Hot Sheet: Baseball’s 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (7/6/23)


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 how minor league players performed through July 4. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Geoff Pontes and Matt Eddy.

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. Zack Gelof, 3B, Athletics 

Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .417/.462/1.042 (10-for-42), 8 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The Athletics No. 3 prospect enjoyed a banner week, as Gelof homered in four consecutive games to end a series with Round Rock. The infielder tallied three multi-hit games over the six-game tilt with Round Rock and reached base twice in five out of six games. Gelof has continued to hit this season as he always has throughout his minor league career. Through 64 games, Gelof is hitting .297/.403/.519 with 11 home runs and 19 stolen bases, good enough for a 120 wRC+. It’s realistic to think Gelof could—and should—see the major leagues at some point this summer.  (GP)

2. Luis Mieses, OF, White Sox

Team: Double-A Birmingham (Southern)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .478/.500/1.087 (11-for-23), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Mieses’ year overall hasn’t stood out—though he, like all other Southern League hitters, has had to deal with the pre-tacked baseball in the first half—but this past week was one for the ages. The bulk of Mieses’ production came on June 28, when he went an eye-popping 6-for-6 with three home runs against Rocket City. That single day accounted for half of his homers this season, and he added another one later in the week for good measure. (JN)

3. Jonathan Aranda, 2B, Rays

Team: Triple-A Durham (International)

Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .417/.462/1.000 (10-for-24), 8 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: Aranda has been one of the best hitters in the minor leagues over the past three seasons. That trend has continued this season in a return to Durham, and his average (.348), on-base percentage (.458) and slugging percentage (.605) are all among the top 10 in the International League. His four home runs this Hot Sheet period gave him 16 for the year, putting him just two off the career best he established in 2022. (JN)

4. Tyler Hardman, 3B, Yankees 

Team: Double-A Somerset (Eastern) 

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .368/.478/1.211 (7-for-19), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, x-for-x SB

The Scoop: A power-over-everything masher, Hardman was in a groove last week as he hit five home runs in Somerset’s series at Bowie. The damage was really split between two games as Hardman opened the series with a two-home run game on Wednesday before clubbing three in Saturday’s contest. The power hitter out of Oklahoma is up to 19 home runs in 2023, and he’s putting together his best professional season to date. Few players hit the ball harder, but Hardman struggles to make consistent contact and is often an aggressive swinger. (GP) 

5. Luis Perales, RHP, Red Sox

Team: Low-A Salem (Carolina)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Perales was among the players we highlighted who stood out on backfields during spring training. His April was rough, but he’s gotten progressively better each month. Perales’ monthly ERA has gone from 6.75 in April to 3.65 in May to 2.37 in June and 0.00 so far in July. Since May 1, the righthander has gone 3-2, 2.48 and has struck out 56 hitters in 36.1 innings. That total includes the dozen he punched out in his turn during this Hot Sheet period. (JN) 

6. Jesse Franklin, OF, Braves

Team: Double-A Mississippi (Southern)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .391/.462/.957 (9-for-23), 6 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 8 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Tommy John surgery wiped out Franklin’s 2022 season, but he’s back doing Jesse Franklin things in 2023. That means mammoth home runs, plenty of strikeouts and a dash of speed. Franklin launched four homers in six games at Biloxi last week—including a three-homer game on July 1—and has nine in 38 games this season in the pitcher-friendly Southern League. (ME)

7. Coby Mayo, 3B, Orioles

Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern) 

Age: 21 

Why He’s Here: .346/.414/.808 (9-for-26), 4 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Mayo has been scorching hot in the first half of 2023. Over 74 games this year Mayo is hitting .320/.436/.632 with 17 home runs. Last week Mayo had a hit in five of six games, including three straight multi-hit games to end the week. His signature game came on Sunday as Mayo went 3-for-5 and finished a triple shy of the cycle. The third baseman continues to flash one of the better combinations of power, on-base ability and contact in the minor leagues. (GP) 

8. Blade Tidwell, RHP, Mets

Team: High-A Brooklyn (South Atlantic)

Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: The 2022 second-rounder out of Tennessee ran up an 8.35 ERA in his first five starts for Brooklyn this season before righting the ship. After an 11-strikeout, no-walk performance with 21 swinging strikes against Jersey Shore last week, Tidwell has pitched to a 1.34 ERA in his past eight starts. In that time he has 59 strikeouts, 24 walks and one home run allowed in 40.1 innings, while generating an 18% swinging-strike rate. (ME)  

9. Oscar Colas, OF, White Sox

Team: Triple-A Charlotte (International)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .304/.304/.870 (7-for-23), 5 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 4 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: The White Sox rank last in MLB in home runs hit by lefthanded batters. Enter: Colas, whom Chicago called up this week after a four-homer barrage last week at Triple-A. Stretching back to June 24, Colas hit seven homers in a six-game stretch to notify the big club that—at the very least—his power is ready for another MLB trial. (ME)

10. Sal Stewart, 3B, Reds 

Team: Low-A Daytona (Florida State) 

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .421/.542/1.000 (8-for-19), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 5 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: An advanced hitting third baseman with a mature frame selected by the Reds with a supplemental first-round pick last July, Stewart possesses plus raw power but in games it’s his advanced hitting ability that sticks out. This past week Stewart collected a hit in all five games and tallied a pair of multi-hit games to begin the series in Tampa. He homered in each of his multi-hit games and added another on Monday. The Florida State League is tough on power but Stewart is showing advanced skills to stay afloat and raw power that will translate to good home run numbers down the line. (GP)

11. Gabriel Gonzalez, OF, Mariners

Team: Low-A Modesto (California) 

Age: 19 

Why He’s Here: .310/.333/.621 (9-for-29), 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: It’s felt like Gonzalez has been in contention for a spot on the Hot Sheet every week this season. The 19-year-old outfielder is hitting .350/.398/.525 over 68 games with Modesto this season and his production has been remarkably consistent. Gonzalez has hit .318 or better each month this season and is off to a hot start in July. This past week Gonzalez had three multi-hit games, including a 3-for-5 game on Saturday where Gonzalez finished a double short of the cycle. He’s an aggressive hitter with strong bat-to-ball skills and power. (GP)

12. Samuel Muñoz, OF, Dodgers

Team: ACL Dodgers

Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .400/.423/.720 (10-for-25), 6 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Muñoz is one of a bevy of talented prospects marinating on the backfields in Arizona this summer. The lefthander was signed in 2022 on the strength of a well-rounded skill set that included hittability and the chance for more power as he matured. This year, he’s begun to blossom. He’s all over the ACL leaderboard, including second place in extra-base hits (12), fourth in total bases (46) and first in triples (5). The last category got a boost with two three-baggers over the most recent Hot Sheet period. (JN)

13. Carson Palmquist, LHP, Rockies

Team: High-A Spokane (Northwest) 

Age: 22 

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: The Rockies No. 15 prospect continues to impress in High-A this season, as he’s struck out 34.7% of the batters he’s faced. The sidearming lefthander has a difficult angle on his pitches that allows everything to play above his raw stuff. Last week Palmquist dominated in his only start, striking out 10, driven by a season-high 20 swinging strikes. This was Palmquist’s eighth start with 12 or more swinging strikes this season. Palmquist’s fastball only sits 89-91 mph, but its extremely flat vertical approach angle allows it to miss bats at an above-average rate. The lefty also uses a curveball in the mid 70s, a changeup in the low 80s and an upper-70s slider.  (GP) 

14. Matt Wallner, OF, Twins

Team: Triple-A St. Paul (International)

Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .391/.417/.783 (9-for-23), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: The Twins seemingly have a never-ending supply of lefthanded-hitting outfielders. That has resulted in few Twin Cities auditions for Wallner, who has but 90 MLB plate appearances the past two seasons. A longer runway could be in the future for Wallner, who hits the ball as hard as virtually any minor league hitter. (ME)

15. Josh Stephan, RHP, Rangers

Team: High-A Hickory (South Atlantic)

