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Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (7/19/22)



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 July 18. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Geoff Pontes and J.J. Cooper.

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. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 3B, Twins
Team:
Double-A Wichita (Texas)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .462/.517/1.269 (12-for-26), 8 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 15 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Encarnacion-Strand was promoted to Double-A earlier this week and wasted no time adjusting to his new level. In his fourth game with Wichita, the Twins’ fourth-rounder in 2021 racked up the first cycle in franchise history. His output this week vaulted him into the system lead in doubles (25) and home runs (21), while the players he passed (Spencer Steer, Matt Wallner) were away at the Futures Game. (JN)

2. D.L. Hall, LHP, Orioles
Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 0.00, 10.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 18 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Hall has been an absolute force in July. Two of his four starts this month have ended with double-digit strikeouts. For the month, Hall has whiffed 40 hitters in 20.2 innings while allowing just one earned run. Put another way, he’s faced 80 hitters this month and struck out half of them. He’s also allowed fewer free passes month over month. In June, he walked 17 hitters in 21.2 innings. This month, in one fewer inning, he’s walked just eight hitters. (JN)

3. Ezequiel Duran, 2B/SS, Rangers
Team: Triple-A Round Rock (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .423/.429/.962 (11-for-26), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The centerpiece of the Joey Gallo trade has been mighty impressive since trading his pinstripes for cowboy boots. Duran gave Rangers fans a taste of the future when he made his big league debut earlier this season before being sent down to work on increasing his defensive versatility. No matter where he winds up in the field, Duran could provide an excellent blend of average and power that could make him a significant part of the team’s rebuild. (JN)

4. Carson Williams, SS, Rays
Team: Low-A Charleston (Carolina)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .320/.370/.800 (8-for-25), 5 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Williams, selected in the first round of the 2021 draft, has had a fantastic full-season debut. He played the first half of the season as an 18-year-old and is among the Carolina League’s leaders in categories that measure power. He needs to cut down on his swing and miss (his 116 strikeouts are the most in Tampa Bay’s system), but he’s got plenty of thump and plays an outstanding shortstop (JN).

5. Stanley Consuegra, OF, Mets
Team: High-A Brooklyn (South Atlantic) 
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .481/.920/1.401 (11-for-25), 5 R, 6 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The Mets outfielder finished the week with three multi-hit games. In all three of those games Consuegra tailed multiple extra-base hits and showed power throughout the week. Over the six-game series with Greensboro, Consuegra hit nine balls in play at 100-plus mph, with seven of those coming off the bat at 105-plus mph. Since a promotion to Brooklyn at the beginning of July, Consuegra has hit for power, though his approach will lead to some questions as he moves up the ladder to the upper levels of the minors. (GP)

6. Luis Toribio, 3B, Giants
Team: High-A Eugene (Northwest)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .421/.500/1.105 (8-for-19), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Given that he’s already moved over to first base, Toribio is going to have to hit the daylights out of the ball. Last week, he did just that. He homered in four consecutive games from July 13-16, boosting a strong July in which Toribio has hit .280/.357/.600. The hot stretch is desperately needed after Toribio posted batting averages of just .140 and .224, respectively, in April and May. (JN)

7. Ben Brown, RHP, Phillies
Team: High-A Jersey Shore (South Atlantic)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: The righthander dominated in his one outing last week, going seven innings on Sunday and punching out 13. Brown didn’t allow a run on two hits on his way to his best start of the season. A 2017 late-round pick out of high school, Brown has taken a significant step forward in 2022. He pairs a mid-90s fastball with a mid-80s curveball and a high-80s cutter/slider hybrid. It’s a powerful pitch mix that has the quality to overpower batters as Brown ascends through the Phillies system. (GP)

8. Walking Cabrera, OF, Mariners
Team: Low-A Modesto (California)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .500/.565/.950 (10-for-20), 6 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Cabrera was selected by the Mariners from the Rockies in the minor league Rule 5 Draft. He’s had an excellent run the last two months, showing power and on-base skills in his first test at Low-A. Since June 1, Cabrera has hit .312/.381/.496 and has struck out just 30 times in 139 plate appearances (21.5%). (JN)

9. Alexander Canario, OF, Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .316/.480/1.000 (6-for-19), 5 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 6 BB, 5 SO, 4 SB.

