Hot Sheet: Baseball’s 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (6/7/21)

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 6. Contributing this week was Josh Norris.

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. Brett Baty, 3B, Mets
Team: High-A Brooklyn (East)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .524/.615/1.190 (11-for-21), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Though he was old for his draft class, the 21-year-old Baty is two years younger than the average age in the High-A East. Despite the age gap, Baty is raking with Brooklyn. He leads the circuit in both average and on-base percentage, and this week had a huge power outburst. The four dingers he swatted against Jersey Shore account for his season total. After remaking his body during the pandemic, Baty is looking like a big part of an improving Mets system. (JN)

2. Ethan Small, LHP, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (South)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 10.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 BB, 19 SO

The Scoop: Small was the Brewers’ first-rounder in 2019 and put together an impressive pro debut in which he whiffed 31 hitters over 18 innings at Low-A. Was this just a case of a Southeastern Conference arm dominating hitters with less experience and pedigree? After jumping to Double-A in 2021, Small is quickly proving that his stuff will play against upper-level hitters, too. His 46 strikeouts with Biloxi have him in a five-way tie for eighth place in the minors and third in the Double-A South. (JN)

3. Dillon Dingler, C, Tigers
Team: High-A West Michigan (Central)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .500/.577/.955 (11-for-22), 5 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: With the way he’s hitting, Dillon might have to change his last name to Dinger. Detroit’s second-round pick in 2020 has mashed over the first month and change of the season and is among the league’s top 10 in all three triple-slash categories. As an amateur, Dingler showed more power once he recovered from a broken hamate bone. Now, that power is beginning to show up as a professional. (JN)

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

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.93, 9.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 16 SO

The Scoop: The Marlins were aggressive with two of their college-bred 2020 draft picks—righthander Max Meyer and Eder, a lefty whom Miami took out of Vanderbilt in the fifth round. So far, Eder has been one of the breakout stars of the minor league season. He’s carved Double-A South hitters from Opening Day through his start on Sunday, racking up 50 strikeouts (tied for third in the minors) through 29.2 innings. He’s also allowed just two earned runs in that time, placing him second in the MiLB ERA race. (JN) 

5. Tony Santillan, RHP, Reds
Team: Triple-A Louisville (East)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 2.57, 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: Santillan earned a rep throughout his career as a slow starter. Not this year. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in each of his six starts this season, and whiffed a baker’s dozen over seven innings in his most recent outing. He typically operates with a low-90s fastball but can reach back for heaters as high as 98 mph, with a mid-80s slider and a developing changeup in the upper 80s. His swinging-strike rate of 14.8% ranks sixth among all qualified pitchers in the Triple-A East. (JN)

6. Jo Adell, OF, Angels
Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (West)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .435/.480/1.130 (10-for-23), 7 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 0 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: If Adell has proven one thing this year, it’s that he can hit the ball a long way. With four more home runs this week, Adell has given himself a commanding lead over Johan Mieses (Red Sox) for the minor league lead. For perspective on how big of a power surge Adell is experiencing, consider that his season high for home runs is 20, which came in 2018. He’s just five short of that mark after playing 27 games in 2021. Clearly, Salt Lake can no longer contain Adell. It might be time for a return to Anaheim. (JN)

7. Matt Fraizer, OF, Pirates
Team: High-A Greensboro (Pirates)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .500/.600/1.000 (12-for-24), 10 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs, 6 BB, 1 SO

The Scoop: On a team full of the Pirates top prospects, Fraizer has flown somewhat under the radar. Over the last week, however, he’s begun producing some loud numbers and is creeping up the leaderboards in the High-A East. He’s got size and speed, and enough patience to draw nearly as many walks (19) as strikeouts (20), which seems like a perfect combination for an interesting breakout candidate. (JN)


