Hot Sheet candidacy this time around, he did more than enough in his six other games—better, in fact—to make the cut. He’s now homered in four of his seven games, hitting two in a game at Salt Lake on May 4, and seven of his hits on the year have gone for extra bases. 

Team: low Class A Bowling Green (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.86, 9 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 16 SO
The Scoop: In an organization overflowing with prospects, Moore could easily get lost in any conversation. But he’s hard not to notice lately. The Rays’ eighth-round pick from the 2007 draft, Moore won the Rookie-level Appalachian League’s ERA title last summer and is starting to pick up steam after shaking off some erratic command issues. He issued 16 walks in April, but is narrowing that figure while bumping up his strikeouts. By the way, he has a .151 opponent’s average for the season.

Team: high Class A Kinston (Carolina)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .500/.519/.808 (13-for-26), 5 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: Chisenhall is just 20, but he has the hitting acumen of a much more experienced player. The Indians’ first-round pick last year, the lefthanded-batting Chisenhall stays balanced at the plate and shows the ability with his hands to adjust to offspeed pitches, which helps him stay in against lefthanded pitching and hit the ball to all fields. He’s off to a .327/.383/.527 start in 26 games, all while adjusting to the transition from shortstop to third base.

Team: high Class A Clearwater (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here:
0-0, 2.38, 11 1/3 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 15 SO
The Scoop:Drabek not only is bucking for a promotion but he’s apparently
politicking for weekly pub in Hot Sheet. A 2006 first-round pick out of
The Woodlands (Texas) High, Drabek is cutting a swath through
the FSL. His 15 strikeouts give him a league-leading
46 in 35 2/3 innings, in which he’s yielded only nine walks. It’s quite
a run considering Drabek missed most of last season because of Tommy
John surgery.


Is anybody going to stop Double-A Montgomery CF Desmond Jennings (Rays)? He hit .464/.469/607 (13-for-28) with two more doubles, another triple and six more RBIs since the calendar flipped to May. Overall, the 22-year-old is batting .377/.409/.605 with three home runs, seven doubles, five triples and 22 RBIs. And Montgomery still has 112 games to go . . . Low Class A Fort Wayne LF Jaff Decker (Padres) didn’t fare well in the cold climates of the Midwest League in April, but the 19-year-old is heating up. Since May 1, the Padres’ 2008 first-round supplemental pick has batted .357/.640/.714 (5-for-14) with two doubles and a home run on Thursday night . . . High Class A Modesto SS Hector Gomez (Rockies) batted a symmetrical .333/.333/.333 last season for the Nuts, collecting a single in three at-bats before suffering a stress fracture in his left shin. While rehabbing that injury he subsequently had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire year. The 21-year-old has quickly regained his stroke in the California League, however, batting .407/.414/1.266 (11-for-27) this week with two home runs, six doubles, eight RBIs and five runs scored. An excellent defender, Gomez collected a typical one walk and five strikeouts, a ratio that may cut into the shortstop’s power output as the season progresses . . . Low Class A Asheville LHP Christian Friedrich (Rockies) has nothing left to prove at the Low-A level. Friedrich, 21, has made five starts and dominated all of them, holding Sally League hitters to a .188 average while piling up a 45-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 29 innings. He threw six shutout innings against Charleston in his lone start this week, allowing only four hits and striking out 10 . . . Low Class A Greenville RHP Casey Kelly (Red Sox) actually allowed a few runs in his final start of April, but got back into form this week. Kelly turned in his longest outing of the year, throwing 5 2/3 shutout innings against Charleston. The 19-year-old allowed two hits, a walk and struck out four, improving to 4-0, 0.70 through five starts . . . Low Class A Wisconsin 2B Brett Lawrie (Brewers) has continued has demolition of Midwest League pitching. The 19-year-old batted .444/.500/.667 (12-for-27) with a home run, a double and a triple on the week, upping his line for the year to .330/.381/.596 with four home runs and 20 RBIs . . . The Dodgers knew they had a great athlete in SS Devaris Gordon, but he’s proven to be a much more polished baseball player than expected. Gordon is proving to be the best hitter in a very deep low Class A Great Lakes lineup, as the 21-year-old showed again this week by batting .406/.472/.625 (13-for-32) with two doubles, a triple, a home run and seven steals in seven attempts.


