Image credit: (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
Baseball America’s weekly Hot Sheet continues for the Arizona Fall League. Josh Norris ranks the 10 hottest prospects from the second week of Fall League action. You can see last week’s Hot Sheet here.
1. Liam Hicks, C, Rangers
Why He’s Here: .917/.933/1.083 (11-for-12), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 BB, 1 SO
The Scoop: Hicks’ huge week centered around one of the best days in the AFL in the last 15 years. The Rangers’ prospect went 6-for-6 against Scottsdale, notching the league’s first six-hit game since 2009. Two days later, he collected hits in his first three at-bats before drawing a walk and then striking out in his final two plate appearances. He self-corrected and went 2-for-2 with two walks two days later. If you’re counting, that’s 15 plate appearances and just one out over the course of three games.
2. Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Guardians
Why He’s Here: .389/.450/1.056 (7-for-18), 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: Manzardo has shown off his power stroke in a big way in the AFL. The Washington State product and former Rays prospect homered in three straight games last week. Two of the blasts went farther than 440 feet, including a 460-foot bomb to right at Salt River Fields.
3. Colson Montgomery, SS, White Sox
Why He’s Here: .333/.333/.944 (6-for-18), 4 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 8 SO
The Scoop: Montgomery homered just eight times in the regular season because he missed a chunk of time with injuries. He has nearly reached half of that total through two weeks in the desert. The powerful middle infielder slammed three longballs, including a pair of home runs on Friday. The outburst also marked a milestone for Montgomery—it was the first multi-homer game of his career.
4. James Triantos, 2B, Cubs
Why He’s Here: .333/.474/1.000 (5-for-15), 4 R, 1 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: In 2022, two players in the Arizona Fall League finished the year with three triples—Cal Conley (Braves) and Victor Mesa Jr. (Marlins). Triantos reached that total in four games last week. That’s also the same number of triples Triantos had over the course of 83 regular-season games. The pure-hitting middle infielder’s trio of triples were part of a week with five extra-base hits, which puts him just three behind Peoria’s Jakob Marsee for the league lead in that category.
5. Ricky Tiedemann, LHP, Blue Jays
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 3.38, 8 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO, 1 HR
The Scoop: Tiedemann has continued showing his massive upside through three starts. His second start of the year matched his first by lasting five innings, and then he added a three-inning on Saturday to his ledger during the league’s showcase tripleheader at Goodyear Ballpark. Tiedemann’s filthy combination of fastball, slider and changeup have allowed him to post league bests in both innings (13) and strikeouts (18).
6. Jack Brannigan, SS, Pirates
Team: Salt River
Why He’s Here: .333/.400/.778 (6-for-18), 6 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Pittsburgh’s 2022 third-round pick out of Notre Dame had an excellent week, racking up five extra-base hits, including his first home run of the fall. The hot week follows an excellent 2023 regular season which saw him hit 18 home runs despite playing just 87 games between Low-A Bradenton and High-A Greensboro. Brannigan was also the rare Pittsburgh hitter whose splits were better away from Greensboro’s cozy home park. He produced a 1.048 OPS on the road and a .932 mark at home.
7. Jase Bowen, OF, Pirates
Team: Salt River
Why He’s Here: .444/.545/.722 (8-for-18), 5 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-2 SB
The Scoop: The Ohio high school product had a middling regular season, mostly at High-A with a cameo at Double-A Altoona in the year’s final week. In the AFL, though, Bowen has started strong, showing an intriguing bit of power and speed. He mixed a bit of both this past week, with his first homer and second triple of the fall. He’s collected 16 hits in the first two weeks of AFL play, including six for extra bases, leading to 26 total bases, which is tied for second in the league.
8. Jakob Marsee, OF, Padres
Why He’s Here: .412/.500/.588 (7-for-17), 2 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO,
The Scoop: After earning the AFL’s first Hitter of the Week honor of 2023, the Padres prospect kept right on impressing. His slugging percentage (.868) and OPS (1.442) are both tops in the league, as are his hits (19), extra-base hits (nine) and total bases (33). He’s recorded hits in eight of his nine games this fall, and had multiple hits in seven of those eight games.
9. Jackson Jobe, RHP, Tigers
Team: Salt River
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 3.38, 8 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 1 HR
The Scoop: Along with Ricky Tiedemann, Jobe has been one of the most impressive pitching prospects in the AFL. The righthander’s four-pitch mix has been outstanding, and scouts who’ve seen him feel confident that he can be a starter in the long run. With eight more strikeouts this week over the course of a pair of starts, Jobe is up to a dozen punchouts, six behind Tiedemann for the league lead.
10. Eric Brown Jr., SS, Brewers
Why He’s Here: .350/.480/.500 (7-for-20), 7 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 7 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO, 2-for-3 SB
The Scoop: Brown showed a little bit of everything in the second week of the AFL. The Brewers prospect collected seven more hits, giving him a dozen for the season, seven off the league lead. His three doubles put him two behind Jakob Marsee for first place, and his seven runs vaulted him into a logjam for the top spot on the circuit. The Coastal Carolina alum, whom Milwaukee took in the first round of the 2022 draft, has one of the better all-around skill sets in this year’s AFL.