Hot Sheet (9/12/23): Samuel Basallo Keeps Getting Better

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Image credit: Samuel Basallo leads this week's Prospect Hot Sheet. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

The Hot Sheet is back! Baseball America’s staff ranks the 20 hottest prospects from the previous week. This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers how minor league players performed from Sept. 5-11. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Kyle Glaser, Geoff Pontes and J.J. Cooper.

This simply recognizes how the hottest prospects in the minors did in the past week—it’s not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.

Geoff Pontes answered your questions in a Prospect Hot Sheet chat. You can ask questions in advance of the chat start to get to the top of the queue.

No. 1 Samuel Basallo, C, Orioles 

Team: High-A Aberdeen (South Atlantic) 

Age: 19 

Why He’s Here: .474/.545/1.105 (9-for-19), 6 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Throughout the season the 19-year-old Basallo has been a weekly fixture on the hot sheet. After cracking the Hot Sheet Top 10 last week after playing just two games, Basallo continued his hot hitting in the final week of the High Class A season. He homered in three consecutive games on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, recording six hits and seven RBIs over those three contests. Basallo’s plus-plus power is already playing in games and hinting at middle-of-the-order impact. Basallo finished the season hitting .307/.398/.547 with 20 home runs over 110 games spanning both levels of Class A. His combination of impact and plate skills is evident from his surface level stats, as Basallo struck out in just 19.9% of plate appearances while walking 12.8% of the time. (GP)

No. 2 Raylin Heredia, OF, Phillies 

Team: Low-A Clearwater (Florida State) 

Age: 19 

Why He’s Here: .588/.611/1.000 (10-for-17), 5 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: A standout in the Florida Complex League this summer, Heredia has held his own over a month-long stint with Low-A Clearwater. A strong all-around player, Heredia has above-average tools on both sides of the ball. Heredia is an aggressive hitter with a tendency to expand the zone and swing and miss. He makes good contact at optimal launch angles which allows Heredia to get the most out of his power. Last week Heredia multiple hits in all four games he started while filling up the box score with four extra base hits and a pair of stolen bases. Heredia is likely to return to Low-A Clearwater to begin 2024 where he’ll be one of the top players in the Thrashers lineup. (GP) 

3. Luis Verdugo, 3B, Cubs

Team: High-A South Bend (Midwest)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .522/.593/1.000 (12-for-23), 8 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Verdugo had a difficult season, but he progressively got better every month and finished the season with a flourish. The 22-year-old Mexico native went off versus Quad Cities in the final series of the regular season, racking up a hit in every game but one and recording three multi-hit efforts. He went 3-for-5 in the series opener, 5-for-6 with two doubles and a homer the next game and finished the series with a hit in each of the final three games. After batting .144 with a .405 OPS from April-June, Verdugo hit .322 with a .958 OPS from July-September. (KG)

No. 4 Bubba Chandler, RHP, Pirates

Team: Double-A Altoona (Eastern)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: In his time at High-A Greensboro, Chandler’s main goals involved the refinement of his control and command, especially as it pertained to his off-speed pitches. In his Double-A debut, Chandler was nearly perfect. The former two-way player got 14 whiffs in 69 pitches and turned in his third game of the season with eight or more strikeouts. There was always going to be a little bit of patience required in Chandler’s development considering his two-way background—2023 was his first season solely as a pitcher—and now it appears he’s scratching at the surface of his tremendous ceiling. (JN)

No. 5 Mick Abel, RHP, Phillies

Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Walks have been a problem for Abel all year long but this week he was in complete command. He turned in one his most efficient starts as a professional. Abel went six scoreless innings against a Portland lineup featuring six of the Red Sox Top 30 prospects. He struck out seven allowing just three batters to reach base, and entering the sixth inning had allowed just one hit and no walks. When Abel is locked in and commanding his mid-to-high-90s four-seam fastball and wipeout curveball he can be unhittable. Heading into 2024 Abel will look to tighten up his execution to find greater consistency. (GP) 

No. 6 Kevin Alcantara, OF, Cubs

Team: High-A South Bend (Midwest)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .556/.591/.944 (10-for-18), 7 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Alcantara closed his 2023 season on a high note in the Midwest League’s year-end series against Quad Cities. Over the course of the week, he smacked his 12th home run of the season and added 15th stolen base. In doing so he became one of just 15 minor leaguers 21 years old or younger with 25 or more doubles, a dozen or more home runs and 15 or more stolen bags. The feat becomes more impressive when you realize he accomplished it in 414 at-bats, which was 67 fewer at-bats than anyone else on the list. (JN)

7. Will Warren, RHP, Yankees

Team: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 SO.

