Hot Sheet: Baseball’s 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (5/23/23)

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 May 22. 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.

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

1. Jackson Holliday, SS, Orioles
Team: High-A Aberdeen (South Atlantic)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .619/.667/1.333 (13-for-21), 9 R, 3 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBIs, 3 BB, 1 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: After being taken by Baltimore with the No. 1 overall pick in 2022, Holliday has quickly cemented himself as one of the game’s elite prospects. Scouts buzzed about him last season and the plaudits have continued to roll in over the first two months of his first full-season test as a pro. Holliday bashed his way out of Low-A in just 13 games, during which time he posted an OPS of 1.190. So far, High-A hasn’t been much of a challenge, either. Holliday missed the cycle in each of the first two games of the series—one of which was shortened to just five innings because of rain—and finished his five games against Winston-Salem a home run shy of three cycles’ worth of production. He showed incredible plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills throughout the set, taking breaking balls and pitches off the plate without so much as a flinch. Holliday saw 93 pitches over the course of the week and swung and missed just nine times. He swung and missed multiple times in just one of his plate appearances. After 21 games at High-A, Holliday has more walks (17) than strikeouts (15) and 13 of his 30 hits have gone for extra bases. The Orioles might have another special player on their hands. (JN)

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

Why He’s Here: .520/.600/1.160 (13-for-25), 9 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Keith homered on Saturday as part of a three-hit day and homered again on Sunday as part of another three-hit day, this time tossing in a double as well. Amazingly, if you put those two games together, they still wouldn’t be as good as the 6-for-6 masterpiece he put together on May 16. On that day Keith hit a two-run home run in the first, drove in three with a triple later in that first inning, homered again in the fourth, doubled to drive in a run in the fifth, singled to finish off the cycle in the seventh and singled again in the eighth. Six hits, 15 total bases, seven RBIs, 34 points of batting average and 96 points of slugging percentage in one day. It’s a day that ranks among the best we’ll see all year. (JC)

3. Quinn Priester, RHP, Pirates
Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.75., 12 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Priester struggled badly in April (7.78 ERA) but is cruising through May (1.13 ERA). The 2019 first-round pick delivered a pair of dominant starts against Iowa last week, tossing seven innings with one run allowed and nine strikeouts in the series opener and pitching five scoreless innings in the series finale. Priester has done a particularly impressive job staying off of barrels and keeping the ball on the ground during his hot stretch. He induced 15 ground outs compared to just four air outs last week and has allowed only two home runs all season. (KG)

4. Gavin Williams, RHP, Guardians
Team: Triple-A Columbus (International)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 3.72, 9.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 15 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: When it comes to pitching prospects, it’s hard to go wrong with a Guardian. After beginning the year in Double-A, Williams has answered the bell so far in Triple-A. The East Carolina alum punched out 15 more hitters last week over two starts, bringing his total between the levels to 56 in 40 innings. In his second start of the week, Williams’ fastball never dipped below 95, touched 100 and sat around 98 mph. He threw 76 pitches in his Sunday start and got 20 swings and misses, good for 26% on the day. (JN)

5. Jeferson Quero, C, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (Southern)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .318/.348/1.000 (7-for-22), 5 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Quero is quickly vying for a spot among the game’s elite catching prospects. The 20-year-old has hit for both average and power in his first test at the upper levels, but he went truly berzerk this past week in Chattanooga. Entering the series, Quero had three home runs. After the series, he had eight, pushing him into a tie for second place in the league (a spot also held by fellow Hot Sheeter Noelvi Marte). That’s even more impressive considering he opened the season as the third-youngest position player—but only the second-youngest Quero—in the league. To make matters more interesting, Quero has not had his immense arm talent muted by the more baserunner-friendly rules. He’s caught 9 of 23 runners attempting to steal, good for a clip of 39%. (JN)

6. Everson Pereira, OF, Yankees
Team: Double-A Somerset (Eastern)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .522/.538/.870 (12-for-23), 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Outfield is the richest position in the Yankees’ system, with Pereira, Jasson Dominguez and Spencer Jones all among the organization’s best prospects. Two of Pereira’s biggest issues have been health and contact. Pereira has avoided the injured list this year, but his strikeout rate has hovered around 30%. By making much more contact in this past week’s series with Reading, he showed the kind of impact he can produce at his peak. Pereira’s two home runs upped his season total to six, nearly halfway to the 14 he swatted in 2022, when he split the season between High-A and Double-A. (JN)

7. Tekoah Roby, RHP, Rangers
Team: Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.74, 10.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: A 2020 third-rounder out of Pine Forest High in Pensacola, Fla., Roby is enjoying his second consecutive healthy season in 2023 but has struggled with Double-A Frisco across eight starts. Things may have turned a corner last week, however. Making two starts against Amarillo at home, Roby allowed just two runs over 10.1 innings, on two hits, two walks and 11 strikeouts. Across the two starts Roby generated 19 swinging strikes including 11 in last Tuesday’s 6.1-inning effort. Roby uses a four-seam fastball at 93-95 mph, touching 97 mph, with only moderate ride but a flat vertical approach angle that allows the pitch to play above its somewhat pedestrian shape. He pairs his four-seam with a curveball with heavy drop and spin rates in the 2,600-2,700 rpm range. Roby also features a mid-80s gyro slider and a low-80s changeup, but both pitches are used infrequently. (GP) 

