This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet—the final one of 2015—covers games from Aug. 28-Sept. 3. Remember, this feature simply recognizes the hottest prospects in the minors during the past week—it's not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.
Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Josh Norris and Vince Lara-Cinisomo
1. Deivi Grullon, c, Phillies
Team: low Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)
Why He's Here: .519/.594/.852 (14-for-27), 8 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBIs, 5 BB, 7 SO
Grullon has not had a great year. That much is inarguable. Even so, he's a 19-year-old catcher in the South Atlantic League, which means he still has prospect sheen. It also doesn't hurt that he raised his OPS 200 points in the second half, and he put together a stellar week that included his second set of back-to-back days with home runs. Grullon’s promotion to Lakewood was aggressive and typical of the way the Phillies handle their young, high-end prospects. Carlos Tocci, for example, spent three years in the SAL and is now holding his own as a 19-year-old at high Class A Clearwater.
2. Danry Vasquez, lf, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Why He's Here: .536/.552/.821, 9 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB
In the final weeks of the season, Vasquez rebounded from a rough stint in the Texas League. He has average feel to hit, but it doesn’t appear the power projection some scouts saw will ever come. His lack of foot speed and average-at-best defense hurt his chances to be more than an extra outfielder.
3. Yairo Munoz, ss, Athletics
Team: high Class A Stockton (California)
Why He's Here: .500/.607/.773 (11-for-22), 6 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 5 BB, 3 SO
Gifted with an excellent arm and the tools to potentially stick at shortstop, Munoz impressed evaluators at low Class A Beloit with his pop and hitting ability even if his .236/.278/.363 line may not make that apparent. Munoz has performed even better in the much friendlier hitting environment of the California League. While the Athletics may have traded away Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson, shortstop remains a system strength with Chad Pinder at Double-A Midland, Franklin Barreto at Stockton (but on the disabled list) and Munoz.
4. Sean Manaea, lhp, Athletics
Team: Double-A Midland (Texas)
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.00, 13 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 20 SO, 3 BB
The jewel of the deal that sent Ben Zobrist to the Royals, Manaea has been nails since switching organizations. He brings a plus fastball, potentially plus slider and an average changeup to the table. He's used that mix to put up a 6-0, 1.90 mark at Midland. He'll look to continue his strong finish in the Arizona Fall League, where he'll make up for lost time after missing the first 10 weeks of the season.
5. J.D. Davis, 3b, Astros
Team: high Class A Lancaster (California)
Why He's Here: .385/.448/.923 (10-for-26), 9 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO
Davis has had a difficult time standing out for a Lancaster team that also included A.J. Reed (until his promotion) and Derek Fisher. The Astros had great success drafting productive college bats in 2014, and Davis has been the least publicized of the three. But a smooth transition to third base, where he can be an average defender, and plus power have made people take notice now. He leads the California League with 100 RBIs.
6. Rymer Liriano, rf, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Why He's Here: .429/.484/.786 (12-for-28), 6 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 SO
At least one member of the Padres organization looks forward to Justin Upton's departure this offseason via free agency. First, though, Liriano must help guide El Paso to a playoff spot in the Pacific Coast League. After that, a September callup is probable. Liriano, in nearly 600 times up in the PCL the past two seasons, has hit .285 with a .160 isolated slugging percentage and 24 percent strikeouts. Translated to the majors, that performance probably makes him a second-division starter.
7. Matt Olson, rf/1b, Athletics
Team: Double-A Midland (Texas)
Why He's Here: .474/.583/.895 (9-for-19), 5 R, 5 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 5 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB
Perhaps no hitter has suffered as much in a move from the California to Texas league as Olson. One scout who saw him recently said Olson has hit a handful of balls at Midland’s Security Bank Ballpark that would have gone out in any other league park. He continues to hit the ball hard and show good plate discipline, and the whopping strikeout rate (24 percent) is the product of taking as many pitches as Olson does.
8. A.J. Reed, 1b, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Why He's Here: .377/.455/.889 (10-for-27), 9 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO
As the season draws to a close, Reed keeps hitting and is putting together a strong finish to the best offensive campaign in the minors. He added four more home runs and 12 more RBIs this week, bringing his totals to 34 and 124. Both those totals lead the minor leagues, and his .344 average puts him among the top five in that category. While Reed’s body is less than ideal, and he's limited to first base, he can hit, hit for power and control the strike zone. He'll look to continue his success in the Arizona Fall League.
9. Jacob Faria, rhp, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Why He's Here: 2-0, 1.13, 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 21 SO, 4 BB, 1 HBP
A 10th-round pick in 2011 from high school in Cerritos, Calif., Faria leads the minors with 17 wins, ranks third with a 1.92 ERA and places fifth with 159 strikeouts. He commands two solid secondary pitches and sits in the low 90s, mixing his offerings adeptly to ring up 96 strikeouts in 75 innings following his second-half promotion to Montgomery.
10. Domingo Acevedo, rhp, Yankees
Team: short-season Staten Island (New York-Penn)
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 8 SO, 2 BB
A big man with an electric arsenal, Acevedo has found another gear of late. He hit triple digits in each of his past three starts, including as high as 103 mph in a recent outing. He fanned eight in six shutout innings his last time out and has allowed just 16 hints in August, spanning 26 innings. He has fanned 28 in that period. Acevedo couples his fastball with an above-average changeup and improving slider. At 6-foot-7 and 200-plus pounds, he has big-time potential.
