Hot Sheet: Baseball’s 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (7/25/23)


Image credit: Jackson Chourio (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

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 how minor league players performed through July 24. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Geoff Pontes, Kyle Glaser and J.J. Cooper.

This simply recognizes how 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. Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (Southern)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .483/.531/.862 (14-for-29), 9 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 5-for-5 SB

The Scoop: Getting rid of the pre-tacked baseballs in use in the Southern League in the first half of the season might have been just what the doctor ordered for Chourio, who has busted out in a big way since returning from the minor league all-star break. Milwaukee’s top prospect is riding a 10-game hitting streak, and nine of those games include multiple hits. He’s got 25 hits this month, which is six short of his high-water mark for any month in his pro career. That’s mighty impressive no matter how you slice it, but it stands out even more when you consider he’s played just 13 games. (JN)

2. Ty Madden, RHP, Tigers
Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 0.93, 2 GS, 9.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 4 BB, 18 SO.

The Scoop: Madden had to face Binghamton twice last week. In those two starts, he made two mistakes with his slider. He hung one that Augustin Ruiz hit out on Sunday, and he gave up a double on a slider on Tuesday. Other than that, his slider was dastardly. Binghamton swung and missed at nearly half of the sliders and they were largely helpless as he located it down and away in the zone, and then moved it just off the plate for chases. Madden is durable, reliable and when he has a slider like this, nearly unhittable. (JC)

3. Bubba Chandler, RHP, Pirates
Team: High-A Greensboro (South Atlantic)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 10.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 14 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Scouts in spring training buzzed about Chandler’s upside, which was apparent the moment the Pirates drafted him in 2021 as a two-player. Now solely a pitcher, Chandler has taken his lumps—as most pitchers often do—at High-A Greensboro. However, his issues have been split evenly between home and road games. His problems have stemmed from poor command of his offspeed pitches, which the Pirates have repeatedly challenged him to throw for strikes. When he does that, he can be a tough pill for hitters to swallow. In July, Chandler’s walks still haven’t been where he’d like, but he’s punched out 20 in 16 innings over three starts. (JN)

4. Drew Thorpe, RHP, Yankees
Team: High-A Hudson Valley (South Atlantic)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Thorpe is doing his best to get to Double-A Somerset, and his most recent start was some of the loudest knocking yet. The righthander, whom the Yankees selected out of Cal Poly in the second round of the 2022 draft, has been increasingly dominant as the season has worn on. His July in particular has been filthy. In 27 innings over four starts this month, he’s gone 4-0, 1.00 and has allowed just 15 hits while striking out 38 and walking seven. His output bumped his strikeout total to 124, which has him in a tie with Red Sox righthander Wikelman Gonzalez for second place in the minor leagues. (JN)

5. Connor Phillips, RHP, Reds
Team: Triple-A Louisville (International)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: Behold. Here is our MiLB strikeout leader. With 134 strikeouts, Phillips leads Wikelman Gonzalez for the minors’ lead by 10. Phillips has a plus-plus fastball with pretty much every aspect teams are looking for these days. It has plenty of velocity (it sits at 96 mph and touches 98), and it has exceptional carry (he touched 20 inches of induced vertical break multiple times last week). But what is fascinating is how Phillips pairs his slider with his fastball. Whether by intent or accident, Phillips throws his curve and slider up in the zone regularly. Because hitters are regularly befuddled by his elevated fastball, both his breaking balls are often taken for strikes or swung through at the top of the zone. Phillips is the next man up for a Reds rotation that is doing better than expected recently despite the absence of Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene. (JC)

6. Spencer Horwitz, 1B, Blue Jays
Team: Triple-A Buffalo (International) 
Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .536/.567/1.000 (15-for-28), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Of the six games that Horwitz played last week he collected multi-hit games in five of them, including a five-hit and a four-hit game. His signature game came on Tuesday, when Horwitz went 5-for-6 with a stolen base. With a strong combination of contact, approach and power, Horwitz is a bat-first corner profile who will have to hit to earn a full-time role. (GP)

7. Tyler Hardman, 3B, Yankees
Team: Double-A Somerset (Eastern)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .474/.583/1.158 (9-for-19), 7 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 5 BB, 8 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS.

