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Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (6/14/22)

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 June 13. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Geoff Pontes, Kyle Glaser and Chris Hilburn-Trenkle.

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.

Josh Norris answered questions regarding this week's Hot Sheet from 2-3 p.m. ET today. You can read the transcript here.

1. Will Brennan, OF, Guardians
Team: Triple-A Columbus (International)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .640/.677/.720 (16-for-25), 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 7 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: Brennan has emerged as one of the bigger movers in the Guardians’ system. The Kansas State alum and 2019 eighth-round choice was excellent in 36 games at Double-A before moving to Triple-A on May 26. He hasn’t missed a beat. He has a hit in all but two of his 16 games with Columbus, and has multiple hits in his last five games. In four games since June 9, Brennan went 13-for-18. (JN)

2. Kevin Alcantara, OF, Cubs
Team: Low-A Myrtle Beach (Carolina)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .417/.481/.958 (10-for-24), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: A great deal of Alcantara’s week unfolded in a massive effort on Sunday afternoon. The outfielder, who came over to the Cubs from the Yankees in the Anthony Rizzo trade last summer, closed the series against Carolina by going 4-for-6 with a triple and two homers in the Pelicans’ rout of the Mudcats. Overall, the tooled-up outfielder has performed quite well in his first test at full-season ball, hitting .285/.371/.528 in 50 games this year. Alcantara was long known for his exciting upside. This year, he’s beginning to realize some of that potential. (JN)

3. Stanley Consuegra, OF, Mets
Low-A St. Lucie (Florida State) 
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .435/.519/.957 (10-for-23), 7 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Consuegra was a highly-regarded international signing who’s shown flashes of being a potential breakout prospect. He’s held his own in his first full-season assignment but really broke out last week. Consuegra had six extra-base hits on the week, and he showed he’s a man that likes variety, hitting two of each type. He can be a bit of a free-swinger but shows power at the point of contact. (GP)

4. Jordan Westburg, SS/3B, Orioles
Age: 23
Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)

Why He’s Here: .455/.478/.909 (10-for-22), 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB

The Scoop: Westburg, the No. 30 pick in the 2020 draft out of Mississippi State, struggled to make contact in his first month at Double-A Bowie after finishing the 2021 season at the level. He hit under .200, but still managed to produce solid exit velocity numbers when he made contact, with an 89.7 mph average exit velocity in April and nine extra-base hits. Since May 1 he’s begun making more contact to pair with his above-average raw power, and it culminated in an impressive first week with Triple-A Norfolk. Westburg shot out of the gate with 10 hits in 22 at-bats, including five extra-base hits, to raise his OPS to .878 on the season. (CHT)

5. Dustin Harris, OF, Rangers
Team: Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .429/.455/.905 (9-for-21), 7 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: One of the purest hitting prospects in Texas’ system, Harris has caught fire of late in the hitter-friendly Texas League. His latest hot stretch has indeed come during a series at the offensive wonderland that is Amarillo, but the numbers are impressive nonetheless. The 22-year-old Harris’ peak of the week came on Saturday, when he went 3-for-6 with a triple and a home run and fell a double shy of the cycle. Notably, Harris also is among the players who had to adjust their pre-pitch routine to account for the stricter pitch clock enforcement throughout the minors. (JN)

6. Hunter Brown, RHP, Astros
Team: Triple-A Sugar Land (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.13, 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 13 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: Another week, another strong showing for Brown. The hard-throwing righthander opened the week by pitching five innings with three hits and one run allowed, one walk and nine strikeouts against Oklahoma City to continue his recent run of excellent starts. He finished the week by coming out of the bullpen and pitching three scoreless innings against Las Vegas to record his first save of the season. Overall, Brown has a 1.95 ERA over the past month and is holding opponents to a .156 batting average in that time. With a fastball that is sitting at 96 mph and touching 100, a curveball and slider that are both annihilating hitters and vastly improved control, it's only a matter of time before he gets the call for his major league debut. (KG)

7. Taj Bradley, RHP, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 2.16, 8.1 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Bradley’s rise continues uninterrupted. The 21-year-old righthander continued his dominant season by allowing only one run in each of his two starts last week, albeit while throwing less than five innings in each start. As the second-youngest pitcher in the Southern League on Opening Day, Bradley has allowed one run or less in 10 of his 11 starts this year, is holding opponents to a .198 average and leads the league with a 2.19 ERA. (KG)

