BA Newsletter: Get Analysis, Rankings Delivered To Your Inbox!

Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (8/10/21)



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 August 9. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Kyle Glaser 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. Noelvi Marte, SS, Mariners
Team: Low-A Modesto (West)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .393/.469/.964 (11-for-28), 10 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 13 RBIs, 4 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: After a down month of July, Marte has started August on a tear befitting of a Top 10 prospect. His apex this week was a three-homer game on Aug. 3, and he added two more longballs later in the series. If you’re counting, that’s five home runs in one series, or three more than he hit in all of July. With his recent hot streak, Marte is knocking on the door of a promotion to High-A Everett. (JN)

2. Nick Yorke, 2B, Red Sox
Team: Low-A Salem (East)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .500/.625/1.025 (9-for-18), 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 1 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS.

The Scoop: Yorke was the biggest surprise of the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft. But once the dust cleared, the logic of what the Red Sox had done by picking Yorke became clearer. He signed an underslot deal (seven of the 12 first-round picks selected after him signed for more money), which helped the Red Sox land Blaze Jordan later in the draft. And in a crazy, Covid-shortened season, there was less consensus than usual. It turns out, as the Red Sox expected, Yorke can really hit. He’s currently second in Low-A East with a .312 batting average and he’s currently working on a 17-game hitting streak. After taking a month to get accustomed to pro ball, Yorke has hit .369/.468/.571 since June 1. (JC)

3. Zac Veen, OF, Rockies
Team: Low-A Fresno (West)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .545/.583/1.045 (12-for-22), 8 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Veen, the Rockies’ first-round pick a year ago, has lived up to his billing as a power and speed threat. With two more stolen bases this past series, Veen reached 30 for the season, making him the 17th player in the minor leagues to hit that milestone. The power, however, sets him apart; he’s the only one of that group with 10 or more home runs. (JN)

4. Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds
Team: Triple-A Louisville (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 6.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 SO.

The Scoop: According to Synergy’s data, Greene threw 37 fastballs that were 100 mph or harder in his six scoreless innings against St. Paul on Thursday. He wasn’t over-throwing either—he threw 73% of those 100-plus mph fastballs for strikes. How rare is that? In the history of the MLB Pitch/FX and Statcast era, no pitcher has ever thrown that many 100-plus mph pitches in one outing. The MLB record is Jacob deGrom’s 33 100-plus mph pitches on June 5 of this year. That’s the only MLB game since 2008 where one pitcher has thrown 30-plus pitches over 100 mph. While it’s only happened once in the majors, this is the third time Greene has done it in Triple-A. He also had 36 100-plus mph fastballs in his July 17 start and 31 in his June 29 start. (JC)

5. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Royals
Team: Triple-A Omaha (East)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .296/.387/.815 (8-for-27), 8 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: After an eye-opening stint in big league spring training, Witt has been everything the Royals could have hoped for and then some. Quite simply, he has been a force of nature at both of his stops at the upper levels. That’s impressive for any 21-year-old, but it’s even more astounding when you factor in that Witt ended the 2019 season in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Without any games at either Class A level, the No. 2 overall pick from 2019 has swatted 23 homers (tied for fourth in the minors) and has seen no drop-off after moving from Double-A to Triple-A. (JN)

6. Dax Fulton, LHP, Marlins
Team: Low-A Jupiter (Southeast)
Age: 19

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

The Scoop: Fulton has shown a big arm with iffy control in his first professional season, but he flashed just how devastating he can be when he’s throwing strikes in his last start. Fulton carved through Low-A Tampa’s lineup in a dominant effort, striking out five of the first six batters he faced en route to a career-high 10 strikeouts. The only hit he allowed was a soft single and, most importantly, he didn’t walk a batter for the first time in his pro career. The 6-foot-7 lefthander has shown overwhelming pure stuff with his fastball and slider this season, and now his main task is to improve his command and feel on the mound in order to have more starts like his last one. (KG)

7. Peyton Burdick, OF, Marlins
Team: Double-A Pensacola (South)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .480/.594/1.080 (12-for-25), 5 R, 3 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 7 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Burdick lost his approach earlier in the season, but he began to settle back in over the last week and showed the mix of patience and power that has long made him a favorite of both scouts and analytics personnel. Burdick was 14-for-31 with five home runs in his last 14 games with more walks (eight) than strikeouts (seven) and, notably, played an increasing amount of center field. Though he projects strictly as a corner outfielder in the major leagues, he’ll have no problem profiling there as long as he maintains the more controlled approach he’s shown in recent weeks. (KG)

