Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (7/6/21)
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 July 5. Contributing this week were J.J. Cooper, Josh Norris, Kyle Glaser and Ben Badler.
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. Graham Ashcraft, RHP, Reds
Team: Double-A Chattanooga (South)
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 11 P, 3 H, 0 R, 7 BB, 11 SO.
The Scoop: The last time Ashcraft gave up a run was six starts and 32 innings ago, when Lake County scored an unearned run against him thanks to a catcher’s interference call. The last time Ashcraft gave up an earned run was eight starts and 43 innings ago on May 25. A promotion to Double-A Chattanooga has done nothing to slow his scoreless streak. Double-A hitters are only hitting .082 against him. Ashcraft can blow a mid-to-high-90s fastball by hitters but he also this year has developed plenty of confidence in commanding his breaking ball as well. (JC)
2. Jose Miranda, 1B/3B, Twins
Team: Triple-A St. Paul (East)
Why He’s Here: .385/.414/.808 (10-for-26), 7 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO.
The Scoop: The Twins watched Akil Baddoo depart in the Rule 5 draft, and he’s turned into a rookie of the year candidate for the Tigers. But the Twins did manage to hold onto Miranda, who was unprotected and went unpicked. Miranda has responded this year by having an exceptional season. He hit .345/.408/.588 for Double-A Wichita, and was even better this week in his first stint at Triple-A. Debuting on his birthday, Miranda had five hits and three home runs. He homered in the first and singled in the second. He then hit a grand slam in the third and homered again in the fifth, meaning for a brief moment, he was hitting 1.000/1.000/3.250 with three home runs just five innings into his Triple-A career. (JC)
3. Glenn Otto, RHP, Yankees
Team: Double-A Somerset (Northeast)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 HBP, 0 BB, 12 SO.
The Scoop: Cade Cavalli leads the minors with 97 strikeouts, but Otto is just two strikeouts behind him. Otto’s 12-strikeout game is the third most in a Double-A Northeast game this year, but it was Otto’s third-best strikeout game of the year. The Yankees righthander already had two 14-strikeout games this season. The rest of the minors has combined for four games with 14 or more strikeouts. (JC)
4. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Central)
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 2.45, 2 GS, 11 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 14 SO.
The Scoop: Pepiot’s first start of the week was nothing special. In fact, it was his worst of the season. It was the only time he’s allowed three runs in an outing all year. But Pepiot made up for it in his follow-up start against Arkansas, which was one of the best we’ve seen in the minors this year. A solid Arkansas lineup was completely blown away by Pepiot’s 94-97 mph fastball and plus-plus changeup. He carried a perfect game into the eighth and was only pulled after he finally allowed a baserunner—a walk to start the eighth. (JC)
5. Yoelqui Cespedes, OF, White Sox
Team: High-A Winston-Salem (East)
Why He's Here: .360/.385/.880 (8-for-25), 8 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 10 SO, 2-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Cespedes has shown power right away in his pro debut, belting four home runs in his first 14 games. That power is also coming with an aggressive approach that he will have to tighten up, as he's walked three times with 22 strikeouts as well. (BB)
6. Marco Luciano, SS, Giants
Team: Low-A San Jose (West)
Why He’s Here: .316/.500/1.000 (6-for-19), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: After a little bit of an adjustment period to start the season, Luciano is in full bloom at Low-A. He mashed four more home runs this week, bringing his total to 14 for the season, which leads the classification by two over the recently promoted Joe Gray Jr. If he reaches his ceiling, Luciano has the potential to be a monster at the plate. Nothing he’s done this year in the middle of a stacked San Jose lineup suggests he’ll have trouble reaching that ceiling. (JN)
7. Garrett Mitchell, OF, Brewers
Team: High-A Wisconsin (Central)
Why He’s Here: .480/.536/.880 (12-for-25), 12 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO, 3 SBs.