Age: 21

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

The Scoop: Stephan was signed as an undrafted free agent out of high school in Texas after the shortened 2020 draft. The deal looks to have been a wise investment for the Rangers, who have watched Stephan cut up the competition in High-A this season. The righthander was promoted to Double-A after his most recent start, a five-inning tour de force with 10 strikeouts. The outing was his third this season with double-digit strikeouts. (JN)

16. Ricardo Cabrera, SS, Reds

Team: ACL Reds

Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .545/.667/.773 (12-for-22), 11 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 BB, 5 SO, 5-for-5 SB

The Scoop: Cabrera’s season in the ACL has been nothing short of magnificent. Through 19 games, the 18-year-old shortstop is hitting .400/.533/.614 with more walks (16) than strikeouts (15). Moreover, he has shown flashes of power with eight extra-base hits and has stolen nine bases in 10 tries. He was signed out of Venezuela in 2022 after showing a wide collection of gifts as an amateur. Cabrera’s pro debut in the DSL wasn’t particularly loud, but the desert sun appears to have done him a world of good. (JN)

17. Evan Carter, OF, Rangers

Team: Double-A Frisco (Texas) 

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .480/.536/.680 (12-for-25), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Carter started the season like a freight train, pushing his way into the elite tier of prospects. He slowed down in May before an injury shelved him for two weeks, but since returning from the injured list Carter has been hot. Over 15 games spanning June 16 to July 3, Carter has hit .423/.500/.769 with four home runs. Last week Carter had a hit in all six games as well as four multi-hit games. He had two three-hit games in Frisco’s series at San Antonio. (GP) 

18. Slade Cecconi, RHP, D-backs

Team: Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast)

Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.69, 13 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 14 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: To reach the major leagues, D-backs pitching prospects must run through an upper-level gauntlet that includes two of the most hitter-friendly environments in the minors in Double-A Amarillo and Triple-A Reno. Cecconi has not been immune over the past two seasons, but he hasn’t entirely succumbed, either. This past week, however, he pitched like a true Reno ace. The Miami alum allowed just one run (a solo homer) in two turns against Sacramento. Even though his ERAs haven’t been pretty in the last two years, Cecconi has still managed to rack up the whiffs, with 216 in 210.1 frames. (JN)

19. Colt Keith, 3B, Tigers

Team: Triple-A Toledo (International)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .476/.538/.810 (10-for-21), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 1 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Keith has been one of the biggest breakout prospects in the minor leagues. The incoming Futures Gamer bullied his way out of Double-A with an outstanding 14 home runs and .976 OPS in 59 games and hasn’t stopped with a promotion to the International League. He slammed a pair of home runs in his first seven games with Toledo and struck out just three times against four walks. He looks like a key piece of the Tigers’ continued rebuilding puzzle. (JN)

20. Abimelec Ortiz, 1B, Rangers

Team: High-A Hickory (South Atlantic)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .438/.571/1.125 (7-for-16), 6 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Ortiz showed decent power in each of his first two seasons in the DSL and at Low-A after skipping the Arizona Complex League, but neither of those years portended what was to come in 2023. In a season split between both Class A levels, Ortiz has improved the quality of his contact immensely and the results have followed in kind. His 18 home runs are just four shy of his career total, and his numbers got better after a promotion to High-A. There, he’s improved his strikeout and walk rates and slugged 11 home runs in 29 games. (JN)


Zack Showalter, RHP, Orioles

Team: Low-A Delmarva (Carolina) 

Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Showalter, who broke onto the Orioles Top 30 Prospects list in June, has continued to raise his prospect stock over the last month. He earned a promotion to Low-A Delmarva in late June after three dominant appearances in the Florida Complex League. Showalter’s fastball is an easy plus pitch, sitting 93-94 mph and touching 95-96 with a flat vertical approach angle. Entering last Saturday’s start, Showalter had a 50% whiff rate against his fastball. While his secondaries are behind his fastball quality, he’s shown a sweepy low-80s slider, a curveball and a changeup. He’s another potential jewel in the treasure chest that is the Orioles farm system. (GP) 

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