8. Nolan Jones, 3B/OF, Rockies
Team: Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .539/.700/1.077 (7-for-13), 4 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 7 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Jones failed to make the Rockies Opening Day roster but is making a compelling case for a callup with Albuquerque. Jones extended his hitting streak to seven games last week with a red-hot series against Tacoma and is now batting .362/.486/.723 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs in 37 games for the Isotopes. Jones’ improvement against breaking balls this season has been a particularly notable and promising development. After hitting a combined .152 against breaking balls at Triple-A Columbus in 2021 and 2022, Jones is batting .429 against breaking balls for Albuquerque this year. (KG)

9. Gavin Cross, OF, Royals
Team: High-A Quad Cities (Midwest)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .375/.500/1.167 (9-for-24) 4 2B, 5 HR, 11 RBIs, 6 BB, 10 SO, 2 SB.

The Scoop: Until last week, Cross had not come close to sniffing the Hot Sheet this year. When last week’s series with Wisconsin began, Cross was hitting .180/.244/.311 with just two home runs in 30 games. Last week was a great week to get back on track for Cross. He homered on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. There is still some work to do—he struck out swinging four times on Saturday, consistently struggling to hit offspeed pitches when behind in the count. But two of his homers last week also came on breaking balls. (JC)

10. Hogan Harris, LHP, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Age: 26

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 2.89, 9.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: Hogan walked five of the eight batters he faced in a nightmarish major league debut against the Mets on April 14, but he’s made noticeable control improvements at Triple-A Las Vegas since the calendar turned to May. Harris managed the difficult feat of pitching well at high-elevation Salt Lake not just once, but twice last week for the Aviators. The 2018 third-rounder pitched five innings with one run allowed, six strikeouts and, importantly, no walks in the series opener on May 16. He followed with 4.1 innings, two runs allowed, five strikeouts and only one walk in the finale. Overall, Harris has a 1.86 ERA over four starts in May with 19 strikeouts and just six walks in 19.1 innings, a showing that should result in another big league callup in the near future. (KG)

11. Josh Kasevich, SS, Blue Jays
Team: High-A Vancouver (Northwest)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .556/.500/.667 (10-for-18), 3 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBIs, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Kasevich was primarily known for his reliable shortstop defense at Oregon, but his knack for contact is what helped push him into the second round last year. The 22-year-old has made the transition to pro ball without issue at the plate. Kasevich went 0-for-4 in Vancouver’s series opener against Tri-City last week and then reeled off 10 hits in his next 14 at-bats in a scorching stretch at the plate. He was especially locked in during a doubleheader on May 19, going a combined 6-for-7 with a double, three runs scored and three RBIs. Kasevich is now batting .302 with as many walks (13) as strikeouts (13) on the year. He has gone 32 consecutive plate appearances without striking out. (KG)

12. Yanquiel Fernandez, OF, Rockies
Team: High-A Spokane (Northwest) 
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .429/.414/.929 (12-for-28), 6 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 12 RBIs, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: The Cuban outfielder collected a hit in all six games last week including four multi-hit games. On Saturday Fernandez slugged a pair of home runs as part of a three-hit effort, raising his home run total on the season to nine. Overall on the season Fernandez is hitting .322/.340/.597 over 34 games in High-A. One of the best young sluggers in a Rockies system full of them, Fernandez has a strong combination of contact and power with a very aggressive approach. (GP)

13. Jack Kochanowicz, RHP, Angels
Team: Double-A Rocket City (Southern)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 1.93, 14 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: The 6-foot-7 Kochanowicz struggled to command his arsenal his first two seasons and got hit hard as a result, but the 2019 third-round pick lowered his arm slot this year and is now having unprecedented success. Kochanowicz pitched a complete game against Birmingham in just his second Double-A start last week, allowing only four hits and one run and completing the effort in just 88 pitches. Kochanowicz is now 3-0, 1.67 in seven starts with his new arm slot this year. It’s a stark and welcome reversal from the 6.13 ERA he posted over his first two professional seasons. (KG)

14. Liover Peguero, SS, Pirates 
Team: Double-A Altoona (Eastern)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .462/.500/.885 (12-for-26), 7 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: The infielder has become a bit of a forgotten man in the Pirates system but he’s performing well in his second tour of Double-A in 2023. Overall on the season Peguero is hitting .273/.348/.446 with an 18.1% strikeout rate and a 10.3% walk rate, both improvements year over year. Last week Peguero reached base in all six of Altoona’s games, including a trio of three-hit games. His best game of the week came on Saturday, when Peguero went 3-for-3 with two home runs. This was the third multi-home run game of Peguero’s career and his first since August of 2021. On the 40-man roster, Peguero could potentially return to the major leagues later this summer. (GP)