8. Ken Waldichuk, LHP, Yankees
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.50, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Waldichuk has risen into the upper echelon of Yankees pitching prospects. The lefthander’s sweepier slider has led to gaudy strikeout totals, and in his latest turn he added his second double-digit strikeout game of the season and first since being promoted to Triple-A. Overall, Waldichuk has 78 strikeouts out of 198 batters faced, giving him a strikeout rate of 39.4%, the second-highest rate among minor leaguers with 50 or more innings pitched. (JN)

9. Brett Baty, 3B, Mets
Age: 22
Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)

Why He’s Here: .400/.500/.700 (8-for-20), 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 0 SB 

The Scoop: The 2019 first-rounder out of the Texas prep ranks had a breakout 2021 season split between High-A Brooklyn and Double-A Binghamton, pairing his plus raw power with improved strike-zone awareness and athleticism, culminating in an appearance at the Futures Game, where he put on a display in batting practice. Baty picked up where he left off this season, hitting a shade below .300 in April. After taking a step back in May, with almost twice as many strikeouts (25) as hits (14), Baty started June on a tear, with 12 hits in 32 at-bats and nearly as many walks (five) as strikeouts (seven). (CHT)

10. Alexander Canario, OF, Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .400/.444/.840 (10-for-25), 2 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Canario understandably went through an adjustment period after being promoted to Double-A in early May, but he broke out in a big way last week. The 22-year-old outfielder racked up 10 hits, including six extra-base hits, in a span of three days at Biloxi. That included the game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning on June 9, a massive three-run homer that cleared the trees beyond the left-field fence on June 10 and the decisive two-run homer to lead Tennessee to a win on June 11. Canario has as much raw power as anyone in the Cubs’ system, and he showed just how dangerous he can be when he gets to it. (KG)

11. Randy Vasquez, RHP, Yankees
Team: Double-A Somerset (Eastern)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.74, 10.1 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 12 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: Slowly but surely, Vasquez’s profile has increased. Because of Luis Gil’s injury, he stands as the system’s third-best righthanded pitching prospect, behind only Hayden Wesneski and Luis Medina, and he might be a safer bet than Medina. His numbers don’t leap off the page like some others in the system or around the sport, but he’s gotten better month by month. In three June starts (two of which came during the most recent Hot Sheet period), Vasquez has permitted just three earned runs while striking out 18 and walking just five. (JN)

12. Kendall Williams, RHP, Dodgers
Team: High-A Great Lakes (Midwest)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.17, 7.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 15 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: Williams has long had a projectable frame, a clean delivery and advanced control—it was just a matter of getting stronger and his stuff ticking up. After sitting 88-92 mph on his fastball last year, Williams has ticked up to 90-93 mph this year and is seeing the results. The 21-year-old righthander struck out 15 batters without issuing a single walk in two outings last week against Dayton, including striking out eight of the 10 batters he faced on Sunday. He allowed a popup and a triple to lead off the game, then promptly struck out the next eight batters in a row, including seven swinging. Overall, Williams has a 2.08 ERA over his last seven starts, and slowly but surely is moving in the right direction. (KG)

13. Inohan Paniagua, RHP, Cardinals
Age: 22
Team: Low-A Palm Beach (Florida State)

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 14 SO

The Scoop: The top sleeper in the Cardinals system entering the 2022 season, Paniagua fared well in his full-season debut at Low-A Palm Beach on the strength of his above-average fastball that topped out at 96 mph and an upper-70s curveball that flashed plus. Though Paniagua spent most of his time in the bullpen in 2021, he’s started exclusively in 2022 with Palm Beach. So far, so good, as the 6-foot-1 righthander has lowered his walk rate, posted the best ERA of his career (2.21) and pitched a career-high 61 innings. The 22-year-old has little left to prove at the level and is ready for an assignment with High-A Peoria. (CHT)

14. Logan Cerny, OF, Astros
Team: Low-A Fayetteville (Carolina) 

Why He’s Here: .476/.500/1.000 (10-for-21), 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 13 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 3 SB