The Scoop: Hardman’s four home runs last week helped him climb into sole possession of the Eastern League home run lead. His 24 homers are two more than Hartford’s Hunter Goodman. Hardman still faces plenty of questions over whether he can play third base well enough to stick at the position, but there’s a lot less worry about whether his power will play. Sure, he swings and misses too much, and can be beaten in the strike zone, but when he makes contact, the ball regularly leaves the park. (JC)

8. Bryce Jarvis, RHP, D-backs
Team: Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.77, 11.2 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Jarvis hasn’t quite lived up to expectations as a first-round pick, but he’s making strides in the right direction. Jarvis won consecutive starts last week with a pair of strong performances against Round Rock. The Duke product pitched six innings of one-run ball in the opener and followed with 5.2 scoreless innings in the series finale. Jarvis has added deception to his delivery and increased his extension to help his fastball play better this year. Combined with a slider and changeup that have long gotten swings and misses, he’s put himself back on a major league track. (KG)

9. Tyler Black, 3B, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (Southern)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .444/.531/.889 (12-for-27), 10 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: All year long, Black has filled up the stat sheet. The 22-year-old infielder, who was limited by injuries to just 64 games last year, has been one of the anchors in the lineup for Double-A Biloxi. He is among the Southern League’s leaders in a plethora of categories, and he leads the league in on-base percentage (.432), stolen bases (45) and triples (7). There’s less conviction on where he’ll play defensively, but he has skills to be a pretty pesky player at the plate. (JN)

10. Ceddanne Rafaela, OF, Red Sox
Team: Triple-A Worcester (International)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .391/.417/.957 (9-for-23), 4 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: The biggest question for Rafaela this season revolved around his offense. Specifically, evaluators wanted to know whether he could tighten his approach to the point that his natural gifts would play to their full potential. The jury is still out in that regard. When he does make contact, however, fun things happen. He has speed to spare, which showed up on a pair of triples last week—oddly enough, they were his first two triples of the year after having 10 a season ago. He can also do damage on contact, which led to seven of his nine hits this past week going for extra bases. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is still not good, however, with a mark of nearly 5-to-1 between both upper-level stops. (JN)

11. Ky Bush, LHP, Angels
Team: Double-A Rocket City (Southern League)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 2.79, 9.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Bush missed the start of the season with a lat strain and struggled in his first few outings back, but he’s beginning to round into form. The Angels top pitching prospect pitched five scoreless innings in his final start before the all-star break and came out of the break with a pair of solid showings at Pensacola last week. Bush tied his season high with seven strikeouts over 4.2 innings in the series opener and finished the series by allowing one hit and one run over five innings. Overall, Bush has a 1.84 ERA and .167 opponent average in his last three starts and is starting to put himself in a position for a potential late-season callup. (KG)

12. Jordan Beck, OF, Rockies
Team: Double-A Hartford (Eastern) 
Age: 22 

Why He’s Here: .333/.364/1.000 (7-for-21), 4 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs, x BB, x SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Beck has very much enjoyed his time in Hartford, as the 2022 supplemental first-round pick collected a home run in the first three games of last week’s series with Somerset. Promoted post all-star break, Beck has eight extra-base hits over his first eight games. On Thursday Beck went 4-for-5 with three doubles and a home run, showing off his extra-base power. Throughout the week, Beck started in center field, showing good range and route running, hinting that he might have the ability to handle all three outfield spots. Beck’s power comes with some swing and miss, but he possesses good on-base skills and is a strong athlete with supporting skills beyond his power. (GP)

13. Michael Busch, 2B/3B, Dodgers
Team: Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .375/.483/.750, (9-for-24), 4 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Busch doesn’t have a clear path to playing time with the Dodgers, but he keeps showing he’s ready for an extended big league shot. Busch continued his big season by reaching base in every game for Oklahoma City against El Paso last week and delivering three multi-hit games. He saved his best for last, going 3-for-3 with two home runs and four RBIs in the series finale. Busch is now batting .308/.429/.577 with 15 home runs and 59 RBIs in 64 games for Oklahoma City. With the trade deadline coming up, he’s a prime candidate to be moved to a team that can give him everyday at-bats in the major leagues. (KG)

14. Wikelman Gonzalez, RHP, Red Sox
Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.50, 6 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: In his second Double-A start, Gonzalez combined with two other pitchers to no-hit New Hampshire on Sunday. Promoted to Portland following the all-star break, Gonzalez has enjoyed his time in Maine. He struck out 10 in the effort on Sunday, though he did struggle with command, walking four on the day. The righthander out of Venezuela mixes six different pitch shapes but works primarily from a mid-90s fastball, curveball and changeup. (GP)

15. Ian Lewis, 2B, Marlins
Team: Low-A Jupiter (Florida State)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .333/.385/.708 (8-for-24), 7 R, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 2 SB.

