This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from June 16-22. Number in parentheses indicates players’ ages.
Remember, 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. Scott Blewett, RHP, Royals (21)
High Class A Wilmington (Carolina)
After repeating low Class A last year, Blewett has started to find his groove in the Carolina League. He has been particularly dominant over his last two starts, striking out a minor league-best 22 hitters in that span. There is still work to be done, however, considering the eight home runs he’s allowed to lefthanders in 72 innings.
2. Austin Hays, OF, Orioles (21)
Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
The Orioles challenged Hays, their third-rounder last year out of Jacksonville, and he responded. Hays tore up the Carolina League, hitting .328/.364/.592 before the all-star break and earning a promotion to Double-A. His on-base percentage, slugging percentage and home runs were all second in the league before he moved up a level.
3. Nick Solak, 2B, Yankees (22)
High Class A Tampa (Florida State)
When the Yankees chose Solak in the second round two drafts ago, they did so because of his polished bat. After being skipped over low Class A, Solak started slowly in the Florida State League but caught fire in June. The Louisville product is hitting .429/.492/.625 with a pair of home runs during the month, and has raised his batting average 41 points in the process.
4. Shane Bieber, RHP, Indians (22)
High Class A Lynchburg (Carolina)
Bieber, a polished righthander out of UC Santa Barbara, had himself quite a week in what has been an up-and-down season. The sinker-slider artist delivered dominant back-to-back starts to put a string of subpar outings behind him. The efforts brought his June totals to 3-1, 3.24, with 49 strikeouts against just four walks for the Hillcats.
5. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros (19)
Low Class A Quad Cities (Midwest)
Houston’s first-round pick last year threw just 18.2 innings in his first pro season, but he’s done swimmingly in the Midwest League. He performed especially well this week, with 15 punchouts over 7.2 innings. High strikeout totals have been common all year for Whitley, who has 61 whiffs in 41 innings.
6. Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers (21)
Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)
While Cody Bellinger is raking in the majors, his prospect partner at every level of the Dodgers system is performing quite nicely as one of the youngest players in the PCL. Verdugo was one of three minor leaguers to notch 13 hits this week, and he is riding a 13-game hitting streak during which he has posted nine multi-hit games.
7. Ryan McMahon, 3B, Rockies (22)
Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast)
After scalding the ball in a return to Double-A, McMahon has followed suit at Triple-A. He moved from Dunkin’ Donuts Park, which has skewed toward pitchers in its first year, to the hitters haven of the PCL and has taken advantage. He was one of three minor leaguers with 13 hits this week, and has put up a 1.165 OPS with five home runs in his first 19 games in Triple-A.
8. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Phillies (23)
Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)
One of Reading’s twin terrors last year along with Dylan Cozens, Hoskins has continued to rake this season in Triple-A. His overall numbers have dipped a little each month, but he hit three more home runs this week to vault past Cozens and Columbus’ Richie Shaffer into the International League home run lead.
9. Chance Adams, RHP, Yankees (22)
Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre (Eastern)
With Masahiro Tanaka giving up homers at a prolific rate, Adams is knocking on the door to the Bronx. The righthander has been excellent since moving to Triple-A, and on Thursday delivered six scoreless innings with one hit allowed. The former Dallas Baptist reliever already has two plus pitches in his arsenal with his fastball and slider and is working toward the average changeup he will need as a rotation piece.
10. Jason Martin, OF, Astros (21)
Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Martin was overshadowed at high Class A Buies Creek by Kyle Tucker, but he has kept shining after an early-season promotion to the Double-A. Martin notched 25 hits in his first 71 at-bats, including three home runs. After a subpar Arizona Fall League in 2016, the experience in the prospect-heavy league seems to be paying off a year later.
11. Dustin Fowler, OF, Yankees (22)
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
A loud year keeps getting louder for Fowler, who is bullying his way toward the top of the Yankees heap of high-level prospects. He has blended a mix of speed, defense, hitting and power and put together a second straight excellent season at the upper levels. He’d had a bit of a down June, but that changed this week.
