Hot Sheet: Baseball’s 20 Hottest Prospect From The Last Week (6/1/2021)

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 what minor league players did through June 1. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, J.J. Cooper and Ben Badler.

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. Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles
Team: Double-A Bowie (Northeast)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .500/.600/1.000 (7-for-14), 4 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 5 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: The former No. 1 overall pick is starting to play like a former No. 1 overall pick. Rutschman started the season somewhat slowly, but this week has started to show the offensive prowess which made him so coveted coming out of Oregon State. The outburst over the past series has boosted his OPS to 1.039, good for fourth in the Double-A Northeast. Scouts in spring training saw quite a bit of rust when they watched Rutschman on the backfields. Roughly a month into the season, he’s back to looking like himself. (JN)

2. Cade Cavalli, RHP, Nationals
Team: High-A Wilmington (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: The minor league leader in strikeouts showed why in his one start of the week. Against Greensboro, Cavalli showed three dominating pitches, including a fastball that sat between 94-97 mph and touched 98 and 99 with relative ease. He used a nasty breaking ball and changeup to complement the fastball, and the result was his third start of 11 or more strikeouts in five turns this season. If he keeps it up, Cavalli shouldn’t be long for the lower levels. (JN)

3. Marco Luciano, SS, Giants
Low-A San Jose (West)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .409/.458/.818 (9-for-22), 5 R, 3 2B, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: There are few more dangerous players in the minors than Luciano. He has ferocious bat speed, raw power and a swing conducive to translating that power in games, something he has shown off early this season. In his first full season, Luciano is hitting .274/.330/.536 with five home runs through his first 21 games. (BB)

4. Blake Hunt, C, Rays
Team: High-A Bowling Green (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .412/.474/1.059 (7-for-17), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: One of the pieces the Rays got back from the Padres for Blake Snell has provided immediate returns. Hunt, who was San Diego’s supplemental second-round pick in 2017 out of high school in California, blasted three home runs this week. The power spike is notable for a player who had 10 home runs in 175 minor league games entering 2021. Hunt wasn’t the biggest name in the Snell deal, but the Rays have a long history of picking the right guys in trades. (JN)

5. Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals
Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Central)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .364/.462/.864 (7-for-22), 7 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 8 SO, 1 SB.

The Scoop: Here we are 22 games into Pratto’s 2021 season and he’s already equaled his home run total (9) for all of 2019. He’s already had more highlights as well. Pratto’s .308/.446/.731 slash line in May follows a .345/.406/.862 spring training with the Royals. Northwest Arkansas is a good place to hit, but Pratto is slugging over .700 on the road as well. (JC) 

6. Daniel Lynch, LHP, Royals
Team: Triple-A Omaha (West)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.84, 10.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: After a rocky go of it in the big leagues, Lynch has settled in nicely at Omaha. The big lefthander dazzled in his two turns this week and has racked up 20 strikeouts in his first three outings (two starts) at Triple-A. He’s also produced a swinging-strike rate of 18.4% in the process. If he can get himself back on track at Triple-A, Lynch could be back in the big leagues at some point this summer, when he’ll try again to capitalize on his massive potential. (JN)


7. Nick Lodolo, LHP, Reds
Team: Double-A Chattanooga (South)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.64, 11 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 14 SO

The Scoop: There’s no two ways about it: Lodolo has been dazzling this year. The lefthanded Texas Christian product has shown off his typical video game control while racking up plenty of whiffs. Combined with his debut season in 2019, Lodolo has now struck out 68 and walked six in 45 innings. The Lookouts’ tandem of Lodolo and flamethrowing righthander Hunter Greene easily ranks as one of the most exciting pitching duos in the minors. (JN)

8. Cal Raleigh, C, Mariners
Triple-A Tacoma (West)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .448/.485/.825 (13-for-29), 8 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 CS.

