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Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (6/21/22)



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 20. Contributing this week were Josh Norris and Geoff Pontes.

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 will be answering questions regarding today's Hot Sheet from 2-3 p.m. ET. You can submit your questions here.


1. Curtis Mead, 3B, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .421/.450/1.158 (8-for-19), 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: One of the purest hitters in the minor leagues performed like … one of the purest hitters in the minor leagues. Mead, whom the Rays acquired from the Phillies in 2019, has hit at every level, including a whirlwind tour of the minor leagues in 2021. After a middling May, Mead has put together a molten June. In 16 games this month, the Australian is hitting .344/.414/.705 with six home runs, two more than he hit in all of April and May combined. (JN)

2. Dominic Fletcher, OF, D-backs 
Team: Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast) 
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .563/.652/.938 (9-for-16), 7 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 6 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The Oklahoma City pitching staff likely doesn’t want to see Fletcher again for a long time. The Reno outfielder got on base three or more times in four out of five games last week, including a pair of games where he got on base four times. He had a three-hit game on Wednesday and came just a double short of the cycle. Promoted to Triple-A in mid-May, Fletcher has continued to hit despite moving up a level. (GP)

3. Gordon Graceffo, RHP, Cardinals 
Team: Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 14 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 12 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: While the increase in stuff has been the story with Graceffo early this season it’s his sterling command that’s been most impressive. Graceffo made two starts last week, going seven innings each time, striking out six in each and not walking a single batter over 14 innings. Across 13 starts split between High-A and Double-A Graceffo has walked just 2.1% of the batters he’s faced. (GP)

4. Elehuris Montero, 3B, Rockies
Team: Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast) 
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .471/.500/1.059 (8-for-17), 7 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: It was an impressive week for Montero, who followed it up with a promotion to the major league squad on Monday. Montero had an extra-base hit in four out of five games last week and had a hit in all five games. Montero’s combination of contact and power has been on full display this year with Albuquerque as he’s hit .327/.395/.563 with 13 homers. (GP)

5. Eddinson Paulino, OF, Red Sox 
Team: Low-A Salem (Carolina) 
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .480/.581/.960 (12-for-25), 8 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 6 BB, 2 SO, 5-for-5 SB

The Scoop: After a slow start to the season, Paulino has gotten better with each passing month, culminating in a stellar month of June. He had four multi-hit games last week including three-hit efforts on Thursday and Sunday. He stole a base in four out of six games and opened the series with two steals and a home run on Tuesday. The 19-year-old is breaking out in Low-A, showing contact, speed, and average game power. (GP)

6. Everson Pereira, OF, Yankees
Team: High-A Hudson Valley (South Atlantic)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .483/.500/1.000 (14-for-29), 11 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Injuries and the pandemic have limited Pereira, one of the Yankees’ most gifted prospects, to a relatively small sample size of a career. The potential five-tool player has just 164 games to his name, despite signing in 2017. Just as he did in 2021, Pereira took great advantage of the hitter-friendly atmosphere at Greensboro and socked four home runs (three of which came off of offspeed pitches) and showed hints of his all-around skill set all week long. (JN)

7. Niko Kavadas, 1B, Red Sox
Team: Low-A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .529/.667/1.412 (9-for-17), 10 R, 3 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 9 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Kavadas’ power exploits at Notre Dame were legendary, and last week the powerful slugger reminded everyone few humans pulverize baseballs in the manner he does. He had a home run in four out of six contests and had an extra-base hit in all but one. Beyond just power, Kavadas got on base at a high rate, getting on base four times in three separate contests last week. It’s a three true outcome profile, but with the sort of double-plus power to make it work. (GP)

8. Kyle Muller, LHP, Braves
Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.63, 13.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 19 SO, 2 HR

The Scoop: Muller has long tantalized with his powerful pitch mix but has frustrated with his overall control and command. The former, at least, was no problem last week when he did not allow a walk over 13.2 innings and two starts while punching out 19. The two starts this week merely mirrored his opening two turns in June. Overall, Muller has fanned 36 and walked just four in 26.2 innings this month. (JN)

