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 April 17. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Geoff Pontes, J.J. Cooper and Kyle Glaser.
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.
J.J. Cooper hosted a chat to discuss today’s Hot Sheet. You can read the transcript here.
1. Mason Miller, RHP, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 SO.
The Scoop: If you are searching for what pitcher could come out of nowhere to have MLB success this year, there’s a giant arrow pointing at Miller. Miller’s track record is paper thin, as he barely pitched in 2021 after being drafted in the third round, and he missed almost all of 2022 with a shoulder strain. His start last week is the first time he’s worked five innings in a game since he was at Gardner-Webb. He has less than 30 official innings in pro ball (plus another 16.2 innings in the Arizona Fall League). But for pure dominance, it’s hard to better what Miller did in his first-ever Triple-A start last week. Against a Salt Lake lineup that is hitting .273/.379/.514 as a team, Miller only allowed one fly out to leave the infield in five innings of work. The only batter who reached against him did so on a strikeout where the ball got away from the catcher. Miller’s combination of top-of-the-scale velocity and solid movement (up to 19 inches of induced vertical break) was truly noteworthy. In last week’s start, Miller threw 23 fastballs of 100 mph or harder. Hunter Greene is the only MLB starter to throw more than 20 100-plus mph fastballs in a start this season, and only Greene, Jordan Hicks, Sandy Alcantara and Jacob deGrom have done so in the past five years in the majors. It’s not just a blazing fastball. Of the 42 fastballs he threw against Salt Lake, he threw 67% of them for strikes. Only two fastballs were put in play. Miller has barely pitched as a pro, but his current stuff is better than anyone on the A’s big league roster. (JC)
2. Andrew Abbott, LHP, Reds
Team: Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, O ER, 0 BB, 14 SO.
The Scoop: Abbott has faced 35 batters so far this season. He’s struck out 25 of them. Javier Valdes and Drew Lugbauer have managed to single off of him, Zach Neto walked, two batters were retired on infield pop ups, one lined out to third baseman Noelvi Marte and the other four have been retired on fly outs to outfielders. Abbott sports a 25-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Last week’s start was his 22nd in the Southern League, and it begs the question of what he has left to prove in Double-A. (JC)
3. Brett Baty, 3B, Mets
Team: Triple-A Syracuse (International)
Why He’s Here: .471/.550/1.059 (8-for-17), 4 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 3 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, 1 CS.
The Scoop: We are gathered here to honor Baty, because this should be the last time he ever shows up on a Prospect Hot Sheet. Baty reached base 2.3 times per game in his nine games with Syracuse this year. He homered five times and averaged an impressive 100 mph exit velocity on his balls in play. The only blemish in his time at Triple-A this year was a pair of throwing errors. He left a throw a foot too high to first base and missed the bag to the shortstop side on a throw to second base. Since David Wright retired after the 2014 season, the Mets have had seven different regular third basemen in eight years, with Todd Frazier standing as the only player to be the regular in back-to-back years. Baty should end that revolving door, starting now. (JC)
4. Evan Carter, OF, Rangers
Team: Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Why He’s Here: .435/.567/.870 (10-for-23), 4 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 7 BB, 8 SO, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Entering the season, the book on Carter said that he had all the pieces to be a successful big leaguer—plate discipline, speed, defense and hittability—but lacked standout power. The Rangers were confident there was plenty of projection left in the 20-year-old’s frame, and they appear to be right. After hitting 12 home runs in 397 at-bats in 2022, Carter already has three in 2023. As if that weren’t impressive enough, Carter is doing it as the second-youngest player in the Texas League. (JN)
5. Heston Kjerstad, 1B/OF, Orioles
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .348/.444/.957 (8-for-23), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO, 2-for-3 SB
The Scoop: For the first time as a professional Kjerstad began a season fully healthy. So far his production has been a firm reminder of what he can do—destroy baseballs, frequently. Over the course of Bowie’s six-game series against Akron, Kjerstad hit four home runs and tallied two games with multiple extra-base hits. He’s seen time at first base and right field defensively, hinting at some potential versatility that could earn him an everyday role with the Orioles in the near future. (GP)
6. Patrick Monteverde, LHP, Marlins
Team: Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 8 SO.