8. Joe Gray Jr., OF, Brewers
Team: Low-A Carolina (East)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .421/.455/1.211 (8-for-19), 5 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Gray doesn’t just hit baseballs, he destroys them. He makes the leather wish it had been turned into a belt and the yarn a kitten’s plaything. The Down East Wood Ducks’ pitching staff learned that the hard way this week while they watched the Mississippi masher unleash line drive after line drive at Five County Stadium. When he got the ball elevated, he could trot around the bases. When it stayed in the yard, he was sprinting for second and third. Gray still has to work on his pitch recognition and can be enticed to swing through offspeed pitches, but when he connects, the result is some of the hardest ball-striking in the minors. (JN)

9. Aaron Ashby, LHP, Brewers
Team: Triple-A Nashville (East)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: Ashby made his name as a strikeout artist in college, and has only solidified that reputation as a professional. The lefthander whiffed 135 hitters in 126 innings in 2019, and this season has already racked up 39 in 27.2 frames with Nashville. He struggled with control early this year, but had no such trouble in his turn this week, when he struck out 11 and walked just one. The Brewers have done good work with their pitchers lately—Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes come to mind—and Ashby could be the next in line. His swinging-strike rate of 15% ranks fourth among all qualified pitchers in the Triple-A East. (JN)

10. Diego Cartaya, C, Dodgers
Team: Low-A Rancho Cucamonga (West)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .429/.500/1.143 (6-for-14), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: One of the newest additions to the Top 100, Cartaya spent Sunday night showing everybody exactly why he’s deserving of a spot on that list. Against Modesto, Cartaya swatted a pair of home runs. These weren’t wall-scrapers, either. According to the Quakes’ Twitter account, Cartaya’s blasts went a combined 902 feet. The first one was a mammoth shot, checking in at 461 feet. With the help of the top mathematicians at the world’s elite universities, Baseball America has figured out that the second blast must have traveled 441 feet. The home runs were his fourth and fifth of the season, which he’s hit in just 31 at-bats. (JN)

11. Reid Detmers, LHP, Angels
Team: Double-A Rocket City (Central)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.80, 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Detmers was one of the most polished pitchers available in the 2020 draft, and the lefthander has gotten hot of late. He’s struck out 10 in two of his last three starts—albeit sandwiched around a tough outing—and is up to 40 strikeouts in 25 innings this year. Like fellow 2020 first-rounders Austin Martin (Blue Jays), Max Meyer and Jake Eder (both Marlins), Detmers jumped to Double-A to begin his career. He’s gone through patches of inconsistency but lately has shown signs of dominance. (JN)

12. Kaden Polcovich, 2B, Mariners
Team: High-A Everett (West)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .409/.435/1.136 (9-for-22), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 8 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Seattle’s third-rounder from the 2020 draft clearly enjoys hitting in the Evergreen State. The Oklahoma State product’s five homers this week shot him into the league lead in the High-A West, edging Spokane’s Willie MacIver by one. His batting average and slugging percentage each rank among the league’s top 10 as well. Polcovich earned a rep as an amateur for having outstanding barrel control. So far, he’s living up to that billing. (JN)

13. Cole Ragans, LHP, Rangers
Team: High-A Hickory (East)
Age: 23

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

The Scoop: This outing had to come with a bit of catharsis for Ragans, who before this season hadn’t pitched since 2017 thanks to a pair of Tommy John surgeries and the pandemic. The lefthander earned a first-round selection thanks to a dastardly changeup that brought to mind Cole Hamels, but had been unable to prove himself because of the time away. The outing this week represented season bests in both innings (six) and strikeouts (11), and scouts who saw him were encouraged by Ragans’ progress. (JN)

14. Ji-Hwan Bae, 2B, Pirates
Team: Double-A Altoona (Northeast)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .524/.565/.762 (11-for-21), 8 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Power is not a factor in Bae’s game, but he’s the perfect player to set the table at the top of a lineup. He can slap and dash with the best of them, and did that with aplomb this past week against Richmond. He’s among the youngest players in the Double-A Northeast and can use his double-plus speed on the basepaths and in the field, where he pairs with Pirates prospect Oneil Cruz for one of the more disparate-looking double-play pairs in the minors. (JN)


