Hot Sheet: Baseball’s 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (8/1/23)


Image credit: Michael Busch (Photo by Stacy Revere/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 31. 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. Yunior Severino, 3B, Twins
Double-A Wichita (Texas)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .348/.444/1.130 (8-for-23), 7 R, 6 HR, 10 RBIs, 4 BB, 7 SO, 1 CS.

The Scoop: Severino is one of the Braves’ international signees who was declared a free agent by MLB in punishment for Atlanta’s violations of bonus rules. The Twins tried to sign Kevin Maitan, but when he chose the Angels, they signed Severino as a backup plan. This is a case where losing proved to be winning. Maitan has been released by the Angels, while Severino is putting together a .290/.365/.567 season at Double-A Wichita that makes him a solid candidate to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Severino’s 31% strikeout rate has to improve, but he hits the ball hard consistently and his defense at second and third is fringy but playable. (JC)  

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

Why He’s Here: .400/.455/.767 (12-for-30), 8 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Busch continues to show he has nothing left to prove in Triple-A. The 2019 first-rounder recorded a hit in all six games at Reno last week, including a four-hit game on July 28 and a two-homer game in the series finale. Busch is now batting .318/.432/.597 with 18 home runs and 66 RBIs in 70 games at Oklahoma City and simply just needs an opportunity for everyday playing time in the majors. (KG)

3. Brock Jones, OF, Rays
High-A Bowling Green (South Atlantic)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .450/.522/1.050 (9-for-25), 9 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 SO, 1 SB, 2 CS

The Scoop: After posting a sub-.500 OPS in May and then following it up with a power-heavy but still tough June, Jones has easily had his best month of the year in July. There still are serious concerns about his struggles to make contact on hittable pitches, but he is trending now in the right direction. He’s going to need to be just as productive in August and September if he’s going to bring his overall 2023 statistics to a reasonable level. July was the first step in that direction. (JC)

4. Jacob Melton, OF, Astros 
Team: High-A Asheville (South Atlantic) 
Age: 22 

Why He’s Here: .522/.577/.870 (12-for-23), 10 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 4 SO, 4-for-5 SB

The Scoop: While Drew Gilbert and others from the 2022 draft class get more headlines, Melton has been quietly strong this season. He is up to 17 home runs and 39 stolen bases this year, while striking out just 21% of the time and posting a 13% walk rate. Last week Melton recorded three games where he had three or more hits. His best game of the week came on Saturday as he went 4-for-5 with four runs scored and a pair of stolen bases. Melton has an excellent combination of power, speed and on-base ability. (GP)

5. Ethan Salas, C, Padres
Low-A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 17

Why He’s Here: .455/.455/.909 (10-for-22), 5 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 6 SO.

The Scoop: It’s hard to fully understand just how far beyond the norm Salas is. The list of 17-year-old hitters who have played in full-season minor league ball over the past 15 years is a short list in itself. But Salas isn’t just managing to survive as a 16-year-old who’s turned 17 during his time in the California League. He’s thriving. At 200 plate appearances, Salas hasn’t reached qualifying levels in the California League yet, but if he had, his .292 batting average would rank in the league’s top 10, and his .532 slugging percentage would be the league’s second-best mark. Oh, and did we mention that he’s a catcher? (JC)

6. Connor Norby, 2B, Orioles
Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .407/.448/.704 (11-for-27), 7 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: After an up-and-down start to the season, Norby has caught fire in July. The 2021 second-rounder recorded a hit in all six games against Nashville last week, including back-to-back three-hit games on July 27-28. Overall Norby has a hit in 19 of 22 games and is batting .322/.402/.567 this month, a .969 OPS that is more than 100 points higher than any other month this season. (KG)

7. Agustin Ramirez, C, Yankees
Team: High-A Hudson Valley (South Atlantic)
Age: 21 

Why He’s Here: .435/.480/.826 (10-for-23), 8 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Ramirez was promoted to High-A Hudson Valley at the end of June and has enjoyed a banner month since. Of the five games this past week, Ramirez collected multiple hits in four out of five and reached base two or more times in all five games. Since his promotion to High-A, Ramirez has shown an advanced approach and feel to hit, striking out as much as he’s walked while matching his Low-A home run total in just 22 games. Ramirez has the defensive chops to stick behind the plate while also showing advanced hitting ability and above-average power. (GP) 

8. Osleivis Basabe, SS, Rays
Triple-A Durham (International)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .379/.400/.621 (11-for-29), 5 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2 SB.

