Hot Sheet: Baseball’s 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (4/25/23)

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 24. 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.

Geoff Pontes hosted a chat to discuss today’s Hot Sheet. You can read the transcript here.

1. Jackson Holliday, SS, Orioles
Team: Low-A Delmarva (Carolina)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .450/.577/.800 (9-for-20), 8 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 BB, 7 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: After a scorching start to his season, Holliday has been promoted to High-A Aberdeen, where he’ll instantly be the youngest player in the South Atlantic League. In his brief time with Delmarva, Holliday—the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft—brutalized the Carolina League. He finishes his tenure there with more walks (14) than strikeouts (12) and with nearly half of his 20 hits going for extra bases. (JN)

2. Frank Mozzicato, LHP, Royals
Team: Low-A Columbia (South Atlantic)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.90, 10 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 19 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: The Royals selected Mozzicato seventh overall in 2021 knowing he would be a slow mover. After struggling in his pro debut last year, Mozzicato is showing much better his second time around at Low-A Columbia. Mozzicato pitched six scoreless innings with a career-high 13 strikeouts to open Columbia’s series against Fayetteville last week. He pitched the series finale six days later and capped his week with four innings, one hit, one run allowed and six strikeouts. Mozzicato has now allowed only five hits and one run in 15 innings to start the season. He has 26 strikeouts against just eight walks, a promising early improvement to both his strikeout and walk rates from last season. (KG)

3. Joey Loperfido, 2B, Astros 
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas) 
Age: 23 

Why He’s Here: .455/.520/1.182 (10-for-22), 8 R, 0 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: The 2021 seventh-rounder out of Duke started the week with High-A Asheville and after a 5-for-10 performance with three extra-base hits and three steals over a pair of games he was promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi. After the promotion Loperfido continued his hot hitting, collecting a hit in all three games with the Hooks, including a two-home run game on Friday. After a breakout season in 2022, Loperfido is beginning to garner attention with his strong combination of power, approach, contact and speed. (GP)

4. Colt Keith, 3B, Tigers
Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .542/.593/.875 (13-for-24), 4 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Detroit’s final pick in the 2020 draft has done nothing but hit since turning pro. This year, in the early days of his first upper-level test, he’s turned it up a notch. Keith, a Mississippi high school product, socked three homers in last year’s Arizona Fall League and has already equaled that total in 14 games with Erie. (JN)

5. Gavin Williams, RHP, Guardians 
Team: Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Age: 23 

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

The Scoop: Williams dominated again in his latest Double-A start, allowing just one hitter to reach base on Thursday as he struck out eight. Over three starts with Akron in 2023, Williams has allowed just a single earned run on six hits and three walks to go along with 20 strikeouts. The Guardians top prospect should likely reach Triple-A shortly, where he’ll join fellow standout righthander Tanner Bibee. Williams’ fastball has averaged 96-97 mph this season and has touched 99.5 mph at peak, and he pairs it with an above-average slider, a changeup and a curveball. (GP) 

6. Jonatan Clase, OF, Mariners
Team: High-A Everett (Northwest)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .333/.482/.810 (7-for-21), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 6 BB, 9 SO, 7-for-8 SB

The Scoop: Clase has long possessed exhilarating tools, but his free-swinging approach created doubts about how he’d fare against higher-level pithing. Clase has so far improved his approach at High-A Everett, and as a result is getting the most from his physical abilities. Clase delivered three multi-hit games, a multi-home run game and stole seven bases in a scintillating series against Vancouver last week. The switch-hitting Dominican now has nine extra-base hits in 14 games and ranks second in the minor leagues with 12 steals. Though Clase’s strikeouts are still high, he’s also walking more. Clase has nearly as may walks (14) as strikeouts (19) this season after striking out more than twice as often as he walked last year. (KG)

7. Jonny DeLuca, OF, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas) 
Age: 24 

Why He’s Here: .364/.481/.909 (8-for-22), 7 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 4 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: DeLuca ended last week on a high note as he got a home run in four consecutive days spanning Thursday to Sunday. DeLuca also scored a run in all six games and stole two bases on the week. Over 14 games with Double-A Tulsa, DeLuca is showing a balance of contact, approach, power and baserunning that could make him a valuable addition for the Dodgers later this summer. The outfielder was added to the Dodgers 40-man roster this offseason and is one of the most athletic players in their system. (GP) 