David Price, lhp, Rays: What’s wrong with David Price? Much of it appears to be command. He’s throwing in the low-90s and touching the mid-90s with his fastball, but he’s not throwing enough strikes and not throwing good enough strikes when he does get the ball over the plate. Price, 23, made two starts this week for Triple-A Durham, giving up a total of 10 runs (six earned) in 7 2/3 innings with eight walks and only one strikeout. Hitters are being aggressive against Price when he’s left his stuff up in the zone or out over the plate, leading to Price’s 4.74 ERA in 24 2/3 innings with 16 walks, 21 strikeouts and four home runs allowed.

Lars Anderson, 1b, Red Sox: Anderson might be hitting his first speed bump along his fast track to the major leagues. The 21-year-old returned to Double-A Portland to open 2009 and is off to an uncharacteristic .248/.300/.386 start through 101 at-bats. His bat should warm up as the Eastern League weather does, but to this point, Anderson has only homered twice to go with 15 RBIs. The usually disciplined Anderson hit only .115/.179/.192 (3-for-26) with seven strikeouts this week.

Michael Main, rhp, Rangers:
The Cal League is not a good place for a fly-ball pitcher like Main, but that alone is not enough to explain the 20-year-old’s early struggles with high Class A Bakersfield. Main’s ERA sits at 8.39 through six starts, with a 19-16 K-BB mark and 37 hits allowed in 24 2/3 innings of work.

Charlie Culberson, 3b, Giants: Being sent back to the same level you played the year before is never a good sign. But in Culberson’s case, it was exacerbated by the fact that he’s moved from shortstop to the more offensively demanding third base. Thus far, his bat hasn’t been up to the challenge. In his second stint with low Class A Augusta, Culberton batted .048/.167/048 (1-for-21) this week and has only one extra base hit this year.


Jordan Pratt, rhp, Dodgers: The low Class A Great Lakes Loons, the Midwest League affiliate of the
Dodgers, is stacked with prospects, such as shortstop Devaris Gordon,
righthander Ethan Martin and outfielder Kyle Russell. Down on the
roster is hard-throwing righthander Jordan Pratt, who turns 25 on May
17 and is still trying to climb out of A-ball. Los Angeles’ fifth-round pick in 2003 from Independence, Ore., he compiled 10 strikeouts in five scoreless innings of relief this week. But he has 18
strikeouts and 15 walks, including seven in two innings on April 28, in
16 innings this year.


Former Royals lefthander Jimmy Gobble got his walking papers late in spring training at the behest of Kansas City manager Trey Hillman, who is not a fan of lefty specialists. It didn’t help that the Royals had signed Juan Cruz to join a bullpen that also included Ron Mahay and Kyle Farnsworth. Gobble is now on his third organization (White Sox) at Triple-A Charlotte, after being signed and released in camp as well by the Rangers. Through Thursday, he was 0-0, 4.91 in 11 innings.


Team: high Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .344/.400/.625 (11-for-32), 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 7 R, 3 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: The Padres used a fourth-round pick in 2007 to select Zawadzki from NAIA Lee (Tenn.). But because San Diego had so many extra picks that year, Zawadzki was just their 11th player taken. He played well, if unspectacularly, last season with low Class A Fort Wayne, batting .273/.352/.399 with 26 doubles and seven homers in 454 at-bats. A switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate, Zawadzki missed a handful of games this spring as he recovered from a strained right oblique, but all he’s done is hit since returning on April 16. He’s up to .349/.431/.683 with seven homers in 17 games on the year, shifting between second base and shortstop for the Storm. The former position may suit Zawadzki better, as he tends to be a fundamentally inconsistent defensive shortstop.
Team: high Class A St. Lucie (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .296/.387/.778 (8-for-27), 3 HR, 2 2B, 1 3B, 7 RBIs, 6 R, 3 BB, 9 SO
The Scoop: Because Nieuwenhuis plays on the same St. Lucie squad as the Mets’ top three picks from last year’s draft—Ike Davis, Reese Havens and Brad Holt—he tends to blend into the background. But the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Nieuwenhuis first caught the Mets’ attention last year when VP of scouting Sandy Johnson fell for the center fielder’s physicality and strong lefthanded swing. Though he played for NAIA Azusa Pacific (Calif.), the Mets nevertheless invested a third-round pick in him last year, after which he batted a solid .277/.348/.396 with six doubles and five homers in 285 at-bats for short-season Brooklyn. A solid center field defender with a strong arm, Nieuwenhuis struggled with the speed of high Class A in April (.231/.310/.359), but he’s off to the fine start in May (see above).