The Scoop: The Rays farm system isn’t as deep as it was a couple of years ago, but it’s still loaded with pure hitters at the upper levels of the system. Basabe may not be a better hitter than Jonathan Aranda or Curtis Mead, but he’s got an above-average bat, and unlike his Triple-A teammates, Basabe can capably play second and third base and can even handle shortstop in a pinch. (JC)

9. Cam Cauley, SS, Rangers
Team: High-A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .412/.474/1.059 (7-for-17), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The Rangers bumped Cauley to High-A on July 18. Since then, he’s taken off. The 20-year-old shortstop, whom Texas popped in the third round of the 2021 draft, has an intriguing tool set that includes plus speed, a whippy bat and excellent defense at shortstop. Against Hudson Valley this past week, Cauley took advantage of the very cozy confines of Hickory’s LP Frans Stadium to sock his first three home runs at his new level. The outburst gave him 10 homers for the season. (JN)

10. Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (Southern)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .348/.483/.783 (8-for-23), 11 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 BB, 4 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: After the all-star break, the Southern League ditched the pre-tacked baseball that had been in play in the first half and returned to the traditional mud-rubbed ball. Chourio has taken advantage. The Brewers’ top prospect spent the entire month of July on a tear. His 33 hits tied his previous high for a month, set in May of 2022 at Low-A. His 10 strikeouts were the lowest total he’s had in any month of his career. Chourio’s two home runs this past week upped his season total to 16, putting him just four away from a 20-homer, 30-stolen base season. If he reaches that mark, he’ll be the first teenager to do so at any level of the minor leagues since 2017, when Ronald Acuña Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. each achieved those milestones. (JN)

11. Yoniel Curet, RHP, Rays
Team: Low-A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 4.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Curet was signed by the Rays out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, which meant his pro debut was delayed a year by the pandemic. He made it to Low-A for a cameo in 2022 and returned there this year, where he’s emerged as a breakout arm in Tampa Bay’s system. The stocky righthander generates easy mid-90s velocity, which has helped him strike out 107 hitters in 76 innings. He needs to further hone his control, which is shown by the 51 walks he’s issued in the same span. If he can do that, he’ll rise further up the system’s ranks. (JN)

12. Ryan Clifford, OF, Astros 
Team: High-A Asheville (South Atlantic) 
Age: 20 

Why He’s Here: .350/.304/.900 (7-for-20), 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: It was a big week in Asheville as multiple Tourist hitters made the Hot Sheet. Clifford collected a hit in all five games last week, including two multi-hits affairs. His two-home run game on Wednesday was his third multi-home run game of the season. Clifford, who signed an over-slot deal as a 2022 11th-rounder, has impressed with his on-base ability, power and feel to hit. So far it’s looked to be a wise investment as Clifford has been one of the top prep hitters from last summer’s draft. (GP) 

13. Jake Eder, LHP, Marlins
Team: Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.59, 5.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: Eder has returned to Pensacola after missing a season recovering from Tommy John surgery and spending three rehab starts at Low-A Jupiter. While his control and command have been a little bit rusty, he’s missed bats progressively more often in each successive start. He fanned a season-best 10 in his most recent turn, and in his last three starts has struck out 25 in 15.1 innings. His fastball is averaging around 91 mph, and he’s backing it with a mid-70s slider and a low-80s changeup. (JN)

14. Joey Estes, RHP, Athletics 
Team: Double-A Midland (Texas) 
Age: 21 

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.80, 10 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Acquired by the Athletics in the Matt Olson trade, like many of the players Oakland acquired that offseason, Estes struggled in 2022. He returned to Double-A Midland this season and has seen improved production in his second stint. Last week Estes made two starts, going five innings each time and allowing just one earned run in each game. Estes uses five pitches, led by a four-seam fastball at 92-94 mph, a slider at 82-84 mph and a changeup. That trio is his primary mix, and he works in a curveball and cutter to round out his arsenal. Estes lacks premium stuff, but has command of a deep pitch mix that keeps hitters off balance. (GP) 