8. Justin Foscue, 2B, Rangers
Team: High-A Hickory (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .348/.516/.870 (8-for-23), 9 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Foscue has been on one of the biggest trips in the minors in recent weeks. In July, he had a streak of eight straight games with a home run. Not much has changed since the calendar turned to August. In seven games in the season’s penultimate month, Foscue has homered three more times, and has whiffed just six times in 26 at-bats while racking up seven walks. About the only negative mark on his season to this point is a pair of injuries to his core that cost him a little more than a month.  (JN)

9. Josh Lowe, OF, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (East)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .318/.423/.773 (7-for-22), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Long considered one of the toolsiest players in the bountiful Rays system, Lowe has put it all together this year. He’s played excellent defense, showed speed on the bases, hit for average and power and has generally been the anchor in the middle of a robust Durham lineup. Currently, Lowe is one of just three minor leaguers with 20 or more doubles, 15 or more home runs and 15 or more stolen bases this season. (JN)

10. Spencer Strider, RHP, Braves
Team: Double-A Mississippi (South)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 SO.

The Scoop: After flying through both Class A levels, Strider met his first real challenge in Double-A. He’s battled control trouble at times—he had one awful outing where two out of every three pitches he threw was a ball, and another where he hit three batters. But this week, we saw the same pitcher who dominated two Class A levels. In fact, this week’s outing was his best of the year. He tied his career high in strikeouts, and his 6.1 innings marked the longest outing of his career. It was also his longest scoreless outing. (JC)

11. Trevor Hauver, OF, Rangers
Team: High-A Hickory (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .323/.432/.645 (10-for-31), 7 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 6 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: Hauver wasted no time making a good first impression in his new organization. One of four players acquired from the Yankees for OF Joey Gallo and LHP Joely Rodriguez, Hauver reeled off a seven-game hitting streak last week and is now batting .313 with a 1.088 OPS since joining the Rangers. He hit three homers in a five-day stretch against Greensboro and has driven in a run in all but one game since joining Hickory. (KG)

12. Brandon Pfaadt, RHP, D-backs
Team: High-A Hillsboro (West)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.64, 14 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 18 SO

The Scoop: A fifth-round pick out of then-Division II Bellarmine (Ky.) in 2020, Pfaadt has quickly established himself as one of the most promising pitching prospects in the D-backs system. The 6-foot-4 righthander pitched seven scoreless innings with two hits allowed and seven strikeouts against Tri-City on Aug. 1, then came back and threw seven innings with two hits and one run allowed, two walks and 11 strikeouts at Vancouver on Aug. 7. It was the fourth time this season Pfaadt has struck out at least 11 batters. With a 93-95 mph fastball, a solid slider and changeup, a durable physique and an aggressive mentality, he is showing enough to project as a solid starter even with a delivery that has some effort to it. (KG)

13. Aaron Ashby, LHP, Brewers
Team: Triple-A Nashville (East)
Age: 23

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

The Scoop: Ashby got rocked in his major league debut and struggled upon his return to Triple-A Nashville, but he’s slowly rounding back into top form and had his best start last week. Ashby pitched six scoreless innings with one hit allowed and tied his season high with 11 strikeouts against Toledo. He got 19 swings and misses in the game, including 10 against his slider, and averaged 96 mph on his fastball. Ashby mostly dominated with those two pitches, but his changeup was effective the few times he threw it. It was Ashby’s first time completing five or more innings in more than two months and represented a big step in the right direction toward remaining a starter. (KG)

14. Randy Vasquez, RHP, Yankees
Team: High-A Hudson Valley (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.77, 11.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 21 SO

The Scoop: Since being promoted from Low-A, Vasquez—who was a rumored inclusion in the initial incarnation of the Joey Gallo deal—has ratcheted up the strikeouts. In his first turn with Hudson Valley, Vasquez whiffed eight hitters. A start later, he rang up nine. And in two turns this past week, he struck out 10 and 11 hitters. He gets his Ks with a mix of a low-90s fastball and an extremely high-spin curveball, which have helped him establish himself as one of the pop-up arms in the Yankees system. (JN)

15. Davis Daniel, RHP, Angels
Team: Double-A Rocket City (Central)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 SO.

The Scoop: Daniel’s draft status was derailed when he blew out his elbow in his season debut with Auburn in 2019. The Angels nabbed him in the seventh round, a pick that looks like a steal at this point. Daniel’s arsenal lacks a clear plus pitch, but he can elevate his fastball with solid carry at the top of the zone and his 12-to-6 curveball plays well with it. A promotion to Double-A Rocket City hasn’t slowed Daniel down at all. He’s reached double digits in strikeouts in each of the past two starts and now has 36 strikeouts and only five walks in 26.1 innings with the Trash Pandas. (JC)

redsox-900x6351

Nick Yorke: Red Sox 2021 Minor League Player Of The Year

The reason the Red Sox valued Yorke so highly in the 2020 draft became apparent in 2021 as he turned in an elite hitting performance.