11. Jesus Aguilar, 1b, Indians
Team: Triple-A Columbus (International)
Why He's Here: .429/.485/.857 (12-for-28), 5 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 BB, 8 SO
Can Aguilar ever break through and prove he's more than just a 4-A slugger? That remains the knock for the 6-foot-3, 250-pound righthanded hitter who has batted .265/.331/.434 with 18 home runs in 128 games in the International League. That’s a solid—but not great—showing for a 25-year-old who has struggling during his brief big league time.
12. Mauricio Dubon, ss, Red Sox
Team: high Class A Salem (Carolina)
Why He's Here: .400/.464/.600 (10-for-25), 8 R, 5 2B, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, 2 SO, 4-for-4 SB
The Scoop: After beginning the year on a low Class A Greenville overstocked with infielders—shortstop Javier Guerra, second baseman Yoan Moncada and third basemen Rafael Devers and Michael Chavis—Dubon moved up to the Carolina League, where he continues to show excellent bat control. Dubon already has exceeded expectations as a 26th-round pick in 2013, though he's going to have to start driving the ball with more authority to have success against better pitchers after slugging just .320 through 59 games.
13. Victor Reyes, rf, Diamondbacks
Team: low Class A Kane County (Midwest)
Why He's Here: .476/.522/.667 (10-for-21), 5 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 0 SO
The Scoop: Even though he's repeating the low Class A level this season, Reyes is a promising, 20-year-old switch-hitter who ranks fifth in the Midwest League batting race at .307. He makes a ton of contact, but the home run he hit this week was his first of the season, and the 6-foot-3 Venezuelan has a lot of remaining development on that front. The D-backs acquired Reyes in April by sending a supplemental second-round pick to the Braves, which Atlanta used to draft Texas A&M lefty A.J. Minter.
14. Clayton Blackburn, rhp, Giants
Team: Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 SO
The Scoop: After Blackburn missed the first month and then endured a rough May, he has rebuilt his stock unlike any pitcher in the Giants organization. Scouts were perplexed when Blackburn’s stuff backed up early in the season, perhaps because he was rehabbing a shoulder injury. Whatever the case, he had a tremendous second half, finishing with a 1.98 ERA in August.
15. Spencer Turnbull, rhp, Tigers
Team: low Class A West Michigan (Midwest)
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: Turnbull is the perfect example of the type of pitcher the Tigers like to draft. He pitched in the Southeastern Conference (at Alabama), he throws hard (92-97 mph) and he has a delivery that caused other teams to immediately peg him as a reliever. In his first full season, he also checked up another step in the Tigers' normal development plan by remaining at West Michigan when his stuff and results indicate he's ready to handle a promotion. Turnbull has improved his secondary stuff and his control this season.
16. Yency Almonte, rhp, White Sox
Team: high Class A Salem (Carolina)
Why He's Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: When Almonte is at his best, he pounds the strike zone with a low-90s fastball he can run up to 95 mph, and he can put hitters away with his slider. That was the case on Sunday against Frederick, where Almonte struck out 12 batters after striking out 10 in his previous three starts combined.
17. Richard Urena, ss, Blue Jays
Team: low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
Why He's Here: .344/.400/.594 (11-for-32), 7 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Urena has hit more home runs in the Midwest League (14) than any teen shortstop since Nick Franklin hit 23 in 2010. Following a 30-game trial at high Class A Dunedin in July (.583 OPS), Urena has returned to Lansing to hit .280/.302/.427 with seven extra-base hits, including two home runs, in 20 games. He's an intriguing shortstop prospect for the long term, but for now he must improve his plate discipline after posting a 0.13 walk-to-strikeout ratio that ranks among the 10 worst in the minors.
18. Josh Bell, 1b, Pirates
Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)
Why He's Here: .417/.516/.458 (10-for-24), 6 R, 1 2B, 3 RBIs, 5 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: Bell still has plenty of work to do on his defense at his new position, and scouts continue to debate whether his righthanded swing is good enough to play at the big league level. But those are items left on the to-do list when Bell (probably) repeats the International League in 2016. While Bell’s righthanded swing is conducive to hitting for average with little pop, his more-important lefthanded swing shows plenty of power to go with a feel for hitting as his .380/.485/.582 split at Indianapolis shows.
19. Mike Clevinger, rhp, Indians
Team: Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.69, 2 G, 1 GS, 13 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 14 SO
The Scoop: Clevinger stagnated with the Angels, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2011. Part of that was due to Tommy John surgery he had in 2012, wiping out nearly all of his 2013 season. He then got lit up in 2014 with a 5.37 ERA as a 23-year-old in high Class A Inland Empire. When the Indians traded reliever Vinnie Pestano to the Angels in August 2014, Clevinger was the player they received in return. That could prove to be a shrewd move, for Clevinger leads the Eastern League in strikeouts (145) while posting a 2.73 ERA in 158 innings, a promising sign for his post-TJ durability. Given the Indians' recent track record for finishing the development for power starters—Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber—Clevinger's re-emergence since joining the organization is notable.
20. Dwight Smith Jr., lf, Blue Jays
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Why He's Here: .417/.500/.583 (10-for-24), 5 R, 4 2B, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, 0 SO
The Scoop: Following a breakout season at high Class A Dunedin in 2014, Smith looked flat in the early stages of this season at New Hampshire, but his bat has emerged in the second half. Since Aug. 1, Smith has hit .270/.365/.450 with 12 extra-base hits and a 14/13 BB/SO ratio in 27 games.