15. Estevan Florial, OF, Yankees
Team: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .333/.400/.667 (9-for-27), 4 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 9 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: After a lull in June, Florial rebounded in July. His two home runs this past week were his second and third of the month, which he finished with a slash line of .324/.413/.574. For the season, Florial is fourth in the International League in home runs (23), seventh in slugging (.592), ninth in OPS (.982) and fourth in total bases (187). The home run total is already six better than his previous career high. (JN) 

16. Milan Tolentino, SS, Guardians
Team: High-A Lake County (Midwest)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .370/.379/.667 (10-for-27), 8 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: After struggling to hit in the bitter cold of the Midwest League early in the season, the Southern California native is heating up with the weather. Tolentino extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a scorching series against Beloit last week, highlighted by four multi-hit games and five straight games with an RBI. After batting .165/.276/.242 through the first two months of the season, Tolentino has turned it around and is batting .322/.378/.507 in June and July. (KG)

17. Jonathan Aranda, 2B, Rays
Triple-A Durham (International)
Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .346/.452/.654 (9-for-26), 8 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 4 BB, 8 SO, 1 SB.

The Scoop: The best hitter in the minor leagues over the past two months is Aranda. Since June 1, Aranda is hitting .411. No other full-season hitter is hitting better than .384 over that stretch (Jamie Westbrook). His .497 on-base percentage over the past two months is also first among all full-season minor league hitters. Aranda has gotten dribs and drabs of playing time with the Rays, but at some point soon it’s time for the Rays to either find a way to give Aranda regular MLB at-bats, or trade him somewhere else where he’ll get a shot. (JC)

18. Dominic Hamel, RHP, Mets
Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Age: 24 

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: The Mets have been busy fortifying their system over the last few days, but they had some interesting talent prior to the flurry of moves. One such player is Hamel. Hamel mixes a four-seam fastball at 93-95 mph with a curveball, slider, changeup and cutter. Hamel primarily relies on his fastball, curveball and slider, and each has the ability to miss bats, though none are elite bat-missing pitches. Last week Hamel went seven strong in his only start, striking out 11 while allowing just five opposing batters to reach base. (GP) 

19. Jorge Marcheco, RHP, Angels
Team: High-A Tri-City (Northwest)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.79, 11.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: Marcheco earned a promotion to High-A earlier this month after leading the California League in ERA and hasn’t missed a beat. The Cuban righthander won both of his starts against Hillsboro last week, tossing 6.1 innings with one run allowed in the series opener and five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts in the finale. After going 7-3, 2.79 in the hitter-friendly Cal League, Marcheco is 3-0, 1.54 in four starts at Tri-City in what has become a breakout year. (KG).

20. Aeverson Arteaga, SS, Giants
Team: High-A Eugene (Northwest)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .350/.391/.850 (7-for-20), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Arteaga is a slick-fielding defensive shortstop who doesn’t offer much as a hitter, but he showed the pop he can tap into against Spokane last week. Arteaga homered in three straight games to lead off the series, including a walkoff three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning on July 26. Arteaga is batting just .226/.306/.418 on the season, but he’s made an impact with 14 home runs. (KG).


Luis De Leon, LHP, Orioles

De Leon signed with Baltimore in 2021 as an 18-year-old and did not debut until 2022. The lefthander spent his first pro season in the DSL and this season has moved from the Florida Complex League to Low-A Delmarva. De Leon was excellent for six starts in the FCL and has since made three appearances in the Carolina League. He’s started twice and pitched once at the back half of a tandem outing, though his most recent start lasted just one inning. He works primarily with a heavy mid-90s fastball, a mid-80s changeup with excellent fade and will mix in an occasional slider. He’s a groundball machine, too. In his three outings with Delmarva, he’s gotten 20 grounders and just two flyouts. (JN)

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