The Scoop: Raleigh hit .228 and posted a .292 on-base percentage after he was promoted to Double-A in 2019, so his .351/.411/.688 slash line is a very positive development. But what’s just as impressive is how Raleigh has improved his receiving. Using the one-knee setup that has become more and more popular, Raleigh has become very skilled at stealing strikes at the bottom of the strike zone. Raleigh has an interesting quirk on his throws to second on steal attempts. He often ends up bouncing the ball on one hop. It seems odd, but the reality is that some of his better throws (1.95-second pop times) come on those throws and they are generally accurate, on line and right where the fielder wants to catch the ball to lay on the tag. (JC)

9. Lazaro Armenteros, OF, Athletics
Low-A Stockton (West)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .647/.684/.882 (11-for-17), 5 R, 4 2B, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB, 2 CS

The Scoop: The A’s decided to send Armenteros back to Low-A to start the season, even though he spent the 2019 season in the then-Low-A Midwest League. If you’re going to be sent to repeat a level, dominate it. To Armenteros’ credit, he dominated the Low-A West. Armenteros already has more three- and four-hit games this year (four) than he had in all of 2019. And now Armenteros has earned a trip out of town. He received a promotion to High-A Lansing, which means he’s back in what used to be known as the Midwest League, even if it’s now known as High-A Central. (JC)

10. Daniel Cabrera, OF, Tigers
High-A West Michigan (Central)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .500/.577/.727 (11-for-22), 7 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Cabrera established himself as one of the top hitters in the Southeastern Conference while playing at Louisiana State before the Tigers drafted him last year with the 62nd overall pick. He has a simple lefthanded swing that is translating well early on, with Cabrera hitting .276/.347/.460 through 22 games. (BB)

11. Diego Cartaya, C, Dodgers
Low-A Rancho Cucamonga (West)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .412/.478/.882 (7-for-17), 8 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Yes, Cartaya played in only four games last week, and those were his first four games of the season. But it was a spectacular first week in full-season ball for Cartaya, who hit a walk-off grand slam and has looked bigger, stronger and more powerful than before. That strength adds to an already easy, compact swing and the defensive skills to stick behind the plate, putting Cartaya back into the cusp of Top 100 list conversations. (BB)

12. Ivan Herrera, C, Cardinals
Double-A Springfield (Central)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .474/.565/.684 (9-for-19), 7 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Herrera has been an on-base machine throughout his career, especially for a catcher, as a lifetime .304/.395/.429 hitter. He continues to show a good eye and a patient approach at the plate, along with a compact swing and more raw power than what shows up in the stat line, with Herrera hitting .264/.384/.417 through 20 games.

13. Oswald Peraza, SS, Yankees
High-A Hudson Valley (East)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 9-for-26 (.346), 4 2B, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Peraza is an athletic shortstop with good bat control who scouts said had more raw power than was showing up in games early on in his career. This year, it all seems to be coming together for Peraza, who from 2017 to 2019 hit five home runs in 159 games. He’s matched those five home runs in just 23 games this season and hasn’t needed to sell out and have his strikeout rate spike to do so, with a .323/.400/.570 overall line.  (BB)


14. Peter Solomon, RHP, Astros
Triple-A Sugar Land (West)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 2.00, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 14 SO.

The Scoop: This season has already been a notable one for Solomon. He’s made it back from Tommy John surgery which cut his 2019 season short and forced him to rehab for most of 2020. Then, he made his MLB debut in April, throwing two scoreless innings. And now he’s on a roll at Triple-A as well. He held Albuquerque to two hits in six scoreless innings in his lone start of the week after making a relief appearance earlier in the week. (JC)

15. Josh Winckowski, Red Sox
Double-A Portland (Northeast)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 SO.

The Scoop: While Franchy Cordero was sent down to Triple-A, another player the Red Sox acquired in the Andrew Benintendi trade has been sensational. The Benitendi trade was Winckowski’s second trade of the offseason, and he’s showing why he was in demand. Winckowski’s RAA is double his 1.33 ERA (he’s allowed four earned and four unearned runs), but he’s been consistently good with an effective 92-95 mph fastball and solid secondaries. (JC)

16. Leonel Valera, SS, Dodgers
High-A Great Lakes (Central)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .333/.360/.708 (8-for-24), 3 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS.