The Scoop: Canario can be a frustrating prospect for scouts to watch, because when he’s in a slump, he will swing at most everything. He has three four-strikeout games this year and four three-strikeout games. But Canario is not one to give up on, because he also combines power, a right fielder’s arm and enough athleticism to be a playable center fielder. And when he’s locked in, you get weeks like this one, where he can single handedly win games. (JC)

10. Evan Carter, OF, Rangers
Team: High-A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .333/.400/1.056 (6-for-18), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The bulk of Carter’s damage last week was done over the weekend, when he slammed four home runs in three games against Wilmington. He played through a bit of a foot injury, but when healthy he was showing the same blend of polish and projection that led the Rangers to covet him out of high school. Carter has a strong sense of the strike zone and makes loud contact when he connects and uses his speed well on the bases and in the outfield. (JN)

11. JJ Bleday, OF, Marlins
Team: Triple-A Jacksonville (International)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .318/.414/.818 (7-for-22), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: There are two players in the minor leagues with 20 or more home runs, fewer than 100 strikeouts and more than 50 walks. One is Bleday, the Marlins’ first-round pick from the 2019 draft. Though he’s hitting just .226 this year at Triple-A, he is getting on base and making damage on contact. Through the all-star break, 25.4% of Bleday’s 362 plate appearances have ended in either an extra-base hit or a walk. Throw in strikeouts and the rate grows to 52.2%, giving him the look of a classic three-true-outcomes player. (JN)

12. Vaughn Grissom, SS, Braves
Team: Double-A Mississippi Braves (Southern) 
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .462/.500/.654 (12-for-26), 3 R, 3B, HR, 5 RBIs, BB, 3 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: The Braves top prospect didn’t show any signs of slowing down during his first week in Double-A, as the infielder collected a hit in all six games of the series including three-hit efforts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. He showed power and speed last week, putting five balls in play at 100-plus mph and swiping three bases on the week. Blessed with excellent bat-to-ball skills, above-average power and strong baserunning skills, Grissom has few questions surrounding his ability to impact the game offensively. He’s likely to grow off shortstop, and the questions surrounding his future defensive home are the one knock on his profile. (GP)

13. Jared Shuster, LHP, Braves 
Team: Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: Before shipping off to the Futures Game in Los Angeles last week Shuster dominated in his start on Tuesday, going seven scoreless frames and striking out a dozen on just two hits. Shuster’s velocity is down since his draft year at Wake Forest, but he pairs a high-ride four-seam fastball with a devastating changeup and a cutter-like slider. A native of New Bedford, Mass., Shuster has continued to enjoy success at Double-A Mississippi, and looks set to make his big league debut late this summer or early in 2023.  (GP)

Ricky Tiedemann (Mike Janes Four Seam Images)

14 Lower-Profile Draft Picks Who Have Raised Their Stock Significantly In Only A Year

Taking stock of more than a dozen up-arrow prospects drafted after the second round in 2021 who have raised their profile.

14. Prelander Berroa, RHP, Mariners
Team: High-A Everett (Northwest)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: Acquired by Seattle in May for Donnie Walton, Berroa had a dominant pair of turns last week, as he racked up 12 strikeouts over nine innings of work. He allowed just a single hit across two appearances while walking three. He pairs a mid-to-high-90s four-seam fastball with heavy ride that’s been up to 102 mph with a tight mid-80s slider with spin rates in the 2,500 to 2,600 rpm range. He shows a changeup but very rarely. Berroa has the look of a dominant two-pitch reliever long term. (GP)