9. Robert Gasser, LHP, Padres 
Team: High-A Fort Wayne (Midwest)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 12 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: While Gasser’s ERA is a pedestrian 4.10 on the season, he’s easily outpitched that. He’s had bad luck on balls in play despite striking out 31% of the batters he’s faced while walking a respectable 7.8% of opposing hitters. Last week Gasser took luck out of the equation, allowing four hits across 12 innings, highlighted by Sunday’s seven no-hit innings. He struck out eight on Sunday, allowing a walk to the leadoff hitter before sitting down 21 consecutive batters. With his recent level of performance, Gasser looks ready for a bump to Double-A. (GP)

10. Vaughn Grissom, SS, Braves
Team: High-A Rome (South Atlantic) 
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .516/.559/.871 (16-for-31), 14 R, 5 2B, 2 HR, 17 RBIs, 3 BB, 2 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: It was a great all-around week for Grissom but on Thursday night he was the rainmaker. He went 4-for-7 with two home runs, five runs scored and eight RBIs. Grissom then followed up Thursday’s contest with a four-hit game on Friday, one of five multi-hit games on the week. Grissom has a well-rounded offensive game with plus bat-to-ball skills, strong swing decisions, power and speed. He may end up at third or in the outfield long term, but his bat may prove to be his calling card. (GP)

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

Why He’s Here: .500/.519/.923 (13-for-26), 6 R, 1 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: A quick glance at the top of the Hot Sheet might make it easy to deduct that the Delmarva pitching staff had its hands full last week with the Salem lineup. Jordan didn’t want teammates Eddinson Paulino and Niko Kavadas to have all the fun, so he chipped in with some fireworks of his own. Jordan had a hit in all six games, with multi-hit games in five. His signature game of the week came on Sunday when Jordan homered twice and drove in four. A bat-first prospect, Jordan is still just 19 years old and his advanced power and feel to hit are his carrying tools. (GP)

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

Why He’s Here: .429/.538/.810 (9-for-21), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: The slash line is stunning. The power output is tantalizing. The speed is nearly elite. But the most important part of De La Cruz’s week were the five walks. One of the few warts on De La Cruz’s game is the amount of swing and miss he’s displayed over the course of his career. His overall numbers have gotten better and better as the weather has warmed up in the Midwest. To wit, since May 1, the 20-year-old De La Cruz has hit .325/.381/.643 with 10 home runs. (JN)

13. Harry Ford, C, Mariners
Team: Low-A Modesto (California)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .421/.500/.842 (8-for-19), 6 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Ford is nicknamed “The Unicorn” for his rare skill set for a catcher. But that’s a bit of a misnomer. Unicorns aren’t real. Ford is very, very real. He showed off many facets of his skill set this past week with average (.421), plate discipline (1:1 K-BB ratio), power (four extra-base hits) and speed (two triples and a steal). That’s impressive for any player, but it’s just a little more special for a catcher. (JN)

14. Jeferson Quero, C, Brewers
Team: Low-A Carolina (Carolina)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .429/.455/.762 (9-for-21), 3 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Quero has dealt with a cut on his hand this season, which has affected him both at the plate and in the field. This week, facing Columbia, he began to heat up. One of the Mudcats’ elder statesmen at all of 19 years old, Quero has been torrid in June. He’s 17-for-46 this month with three home runs (after hitting one in all of April and May) and just seven strikeouts in 13 games. Quero entered the year as one of the system’s most highly touted prospects in the lower levels. After a slow start, he’s beginning to live up to the billing. (JN)

CJ Abrams (Photo By Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Fantasy: FAAB Targets For Week 12

A look at some of the hottest players over the last three weeks who are looking to ride their current momentum into the second half of the season.