The Scoop: Warren’s dominance this week is important because of how he did it. He was facing a Columbus lineup stacked with switch-hitters and lefties. Six of the nine hitters in the lineup were hitting lefty against him. Lefties had hit .286/.373/.526 against Warren since he reached Triple-A. But Warren had no trouble with the lefties this week, as he shows signs of improvement in a point of emphasis. (JC)

No. 8 Jackson Jobe, RHP, Tigers

Team: High-A West Michigan (Midwest)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-2, 2.70, 10 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 13 SO, 2 HR

The Scoop: Since returning from an early-season back injury, Jobe has been tremendous. The righthander quickly moved from Low-A to High-A, where he’s put up video game numbers. Since debuting in the Midwest League, Jobe has struck out 54 and walked just three over 40 innings. His strikeout total in that time ranks fourth in the minor leagues, just four off the lead in that span. (JN)

No. 9 Billy Cook, OF, Orioles 

Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern) 

Age: 24 

Why He’s Here: .348/.500/1.000 (8-for-23), 9 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 11 RBIs, 5 BB, 8 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: A 10th round pick out of Pepperdine, Cook has proven to be an under-the-radar gem for the Orioles. Over 116 games with Double-A Bowie, Cook has hit .259/.326/.471 with 24 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Cook is one of two players in all of minor league baseball with 24 or more home runs and 30 or more stolen bases. Last week Cook pushed his home run total to 20 and beyond with four home runs over the first three games of Bowie’s series against New Hampshire. Cook reached base safely in all six games and recorded a run and an RBI in four out of six games. Cook shows average plate skills with above-average impact, his underlying exit velocity data is strong with a 106 mph 90th percentile exit velocity. (GP) 

10. Ben Rice, C, Yankees

Team: Double-A Somerset (Eastern)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .500/.577/.773 (11-for-22) 3 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS

The Scoop: Even now, just six games from the end of the 2023 Double-A season, there remains some understandable skepticism about Rice. A 12th-round pick out of Dartmouth in 2021, Rice barely had a college career thanks to the 2020 season being shortened and the 2021 Ivy League season being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But wherever Rice has gone, he’s hit. He was the Futures League MVP in the summer of 2020. He hit .300 in 30 at-bats in the Cape Cod League in 2021 before he signed with the Yankees. And this season, he’s hit in every month of the season. His worst month this year saw him post a .397 on-base percentage. His worst month saw him post a .523 slugging percentage. He’s a career .291/.399/.524 minor league hitter. Yes, he’s slightly old for the level. Yes, he’s got more to prove defensively as a catcher. But Rice’s offensive stats aren’t a fluke. He makes good swing decisions, makes plenty of contact and hits the ball hard. (JC)

11. Jake Gelof, 3B, Dodgers

Team: Low-A Rancho Cucamonga (California)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .360/.407/.920 (9-for-25), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 16 RBIs, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Gelof finished his pro debut on a high note. The 2023 second-round pick hit four home runs and drove in an astounding 16 runs in six games against Visalia to close out the season. Gelof had a homer and five RBIs in the series opener, homered and drove in four in the second game, hit a two-run homer in the penultimate game and finished off with a homer and five RBIs in the final game of the series. Overall, 16 of his 27 RBIs on the season came during the series. (KG)

No. 12 Cade Povich, LHP, Orioles

Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 9 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Povich, picked up from the Twins in the same deal that brought Yennier Cano to Baltimore, is looking like another shrewd pickup. The Nebraska alum has been inconsistent this season, but his 157 strikeouts—including nine more this past week—are tied with Seattle’s Reid VanScoter for the fifth-most in the minor leagues. The total also puts him atop Baltimore’s minor league leaderboard in that category. He’s going to have to iron out his command and control, but he’s clearly shown the ability to miss bats. (JN)

13. Jace Jung, 2B, Tigers

Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .280/.400/.880 (7-for-25) 6 R, 5 HR, 10 RBIs, 5 BB, 11 SO.

The Scoop: It’s weird to highlight this in a week where Jung hit five home runs to get him to 27 home runs overall, but Jung’s most present surprise this year is his defense. This isn’t to say Jung is a future Gold Glover in the majors, but his work at second base has been better than expected and gives him a solid shot to stick at the position. That’s good news for a Tigers team that doesn’t exactly have anyone at second base standing in his way. (JC)

14. Ryan Murphy, RHP, Giants

Team: Double-A Richmond (Eastern)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 10 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: After a difficult first half, Murphy has hit his stride after the all-star break and is staying hot through the end of the season. The 23-year-old righthander delivered back-to-back starts of five scoreless innings against Akron last week. Murphy pitched five innings with three hits and one walk allowed and five strikeouts in the series opener and followed with five innings, two hits and one walk allowed and five strikeouts in the finale. After posting a 5.12 ERA through the all-star break, Murphy has a 2.36 ERA after the break. (KG)

15. Cam Fisher, OF, Astros

Team: Low-A Fayetteville (Carolina)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .304/.387/.805 (7-for-23) 6 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 9 SO, 1 SB.

