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Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (7/6/22)



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 5. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Geoff Pontes and Kyle Glaser.

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. Estevan Florial, OF, Yankees
Team: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .480/.533/1.240 (12-for-25), 11 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: This kind of production has been a long time coming for Florial, who once ranked as the Yankees’ top prospect before a pair of broken bones in his hands and wrists—not to mention the pandemic—interceded and derailed his progress. Now, with much-improved plate discipline, his tools are beginning to blossom. He’s been red hot for more than a month now, showing hints of the all-around talent he was billed to be a few short years ago. (JN)

2. Griff McGarry, RHP, Phillies
Team: High-A Jersey Shore (South Atlantic)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: In his final start with High-A Jersey Shore McGarry spun a gem. The fifth-rounder out of Virginia went six scoreless innings, scattering a hit and four walks while striking out 11. He hit 97 mph seven times during this start and generated 16 swinging strikes, including 10 against his fastball and four against his slider. He recorded a swinging strikeout using four different pitches in this one, showcasing the whiff-inducing ability of the entirety of McGarry’s arsenal. Promoted to Double-A Reading later in the week, McGarry will now face the challenge of fooling upper-minors hitters while maintaining his improved command gains. (GP)

3. Matt Krook, LHP, Yankees
Team: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
Age: 27

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: At his best, Krook has some of the most unforgiving stuff in the upper levels of the minor leagues. His sinker can shatter your bat and his slider can get you to wave right over the top. In his last start, he was at his best. The lefthander rung up his first double-digit strikeout game of the season while also getting seven outs on the ground, leaving just three of his 20 outs to come via flyballs. His command and control are not likely to ever be pinpoint, but he has the pure stuff to reach the big leagues someday soon. (JN)

4. Leandro Cedeno, 1B, D-backs
Team: Double-A Amarillo (Texas)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .500/.621/.955 (11-for-22), 9 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 7 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Cedeno showed enormous power as a Cardinals prospect, but he struggled once he got to Double-A and was allowed to leave as a minor league free agent. He signed with the D-backs in the offseason and is having much more success in his second crack at the level. Cedeno homered in three straight games against Northwest Arkansas last week and strung together 11 hits over a scorching five-game span. Cedeno is now hitting .298 with 16 home runs, 53 RBIs and a .917 OPS in 63 games with the Sod Poodles and has established himself as one of the best minor league free agent signings of the offseason. (KG)

5. Bubba Thompson, OF, Rangers
Team: Triple-A Round Rock (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .522/.607/.913 (12-for-23), 7 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Thompson has long been one of the most tooled-up prospects in the Rangers’ system. He can hit for power, fly around the field and on the bases and generally change the game on both sides of the ball. Problem was, his strikeouts were simply too high for his talents to play in the big leagues. Over the last month or so, however, he’s made progress in that regard. Over April and May, Thompson struck out 47 times and walked just twice. Since June 1, however, he’s gotten a little more selective, with 28 strikeouts against 13 walks in that span. In fact, he’s yet to strike out in his first three games in July. If Thompson can maintain that trend, he might be a late-bloomer. (JN)

6. Tyler Gentry, OF, Royals
Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Texas) 
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .434/.500/1.043 (10-for-23), 9 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 5 BB, 7 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The outfielder out of Alabama has continued his breakout season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Last week Gentry enjoyed the friendly confines of Amarillo as he clubbed three home runs over the first two games of the series. He had a hit in all six games against the Sod Poodles and reached base two or more times in five of the six games. Gentry took the Midwest League by storm over the first two months of the season and hasn’t missed a beat upon promotion to Double-A in mid-June. The 23-year-old is hitting .311/.389/.721 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs over 16 games with the Naturals. (GP)

7. Hunter Brown, RHP, Astros 
Team: Triple-A Sugar Land (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: The Astros top prospect continues to be one of the most impressive pitchers in the extremely hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. In his June 30 start at Albuquerque he went six innings, allowing  a pair of hits and a walk, while striking out seven. He generated 10 swinging strikes, 17 looking strikes and 10 ground balls as Brown showed a variety of ways to generate outs against the Isotopes. He hit 98 mph six times on his fastball and got multiple whiffs against his fastball, slider and curveball. Brown has taken a step forward with command and pitch execution this season and he’s seen a sizable jump in performance and production. Facing a 40-man roster decision this upcoming winter Brown is forcing the issue for a callup and in most organizations would likely already be making starts in the majors. (GP)