15. Cole Wilcox, RHP, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 2.00, 2 GS, 9 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: Wilcox has been working back steadily from his mid-2021 Tommy John surgery. He’s yet to fully show his pre-injury fastball, as he’s gone from touching 95-98 mph to sitting in the low 90s and touching 95-96. But his sinker/slider/changeup approach can be quite effective and he’s been very pitch efficient this month, which is why he’s starting to get to five-inning outings despite being limited to 60-75 pitches per outing. (JC)

16. Noelvi Marte, SS/3B, Reds
Team: Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .400/.464/.880 (10-for-25), 8 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 4 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Any hitter thriving in the Southern League should get extra credit. The league’s pitchers have gained an unexpected advantage—at least in the first half of the season—thanks to the use of pre-tacked balls. That doesn’t seem to have fazed Marte, who came to Cincinnati from Seattle in the Luis Castillo deal. Marte’s three home runs last week brought his season total to eight, one behind league leader Kyren Paris. Marte is also among the SL’s top five in batting average (.292), hits (42, tied for first), extra-base hits (17) and total bases (76). (JN)

17. Noah Cameron, LHP, Royals
Team: High-A Quad Cities (Midwest)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 3.60, 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 11 SO.

The Scoop: Cameron is carving up the High-A Midwest League thanks to a nasty changeup that hitters can’t seem to lay off of even if they expect to see it. His low-90s fastball plays better than its velocity because of good riding life, and he’s shown he can drop in a high-70s curveball. The Central Arkansas seventh-round pick just got a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. It’s well deserved, as Cameron has shown he needs a bigger challenge. (JC)

18. Zach DeLoach, OF, Mariners 
Team: Triple-A Tacoma (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .500/.500/.708 (12-for-24), 2 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 0 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: A 2020 second-rounder out of Texas A&M, DeLoach is quietly putting together a strong season for Triple-A Tacoma. Over 41 games DeLoach is hitting .303/.402/.445 with a 13% walk rate, albeit with the highest strikeout rate of his career at 29.9%. The strikeout issues didn’t hinder DeLoach last week as he collected a hit in all six games in Albuquerque. His best game came on Sunday as DeLoach went 5-for-5 with a home run, two runs and an RBI. DeLoach collected a dozen hits on the week, including nine singles. Despite some flukey numbers within his overall line, DeLoach is performing admirably through his first tour of Triple-A. (GP)

19. Colton Gordon, LHP, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Age: 24 

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 2.00, 9 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 11 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: A pitchability lefthander and former eighth-round pick back in 2021, Gordon has put up solid but unspectacular results with Double-A Corpus Christi. Gordon made two starts last week against Tulsa—four scoreless innings on Tuesday followed by a five-inning effort on Sunday where Gordon allowed two runs while striking out seven. Gordon primarily uses a low-90s sinker, a mid-70s sweeping curveball and a harder sweeping slider in the low 80s. He also throws a four-seam fastball and a changeup, but the changeup is used less frequently than his other pitches. Gordon has back-end starter upside as he does a good job of throwing strikes and driving ground balls. (GP)

20. Kyle Hurt, RHP, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 0-0. 0.00, 1 GS, 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 SO.

The Scoop: The first batter Hurt faced on Friday night worked the count to 3-1 before Hurt rallied to strike him out. The last batter Hurt faced in the fourth inning worked the count to 3-1 as well, before Hurt rallied to strike him out on a called strike three. In between those two batters, Hurt faced 12 other batters. He threw four balls over those 12 plate appearances. When you talk about the most efficient pitching outings of 2023, it’s going to be hard to top what Hurt did. He struck out 10 of the 14 batters he faced, but somehow managed to do so while throwing only 52 pitches, thanks to throwing only 10 balls all night and thanks to whiffing five different batters on three pitches. His strike percentage of 81% is one of the highest we’ll see from a starter all year. Hurt came into this year with serious questions about whether he’d throw enough strikes to be effective—he walked 37 in 31 innings after he was promoted to Tulsa last year. This year, he’s walked six in 23 innings and has upped that strike percentage from 54% last year to 68% this year. (JC)


Luis Lara, OF, Brewers 
Team: Low-A Carolina (Carolina)
Age: 18 

Why He’s Here: .385/.500/.500 (10-for-26), 5 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 6 BB, 2 SO, 4-for-5 SB

The Scoop: You may have heard of the last Brewers teenage outfield prospect to be assigned to Low-A Carolina in the second month of the season. That would be our No. 1 overall prospect Jackson Chourio. While Lara lacks the impact of Chourio, he has an advanced hit tool and speed on the bases. Over 18 games with Low-A Carolina Lara has seven strikeouts to 15 walks and a 6.1% swinging strike rate. His ability to make loads of contact and control the strike zone against older competitors is an excellent sign of Lara’s polished and high-end hit tool. The Venezuelan outfielder should rise up lists throughout the season as he continues to display advanced plate skills. (GP)

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