The Scoop: An impressive athlete with four above-average or better tools, Cerny broke out as a junior with Troy in 2021 and was the No. 164 prospect on the 2021 BA 500 before getting selected by the Phillies in the 10th round of the draft. Cerny, who was traded to the Astros in November for catcher Garrett Stubbs, failed to make much contact in his first two months at Low-A Fayetteville—a concern going back to college due to the amount of swing and miss he showed in the Sun Belt Conference. He’s looked like a different player in June, with 16 hits in 38 at-bats, including seven extra-base hits, and almost as many walks (six) as strikeouts (eight) while showcasing his plus-plus speed on the basepaths (seven stolen bases). (CHT)

15. Spencer Horwitz, 1B, Blue Jays
Team: Double-A  New Hampshire (Eastern) 
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .450/.577/.900 (9-for-20), 4 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: An on-base machine, Horwitz has gotten on base in 16.1% of his plate appearances in 2022, and last week was no exception. Horwitz had hits in all six games last week and got on base twice in five out of six games. He flashed power last week as well, hitting five extra-base hits. Horwitz is limited to first base and left field defensively but he has a nice set of offensive skills with above-average bat-to-ball ability, plus on-base skills and average power (GP)


Prospect Report: Hunter Brown Rolls Again

Hunter Brown continues to be the dominant pitcher of the Pacific Coast League with another excellent outing.

16. Ceddanne Rafaela, OF, Red Sox
Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .346/.393/.692 (9-for-26), 5 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Not wanting to miss a Hot Sheet, Rafaela debuted in Portland and brought the fireworks last week versus Hartford. After going 1-for-13 over his first three games, Rafaela flipped the switch and went 8-for-13 last weekend including a 4-for-5 performance with a home run in Friday’s contest. Rafaela can play all over the diamond defensively, including multiple up-the-middle positions, but he’s primarily been a center fielder this season. His approach is aggressive but he’s made it work with average contact and power skills. (GP)

17. Andy Pages, OF, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas) 
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .333/.417/.857 (7-for-21), 4 R, 1 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: It’s easy to forget just how young Pages is for Double-A, as he turned 21 in December and is one of the youngest players at the level. Pages has held his own to this point, but last week he went off during the Drillers series with Northwest Arkansas. Pages connected for three home runs during the series including a 105 mph shot in the series opening game. An encouraging sign for Pages is he’s cut his strikeout rate at each level over the last few seasons, and his current rate sits at an above-average 22.4%. Blessed with plus raw power that translates to games, Pages has developed his bat-to-ball skills and approach to the point they’re both above-average skills. (GP)

18. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Red Sox
Team: Low-A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .318/.348/.818 (7-for-22), 4 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Mayer returned from his sprained wrist on May 30 and hasn’t missed a beat. The 2021 first-rounder strung together three consecutive multi-hit games to close out last week’s series at Charleston, including hitting a double and a homer on June 9 and another double and homer on June 11. Overall, Mayer is batting .306/.395/.694 since he returned and is showing no ill effects from his injury. (KG)

19. Francisco Alvarez, C, Mets
Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .278/.409/.889 (5-for-18), 5 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Alvarez, the Mets top prospect, came into the week riding a seven-game hit streak. After the week had ended that streak was extended to a dozen games. Alvarez, known for his power, isn’t just hitting singles during his streak, as he connected for three home runs last week and six over his last 11 games. Alvarez set the tone early on in the week, launching a home run in his first at-bat of the series at 109-plus mph. One of the highest rated players in the minor leagues, Alvarez is flashing franchise catcher skills at just 20-years-old in Double-A. (GP)

20. Jairo Pomares, OF, Giants
Team: High-A Eugene (Northwest)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .333/.407/.750 (8-for-24), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Pomares started slowly in the cold, drizzly Pacific Northwest but has come on strong in the season’s third month. The Cuban outfielder’s overall numbers still do not jump off the page—his OPS stands at just .729—but he’s appeared to turn a corner early in June. Pomares is 13-for-43 in June (that’s just two hits shy of his output in May for double the games). His week was highlighted by a walk-off home run against Spokane on June 10. (JN)


Echedry Vargas, 3B, Rangers
Age: 17

Vargas was listed as a sleeper prospect in BA’s review of the Rangers’ international signing class, lauded for his feel to hit and ability to find the barrel. So far, that’s proven true for the 17-year-old from the Dominican Republic. He led the DSL in total bases (20) during the most recent Hot Sheet period, then opened the second week of the season by going 3-for-3. Vargas’ career is in its earliest stages, but he’s made quite a first impression. (JN)

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