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Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (8/31/21)

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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 Aug. 30. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Ben Badler, Chris Hilburn-Trenkle 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. Luke Waddell, SS, Braves
Team: High-A Rome (East)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .545/.560/1.364 (12-for-22) 8 R, 6 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 CS

The Scoop: Waddell began the week hitting .190 with one extra-base hit in 13 games as a pro. He ends it hitting .313 with six home runs after the hottest week he’s ever had. Waddell hit 12 home runs in four seasons at Georgia Tech. He hit half of that number this week against one of the best teams in the minors (Bowling Green). It’s hard to expect him to keep this up, but Waddell’s incredible week will ensure he’ll head into the offseason with a first pro season to be proud of. (JC)

2. Quinn Priester, RHP, Pirates
Team: High-A Greensboro (East)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: As he’s begun to lean more on his slider, Priester’s season has turned. That transformation has been readily apparent over the last two months. Since July, Priester has made eight starts and pitched 47 innings. In that time, he’s allowed just 29 hits, walked 15 and whiffed 50. His best start of the year came in his most recent turn, when he whiffed a baker’s dozen while allowing just one hit in the hitter’s oasis of Asheville. The Pirates have a greatly improved system, and Priester still stands among its best prospects. (JN)

3. Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Royals
Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Central)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .524/.565/.952 (11-for-21) 6 R, 3 2B 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO.

The Scoop: There’s something to pay attention to here. Pasquantino has managed to combine power (58 extra-base hits so far this year) with the ability to make tons of contact. Not only does he lead the minors in extra-base hits, he’s the only player with 50 or more extra-base hits who has less than 60 strikeouts (58). Seven of the other 10 with 50-plus extra-base hits have struck out 100 or more times this season. Pasquantino has a chance to have more extra-base hits than strikeouts and also could finish with more walks than whiffs—he currently has 50 free passes. (JC)

4. Luis Garcia, SS, Phillies
Team: Low-A Clearwater (Southeast)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .444/.516/.963 (12-for-27), 7 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 13 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Garcia had a disastrous stint at Low-A in 2019, hitting .186 in 127 games, and wasn’t much better to start the 2021 season. He bottomed out in July with a .197 average before the team missed over a week of play after a coronavirus outbreak. He’s started to heat up this month and had his best week of the season, with three homers and 13 RBIs over a seven-game span. The 20-year-old shortstop added 20 pounds of muscle to his frame, and it’s translated to career-best totals in doubles (15), triples (five) and home runs (11). (CHT)

5. Bryson Stott, SS, Phillies
Team: Double-A Reading (Northeast)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .481/.517/.741 (13-for-27), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: After a promotion to Double-A at the beginning of June, Stott struggled in his first two months with Reading, but he’s been on fire since the calendar turned to August. He’s posted a .420/.455/.680 slash line while showing a huge increase in power after adding muscle at the alternate training site in 2020. His 15 home runs this season match his total from 171 collegiate games. (CHT)

6. Nick Yorke, 2B, Red Sox
Team: High-A Greenville (East)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .435/.458/.826 (10-for-23), 8 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Yorke was one of the bigger surprise picks in the 2020 draft. So far, the pick is paying off quite nicely. The 19-year-old has bashed his way to High-A in his first test as a pro, and he’s found his new level much to his liking. Among 19-year-olds with 200 or more plate appearances, Yorke ranks in the top three in batting average (.331) and on-base percentage (.416), and places No. 7 in slugging percentage (.524). (JN)

7. Keibert Ruiz, C, Nationals
Team: Triple-A Rochester (East)
Age: 23

Why He's Here: .381/.435/.952 (8-for-21), 6 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 0 SO

The Scoop: After arriving at the trade deadline in the deal for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, Ruiz spent 20 games in Tripe-A Rochester before the Nationals promoted him to the varsity roster. After hitting .311/.381/.631 in 52 games with the Dodgers for Triple-A Oklahoma City, Ruiz batted .308/.365/.577 with more extra-base hits (11) and walks (seven) than strikeouts (six) in his 20 games with Rochester. Now Washington's No. 1 prospect and the No. 13 prospect on the Top 100 has a chance to show why he's the Nationals' catcher of the future. (BB)