15. Jose Salas, SS, Marlins
Team: Low-A Jupiter (Florida State)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .442/.542/.667 (8-for-18), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 4 BB, 1 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: The Marlins have an abundance of middle infielders lurking in the lower levels of the minor leagues, and Salas can hang with just about any of them. The 19-year-old started slowly in his return to Low-A Jupiter this year but has been cooking as the season’s worn on and scouts have tabbed him as a player who might be prone to torrid stretches like the one he’s on. The jury is somewhat out on whether he’ll remain at shortstop in the long run, depending on the way his body fills out, but he has a good chance to be an offensive player somewhere on the infield. (JN)

16. Logan Allen, LHP, Guardians 
Team: Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Age: 23

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

The Scoop: The Akron staff is arguably the best in all of minor league baseball and performances like Allen’s on Thursday have become weekly occurrences for the Rubber Ducks. Allen punched out 11 batters on 16 swinging strikes while generating seven ground balls. It was another dominant performance from the lefthander, who’s struck out 34.7% of the batters he’s faced this season while holding opponents to a .229 batting average. Allen is likely to spend all of his season split between Double-A and Triple-A. (GP)

17. Diego Cartaya, C, Dodgers
Team: High-A Great Lakes (Midwest)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .421/.542/.632 (8-for-19), 5 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: The game is rich in catching talent, and Cartaya is firmly in the upper echelon of that group. He was promoted to High-A earlier this month and hasn’t missed a beat at his new level. Since transforming from a Quake to a Loon, Cartaya has gone 16-for-48 with seven doubles and two home runs, furthering the thought that he’s among the best pure offensive prospects in the game. If he can refine his defense, he’ll take a place among the truly elite overall. (JN)

18. Carson Williams, SS, Rays
Team: Low-A Charleston (Carolina)
Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .423/.429/.731 (11-for-26), 3 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Williams is part of a pack of extraordinarily talented shortstops trolling around the Carolina League. The 18-year-old, whom the Rays popped in the first round last year, was electric in the season’s first month, then came back to earth somewhat in the following weeks. Now, it’s his turn to bounce back. Before this past week, Williams’ last multi-hit game was May 28. Against Augusta, he carded two or more hits in four of the six games, including a 3-for-5 effort with a pair of doubles to open the series. (JN)

19. Tyler Freeman, SS, Guardians
Team: Triple-A Columbus (International)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .417/.517/.500 (10-for-24), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 BB, 0 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Cleveland’s farm system is bursting with middle infield talent from top to bottom. In Triple-A, Freeman holds down the fort. He missed a chunk of time in 2021 with a shoulder injury but this season has returned and is showing excellent plate discipline (15 walks against 18 strikeouts in 41 games) and bat-to-ball skills, albeit with little impact. If he can continue to show the skills of a table-setter, he might not need to worry about doing anything more than getting on base and causing havoc with his legs. (JN)

20. Heston Kjerstad, OF, Orioles
Team: Low-A Delmarva (Carolina) 
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .421/.455/.526 (8-for-19), 4 R, 2 2B, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Everyone loves a redemption story and Kjerstad is a testament to fighting through adversity. After dealing with a litany of medical issues, Kjerstad returned to play a few weeks ago for Low-A Delmarva. In his first full series last week, Kjerstad reached base 10 times and finished the week with a pair of three-hit games. It’s great to see the former No. 2 overall pick hit the ground running as he looks to maintain his health and make up for lost time. (GP)

HELIUM

Angel Benitez, RHP, Yankees
Before the season, the Yankees tabbed Benitez as a pitcher to keep tabs on in the Dominican Summer League. At 6-foot-7, that’s a pretty simple assignment. Benitez signed in July 2021 and has shown quite well in his first two pro starts, when he’s whiffed 13 over 6.2 innings. His fastball in particular has been nasty, combining mid-90s velocity with excellent movement both horizontally and vertically. He’s also shown the makings of a plus changeup and an intriguing slider as well. There’s a long way to go between now and the big leagues, but Benitez might be at the head of the next wave of Yankees pitching prospects. (JN)

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