8. Brayan Rocchio, SS, Guardians 
Team: Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .417/.462/.958 (10-for-24), 5 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Rocchio’s first few months this season have been underwhelming and included a stint on the IL for a concussion. There’s been gradual improvement, however, as he and the Guardians have worked to adjust his bat path to make more contact. He’s still got a good feel for the strike zone, which bodes well for him getting back on the track that saw him rocket up the rankings last season. This past week was a good start. (JN)

9. Diego Cartaya, C, Dodgers
Team: High-A Great Lakes (Midwest)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .333/.500/.889 (6-for-18), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: There’s little else to say other than that Cartaya is one of the game’s premier catching prospects. Heck, you can remove the positional qualifier, too: Cartaya is one of the game’s best prospects, period. He proved it again this past week by going tit for tat with Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz in a matchup of Midwest League mashers. Cartaya slammed three home runs in the series (half of his hits left the yard) and had the look of a player who could easily fit into the Dodgers’ recent run of homegrown talents. (JN)

10. Rodney Boone, LHP, Guardians 
Team: High-A Lake County (Midwest)
Age: 22

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

The Scoop: Boone had a dozen consecutive games with 10 or more swinging strikes coming into this start, but the lefthander dominated with called strikes and groundballs this week. He tossed a seven-inning complete game shutout for Lake County on Saturday, a welcome change after Boone allowed nine earned runs over his last two starts. Boone only needed 92 pitches to get through this one, as he topped out at 88 mph and sat 86-87 mph on his fastball. His ability to steal strikes with his fastball and changeup combination was his key to success on Saturday. There are major questions as to whether Boone will ever throw hard enough to find success in the majors. That said, there’s little question around the quality of his changeup and his ability to pitch. (GP)

11. Pedro Leon, SS/OF, Astros
Team: Triple-A Sugar Land (Pacific Coast) 
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .353/.607/.765 (6-for-17), 8 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 9 BB, 4 SO, 6-for-7 SB

The Scoop: One of the Astros top positional prospects, Leon showcased the best parts of his game last week, as he walked a whopping nine times while stealing six bases and clubbing two home runs. Leon ran wild last week, stealing a base in five out of six games versus Albuquerque. He showcased eye-popping power as well, hitting seven balls in play at 100 mph or better during the series. Five of those produced hits, while three—including his pair of home runs—went for extra bases. Leon has contact issues and positional questions, but he has an intriguing three true outcome profile with speed on the basepaths. (GP)

12. Petey Halpin, OF, Guardians 
Team: High-A Lake County (Midwest) 
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .429/.538/.762 (9-for-21), 7 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 4 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: The speedy Halpin enjoyed a nice holiday week as he produced three multi-hit games over his last six including a patriotic 2-for-3 showing on July 4. He showcased some extra-base power as well over the six-game stretch, collecting an extra-base hit in five out of six games. He had three games where he scored two runs and three games where he drove in two or more runs. It was a well-balanced showing for Halpin last week as he did a little bit of everything at the plate. He showcased his speed as his home run was of the inside-the-park variety on a 101 mph line drive. This was a much needed hot week as Halpin has struggled over the first two months as a 19-20-year-old at High-A. (GP)

13. Taj Bradley, RHP, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Bradley is one of the very best pitching prospects in the game. He earned that rep in 2021 and is reinforcing it in 2022. His ERAs in both May and June were under 1.50, and his overall line since May 1 is pure comedy: In 47.1 innings he’s allowed just 27 hits and walked 14 while striking out 57 hitters. Those with access to calculators know those numbers equal a strikeout rate of just better than 40%. In other words, the man has been nasty as all get out. (JN).

Guardians

Prospect Report: Gavin Williams Silences SeaWolves

The Guardians righthander continues his stellar season with six no-hit frames.