8. Rece Hinds, 3B, Reds
Team: Low-A Daytona (Southeast)
Age: 20

Why He's Here: .364/.391/.909 (8-for-22), 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: A knee injury has limited Hinds' playing time to just 27 games in Low-A, but the results have been about what Hinds' biggest believers would have expected: a lot of strikeouts, but huge power and enough walks to help offset some of those whiffs. A second-round pick in 2019, Hinds has gigantic raw power that has led to seven home runs and a .295 isolated power mark, with a 25% strikeout rate that's still at the manageable level. (BB)

9. Taj Bradley, RHP, Rays
Team: High-A Bowling Green (East)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.90, 2 GS, 10 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Few minor league pitchers have taken a bigger leap forward this season than Bradley, who jumped from No. 21 on the Rays preseason Top 30 Prospects list to No. 6 in the midseason edition. The 20-year-old righthander continues to improve his velocity, regularly sitting in the mid 90s while showing more consistency throwing strikes and lowering his walks per nine innings to a career-best 2.5. Bradley has pitched well since being promoted to High-A on Aug. 3, throwing five innings in each start. In the last week he struck out 10 and walked one while getting 23 swinging strikes in two starts against Rome. (CHT)

10. Brenton Doyle, OF, Rockies
Team: High-A Spokane (West)
Age: 23

Why He's Here: .375/.375/.875 (9-for-24), 5 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 0 BB, 8 SO, 0-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Doyle runs well and has above-average power, with pop that can produce weeks like this past one with four home runs. The next step up to Double-A will be a big test for Doyle, where his plate discipline and swing-and-miss tendencies will get tested against more advanced pitchers, so a more discerning approach will be critical when he moves up to the next challenge. (BB)

11. Oscar Gonzalez, OF, Indians
Team: Triple-A Columbus (East)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .346/.414/.769 (9-for-26) 2 2B, 3 HR, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 CS.

The Scoop: Gonzalez is having one of the sneaky good seasons of 2021. His stats have only slightly dipped since he was promoted from Double-A Akron to Triple-A Columbus, and overall he is hitting .320/.356/.567 with 23 home runs. It’s fair to worry that his tendency to swing at most anything will come back to bite him in the majors, but Gonzalez posts outstanding exit velocities. The power is real, and he’s doing a better job of getting to it regularly. (JC)

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

Why He’s Here: .296/.345/.815 (8-for-27), 9 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Gonzales impressed on the defensive side of the ball with improved range at second base and hit .294/.368/.549 through his first two weeks, but a broken right pinky finger cost him over a month of play. He struggled with swing and miss in his return, with 36 strikeouts in 102 at-bats in July, but he’s shown an uptick in power and cut down on the swing and miss (25 in 102 at-bats) this month. On Sunday he exploded for three homers and eight RBIs, both season highs, giving him eight homers and 21 RBIs this month. (CHT)

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

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.80, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Strider has been excellent all season long, in his first year as a pro. Though he still needs to sharpen his changeup, the Clemson product has used his blazing fastball and average curveball to rack up 130 strikeouts in 80 innings across three levels. He’s struck out 10 or more hitters in five of his 18 starts this season, and his 14.46 strikeouts per nine innings ranks at the top of pitchers with more than 80 innings this year. (JN)

14. Matt Brash, RHP, Mariners
Team: Double-A Arkansas (Central)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.80, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: The Mariners’ system is bursting with pitching prospects, and Brash is quickly placing his name among the group’s upper tier. He’s used his breaking ball—which is among the best in the sport—to whiff 120 over 80 innings. Acquired from the Padres, Brash is one of just 27 pitchers in the minors with 120 or more strikeouts, Brash has the second-most strikeouts in the Seattle system, trailing only teammate Brandon Williamson. There are questions about whether he can remain a starter in the long term, but what he’s done this year shows he has the stuff to find his way to the big leagues. (JN)

15. Liover Peguero, SS, Pirates
Team: High-A Greensboro (East)
Age: 20

Why He's Here: .333/.394/.667 (10-for-30), 7 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Peguero is hitting .279/.326/.500 in 20 games in August, bringing his line up to .266/.324/.455 for the season. The 25% strikeout rate is still on the higher side, as Peguero has an aggressive approach he will have to reign in more as he moves up the ladder, but he's an athletic player who fits in the middle of the field who drives the ball with impact when he does connect. (BB)

pirates-900x6351

2021 Pittsburgh Pirates Midseason Top 30 Prospects Update

Updating our Pittsburgh Pirates rankings to reflect 2021 draft picks, risers, fallers and more.