16. Nick Gonzales, 2B, Pirates
Team: High-A Greensboro (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .273/.407/.773 (6-for-22), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: Gonzales missed a little more than a month in his professional debut season with a broken pinky. This week, he showed what he can do when healthy. In the close of his team’s series with Hickory, Gonzales blasted a pair of mammoth home runs. The first, he hit to the pull side clear out of the stadium in Greensboro. He went the opposite way with his second blast—a game-busting grand slam—and came just feet from clearing the massive video board in right-center field. The effort was the first multi-homer game of Gonzales’ career. (JN)

17. Hedbert Perez, OF, Brewers
Team: Rookie-level ACL Brewers Gold
Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .389/.421/.833 (7-for-18), 5 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Perez had one of the best individual games at any level last week, going 5-for-6 with two doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs on Aug. 5 against the ACL D-backs. The Brewers’ No. 3 prospect is off to a .342/.385/.589 start in 18 games this season and has impressed with his compact, fluid swing and advanced instincts in the batter’s box for his age. (KG)

18. Joe Wiemer, OF, Brewers
Team: Low-A Carolina (East)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .583/.630/1.208 (14-for-24) 6 R, 3 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBIs, 3 BB, 4 SO, 3 SB.

The Scoop: Wiemer almost single-handedly demolished Kannapolis this week. On Thursday, he hit a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th that gave Carolina a 4-3 win. The next day he hit a pair of home runs. His two-run homer in the second gave Carolina a lead and his grand slam in the eighth gave the Mudcats insurance in an 8-3 win. Wiemer played a part in six of the Mudcats’ eight runs. On Saturday, Wiemer once again walked off the Cannon Ballers, this time with a 12th-inning three-run home run that gave Carolina a 6-4 win. Having beaten Kannapolis almost single-handedly three days in a row, the Brewers then promoted Wiemer to High-A Wisconsin, much to the delight of everyone in Kannapolis. (JC)

19. Bradley Blalock, RHP, Red Sox
Team:
Low-A Salem (East)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.90, 2 GS, 10 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 SO.

The Scoop: Tabbed as a sleeper in the 2021 Prospect Handbook, Blalock has quickly developed as a late-round find. He had some adjustments to make in his first real taste of pro ball (he had less than seven innings in 2019), but in his last three starts he lowered his ERA from 5.44 to 4.15 with three straight five-inning outings with only one earned run allowed in total. Blalock’s fastball has ticked up as a pro and his breaking balls have also gotten sharper. (JC)

20. Ismael Munguia, OF, Giants
Team:
High-A Eugene (West)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .583/.583/1.000 (14-for-24), 10 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 0 BB, 1 SO

The Scoop: Munguia impressed as one of Nicaragua’s top players during the Americas Qualifier for the Olympics and has carried that performance through the season at High-A Eugene. He is currently on a seven-game hitting streak—with five multi-hit games in that stretch—and overall is batting .308/.346/.462 with 25 extra-base hits and 14 steals in 65 games. Munguia is an extremely aggressive hitter who rarely walks, but he rarely strikes out either, and has shown an intriguing combination of the ability to hit for average, speed and growing extra-base power. (KG).

Helium

Zak Kent, RHP, Rangers
Team: High-A Hickory (East)
Age: 23

The Scoop: When Kent left Virginia Military Institute, he was a pitcher with feel, a decent breaking ball and a fastball that was a below-average pitch. Kent made it all work at VMI, and he struck out 132 batters in 97 innings as a junior. But that year, he sat at 87-89 mph and topped out at 92. Two years later, Kent still relies on his breaking ball, but it’s 5-6 mph harder than it was in college. So is his fastball, which now regularly touches 94-95 mph. Welcome to player development in the 2020s. Kent has been one of several pleasant developments for the Rangers. His slider is a plus pitch at least now, and his fastball is average if not better. When Kent is on, he uses his fastball up and in to keep righthanded hitters honest, and then he spins his slider off the plate. They tunnel well together, so hitters end up with a lot of bad swings on unhittable breaking balls. Kent struck out 13 Greensboro hitters in seven scoreless innings on Sunday, holding the Grasshoppers to two hits. (JC)

Are you a member?

In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account. 

Login or sign up  


Additionally, you can subscribe to Baseball America's newsletter and receive all of our rankings, analysis, prospect insight & more delivered to your inbox every day. Click here to get started. 

of Free Stories Remaining