8. Dalton Rushing, C, Dodgers
Team: High-A Great Lakes (Midwest)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .350/.533/.850 (7-for-20), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 8 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Rushing was the Dodgers’ first selection in the 2022 draft, and the pick already looks astute. The Louisville alum mashed in a small sample post-draft at Low-A Rancho Cucamonga and has continued tearing the cover off the ball in the Midwest League. Rushing so far has more walks (16) than strikeouts (14) and has seen eight of his 13 hits go for extra bases. (JN)

9. Jorbit Vivas, 2B, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .417/.482/1.000 (10-for-24), 4 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: For whatever concerns exist about Vivas’ size, he just keeps hitting. Vivas extended his hitting streak to 15 games to start the year with a dominant series against Wichita last week. The lefthanded-hitting Venezuelan hit five doubles in the first five games to start the series and finished it by hitting two home runs in the finale. Vivas not only has a 15-game hitting streak to start the season, but he has multiple hits in eight of his 15 games. (KG)

10. Samuel Basallo, C, Orioles
Team: Low-A Delmarva (Carolina)
Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .381/.435/.714 (8-for-21), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Jackson Holliday has been the story so far with Delmarva, and for good reason. Holliday just got promoted to High-A, however, leaving Basallo as the centerpiece of the Shorebirds’ lineup. The 18-year-old catcher entered the year with a reputation as one of the better offensive players bubbling at the lower levels of Baltimore’s fantastic system. In a short sample, he’s lived up to the rep. He still needs to rein in the strikeouts, but the 18-year-old Basallo has hit for average (.333) and power (three home runs) in the first couple of weeks of the season. (JN)

11. Brandon Pfaadt, RHP, D-backs
Team: Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: The D-backs’ top pitching prospect keeps knocking on the door to the majors. Pfaadt pitched seven scoreless innings with only three hits allowed at Salt Lake last week, continuing his run of dominance in the most difficult pitching environments in baseball. After a rough first outing, Pfaadt now has a 1.62 ERA and a .180 opponent average in his last three starts for Reno. With the D-backs designating Madison Bumgarner for assignment, Zach Davies struggling early and Drey Jameson having a hard time throwing strikes, Pfaadt is in prime position to receive his first big league callup. (KG)

12. Junior Caminero, 3B, Rays
Team: High-A Bowling Green (South Atlantic)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 308/.333/.692 (8-for-26), 6 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 0 BB, 9 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS.

The Scoop: Caminero is currently hitting .373. That’s actually the lowest batting average he’s had all season, as he was hitting .500 eight games into the season. Caminero is yet another prospect in the Rays’ never-ending assembly line of hitters who hit the ball exceptionally hard. His ultimate position is still a little uncertain, as he may stick at third base, but he has the power to handle right field as well. His combination of youth and power potential is alluring. (JC)

13. Wilfred Veras, OF, White Sox
Team: High-A Winston-Salem (South Atlantic)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .407/.448/.852 11-for-27, 4 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO, 2 SB.

The Scoop: The son of big leaguer Wilton Veras, the younger Veras is a very different type of player than his father. Wilfred Veras is a hitter who steps to the plate looking to wreak havoc. So far, the havoc has been wrecked. He homered in three straight games last week, and his aggressive approach hasn’t caused many issues, at least as of yet. (JC)

14. Joe Boyle, RHP, Reds
Team: Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: In three years at Notre Dame, Boyle walked 48 batters in 36 innings. As a pro, Boyle has walked 7.25 per nine innings. This year, he’s walking 6.6 per nine. So it’s unrealistic to expect Boyle to ever turn into Greg Maddux dotting the corners of the zone. But when you watch Boyle pitch nowadays, you are watching a pitcher who is steadily improving. He now drops a curveball over for a lot of called strikes, as hitters gearing up for his fastball rarely can react to his slower curve. He also spots his fastball on the corners at times. Of his 12 strikeouts in Saturday’s game, six came on a called strike three. (JC)