The Scoop: An eighth-round senior sign out of Texas Tech in 2021, Monteverde has allowed two hits in 13 innings this year. To watch Monteverde pitch is to watch a craftsman at work. By modern standards, Monteverde’s fastball is a well below-average pitch. He sits 88-90 mph, so he knows he can’t just rear back and try to blow away hitters, but he uses his fastball just enough, and in spots where hitters can get used to it without ever getting a good swing at it. He’ll elevate it above the zone, or off the plate. You can hit it, but most likely only to foul it off or make glancing contact. And it sets up his low-80s changeup and mid-70s curveball, both of which baffle Double-A hitters. Will Monteverde’s stuff play the same way in the majors? The most likely answer is no, as it’s exceptionally hard to succeed in the majors without a little more velocity than this, but if Monteverde keeps it up, his next assignment is to find out if this stuff will play in Triple-A as well. (JC)
7. Cole Young, SS, Mariners
Team: Low-A Modesto (California)
Why He’s Here: .429/.571/.714 (9-for-21), 6 R, 6 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBIs, 7 BB, 3 SO, 4-for-5 SB
The Scoop: The Mariners have done an excellent job in recent years of identifying and developing talent for their big league roster, including stars like Julio Rodriguez and George Kirby. Now, they might have struck gold again with Young. After crushing the ball in a small sample in 2022, the Pennsylvania native has picked up right where he left off. Over a two-year span, Young is 35-for-94 with 11 extra-base hits and more walks (19) than strikeouts (14). (JN)
8. Matt Mervis, 1B, Cubs
Team: Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: .462/.632/.846 (6-for-13), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 6 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-0 SB
The Scoop: Mervis broke out last season when he led the minors with 78 extra-base hits, 117 RBIs and 310 total bases and finished tied for third with 36 home runs while racing to Triple-A. He’s picked up this year right where he left off. Mervis recorded multiple hits in three of four games last week before weather postponed Iowa’s final three games. He launched his third homer of the young season in the series opener against Omaha and finished the abbreviated series with consecutive multi-hit games. Mervis is now batting .293/.456/.585 with three doubles and three home runs in 12 games and has more walks (13) than strikeouts (9). With Cubs first basemen batting a combined .231/.276/.286 entering Monday, it should be only a matter of time before Mervis gets his first big league callup. (KG)
9. Peyton Burdick, OF, Marlins
Team: Triple-A Jacksonville (International)
Why He’s Here: .455/.571/.909 (10-for-22), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 6 BB, 8 SO, 2-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Burdick showed off his true self last week, putting up a three true outcomes line that was indicative of his style of play. He reached base in all six games and struck out at least once in all but one game. His combination of power and speed was on display as he slugged three home runs and stole two bases. His signature game came on Wednesday when he slugged a pair of solo home runs and stole a base. At 26 years old and with 32 games of major league service time under his belt, Burdick should be back in the big leagues soon. (GP)
10. Andy Pages, OF, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Why He’s Here: .444/.655/.889 (8-for-18), 8 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 6 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: One of the biggest keys to Pages’ early explosion could be attributed to a renewed effort to sculpt his body. Scouts this spring reported a much trimmer version than what they saw in 2022 without sacrificing any of his explosive tools. He combines on-base skills with big-time power and an extraordinarily powerful throwing arm that would fit perfectly in right field. Still just 22 years old, Pages has a chance to be yet another jewel in Los Angeles’ supremely bedazzled farm system. (JN)
11. Owen Caissie, OF, Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Why He’s Here: .333/.364/1.048 (7-for-21), 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 12 SO, 0-for-0 SB
The Scoop: Caissie showed off his prodigious power in a big way last week, hitting three home runs in a game against Montgomery on April 12 and following with a triple and another homer the next day. Caissie got his big day started with a grand slam in the first inning, added a massive solo home run in the sixth inning and finished it off with another solo shot in the ninth inning. He remained scorching hot with an RBI triple in his first at-bat the following day and went back-to-back with fellow outfielder Jordan Nwogu in the sixth to cap his explosive two-day stretch. (KG).
12. Kumar Rocker, RHP, Rangers
Team: High-A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Rocker made his long-awaited professional debut last week and delivered. The third overall pick in 2022 pitched five shutout innings with two hits allowed, no walks and eight strikeouts against Wilmington to earn the win in his first career start. He retired the first eight batters he faced, six via strikeout, and didn’t allow a runner past second base in a dominant showing. He followed that up with an abbreviated start to finish the series and pitched three more scoreless innings with two hits allowed, one walk and three strikeouts. (KG).
13. Ronny Mauricio, SS, Mets
Team: Triple-A Syracuse (International)
Why He’s Here: .348/.400/.870 (8-for-23), 8 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 7 SO, 2-for-2 SB
The Scoop: There’s never been any question about Mauricio’s explosive tool set. He’s a twitchy athlete who can produce highlight plays up the middle and in the batter’s box but has struggled mightily with swing-and-miss problems. Though things are trending better in that regard, the 7-to-1 ratio during this past week still points to some concerns. He’ll play all season at 22 years old (he opened the year as the fourth-youngest player in the International League) and if he can keep his strikeouts in check he’ll have a shot to make his big league debut. (JN)
14. Jordyn Adams, OF, Angels
Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: .348/.375/.870 (8-for-23), 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 8 SO, 3-for-3 SB
The Scoop: After struggling to hit most of his career, Adams is thoroughly enjoying the hitter-friendly environments of the Pacific Coast League. The 2018 first-round pick homered in three straight games last week and extended his hitting streak to eight games with a loud series at Las Vegas. Adams reached base at least twice in every game but one, had an extra-base hit in every game but one and scored a run in every game but one. Adams already has five home runs in 14 games this year—his career high is eight home runs, which he hit in 109 games in 2019. (KG).
15. Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Rockies
Team: High-A Spokane (Northwest)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Hughes’ 2023 debut couldn’t have gone much better. In front of a crowd in Spokane that grew to love him when he pitched for nearby Gonzaga, Hughes fired five no-hit innings (only an error kept him from facing the minimum) with six strikeouts as part of his team’s win. Hughes is part of a group of recent premium draft picks that make up the core of a roster that has helped Spokane earn a rep as one of the minor leagues’ most talented teams in the early portion of the season. (JN)
16. Brady House, 3B, Nationals
Team: Low-A Fredericksburg (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .400/.625/1.000 (4-for-10), 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 6 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop: After an injury-plagued 2022 saw House drop off of the Top 100 Prospects list, early feedback in spring training indicated that House was back in top form, and last week the production matched the buzz. House reached base in all four games last week and had an extra-base hit in three out of the four games. Part of the historic high school shortstop class that included Jordan Lawlar, Marcelo Mayer, Kahlil Watson and Jackson Merrill, among others, House has the ability to hit for as much, if not more, power than anyone among that group. A move over to third base suits his body and skill set, and he should fit in nicely as a prototypical power-hitting third baseman with on-base skills. (GP)
17. Jacob Miller, RHP, Marlins
Team: Low-A Jupiter (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: The Marlins 2022 second-rounder has been scorching hot to begin the 2023 season. He had a strong debut on April 8, tossing five scoreless, and then topped it last week with six perfect innings of work against St. Lucie on Saturday. Miller’s fastball sat 91-93 mph, topping out at 94 mph, and he mixed in his curveball and changeup to strong results. He generated 12 whiffs in total, seven of which came against his fastball, to go along with a dozen called strikes. Long lauded for his feel for spinning a breaking ball, the early results against his fastball are an encouraging sign. (GP)
18. Gage Workman, 3B, Tigers
Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .444/.545/1.111 (8-for-18), 6 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO, 1 SB.
The Scoop: It’s too early to get too excited, but so far, Workman has managed to string together much better at-bats than he had for the vast majority of his pro career. The switch-hitter is better from the left side than the right, and he’s largely faced righthanded pitchers so far, which has helped. But most importantly, he’s making better swing decisions. After striking out 40% of the time last year at Erie, he’s slashed that to 22% this year, while also upping his walk rate from 6% to 22%. If Workman can come anywhere close to sustaining this kind of offensive production, his glove will find a role in the majors. (JC)
19. Andres Chaparro, 1B/3B, Yankees
Team: Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre (International)
Why He’s Here: .417/.440/1.083 (10-for-24), 8 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Chaparro started the season 0-for-29 with 13 strikeouts. Clearly he didn’t let it get him down. Chaparro responded from his horrendous first week by going 10-for-24 with five home runs and seven RBIs in six games last week against Syracuse, highlighted by a pair of multi-home run games. After ending his 0-for-29 start with a homer against Lehigh Valley on April 8, Chaparro opened the series against Syracuse by going 2-for-4 with a pair of homers, went 3-for-5 with another homer the next day and, after an 0-for-4 showing, went 2-for-4 with two more homers. He still wasn’t done, going 3-for-3 with a double in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday to cap his slump-busting breakthrough. (KG)
20. Justin Lange, RHP, Yankees
Team: Low-A Tampa (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Acquired by the Yankees in the Luke Voit trade with the Padres, Lange looks rejuvenated early in 2023. His stuff is up big time from the player we saw in 2022, and he uses a quartet of nasty offerings. His fastball led the way, sitting 95-97 mph and touching 98 mph over his five innings of work, continually overpowering Dunedin hitters. His mix includes a high-80s cutter, a high-80s changeup and a sweepy low-to-mid-80s slider. He generated 25 whiffs on the day and was close to unhittable for the majority of the outing. It was an impressive showing for the 2020 supplemental first-round pick. (GP)
Trey Cabbage, 1B/OF, Angels
Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)
The Scoop: Few players in the minors hit the ball harder than Cabbage. And so far he’s been making plenty of contact as well. Cabbage went 1-for-9 in his first three games of the season, but he’s gone 20-for-43 since and has at least one hit in 10 of his last 11 games. His 90th percentile exit velocity this season is 110.4 mph, and 18 of his 43 balls in play have been hit harder than 100 mph. (In comparison, Brett Baty has a 106.1 mph 90th percentile EV). Cabbage is a career .254 hitter, and his .327/.434/.664 slash line last year in an injury-shortened season at Double-A Rocket City is the first time he’d ever topped .270 in a season. But Cabbage’s power is real and he has the makings of being the better side of a righty-lefty platoon as a lefthanded hitter who feasts on righthanded pitchers. There’s reason to pay attention to Cabbage as a late-bloomer. (JC)