Hot Sheet: Baseball’s 10 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (10/24/22)

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. 23.

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. Zach Britton, OF, Blue Jays
Team: Salt River
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .692/.733/1.154 (9-for-13), 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 0 SO

The Scoop: The Louisville alum has been on fire in the desert. Britton’s nine hits pushed him into the AFL lead in batting average and on-base percentage, with marks of .500 and .553. The 24-year-old didn’t hit for a high average during the regular season, which he split between High-A and Double-A, but he showed strong on-base skills, including a walk rate of 16.9% between the levels. 

2. Connor Thomas, LHP, Cardinals
Team: Salt River 
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.25, 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: In his third start of the AFL, Thomas accomplished a very rare feat. He struck out 10 hitters in his four innings, which has only been done five times since 2005. According to research by MLB, the only other pitchers to record double-digit strikeouts in a Fall League game are Kyle Zimmer, Jered Weaver, Phil Hughes, Tommy Hanson and Bill Murphy. Thomas’ 17 strikeouts lead the league. 

3. Edouard Julien, 2B, Twins
Team: Glendale
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .462/.611/1.154 (6-for-13), 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 5 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: The eagle-eyed Auburn alum showed in his third AFL week that he can make impact on contact, too. Five of his six hits went for extra bases, including three doubles and two home runs. All three of his triple-slash categories rank among the league’s top 10, including a .543 on-base percentage that places him behind only Zach Britton


4. Tyler Hardman, 3B, Yankees
Team: Mesa
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .294/.333/.765 (5-for-17), 4 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Hardman lived up to his name this week by hitting a lot of balls hard, man. All five of the third baseman’s hits went for extra bases, including three doubles, a triple and a home run. That continues a trend from his work in the regular season, when 40 of his 104 hits at High-A (38.4%) were either doubles, triples or home runs. His 25 total bases in the Fall League place him in a five-way tie for fifth. 

5. Cal Conley, SS, Braves
Team: Scottsdale
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .294/.294/.647 (5-for-17), 3 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 0 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The Texas Tech alum continued his stellar AFL campaign by swatting his first two home runs, including an inside-the-parker. Conley has hit for both average and power during his Fall League stint. His seven extra-base hits are tied for second on the circuit and his 25 total bases are tied for fifth. He’s also swiped seven bases, which places him third in the league behind Salt River’s Zac Veen (Rockies). 

6. Heston Kjerstad, OF, Orioles
Team: Scottsdale
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .412/.444/.647 (7-for-17), 1 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: As he continues to get reps, Kjerstad continues to impress. The Orioles outfielder has shown some swing-and-miss tendencies—his 17 punchouts are second behind only Rece Hinds (Reds)—but makes impact when he makes contact. Kjerstad’s two extra-base hits this past week added to his league-best total of nine, two ahead of a quintet of prospects. His four home runs also have him in a three-way tie for the league’s best, along with Matt Mervis (Cubs) and Stephen Scott (Red Sox).  


7. Henry Davis, C, Pirates
Team: Surprise
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .385/.438/.769 (5-for-13), 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: The former No. 1 overall pick is making up reps after spending several stints on the injured list in a year spent mostly at Double-A Altoona. Davis’ two doubles gave him five for the fall, two behind league leader Nick Yorke (Red Sox). Davis and fellow Pittsburgh prospect Endy Rodriguez give the Pirates two enticing choices for the team’s catcher of the future. 

8. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF, Phillies
Team: Surprise
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .400/.500/1.000 (4-for-10), 3 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 1 SO

The Scoop: Ortiz is a mammoth masher, and this week he slammed his first two home runs of the AFL. The week overall represented a bit of a breakthrough for Ortiz, who entered the week without a hit over his first 13 Fall League at-bats. He’d made up for it somewhat through a strong sense of strike zone discipline, which manifested itself in more walks (seven) than strikeouts (five). 

9. Stephen Scott, C, Red Sox
Team: Scottsdale
Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .364/.417/.909 (4-for-11), 4 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: The Raleigh, N.C. native and Vanderbilt product has had a strong showing in the AFL at the halfway mark. Scott, who reached the upper levels for the first time in 2022, smacked two home runs in 11 at-bats this past week, doubling his Fall League total. In doing so, he put himself into a three-way tie on top with Heston Kjerstad (Orioles) and Matt Mervis (Cubs). 

10. Nick Yorke, 2B, Red Sox
Team: Scottsdale
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .412/.500/.588 (7-for-17), 3 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Yorke has been a doubles machine this Fall league, including three more two-baggers this past week. The output gives him seven so far this AFL, good enough to vault him past Grant Lavigne (Rockies) for the league lead. He’s been making plenty of contact overall, too, with 18 hits that place him with Austin Martin (Twins) and Zac Veen (Rockies) in a three-way tie for second place behind Heston Kjerstad (Orioles). 


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