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Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (5/10/21)

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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 May 9. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, J.J. Cooper, Kyle Glaser 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. Trevor Hauver, 2B, Yankees
Team: Low-A Tampa (Southeast)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .556/.654/1.611 (10-for-18), 9 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 13 RBIs, 5 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: It’s no secret that the Tampa Tarpons have started the season white hot. Hauver is the hottest of them all. The Arizona State product, whom the Yankees drafted with their final pick in 2020, has knocked the tar out of the baseball through the team’s first six games, including a minors-best six home runs. Hauver profiles as an offensive player, whether it be at second base or in the outfield, and could be in for a very quick move to High-A Hudson Valley if this kind of production (or anything close to it) keeps up. (JN)

2. Jesus Sanchez, OF, Marlins
Team: Triple-A Jacksonville (Triple-A East)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .556/.571/1.074 (15-for-27), 6 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 3 HRs, 12 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO.

The Scoop: In the first series of the season, the Norfolk pitching staff learned that it’s not a good idea to try to sneak a pitch in on Sanchez’s hands. Twice Sanchez yanked inside pitches over the 317-foot right field wall in Jacksonville. Both of those pitches looked to be balls inside, but Sanchez’s fast hands and impressive bat speed turned them into line drives. Don’t think that Sanchez just benefitted from a short right field foul pole. His other home run this week easily cleared the left field bleachers to land in the parking lot. He also showed he could extend his arms, as he poked a triple down the left field line (helped by Yusniel Diaz falling over the fence as he tried to catch it). (JC)

3. Francisco Alvarez, C, Mets
Team:
Low-A St. Lucie (Southeast)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .500/.630/.833 (9-for-18), 8 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 8 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The best prospect in the Mets system, Alvarez can really mash. He has excellent strength, bat speed and ability to drive the baseball with impact, and his feel for hitting allows it to translate against live pitching. After drawing 21 walks in 42 games in his pro debut in 2019, Alvarez should surpass that mark soon after drawing eight walks in his first six games. (BB)

4. Roansy Contreras, RHP, Pirates
Team: Double-A Altoona (East)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Contreras was one of the headliners the Pirates received from the Yankees in the Jameson Taillon deal. The last time he pitched, in 2019 with Low-A Charleston, he was viewed as a pitcher with more floor than ceiling because of stuff that was a notch back from rotation-mates like Luis Medina, Luis Gil and Alexander Vizcaino. No longer. In big league spring training, the righthander showed a much louder fastball and a wipeout, downer curveball. He used those two offerings to blow away Bowie (and No. 2 overall prospect Adley Rutschman) in his organization debut, when his fastball topped at 98 mph and his breaking ball continued to plummet to earth as if dropped from the top of a skyscraper. (JN)

5. Alek Manoah, RHP, Blue Jays
Team: Triple-A Buffalo (East)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Pitchers don’t often jump from short-season ball all the way to Triple-A, but that’s the case for Manoah, who dazzled in two big league spring training outings against high-caliber lineups. In his first turn of the year, Triple-A hitters were no match either. The big righty cut through Worcester quickly and efficiently, with a dozen strikeouts over six dominant frames. Manoah has the powerful mix to make life difficult for opponents, and if he keeps going like he did in his first outing, he might not be long for Triple-A. (JN)

6. Vidal Brujan, 2B, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (East)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .451/.571/1.000 (10-for-22), 8 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 6 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: All the headlines on the Durham roster go to No. 1 overall prospect Wander Franco, but Brujan is on the Top 100, too, (at No. 49) for good reason. He’s an elite runner with a chance to be a plus hitter who plays at a middle-diamond position. All those traits are enviable. If you add even average power to the mix, then the package becomes hard to ignore. Brujan’s season has started off with a bang, including a two-homer game on May 8 at Memphis. The effort was his first multi-homer game since May 22, 2018, when he was at High-A. (JN)

7. Luis Medina, RHP, Yankees
Team:
High-A Hudson Valley (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 2 G, 2 GS, 1-0, 0.00, 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 15 SO

The Scoop: Medina’s pure stuff grades out among the best in the minors. For a long time, his control was on the opposite end of the scale. But Medina has gradually been throwing more strikes, and if he can get to even fringy to average control, he has the repertoire to be a starter who can miss a ton of bats at the major league level. (BB)