The Scoop: After a monster season at Charlotte where he hit 30 home runs while walking more than he struck out, Fisher had just one home run in his first 26 games as a pro. This week he fixed that with a power surge that showed off his all-fields power. Twice he hit balls that cleared the right field wall with such ease that the right fielder didn’t really have much of anything to do. But he also homered to left center and left field. (JC)

16. Christian Franklin, OF, Cubs

Team: High-A South Bend (Midwest)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .438/.565/.688 (7-for-16) 8 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO, 2 SB.

The Scoop: Going back to his days at Arkansas, Franklin has always known how to draw a walk, but he’s also faced concerns about his passive approach. The craziest stat of Franklin’s season may be that his three-hit game this week is his first of the season. Franklin has six games this year where he’s reached base four times in a game, but every one of them has had as many hit-by-pitches and walks as hits. Franklin has been moved to left and right field full-time in the past month, but his ability to play all three outfield spots as well as that lofty OBP is his path to the big leagues. (JC)

No. 17 Ryan Webb, LHP, Guardians

Team: High-A Lake County (Midwest)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.75, 12 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: After breaking out in 2021 with Georgia, Webb suffered an elbow injury and needed Tommy John surgery. He returned in 2022 making 11 appearances with Low-A Lynchburg. He’s been mostly healthy in 2023 and has started to return to the form that made him one of the most interesting lefthanded pitchers in the 2021 draft class. Last week Webb went six innings in each of his two starts, allowing a total of 12 baserunners and one earned run. Webb struck out 10 while walking three, showing command and the ability to work around the zone and execute. Webb mixes a low-90s fastball with two breaking balls in an upper-70s curveball with two-plane break, a tight slider in the low-to-mid-80s and a changeup. All of Webb’s secondaries boast above-average to plus whiff rates. (GP) 

18. Darren Baker, 2B, Nationals

Team: Triple-A Rochester (International)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .542/.542/.583 (13-for-24), 2 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: With the Nationals rebuilding, Baker is forcing the club to take a look at him as a potential big-league option next year. Dusty’s son recorded multiple hits in all five games he played against Syracuse last week, including a four-hit game in the series finale. Overall Baker is batting .285/.350/.362 at Triple-A, showing the contact ability and speed to impact a game in positive ways. (KG)

No. 19 Colt Emerson, SS, Mariners

Team: Low-A Modesto (California)

Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .346/.416/.462 (9-for-26), 8 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBIs, 3 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Seattle’s first-round pick has had a smashing start to his professional career. The prep product crushed the competition in the Arizona Complex League, then moved to Low-A and kept on hitting. Emerson’s walks (17) were nearly equal to his strikeouts (20) and he showed a modicum of power at both stops. Seattle dealt a pair of high-end shortstop prospects in Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo in their deal to get Luis Castillo two summers ago. In Emerson, they have begun to replenish their depth at the position. (JN)

20. Reid VanScoter, LHP, Mariners

Team: High-A Everett (Northwest)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.34, 6 2IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: A fifth-round pick out of Coastal Carolina in 2022, VanScoter impressed throughout his pro debut and finished the season strong. The 6-foot lefty struck out a season-high 12 batters against Eugene in his final start of the season, giving him 157 strikeouts in 143.1 innings on the year. VanScoter struck out five of the final six batters he faced, including Grant McCray to finish his night and set a new season-high. With the effort, VanScoter finished the season leading the NWL in strikeouts. (KG)


Trevor Werner, 3B, Royals 

Team: Low-A Columbia (Carolina)

Age: 23 

Why He’s Here: .409/.500/.727 (9-for-22), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 4 BB, 4 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: It’s common for an advanced college hitter to beat up on Low-A pitching post draft, and Trevor Werner has done just that so far in his professional career. Werner spent four seasons at Texas A&M before he was selected by the Royals in the seventh round this July. Werner lit the Carolina League ablaze for 31 games hitting .354/.459/.699 with 21 extra base hits. While the production speaks for itself, it’s Werner’s underlying data that has his name buzzing in the seasons closing weeks. Werner boasts some of the best impact data with a 108 mph 90th percentile exit velocity, a .505 xwOBAcon (Expected weighted On Base Average on Contact), and a barrel rate above 25%. In addition to the plus-plus impact, Werner has shown above-average plate skills with a contact rate in the high-70s and a chase rate under 25%. This combination of impact and skills has seen similarly unheralded college players like Zach Denzenzo rocket to valued prospect status. (GP)

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