12. Dakota Hudson, RHP, Cardinals (22)
Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Hudson, the Cardinals’ first-round pick a year ago out of Mississippi State, has moved quickly through the system and reached Double-A in his first full season as a pro. He allowed one earned run over two starts this week and struck out 11 to move to 3-1, 1.93 in June.
13. Cole Ragans, LHP, Rangers (19)
Short-Season Spokane (Northwest)
Ragans admittedly models himself after current Rangers lefty Cole Hamels, and in his second start of the year Ragans twirled a gem that would make Hamels proud. Texas’ first-rounder last year whiffed nine over five one-hit innings, which equaled his entire strikeout total last year in an abbreviated turn in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
14. Magneuris Sierra, OF, Cardinals (21)
Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Sierra earned a brief, injury-necessitated cameo in the majors this year and has come back to the minor leagues on fire. Since his return, Sierra is hitting .356/.382/.534, including an 11-for-30 effort with five doubles this week. If he keeps doing that, he may find himself back in the big leagues quickly.
15. JoJo Romero, LHP, Phillies (20)
Low Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)
Romero has been solid all year, but he delivered his best start as a pro this week. He set a career-high with 10 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings, and lowered his ERA to a sparkling 1.27 this month. Romero has allowed more than two earned runs only twice in 12 starts this year.
16. Zack Granite, OF, Twins (24)
Triple-A Rochester (International)
After a strong season at Double-A in 2016, Granite has been rock solid in Triple-A this year. His batting average (.352) and on-base percentage (.406) are both tops in the International League, and his slugging percentage (.494) is eighth. He shows no signs of slowing down with his latest big week.
17. Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees (22)
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
Andujar got his long-awaited promotion to Triple-A this week on both merit and opportunity. He crushed the ball in May and June at Double-A Trenton, and when Gleyber Torres went down with Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, that opened a spot for Andujar. He has at least one hit in 28 of his last 30 games.
18. Andrew Stevenson, OF, Nationals (23)
Triple-A Syracuse (International)
After tearing up Double-A, Stevenson made a quick move to the International League. He struggled in Triple-A initially but has turned it on lately. Stevenson’s 13 hits this week were tied for for the most in the minors and boosted his average in June to .319. It is a stark turnaround from May, when he hit just .178/.202/.188 in his first month at Triple-A.
19. C.J. Hinojosa, SS, Giants (22)
Double-A Richmond (Eastern)
Hinojosa has moved around the diamond this year in an effort to increase his versatility and prepare him for a possible utility role with San Francisco, where Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik have the middle infield spots locked down. A down May has suppressed Hinojosa’s overall numbers, but his .297/.333/.375 slash line in June has given him a push in the right direction.
20. Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Astros (24)
Triple-A Fresno (Pacific Coast)
It wasn’t a particularly powerful week for Hernandez, who notched only one extra-base hit, but he got on base 14 times and struck out just three times in 25 at-bats for the Grizzlies. Hernandez has quietly gone about his business this year in Triple-A, and his .372 on-base percentage continues his trend of high marks in that category throughout his career.
Richard Lovelady, lhp, Royals (21)
Team: High Class A Wilmington
A 10th-round pick out of Kennesaw State last year, Lovelady has dominated the Carolina League out of the bullpen. Dating back to stretching back to May 19, Lovelady has allowed two hits and no runs with no walks and 21 strikeouts in 13 innings. That isn’t much different than what he’s done all year, as he’s 3-1, 1.46 with a 38-to-2 strikeout to walk mark. Lovelady is doing it with legitimate stuff, as he locates his 92-95 mph fastball from a sidearm slot. He needs to sharpen his slider a bit to reach his full potential, but coming from the slot he’s throwing from, he’s pretty hard to hit right now with a fastball-heavy diet.
— JJ Cooper