The Scoop: When Mitchell slid to the 20th pick in the 2020 draft, we wrote that we thought the Brewers were getting a steal. So far, that’s exactly what it looks like. Mitchell just earned a promotion to Double-A Biloxi by showing speed, power and contact ability. No one doubted the speed or his defensive ability when he was at UCLA, but his power improvements as a pro are very encouraging for his long-term potential. (JC)
8. Daniel Brito, 2B, Phillies
Team: Double-A Reading (Northeast)
Why He’s Here: .462/.517/.923 (12-for-26), 7 R, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: Brito has struggled to hit at nearly every level since the Phillies signed him as an international free agent in 2014, but he’s finally growing into his promise at Double-A Reading. Brito upped his season slash line to .308/.363/.460 after his latest big showing last week. He’s on the verge of setting new career highs in doubles, triples and home runs after only 50 games and shows no signs of slowing down. He has a hit in 16 of his last 19 games, including 12 multi-hit games in that stretch. (KG)
9. Max Meyer, RHP, Marlins
Team: Double-A Pensacola (South)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 11 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 10 SO.
The Scoop: Meyer’s slider and control have run a little hot and cold in his pro debut, but when he’s on, he’s proven to be nearly unhittable, and the 2021 Futures Gamer is on a lot. Meyer had two scoreless outings this week, but that’s not all that unusual for him. He’s allowed zero runs in eight of his 11 starts this year, which explains his 1.67 ERA. (JC)
10. Elehuris Montero, 3B, Rockies
Team: Double-A Hartford (Northeast)
Why He's Here: .571/.625/.786 (8-for-14), 3 R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: Montero had to wait an extra year to put a difficult 2019 season behind him. He's repeating Double-A and while he's not dominating, the results are better and he is showing his power, hitting .245/.340/.451 with nine home runs through 52 games. (BB)
11. Tommy Romero, RHP, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (South)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 SO.
Romero made his first relief appearance of the season this week on a rainy day in Montgomery, but he was working like a starter. Moving to the pen didn’t change his luck, as his record remains spotless but also empty. He has yet to receive a decision in nine appearances. Romero pitched well enough to get a win this week. Mississippi hitters stared at a lot of well-located 91-94 mph fastballs, and when they did swing they struggled to catch up to Romero’s ability to elevate. (JC)
12. Jesse Franklin, OF, Braves
Team: High-A Rome (East)
Why He’s Here: .381/.440/1.408 (8-for-21), 5 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO.
The Scoop: Franklin’s awful May is but a distant memory now. The Braves’ third-round pick out of Michigan in 2020 hit only .200/.228/.253 in May. He figured out High-A East in June, hitting .338/.412/.757. And now at the start of July, he’s hitting like he wants a promotion to Double-A Mississippi. Franklin is hitting .467/.529/1.267 in July. (JC)
13. Brendon Davis, 3B, Angels
Team: High-A Tri-City (West)
Why He’s Here: .429/.433/1.000 (12-for-28), 7 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 9 SO
The Scoop: The Rangers acquired Davis from the Dodgers at the 2017 trade deadline as one of three players for Yu Darvish, but Davis never got it going in Texas’ system and was claimed off waivers by the Angels last December. The change of scenery has done Davis well. He led all minor leaguers with 28 total bases last week and has already tied his career high with 11 home runs this season. He is currently riding a nine-game hitting streak, including an extra-base hit in seven straight games. (KG)
14. Bryce Jarvis, RHP, D-backs
Team: Double-A Amarillo (Central)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.13, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO
The Scoop: The D-backs promoted Jarvis to Double-A on June 22, and he made his first home start at hitter-friendly Amarillo on Saturday. The 2020 first-round pick handled the difficult conditions masterfully, tossing seven dominant innings to give the Sod Poodles a 4-1 win over Wichita. Jarvis opened the game by striking out three of the first four batters, had eight strikeouts through five innings and finished his outing with a punchout and a grounder back to the pitcher. Jarvis has a 3.58 ERA through 10 starts this season, a solid debut for the No. 18 pick in last year’s draft. (KG)
Prospect Report: Eury Perez Strikes Out A Dozen
Eury Perez, Matthew Liberatore and Ryan Pepiot all turned in impressive outings.
15. Curtis Mead, 3B, Rays
Team: Low-A Charleston (East)
Why He’s Here: .414/.452/.793 (12-for-29), 7 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 2 SB.