16. Luis Medina, RHP, Yankees
Team: Double-A Somerset (Northeast)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 3.38, 5.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: Medina has the best pure stuff in the Yankees’ system but some of the least consistent results. He was dominant in his most recent start, but in two of his previous three starts had been touched for five earned runs apiece in five innings or fewer. His 108 strikeouts this season place him fourth among the organization’s prospects, sans the since-traded Glenn Otto. Medina struck out 12 in his last outing, which stands as a new career high. It was also his third game with double-digit strikeouts this year, doubling his career total. (JN)

17. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Royals
Team: Omaha (East)
Age: 21

Why He's Here: .296/.310/.741 (9-for-27), 6 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 8 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The Royals continue to challenge Witt aggressively, jumping their 2019 first-round pick to Double-A to start the year and promoting him to Triple-A Omaha at the end of July as a 21-year-old. Nothing seems to slow down the game's No. 3 prospect, with Witt's slash line now up to .289/.343/.612 with 12 homers through 36 games in Triple-A. (BB)

18. Josh Breaux, C, Yankees
Team: Double-A Somerset (Northeast)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .308/.308/.769 (8-for-26), 5 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 3 RBIs, 0 BB, 7 SO.

The Scoop: There were a number of scouts who saw Breaux as an amateur who expected his catching days would be behind him by now. Breaux caught but also sporadically pitched out of the bullpen in junior college ball, and his massive arm was even more notable than his big power. But here he is catching in Double-A four seasons after he was drafted. Breaux is a bit of an all-or-nothing hitter—he has 22 home runs this year but a .301 on-base percentage thanks to only 23 walks. (JC)

19. Hector Yan, LHP, Angels
Team: High-A Tri-City (West)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 G, 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: Yan posted a career-best 4.3 walks per nine innings at Low-A Burlington in 2019, but he’s taken a step back this year in the strike-throwing department, with 43 through his first 68.1 innings, leading to a move to the bullpen. He’s pitched at least 3.1 innings in each of his three relief appearances while utilizing his four-pitch mix. He dominated in his latest appearance, striking out 11 and walking four over 4.2 innings in relief to earn his third win of the season. Yan induced 19 swings and misses. (CHT)

20. Joan Adon, RHP, Nationals
Team: Double-A Harrisburg (Northeast)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 3.00, 1 GS, 6 IP, 5 H 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO.

The Scoop: Wilmington is generally thought of as a pitching paradise, but don’t tell that to Adon. He struggled to go 6-4, 4.97 there in 17 starts. Adon has been pitching much better this month. After throwing a complete-game shutout in his final start for Wilmington last week, Adon greeted Double-A by keeping Hartford off balance this week. Adon works up and down in the zone. He’s doing a better job of getting strikes on mid-90s fastballs up in the zone, and his breaking ball is nasty when he starts it at the middle of the zone and watches it dive below hitters’ bats. He began the game spiking too many of his sliders, but he locked in the feel for the pitch by the third inning. He started mixing in a quality changeup to lefties the second time through the order as well. (JC)

HELIUM WATCH

Gabriel Gonzalez, OF, Mariners: Gonzalez was one of Seattle's big international signings from its 2021-22 class when the signing period opened this year on Jan. 15. So far, the results have been outstanding, with the Venezuelan outfielder batting .300/.391/.555 through 133 plate appearances with four home runs, 16 walks and 24 strikeouts as a 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League. It's a bigger, physically mature body type for his age, but Gonzalez has handled himself capably in center field so far, with the offensive upside to carry him in a corner as well. (BB)

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