The Scoop: Start paying attention, as Valera is showing tons of signs that he’s made a big step forward. He came into 2021 with seven career professional home runs (in 1,092 plate appearances). But Valera showed in instructional league last offseason that he’d gotten bigger and stronger, and that has been very apparent in May. Valera had six home runs in his first month in Great Lakes, and they haven’t been cheap. Three of his home runs have been opposite field shots. Two more have gone out to straight center and one more easily cleared the left-center field power alley. His power comes seemingly with a simple flick of the wrists, as he’s driving the ball to all fields, but especially to center and right field. Valera is no longer a twitchy shortstop. Now he’s a shortstop with legitimate power in his bat. (JC)

17. Shea Langeliers, C, Braves
Team: Double-A Mississippi (South)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .421/.476/.684 (8-for-19), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: Were it not for Adley Rutschman, Langeliers would have been the top catching prospect in the 2019 draft. The Baylor product has already doubled his home run output from 2019, when he hit two longballs at Low-A. He’s also thrown out 8 of the 16 runners who’ve tried to steal on him. If the offensive outburst can be sustained, Langeliers could improve his stock even more dramatically than he already has in the first month of the season. (JN) 

18. Mitchell Parker, LHP, Nationals
Team: Low-A Frederick (East)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 12 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 22 SO

The Scoop: The Nationals got Parker in the fifth round of the abbreviated 2020 draft, and have seen immediate results. The San Jacinto (Texas) JC product is second in the minor leagues in strikeouts, with 43, behind only system-mate Cade Cavalli. Out of college, Parker operated with a low-90s, high-spin fastball, a big-breaking curveball and a split-fingered fastball which functioned as a changeup. So far, that mix has done wonders against hitters in the Low-A East League.

19. D.L. Hall, LHP, Orioles
Team: Double-A Bowie (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: The Baysox might have the most intriguing rotation in the minor leagues, with Hall, Grayson Rodriguez, Michael Baumann and Kevin Smith all in the mix. Hall has looked dynamite this season, with 39 strikeouts in 21 innings. His 17.7% swinging strike rate also ranks second in the organization (and 23rd in the minor leagues) behind only Rodriguez. He still needs to iron out his control a bit more (4.7 walks per nine so far this season) but there’s no denying Hall has an electric left arm. (JN)

20. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Royals
Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Central)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .227/.308/.773 (5-for-22), 4 HRs, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: This wasn’t the greatest week ever for Witt—he did strike out 10 times—but he also had a three-homer game, with four of his five hits going for home runs. And consider the context, as Witt is 20 in Double-A, making a huge jump for his full-season debut after the Royals drafted him with the 2nd overall pick out of high school two years ago. Yes, the strikeouts are higher than you would like, but he’s blasting balls out of stadiums with a .233/.314/.478 slash line and seven home runs in 22 games. (BB)


Eury Perez, RHP, Marlins 

Perez ranked as a Top 100 international signing in the 2019 class at No. 92 after landing a $200,000 deal with the Marlins out of the Dominican Republic. The summer before, Perez was an extremely skinny 6-foot-5 righthander throwing in the mid 80s, a Projection 101 candidate to throw significantly harder once he packed on some pounds. He started to fill out after signing, reaching 92 mph once he joined the Marlins, and he’s only grown taller, stronger and seen his fastball grow, to the point where he’s now throwing in the low-to-mid 90s. Unlike most extra-tall teenage pitchers, Perez has impressive body control and coordination to be able to repeat his delivery and throw strikes. Despite being just 18 with Low-A Jupiter, Perez has held down a 1.29 ERA with a 19-to-5 strikeout-to-walk mark in 14 innings. By age, Perez’s peer group from the United States is the current high school senior class, with those players mostly heading to the Rookie-level complex leagues once they sign. Meanwhile, Perez is ahead of the curve, and his prospect stock is climbing quickly. (BB)


Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone