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Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (5/17/22)



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 16. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Geoff Pontes, Kyle Glaser, Chris Hilburn-Trenkle and J.J. Cooper.

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 answered questions regarding today's Hot Sheet from 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET. You can read the full transcript here.


1. Andrew Abbott, LHP, Reds
Team: Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
Age: 22

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

The Scoop: The Reds’ 2021 second-round pick out of Virginia has already pitched his way to Double-A, and in his Double-A debut he was just as dominant as he’s been in High-A. Abbott has been one of the stars of the first six weeks of the season—he is second in the minors in ERA (0.55) and fourth in strikeouts (52). Abbott’s ability to back door his slider has paired extremely well with his average fastball. Abbott is showing signs he can be a solid, durable starter, and one who’s on a faster than expected track.(JC)

2. Jacob Gonzalez, 1B, Pirates
Team: High-A Greensboro (South Atlantic)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .632/.667/.1.263 (12-for-19), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB.

The Scoop: Gonzalez is both an obvious choice for this week’s Hot Sheet and a difficult one. He’s an obvious one because he had an exceptional first week with High-A Greensboro, but that’s been part of a breakout season. Gonzalez leads the minors with a .435 batting average and a .508 on-base percentage. His first week in High-A was even better. But at the same time, Gonzalez first reached Class A in 2018. This breakout season has come in his fourth season at Class A (not counting the lost 2020 season). It’s a great start, but he’ll need to show he can keep it up against more advanced competition. (JC)

3. Joey Wiemer, OF, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (Southern)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .417/.500/1.083 (10-for-24), 8 R, 1 2B, 5 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO, 1 SB.

The Scoop: Wiemer’s breakout 2021 season has bled over into 2022 in a very good way. He still strikes out at a high rate, but other than that, he’s done everything to show that last year’s power surge is quite real and he’s even hitting over .300 to go with it. (JC)

4. Jordan Walker, 3B, Cardinals
Team: Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .375/.370/.750 (9-for-24), 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 8 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Walker is a prodigious masher of baseballs. He proved that last year at both Class A levels, and then inspired enough confidence in his organization to jump him to Double-A at 19 years old. So far, the decision has proved wise. Walker swatted two home runs this week—his second and third of the season—and has continued to hit for both average and power. Not bad for a guy who entered the year as the Texas League’s only teenager. (JN)

5. Josh Lowe, OF, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (International)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .474/.500/1.000 (9-for-19), 3 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 2 SB.

The Scoop: Lowe was supposed to be playing regularly in Tampa Bay right now. The trade of Austin Meadows cleared a spot for him, but when he struggled in April, he found himself back in May for a return trip to Durham. Lowe didn’t sulk at the demotion. He hit for power from his first day back, but this week, he started stringing together excellent at-bats as well. (JC)

6. Eddys Leonard, SS, Dodgers
Team: High-A Great Lakes (Midwest)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .400/.464/.1.040 (10-for-25), 5 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Leonard terrorized one of the most talented pitching staffs in the Midwest League this week as he collected 10 hits, eight of which went for extra bases, against the vaunted Lake County staff. He hit eight balls above 95-plus mph during the series and seven of those batted balls went for extra bases. He didn’t just collect his hits against the Captains bullpen either, as Leonard had extra base hits off of Gavin Williams, Tommy Mace and Tanner Bibee. Plus bat speed and loose hands allow Leonard to get to his plus power in games. There’s an average level of bat-to-ball skills, but he can still get caught up in aggressive tendencies. (GP)

7. Hao Yu Lee, 2B, Phillies
Team: Low-A Clearwater (Florida State)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .455/.556/1.091, (10-for-22), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBIs, 5 BB, 1 SO

The Scoop: Lee jumped up eight spots in the Phillies Top 30 in last week’s update, then followed it up with his best week as a professional, hitting a home run in four consecutive games to end the week, two more than he hit in his first 33 career games. The 19-year-old second baseman has one of the best pure hit tools in the Phillies system and combines impressive hittability with line-drive power to all fields. Given the way he’s started the season, he could soon be in line for a promotion to High-A Jersey Shore. (CHT)

8. Michael Busch, 2B, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .450/.577/.900, (9-for-20), 9 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: After going through an up-and-down campaign in his first taste of the upper minors in 2021, Busch ended the season on a tear, hitting .413 in the month of September. He’s carried that performance over to this season, ranking second in the Texas League in homers (11) and fourth in OPS (1.112). Busch is a solid-average defender at second base, but it’s his bat that carries the way. Busch has a patient approach at the plate and makes hard contact, evidenced by his 106.3 mph 90th percentile exit velocity in April, to give him an above-average hit tool and above-average power. (CHT)

9. Elly De La Cruz, SS, Reds
Team: High-A Dayton (Midwest)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .308/.357/.654 (8-for-26), 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Last year, De La Cruz was the sport’s biggest breakout prospect. This year, he’s proving 2021 was no fluke. The tooled-up De La Cruz started slowly—as many younger players do in the chilly Midwest League’s early months—but has begun to thaw out in recent days. Through the first two series in May, De La Cruz is slashing .324/.419/.595 including the pair of home runs he hit this week. The blasts brought De La Cruz’s season total to five, matching his output in 50 Florida State League games in 2021. (JN)

10. Royber Salinas, RHP, Braves
Team: High-A Rome (South Atlantic)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: After a clunker in his first start with Rome, the Braves’ breakout prospect remembered who he is—Royber, the Great Misser of Bats. Four of Salinas’ seven starts this season have ended with double-digit strikeouts, and his 63 Ks lead the minor leagues. Moreover, Salinas also leads qualified minor league pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings (19.33), strikeout percentage (53.8%) and swinging-strike percentage (23%). Simply put: If you step in the box against Royber, there’s a pretty good chance he’s going to make you look silly before sending you back to the dugout. (JN)

11. Miles Mastrobuoni, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (International)
Age: 26

Why He’s Here: .500/.652/.938 (8-for-16), 7 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 7 BB, 5 SO, 3 SB.

The Scoop: When the Rays promoted Vidal Brujan to the majors, it created a little bit of a void in Durham. Brujan had been the Bulls do-everything leadoff hitter. Mastrobuoni stepped into the leadoff spot and hit .500 in his first week in the role. Like Brujan, he can play everywhere—he’s played five spots for Durham already. (JC)

12. Bryce Miller, RHP, Mariners
Team: High-A Everett (Northwest)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 11.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 17 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: The Mariners righthander has some of the best stuff in the minor leagues and he continued to overwhelm High-A hitters this week. Facing off against Tri-City, Miller didn’t allow an earned run across two five-plus inning starts. Perhaps equally as impressive, Miller didn’t walk a batter all week while striking out 17. He features a fastball that sits 96 mph with plus vertical break, a sweeper that can sit in the mid 80s and a good changeup. His pitch mix and ability to throw strikes has improved his probability of sticking as a starter, a role many questioned his ability to handle coming into the season. (GP)

13. Hunter Goodman, C/1B, Rockies
Team: 22
Age: Low-A Fresno (California)

Why He’s Here: .462/.500/.923 (12-for-26), 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 13 RBIs, 0 BB, 8 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The power-hitting catcher had a huge week for Fresno, racking up four multi-hit games in the Grizzlies series at Visalia. He hit five extra-base hits, including three home runs, and put eight balls into play at 100-plus mph. Goodman connected for a hit in every game of the series and had multiple RBIs in four out of the six games. Drafted out of Memphis in the fourth round last July, Goodman ranks third in the California League in home runs (nine) and second in RBIs (34). (GP)

NL West Prospect Notebook

National League West Prospect Notebook For July

Organization reports from our five National League West correspondents, headlined by an emerging Dodgers righthander from the club's bountiful 2020 draft class.

14. J.P. Sears, LHP, Yankees
Team: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
Age: 26

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 9.1IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 14 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Sears is one of many pitchers who have flourished under the Yankees’ new developmental regime. He made his big league debut this season but has otherwise carved hitters at Triple-A. Sears has been dazzling so far this year, whiffing 23 against just one walk with Triple-A on the season. If he continues at this pace, he’ll be back in the big leagues fairly soon.  (JN)

15. Luis Campusano, C, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .444/.546/.889 (8-for-18), 7 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Campusano returned to Triple-A after a brief stint with the Padres and continues to show he’s ready to move beyond the level. He recorded multiple hits, including at least one extra-base hit, in all four games he started last week and is now batting .385/.444/.631 at Triple-A this season. Whether his opportunity to start comes in San Diego or somewhere else after a trade, Campusano is showing he’s ready for the chance. (KG)

16. Zack Gelof, 3B, Athletics
Team: Double-A Midland (Texas)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .550/.625/.650 (11-for-20), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: The 2021 second-rounder from Virginia hasn’t missed a beat in his first taste of Double-A in 2022, ranking second in the Texas League in average (.363) and first in hits (49). Gelof has yet to showcase his plus raw power this season, with just an 86.6 mph exit velocity in the month of April, but he’s still managed to post 14 extra-base hits in 30 games. He’ll need to cut down on his swing and miss, but Gelof has an impact bat that could be featured in the A’s lineup as early as Opening Day 2023. (CHT)

17. Blaze Jordan, 1B/3B, Red Sox
Team: Low-A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .409/.458/.864 (9-for-22), 5 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: Jordan was one of the more famous names in the 2021 draft thanks to his prodigious power, and he didn’t disappoint in his first stop in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League, posting a 1.075 OPS in 19 games before spending nine games at Low-A Salem to end the season. Back at Salem to start the 2022 season, Jordan struggled mightily in April, but is hitting .367 with seven extra-base hits in 12 games this month. There are questions about Jordan’s future position defensively and he needs to cut down on his chase rate, but his 70-grade power will fit anywhere on the diamond. (CHT)

18. Owen Caissie, OF, Cubs
Team:
High-A South Bend (Midwest)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .471/.550/.765, (8-for-17), 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: The 2020 second-rounder of the Padres wasn’t in the system long before getting traded to the Cubs as part of the return for righthander Yu Darvish in December 2020. He quickly proved his worth with his new organization, dominating the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League in 2021 and spending 22 games at Low-A. The 19-year-old finished his best week of the 2022 season with three consecutive multi-hit games while showcasing his plus-plus raw power. The swing and miss is still too high, but Caissie has the tools to one day be a power-hitting force in a major league lineup. (CHT)

19. Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B, Braves
Team: High-A Rome (South Atlantic)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .500/.545/.600 (10-for-20), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: The sixth-rounder out of Georgia Tech debuted in the Atlanta Top 30 Prospects at No. 30 in the May update. He continued his early season momentum this week, collecting a hit in all five games he played and in 50% of his at-bats. His high watermark came on Saturday with a 5-for-5 performance, roping a pair of doubles and three singles, as he crossed the plate twice and drove in a pair on the day. He enters a series with Aberdeen batting .324/.423/.486 with three home runs and a 13% walk rate. (GP)

20. David Festa, RHP, Twins
Team:
Low-A Fort Myers (Florida State)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 SO.

The Scoop: If you talk to people in baseball, their biggest issue with the reorganized and cut-down minor leagues generally revolves around Low-A. It’s a level that has morphed into a weird hybrid level that’s partly much like the old Appy League. It also has aspects that feel like the New York-Penn League (especially in the second half of the season). But there’s also experienced college players who maybe should be in High-A. Festa fits in that last category. He’s a Seton Hall product who is carving up younger, less experienced hitters. But there’s also really good stuff here. Festa sat at 94-96 and touched 99 mph in his most recent start and he throws his changeup and cutter for strikes. He’s now struck out 33 in 25 innings, which earned him a promotion this week to High-A Cedar Rapids. (JC)

Helium

Josh Simpson, LHP, Marlins
Team: Double-A Pensacola
Age: 24

The Scoop: A 32nd-round pick out of Columbia in 2019, Simpson has allowed four hits all year. All four hits were singles, none of which was well struck. He also has 32 strikeouts in 17.2 innings. So it’s safe to say that Simpson has earned his perfect 0.00 ERA. He also has three pick-offs this year, so even when a batter does reach, he has done a good job of erasing them himself. Simpson’s mid-90s fastball and curveball play well together. The fastball speeds hitters’ bats up, and his slower curve either locks them up (early in counts) or tightens up enough to get them to swing through it later in counts. (JC)

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