15. Jose Ramos, OF, Dodgers
Team: High-A Great Lakes (Midwest)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .308/.357/.731 (8-for-26), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: The book on Ramos heading into the season was that he could turn into a power-hitting right fielder with further improvement with his plate discipline. That’s still the case. Ramos’ strikeout rate between both Class A levels is hovering around 30%, but he’s showing big-time power in the process. He’s slammed 12 home runs in 52 games with Great Lakes after a mid-May promotion to the level. A quarter of that total came last week. (JN)

16. Edwin Arroyo, SS, Mariners
Team: Low-A Modesto (California)
Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .345/.387/.552 (10-for-29), 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Surprisingly quietly, Arroyo has posted a very loud season. He’s one of two 18-year-olds in the full-season minor leagues with a batting average better than .300 and double-digit home runs. For his efforts, Arroyo, whom the Mariners popped with their second-round pick a year ago, has found a spot on BA’s Top 100 list. Arroyo has also allowed his speed to go to work on the bases, having swiped 20 bags in 24 tries in the California League. (JN)

17. Osleivis Basabe, 2B/3B, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .462/.516/.615 (12-for-26), 9 R, 4 2B, 4 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 2 SB.

The Scoop: Basabe was recently promoted to Double-A Montgomery, which has not done anything to slow down his high-average, high-contact approach. Basabe has a level swing that generates plenty of ground balls and line drives, but isn’t conducive to hitting home runs. He has hit just one home run since May 27, but he also has five three-hit games and a four-hit game since then. Defensively, he’s adequate at second and third base, and a little stretched at shortstop. That lack of productive power could eventually hold him back, but it’s easier to teach a hitter to hit for power than it is to teach a slugger how to hit. (JC)

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

Why He’s Here: .476/.593/.762 (10-for-21), 6 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Francisco Alvarez has rightly drawn the bulk of the headlines in the Mets’ system, but Baty is having a darn fine season in his own right. The year might look even better were it not for a dip in May when he produced a .678 OPS. In each of the other three months, that figure has been better than .844. Since June 1, in fact, he’s hitting .322/.420/.550 with 10 home runs. He’s played mostly third base this season but has dabbled in the corner outfield as well, and his bat could profile at either spot. (JN)

19. Miguel Bleis, OF, Red Sox
Team: FCL Red Sox (Florida Complex)
Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .471/.471/.941 (8-for-17), 3 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: One of the top young talents in Boston’s system, Bleis started a little slow out of the gate this season but has been on fire in July. He’s a speedy center fielder with a knack for the barrel and solid plate approach considering his age and level. His in-game power is starting to show, with strong exit velocity numbers that would compare well against a majority of major league hitters. Last week he had three multi-hit games out of the four games played, and had a hit in each game. The signature game of the week came on Tuesday, when Bleis slugged two home runs including one that was hit at 102 mph off the bat. He’s a standout young talent to keep an eye on in the Red Sox system. (GP)

20. Yoelqui Cespedes, OF, White Sox
Team: Double-A Birmingham (Southern)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .412/.565/.941 (7-for-17), 3 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: For the first two months of the season, Cespedes almost literally never walked. In April and May, he walked just three times in 35 games. He drew five walks this past week alone, and since June 1 has racked up 16 bases on balls. Perhaps not coincidentally, Cespedes’ most patient month has also been his most powerful. His nine walks in July are a high-water mark for any month this season, and his eight extra-base hits are on track to eclipse the 10 he accumulated in April. (JN)

HELIUM

Frederick Bencosme, SS, Orioles

For years, the Orioles were near non-factors on the international market. Times have changed, and some of Baltimore’s efforts are beginning to pay off. Bencosme, a 19-year-old shortstop, opened his career in the DSL in 2021 with a strong effort, and earned a quick boost to Low-A after just two games in the Florida Complex League. So far, he’s shown a strong idea of what he wants to do at the plate—he has more walks (12) than strikeouts (11) through 32 games. Bencosme marries excellent bat-to-ball skills with sound swing decisions, and the result is one of the more intriguing rising hitters in Baltimore’s lower minors. (JN)



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