15. Colton Cowser, OF, Orioles
Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .391/.481/.826 (9-for-23), 10 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Cowser came into the week having hit reasonably well for Triple-A Norfolk, but his power was missing. He came into the week with three extra-base hits and no home runs in 12 games. But then he homered on Tuesday, and then doubled and homered twice on Saturday. So far as a pro, Cowser has been an outfielder whose hit tool tops his power, but he projects as a very well-rounded hitter who should post excellent on-base percentages with enough pop to hit 20-25 home runs as well. (JC)

16. Andrew Abbott, LHP, Reds
Team: Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 3.60, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: At last, Abbott has punched his way out of Double-A. All it took was three consecutive starts with double-digit strikeouts and a total of 36 Ks in 15.2 innings. Abbott is tied with the Cardinals’ Matthew Liberatore for the minor league lead in strikeouts. He’s been the most dominant pitching prospect in the minors and now will get tested at the last level before the big leagues. (JN)

17. Brycen Mautz, LHP, Cardinals
Team: Low-A Palm Beach (Florida State)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Mautz faced questions regarding whether he projected better as a starter or reliever out of the draft last year. The 2022 second-round pick has done a solid job bolstering his case as a starter so far. Mautz pitched six perfect innings with 11 strikeouts against Dunedin last week in one of the most dominant starts of the young minor league season. The deceptive lefthander allowed only three balls out of the infield and got better as the game went on. He didn’t get to a single two-ball count in his final three innings and finished with a flourish, striking out the side in his sixth and final inning. (KG)

18. Mason Barnett, RHP, Royals
Team: High-A Quad Cities (Midwest)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.90, 2 GS, 10 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: At Auburn, Barnett had an up-and-down career as his moments of dominance were sandwiched around other moments of extreme inconsistency, but working with Tim Hudson (another short righthander) Barnett seemed to put it together late in the 2022 college season. So far Barnett’s brief pro career has been one of dominance and nothing else. Barnett did not allow a hit in eight innings last season after he signed as a third-round pick. This year, he’s yet to allow two runs in any of his three starts and opponents are hitting .068 against him as a pro. His flat fastball has proven hard to square up, especially at the top of the zone. (JC)

19. Drew Gilbert, OF, Astros 
Team: High-A Asheville (South Atlantic) 
Age: 22 

Why He’s Here: .400/.455/.750 (8-for-20), 7 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 1 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The Astros 2022 first-rounder had a hit in four out of five games last week, including multi-hit efforts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. In Sunday’s game, he collected three hits, including a pair of doubles and a stolen base. Over his first 11 games this season Gilbert is showing off his combination of contact, approach and power. There’s above-average upside in Gilbert’s bat if he shows that his skills will translate as he moves up the minor league ladder. There’s no reason to think that they won’t, as Gilbert has hit at every level. (GP)

20. Edgar Quero, C, Angels 
Team: Double-A Rocket City (Southern) 
Age: 20 

Why He’s Here: .538/.647/.769 (7-for-13), 5 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBIs, 4 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Quero is yet another Angels prospect aggressively assigned to Double-A Rocket City and has rewarded the organization’s faith by performing at the level despite being one of the youngest players there. Quero collected multiple hits in a pair of games last week and walked twice as much as he struck out. Quero’s well-balanced approach and above-average bat-to-ball skills provide him with a higher floor offensively than most catching prospects. With the injury to Logan O’Hoppe and the Angels aggressive nature, you have to wonder if Quero gets a shot at the major leagues in 2023. (GP) 


Nate Furman, 2B, Guardians 
Team: Low-A Lynchburg (Carolina) 
Age: 21 

Why He’s Here: .263/.423/.263 (5-for-19), 9 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBIs, 6 BB, 4 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The 2022 fourth-round pick out of UNC Charlotte has a strong combination of contact, approach and speed, and in the early part of his professional career has shown an extremely advanced hit tool. Furman is running a .500 on-base percentage over the first three weeks of the season, and he’s started every game for Lynchburg. Furman almost never chases and rarely misses in-zone and his power is well below-average at present, but developments in the way of contact quality over the coming years could yield excellent results. (GP) 

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