15. Anthony Volpe, SS, Yankees
Team: Low-A Tampa (Southeast)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .435/.519/1.000 (10-for-23), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Volpe, the Yankees’ first-round pick out of high school in New Jersey in 2019, is part of a band of bullies in Tampa. His 32 hits lead the Low-A Southeast, as do his 18 extra-base hits, 62 total bases and 29 runs. His 14 stolen bases are second on the circuit. He’s done all this for a Tampa team whose 263 runs lead all of the minor leagues by a margin of 58 over Low-A Delmarva. (JN)

16. Wander Franco, SS, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (East)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .478/.478/.739 (11-for-23), 4 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: The No. 1 prospect in baseball has continued to be excellent in his first test at the upper levels. The youngest player in the Triple-A East to open the season has the third-most hits in the league (36), the most extra-base hits (17), the second-most RBIs (26) and the third-most runs (22), all while making highlight-reel plays at shortstop. Franco is dripping with talent and has all the earmarks of a potential superstar. (JN)

17. Miguel Vargas, 3B, Dodgers
Team: High-A Great Lakes (Central)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .370/.357/.778 (10-for-27), 6 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Known for quick hands, excellent hand-eye coordination and barrel control, Vargas has earned a rep as an extremely advanced hitter. He showed that this week, with six of his 10 hits going for extra bases. He ended the week second in the High-A Central in batting average at .336 and fourth in slugging with a .560 mark.  His 42 hits are the best in the league, as are his 17 extra-base hits. (JN)

18. Brayan Bello, RHP, Red Sox
Team: High-A Greenville (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.61, 10.1 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 15 SO

The Scoop: Bello popped on radars as one of the more impressive pitchers during minor league spring training, and has carried that momentum into the regular season. His 45 strikeouts are tied for third in the High-A West, his 2.27 ERA is eighth and his five wins are the best in the league. He sports a mid-90s fastball as well as a changeup and slider that each hover between potentially average or plus offerings. In a system that has already lost Bryan Mata and Thad Ward to Tommy John surgeries this season, Bello is quickly moving up the ranks of its top pitching talent. (JN)

19. Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Hillsboro
Team: High-A Hillsboro (West)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.57, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: Jarvis popped onto the scene before the Covid-19 pause in 2020 when he pitched a perfect game against Cornell. That effort came after an offseason of remaking himself and his arsenal, and helped boost himself into the first round. He doesn’t have a true plus pitch, but he’s got three potentially above-average pitches in his four-pitch mix. Thus far, that combination has helped Jarvis work to the second-best ERA (2.00) in the High-A West. (JN)

20. Bryce Elder, RHP, Braves
Team: High-A Rome (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Elder was Atlanta’s fifth-round pick in the shortened 2020 draft out of Texas. He’s quickly paid dividends over the first six weeks of his pro career. The big righty’s 41 strikeouts, including a 10-punchout effort this week, rank sixth in the High-A East, and his 31.2 innings have him in a three-way tie for second in the league. (JN)


Ken Waldichuk, LHP, Yankees

Waldichuk was the Yankees’ 2019 fourth-rounder out of Saint Mary’s in California. In 2021, his first full season as a pro, the lefthander has yet to allow a run. He’s done his job using a low-to-mid-90s fastball thrown with angle and deception out of a crossfire delivery. He pairs the fastball primarily with a slider thrown in the same angle as the fastball, which amplifies its effectiveness. In a vacuum, the slider doesn’t grade as a potentially plus pitch, but it acts that way thrown off of his fastball. He also shows a curveball and a changeup, but his fastball and slider are his bread and butter. So far, that combination has been more than enough to carve High-A hitters to smithereens. His 0.00 ERA stands alone as the best in the minors. (JN)


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