The Scoop: Thanks to the lost 2020 season, it’s easy to have forgotten about Mead. The Rays acquired him from the Phillies in a trade that sent LHP Cristopher Sanchez to Philadelphia in November 2019. But with no 2020 season, Mead had to wait until this spring to make his full-season debut. He’s had quite the debut. Mead is working on an 11-game hitting streak and he had both a four-hit and three-hit game this week. Overall his .358 average is the second best in Low-A East. His .589 slugging percentage is sixth best in the league and he leads the circuit in hits (68) and doubles (21), and is second in extra-base hits (29) and total bases (112). (JC)
16. Vidal Brujan, 2B/SS, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (East)
Why He's Here: .421/.522/.579 (8-for-19), 3 2B, 3 RBIs, 4 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-3 SB
The Scoop: Brujan slowed down in June after his scorching start to the season, but he picked things up again over the past week. He's a quick-twitch athlete with excellent hand-eye coordination to put the ball in play at a high rate with premium speed to be a threat on the basepaths. (BB)
17. M.J. Melendez, C, Royals
Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Central)
Why He’s Here: .400/.457/.633 (12-for-30), 5 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: Melendez was part of a core of young prospects who in 2019 struggled badly at High-A Wilmington. After the pandemic, he’s come out looking like the player the Royals expected when they drafted him in the second round in 2017. A greatly improved approach at the plate has helped Melendez tap into his offensive abilities, and he is showing chops behind the plate (36.1% caught stealing rate and just three passed balls) as well. Melendez, Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto are giving fans in the south a tantalizing preview of what might be Kansas City’s main attraction in a couple of years. (JN)
18. Ford Proctor, C/SS, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (South)
Why He’s Here: .571/.714/.857 (8-for-14), 3 R, 2 3B, 4 RBIs, 5 BB, 3 SO, 2 HBP.
The Scoop: Proctor is the oh-so-rare catcher/shortstop who plays both positions regularly. He’s started 12 games at shortstop and 24 games at catcher this year. Proctor is new to catching, but the role gives him a better shot at an MLB job as a do-everything fielder who can play anywhere around the infield and behind the plate. Until this week, Proctor has been pretty much a one-trick pony at the plate who got on base thanks to plenty of walks but did little else. Proctor had only two multi-hit games all year (a pair of two-hit games). This week, he had two three-hit games and a two-hit game as well. (JC)
19. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Royals
Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Central)
Why He’s Here: .407/.485/.593 (11-for-27), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: After bursting onto the scene in big league spring training, Witt has spent the season at Double-A showing fans and evaluators alike why he’s one of just a few players in the minors with a chance at plus tools across the board. He’s gifted at the plate and in the field, and should stick at shortstop in the long term. Given the numbers he’s put up this season—13 homers, 13 stolen bases and a .919 OPS—it’s easy to forget that he skipped over the Class A levels entirely. His last regular-season action came in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2019, and he could finish 2021 a step away from the big leagues. (JN)
20. Mason Martin, 1B, Pirates
Team: Double-A Altoona (Northeast)
Why He’s Here: .333/.400/1.111 (6-for-20), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: Martin is as physically strong a prospect as anybody in the minors. The son of a bodybuilder, Martin uses his power to crush balls into the far reaches of parks around Double-A Northeast. He connected for four home runs this past week, bringing him into a three-way tie with Akron’s Oscar Gonzalez and Binghamton’s Mark Vientos for third best in the league. As a first baseman, Martin will have to mash his way to Pittsburgh. So far, he’s doing just that. (JN)
Euribiel Angeles, INF, Padres
The Padres couldn't spend more than $300,000 on an international player in 2018 as a penalty for having exceeded their bonus pool for their 2016 class. They gave Angeles $300,000 on July 2, 2018, and after Angeles made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2019, the Padres challenged him this year with a jump to Low-A Lake Elsinore. Angeles has responded well, hitting .333/.372/.441 through 50 games as a 19-year-old. Angeles has good bat speed and feel for the barrel from the right side, with a chance for more power if he becomes a more selective hitter to learn which pitches he can drive. (BB)