The Scoop: Lewis has had a rough couple of years in the Florida State League. He’s a second baseman who has some strength to his swing, but it hasn’t been apparent in games this year. He came into the week with just one home run all year. Last week, he added three in a five-game span. That doesn’t turn around his season, but it is a positive sign. (JC)

16. Masyn Winn, SS, Cardinals
Team: Triple-A Memphis 
Age: 21 

Why He’s Here: .455/.520/.909 (10-for-22), 9 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: After a difficult month of April, his first at the Triple-A level, Winn has gotten better with each passing month. In July, Winn has enjoyed his best month of the season, and last week’s performance certainly helped. Winn collected a hit in all five games last week, including three multi-hit efforts. His best game came on Saturday as Winn went 2-for-5 with a go-ahead home run in a come-from-behind victory for Memphis. Since his poor month of April Winn has hit .310/.382/.504 in 62 games. The talented shortstop has rounded into form over the last three months and looks like he’s potentially ready to contribute in the big leagues later this summer. (GP) 

17. Griff McGarry, RHP, Phillies
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern) 
Age: 24 

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Few pitchers on the planet have the quality of stuff McGarry possesses. It’s often been his difficulty in harnessing that big stuff that’s led to trouble for the righthander. On Friday, McGarry enjoyed one of the best starts of his professional career, going seven scoreless against Altoona with three hits, no walks and 10 strikeouts. McGarry mixes a plus fastball and a slider with an above-average changeup and could really break out in the second half if he continues to command the baseball as well as he did last week. (GP) 

18. Lazaro Montes, OF, Mariners
Team: Rookie-level ACL Mariners (Arizona Complex)
Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .353/.476/1.000, (6-for-17), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: After going homerless in the first month of complex league play, Montes is starting to find his power stroke. The Cuban masher hit three home runs in five home games last week, including a two-homer game against ACL D-backs Red on July 18. Montes now has five doubles and five home runs in 15 games in July, compared to two doubles and no home runs in June. (KG)

19. Samuel Zavala, OF, Padres
Team: Low-A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .350/.500/.850 (7-for-29), 9 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 7 BB, 6 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: It’s been a frustrating season for Zavala, who has shown good tools and strike-zone discipline but has struggled to make contact when he swings the bat. The Venezuelan center fielder gave a taste of what he’s capable of last week, going 7-for-14 with three homers in a red-hot three-game stretch against Rancho Cucamonga. He hit two home runs in a game for the first time this season on July 20 and followed with another homer the next day. Overall, Zavala reached base at least twice in five of the six games during the series to boost his season slash line to .265/.413/.445. (KG)

20. Ben Brown, RHP, Cubs
Team: Triple-A Iowa (International)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 SO.

The Scoop: Brown’s last start before the all-star break was a truly awful way to head into his break. He had to stew on the second-worst start of his seven-year pro career, which came just two outings after the worst outing of his pro career. When he struggles, Brown’s delivery can get out of sync and he loses the strike zone. Last week, he rediscovered his delivery, and the results were extremely impressive. With a two-pitch (fastball-slider) approach, Brown completely wore out the strike zone with his slider. He went from throwing strikes on 38% of his sliders in his previous outing to 85% of his sliders last week. When he’s forcing hitters to offer at his powerful mid-80s slider, it makes his fastball even better. There are still concerns that Brown’s approach may work better as a reliever than a starter, but it’s hard not to see a pitcher who can help the Cubs before too long in his work last week. (JC)


Mason Albright, LHP, Angels 
Team: Low-A Inland Empire (California)
Age: 20

The Angels gave Albright a $1,247,500 signing bonus after drafting him in the 12th round in 2021, the largest bonus ever given to a player selected outside of the top 10 rounds. It looked like a poor investment when Albright got blasted for an 8.67 ERA in his full-season debut last year, but after tightening up his arm path to add deception and improve his control, Albright has bounced back to re-establish himself as a prospect in 2023. The 20-year-old southpaw pitched seven scoreless innings with six hits allowed, no walks and eight strikeouts in his latest start against Visalia last week. That followed an outing of 6.2 scoreless innings with two hits allowed, one walk and 11 strikeouts against Rancho Cucamonga. Overall, Albright is 8-4, 3.67 with 80 strikeouts and 19 walks in 73.2 innings this season. He is tied for the California League lead in wins, ranks second in ERA and WHIP (1.22) and is tied for sixth in strikeouts. (KG)

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