14. Ronan Kopp, LHP, Dodgers
Team: Low-A Rancho Cucamonga (California)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: Kopp made two appearances for Low-A Rancho Cucamonga last week and flashed his elite stuff, running his fastball up to 97-98 mph. His primary pitch mix consists of a fastball-slider one-two punch that grades out on stuff+ models as one of the best combinations of pitches in the minor leagues. His fastball sits 95-96 mph, touching 98-99 mph with heavy ride and late bite from the left side. His slider is a mid-80s sweeper that’s in rare company when it comes to its velocity and movement. There’s major relief risk with Kopp but he has the sort of unique stuff from a lefthanded pitcher that could make him a high-leverage pen arm in a few years. (GP)

15. Brenton Doyle, OF, Rockies
Team: Double-A Hartford (Eastern)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .379/.400/.897 (11-for-29), 6 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 0 BB, 9 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Doyle snapped out of his season-long slump with his best week of the season. The toolsy outfielder homered in three straight games, had four multi-hit games and delivered his first three-hit game of the season on Independence Day. He even stole a pair of bases, giving him 15 steals and 11 home runs on the year. Doyle still has to tamp down his aggressiveness—see his nine strikeouts and zero walks last week—but he showed how dynamic he can be when he connects. (KG).

16. Nolan Jones, OF, Guardians
Team: Triple-A Columbus
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .400/.516/.760 (10-for-25), 9 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBIs, 6 BB, 5 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: Jones missed the first two months of the season due to offseason ankle surgery and a lower back injury, but he’s been a force since he returned to Columbus’ lineup. Jones homered in back-to-back games, including hitting a grand slam, against Iowa last week and ripped off 10 hits in his first 18 at-bats of the series. He is now batting .314/.423/.512 for the Clippers in 22 games since coming off the IL, a welcome turnaround after he suffered through a miserable season at the level last year. (KG)

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

Why He’s Here: .346/.452/.808 (9-for-26), 7 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: With Francisco Alvarez off to Triple-A, the spotlight at Binghamton belongs to Baty. After a stint at the level in 2021, Baty is back at Double-A in 2022 and improved across all three sectors of his slash line. He entered last week with seven home runs for the season and then slammed three in a series against Hartford and a Fourth of July game at home against Portland. The outburst continues a strong stretch that started in June, when he slashed .326/.429/.517. The resultant .946 OPS was a 268-point improvement from his May output. (JN)

18. Anderson Espinoza, RHP, Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee (League)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Espinoza’s first big league callup in May was heartwarming, but he hadn’t actually pitched well this season. That changed last week. Espinoza pitched five no-hit innings against Rocket City on June 28 in his best start of the season and followed with a scoreless inning of relief at Birmingham on July 4. It was his first sustained success of the year after he entered the week with a 7.87 ERA for the Smokies. Espinoza still has a long way to go to reclaim his former top prospect status, but his week was a step in the right direction. (KG).

19. Michael Massey, 2B, Royals
Team: Triple-A Omaha (International) 
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .321/.424/.786 (9-for-28), 7 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Promoted to Triple-A Omaha in Mid-June, Massey ended the month on a bang, as the second baseman clubbed a home run at 104 mph off the bat in his final game of June. Massey hit four home runs on the week, each of which was hit 100 mph or higher off the bat. He put six balls in play last week at 100 mph or higher and 11 at 95 mph or higher. Massey has shown some swing and miss to his game, but has now hit across three levels of the minors, showcasing feel for the barrel and above-average exit data. (GP)

20. Tyler Soderstrom, C, Athletics
Team: High-A Lansing (Midwest)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .350/.440/.850 (7-for-20), 6 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 4 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: A California native, Soderstrom struggled badly during the frigid early weeks of the season in the Midwest League. Now that the weather has warmed up, so has he. Soderstrom recorded a hit in five of six games and showed off his power with three home runs last week, including hitting one in back-to-back games to open the Lugnuts’ road series at Lake County. Since his ugly 18-for-104 (.173) start to the season, Soderstrom is now batting .285/.328/.539 over the last six weeks. (KG)

HELIUM

Moises Ballesteros, C, Cubs

Ballesteros signed with the Cubs for $1.5 million on the first day of the 2021 international signing period. After a solid showing in his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League last year, he is showing why he was so highly valued in the Arizona Complex League this year. Ballesteros had three consecutive multi-hit games last week and is now batting .308/.384/.615 to start the ACL season and is tied for the league lead with five home runs. Ballesteros has a stout, blocky body and whether he will remain a catcher is in question, but he projects to be an impact hitter whose bat will play anywhere. (KG).

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