Hot Sheet: Baseball's 10 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (10/17/22)
The Arizona Fall League Hot Sheet is here! Josh Norris ranks the 10 hottest prospects from the previous week. This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did through Oct. 16.
This simply recognizes what the hottest prospects in the minors did in the past week—it’s not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.
1. Austin Martin, SS/OF, Twins
Why He’s Here: .611/.619/.889 (11-for-18), 2 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2-for-3 SB
The Scoop: After a rough year marred by injuries and lack of impact when healthy, Martin needed a strong AFL. A third of the way through the season, mission accomplished. The 23-year-old’s .500 average puts him in a four-way tie for the league lead, and his 1.231 OPS is the fifth-best on the circuit. He’s been notably aggressive at the plate, and the result has been a ton of loud contact.
2. Heston Kjerstad, OF, Orioles
Why He’s Here: .368/.368/.789 (7-for-19), 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: Kjerstad came into the AFL needing as many reps as possible thanks to two mostly lost seasons since being drafted in 2020. Performing well would have been a bonus, but getting on the field and in the batter’s box was the primary goal. So far, he’s been one of the league’s biggest power brokers. His three home runs are second behind league leader Matt Mervis, and his .667 slugging percentage is tied for eighth. He’s shown a particularly impressive ability to use the whole field, shooting line drives and long fly balls from line to line.
3. T.J. Rumfield, 1B, Yankees
Why He’s Here: .615/.600/1.154 (8-for-13), 4 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: Rumfield came over from the Phillies in the deal that sent Donny Sands and Nick Nelson to Philly. Injuries limited him to just 209 at-bats, so he’s making up time in the AFL. He’s also hitting … a lot. The lefty swinger’s .500 average is tied with three other players for the league lead, and his .792 slugging percentage is good for third on the circuit as well.
4. Matt Mervis, 1B, Cubs
Why He’s Here: .333/.357/1.167 (4-for-12), 3 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 0 SO
The Scoop: Signed as an undrafted free agent after the five-round 2020 draft, Mervis scuffled in 2021 but emerged a new man after overhauling his swing in the offseason. This year, he climbed three levels and crunched 36 home runs while leading the minor leagues in extra-base hits. This week, he showed off his power in spades. Two of his three home runs came in the same game and were absolutely destroyed. A third showed off his pure strength when it went out despite not being hit as flush as the previous two. His four homers lead the AFL.
5. Zack Gelof, 2B, Athletics
Why He’s Here: .333/.400/.722 (6-for-18), 4 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: Gelof’s two seasons as a pro have been outstanding. He followed up a standout turn in the California League with a balanced 2022 season spent mostly at Double-A Midland. He connected for two home runs last week—both in the same game—marking his fourth multi-homer game of the season, the first of which came on Opening Day against Amarillo.
6. Andy Pages, OF, Dodgers
Why He’s Here: .429/.467/.929 (6-for-14), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 BB, 1 SO
The Scoop: Pages’ game is built around power, both at the plate and in the field, where his potent right arm can erase baserunners with ease. The 21-year-old Cuban absolutely detonated two home runs in a recent game against Salt River. Both home runs left the bat at more than 105 mph, and he added a 108 mph single in the game as well. The blasts went 410 and 424 feet, respectively.
Prospect Report: Heston Kjerstad Hits Fifth Homer In Loss
Kjerstad homered, Nick Yorke hit a grand slam and more.
7. Mason Auer, OF, Rays
Why He’s Here: .313/.313/.688 (5-for-16), 1 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-3 SB
The Scoop: Auer’s game is built around spark plug skills with a hint of power mixed in. He led the minor leagues in triples during the regular season and is doing the same in the Fall League. His three-bagger this past week gave him two in as many weeks in the AFL, placing him in a four-way tie for the AFL’s top spot. His 10 RBIs are tied for the second spot in the league, behind Scottsdale’s Heston Kjerstad (Orioles) and Scottsdale’s Luis Matos (Giants). Auer has complemented his offensive game with standout defense in center field that is neck and neck with Johan Rojas (Phillies) for the best outfield glovework in the AFL.
8. Will Wagner, 3B, Astros
Why He’s Here: .462/.533/.846 (6-for-13), 2 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: Wagner has quickly established himself as one of the purest hitters in the Fall League. The Liberty alum and son of seven-time all-star Billy Wagner has torched opposing pitchers with his tremendous ability to combine contact and impact. He’s also found himself in an usual spot at the top of the AFL’s triples leaderboard. After collecting just three triples in the regular year, he’s already got a pair in the AFL, tying him at the top with Jackson Merrill (Padres) and Cesar Prieto (Orioles). His five doubles, all of which were hit last week, are tied with Grant Lavigne (Rockies) for the league’s best.
9. Joe Mack, C, Marlins
Why He’s Here: .286/.375/.786 (4-for-14), 4 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: Mack was the Marlins’ supplemental first-round pick in 2021, out of high school in New York. He missed all but 44 games this season due to injury and is making up time in the AFL. He showed the lefthanded power stroke that made him so attractive as an amateur by slamming a pair of home runs in 14 at-bats. The two longballs represent 40% of the total he hit during the regular season.
10. John Rave, OF, Royals
Why He’s Here: .364/.417/1.000 (4-for-11), 3 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: Rave spent most of this past season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he showed power, speed and a solid understanding of the strike zone. The power aspect of his game showed up this past week, when four of his 11 hits—including two home runs—went for extra bases. His 1.258 OPS is third in the AFL behind Zac Veen (Rockies) and T.J. Rumfield (Yankees).