8. Estevan Florial, OF, Yankees
Team: Double-A Somerset (Northeast)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .318/.400/.955 (7-for-22), 5 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Florial’s prospect star fell in recent years as injuries sidelined him, but he made his major league debut last season and showed he still holds immense promise with his scorching start to 2021. Florial hit four home runs in six games to open the season, including a two-homer game on May 7 against Harrisburg, to help Somerset get off to a 5-1 start. Most notably, he is already halfway to his home run total for the entire 2019 season, when he hit eight homers at High-A Tampa. If Florial can stay healthy and sustain his power spike, he’ll have a strong chance to return to the majors this season. (KG)

9. Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants
Team: Double-A Richmond (Northeast)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .429/.520/.857 (9-for-21), 8 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Ramos scuffled in his first taste of Double-A in 2019 but had no such problems in his return to Richmond last week. Ramos recorded a hit in each of his first six games, including homering on back-to-back days, and racked up 18 total bases to start the year for the Flying Squirrels.  After an impressive showing during spring training, it’s just the latest data point in an upward trend for Ramos as he moves closer and closer to the majors. (KG).

10. Robert Hassell, OF, Padres
Team: 19
Age: Low-A Lake Elsinore (West)

Why He’s Here: .292/.469/.708 (7-for-24), 10 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 8 BB, 7 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The first high school player selected in the 2020 draft, Hassell has wasted no time validating that selection. After starring in instructional league last fall, Hassell began his professional career by recording five extra-base hits in six games and recording more walks than strikeouts in his first week. Most notable was his power output. After being regarded as a supreme contact hitter with power questions in the draft, he slugged .708 in his first week of official games. (KG)

11. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Mets
Team: Low-A St. Lucie (Southeast)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .450/.593/.550 (9-for-20), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Crow-Armstrong was the No. 19 overall pick in the draft last year and is off to a terrific start, showing advanced pure hitting ability for his age and a good eye for the strike zone. Throw in excellent speed and defense at a premium position in center field to go with those on-base skills and Crow-Armstrong has a chance to be a dynamic player at the top of a lineup. (BB)

12. Jackson Kowar, RHP, Royals
Team: Triple-A Omaha (Triple-A East)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.87, 10.1 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 14 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: With a bounty of first-round and supplemental first-round picks in 2018, the Royals decided to load up on college pitchers. It looks to be one of the wisest decisions Kansas City has made in years. Brady Singer (18th pick overall) and Kris Bubic (40th pick) joined the Royals rotation last year, and Singer is there again this year. Lefthander Daniel Lynch (34th pick) made his MLB debut last week. And Kowar (33rd pick) is not far behind. In his first two Triple-A starts, Kowar was in control against a solid St. Paul lineup. His changeup, as usual, was his biggest weapon, but his mid-90s fastball is also effective. (JC)

13. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles
Team:
High-A Aberdeen (East)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 2 G, 2 GS, 0-0, 1.23, 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: Rodriguez quickly proved himself to be one of the best pitching prospects in baseball during his full-season debut in 2019. The glowing reviews continued into 2020 at Baltimore’s alternate training site and continue to come this year. Rodriguez could develop into a mid-rotation starter with the upside to grade out even higher. (BB)

14. Jake Eder, LHP, Marlins
Team: Double-A Pensacola (South)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1 GS, 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: In his professional debut, Eder shined. The Vanderbilt product, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, impressed evaluators in minor league spring training, where he showed an impressive mix of a 92-95 fastball as well as a solid breaking ball and changeup. That trend continued once the lights turned on in Pensacola, where Eder became one of three pitchers to open the season with a dozen punchouts. The Marlins exclusively drafted pitchers in 2020, and Eder’s debut serves as an early positive return on their investment. (JN)

Roansy Contreras Courtesyaltoona

Pirates' Roansy Contreras Raises His Ceiling, Plus Notes On Several Intriguing Arms

Contreras is one of the newest additions to Pittsburgh’s suddenly pitching-rich system.

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

Why He’s Here: 1 GS, 0-0, 0.00, 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR.

The Scoop: The best pitching matchup of the 2021 Opening Day proved to be in Altoona, where Hall matched up against Roansy Contreras (No. 4 on this week’s Hot Sheet). Contreras worked a little longer than Hall did, but the athletic lefty was every bit as impressive. Hall got strikeouts on his breaking ball, changeup and fastball—his fastball touched 99 mph on the stadium gun when he finished off Cal Mitchell in the second inning. Hall did spike a few pitches on a muddy, rainy evening, but his control and command looked improved—his ability to drop in his breaking ball for strikes early in counts was especially effective. (JC)

16. Corbin Carroll, OF, D-backs
Team: High-A Hillsboro (West)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .333/.455/.722 (6-for-18), 7 R, 2 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 4 BB, 7 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Carroll’s hitting ability, advanced feel for the game and sneaky power get most of the publicity, but his borderline elite speed may be his best asset of all. Carroll hit two inside-the-park home runs at instructional league last fall and flew around the bases in under 15 seconds for Hillsboro on May 5 in what was technically a triple with an error. On Sunday, he showcased just how dynamic his power-speed combination is. He hit the go-ahead RBI triple in the bottom of the seventh and raced home when the throw got away from the third baseman, hit a game-tying, opposite-field homer in the bottom of the ninth and stole two bases for the Hops, almost singlehandedly pushing them into extras against Everett. (KG)

17. Wander Franco, SS/2B, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (Triple-A East)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .304/.385/.696 (7-for-23), 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 on SBs.

The Scoop: The youngest player in Triple-A is also younger than all but one player in Double-A, and is younger than every player in the High-A West. The No. 1 prospect in baseball was everything you would expect in his first week at that level. He showed power, he stole a base, he played second base and shortstop capably and he helped Durham win five of its first six games. (JC)

18.  Liover Peguero, SS, Pirates
Team: High-A Greensboro (East)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .389/.450/.778 (7-for-18), 7 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: Peguero had to wait more than a year to make his Pirates organizational debut after Pittsburgh acquired him from Arizona in the Starling Marte trade in January 2020. He showed the wait was worth it, homering in each of his first two games with Greensboro and wrapping up the week with a double and a stolen base. The only negative was Peguero left Sunday’s game with an apparent injury after stealing third base. A recent addition to the BA Top 100 just before minor league Opening Day, Peguero has the talent to keep climbing up the rankings as long as his injury isn’t serious. (KG)

19. Nick Gonzales, 2B, Pirates
Team: High-A Greensboro (East)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .389/.476/.722

The Scoop: Gonzales went from one hitter-friendly environment at New Mexico State last year to another one this year in Greensboro. Sure, that helps, but Gonzales has the swing, approach and ability to drive the ball that’s going to translate in bigger ballparks and against better pitching. With a compact, efficient stroke and a natural feel for barreling baseballs, Gonzales is one of the better pure hitters anywhere in the minors. (BB)

20. CJ Abrams, 2B/SS, Padres
Team: Double-A San Antonio (Double-A Central)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .320/.414/.560 (8-for-25), 3 Rs, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 9 SO, 2 SB.

The Scoop: Yes there’s the weird gap in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but here we are nearly three years after Abrams was drafted and he’s still a career .383 hitter. Abrams’ first week at Double-A did find him striking out a little bit more than normal, but otherwise he was excellent. Abrams showed off his top-of-the-scale speed on multiple occasions—a ball to right or left field not hit directly at the outfielder gives him a shot to turn singles into doubles. His first home run of the season on Sunday was a glimpse at his power potential as well. He just reached out and poked a high fastball over the left-center field fence for an opposite-field home run. (JC)

HELIUM


Rafael Ohashi, RHP, Blue Jays


At just 18 years old, Ohashi is the second-youngest player in the Low-A Southeast League, just behind Jupiter’s Eury Perez. He made his pro debut on Sunday and was mighty impressive. Working against Tampa, which had scored 77 runs in its previous five games, and pitching with an automated strike zone that so far has led to skyrocketing walk totals in the league, Ohashi spun three perfect innings with four strikeouts. His fastball sat in the low 90s, and was accentuated by the roughly 7.5 feet of extension in his delivery. He paired the heater with a curveball and a splitter. Ohashi impressed Blue Jays officials with a combination of skills and makeup—he emerged from the pandemic in excellent shape—and the team rewarded him with a stateside debut.

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