Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (5/28/18)

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from May 21-27. Contributing this week were JJ Cooper, Matt Eddy,  Josh Norris and Kyle Glaser.

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. Daz Cameron, OF, Tigers
Team: high Class A Lakeland (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .455/.520/.955 (10-for-22), 6 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 on SBs.

The Scoop: For the 2015 draft, the prep outfielders were supposed to be one of the biggest strengths of the class. Four seasons later, the class as a whole has not lived up to expectations. Nine different high school outfielders received signing bonuses of $1 million or more that year. Of those, only Kyle Tucker and Jahmai Jones are currently in the Top 100. Cameron’s not there, but he’s in Top 100 consideration, which is something the other six millionaires can’t say. Cameron has bounced back after a slow start to his career and is finishing off one of the best months he’s had at a pro. He’s hitting .344/.440/.578 this month. (JJ)

2. Gavin Lux, SS, Dodgers
Team: high Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .357/.379/.821 (10-for-28), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: As a cold-weather Wisconsin prep, Lux was always going to take longer to develop than his fellow 2016 first-rounders. After an uninspiring first two seasons, Lux is clicking in a big way in year three. Lux put on good weight in the offseason and is driving the ball more than ever, which culminated this weekend with him going 6-for-14 with two homers at pitcher-haven Inland Empire. Lux still has significant throwing issues that preclude him from profiling as a major league shortstop, but with his added strength and promising offensive development, he’s starting to show he may have enough bat to stand at second base. (KG)

3. Shane Bieber, RHP, Indians
Team: Triple-A Columbus (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 SO, 0 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: About the only thing that detracted from Bieber’s week—and perhaps his season—was the rainstorm that washed out the last two innings of his latest start and kept him from going for a nine-inning no-hitter. He’d thrown 80 pitches (61 strikes) before the weather intervened, so he had plenty of leash remaining. An error was the only thing that kept Bieber from contending for a perfect game, because of course he made it the start without issuing a walk. He hasn’t done that in 32.2 innings, a streak that dates back to the second inning of his start on May 3. (JN)

4. Buddy Reed, OF, Padres
Team: high Class A Lake Elsinire (California)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .471/.524/1.176 (8-for-17), 7 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 4-for-4 on SBs.

The Scoop: Reed was one of the better players in the Southeastern Conference in 2016, but that success had never translated to pro ball. Scouts had expressed concern that Reed’s approach and swing would not adjust well to pro ball. Reed hit .234/.290/.396 last year in low Class A. He still strikes out too much, and some of his improved performance likely has some luck involved as he’s hitting .437 on balls in play, but he’s also driving the ball more. And Reed’s defense and speed (he’s 22-for-23 on stolen bases this year) ensure he doesn’t have to keep hitting .345 to be a useful player. (JJ)

5. Anderson Tejeda, SS, Rangers
Team: high Class A Down East (Carolina)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .414/.452/.793 (12-for-29), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0-for-2 SB

The Scoop: At 19.9 years old, Tejeda entered the year as the fifth-youngest player in the Carolina League. Nonetheless, the shortstop finds himself among the circuit’s offensive leaders. His eight homers—three of which came during this Hot Sheet period—are second in the league and his .492 slugging percentage ranks fifth. Couple those skills with range and a well above-average throwing arm and it’s easy to see why Tejeda is held in high regard. (JN)

6. Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals
Team: Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 13 SO, 1 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Any fears Tommy John surgery would sap Reyes’ stuff have been put to bed. The Cardinals No. 1 prospect used his downtime to replace fat with muscle and improve his all-around fitness, and now he’s stronger than ever. Reyes retired the final 15 batters he faced against Oklahoma City in his final rehab start this week, including a Pacific Coast League-record nine consecutive strikeouts. His totals in four rehab starts: 23 innings pitched, seven hits, zero runs, seven walks and 44 strikeouts. Reyes is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list today, and by all appearances is ready to insert himself into the Cardinals rotation and the National League Rookie of the Year race. (KG)

7. Vladimir Guerrero, 3B, Blue Jays
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .500/.542/.818 (11-for-22), 6 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO.

The Scoop: OK, he’s not on top of the Hot Sheet this week. Guerrero decided he was willing to share. May’s almost over and when it does end, Guerrero will end one of the most amazing months we’ve seen in a very long time. Guerrero is hitting .478/.514/.821 this month with nine doubles, eight home runs and nine strikeouts. He’s gone hitless twice this month. He’s had two or more hits 16 times this month. The youngest player in the Eastern League, but he’s treating the league’s pitchers with a disdain that has rarely been seen. If Guerrero went 0-for-100 in his next 100 at-bats, he’s still be hitting .273 at the end of June. (JJ)

8. Jake Gatewood, 1B, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .375/.444/.917 (9-for-24), 5 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: With a three-homer, nine-RBI week, Gatewood is beginning to creep up on the Southern League leaders in those categories. He has nine and 32 for the season. Righthanded power is Gatewood’s calling card, and while the high school shortstop is now primarily a first baseman, he has begun to see work on the outfield corners this season. (ME)

9. Keegan Akin, LHP, Orioles
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.08, 13 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 17 SO, 4 BB, 1 HR

The Scoop: After a season derailed by injury and ineffectiveness, Akin appears to be back on track with Double-A. His 63 strikeouts lead the Eastern League, ahead of two pitchers who have already been promoted to Triple-A, and his 10-punchout performance against Binghamton this week is his second outing with double-digit Ks this year. That equals his total for his first two seasons. His fastball sits in the low-90s and is paired with a slider that flashes above-average and a fringy changeup. (JN)

10. Cristian Javier, RHP, Astros
Team: low Class A Quad Cities (Midwest)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 10 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 18 SO

The Scoop: Javier has been missing bats all season in the Midwest League, but until last week his control posed major challenges. After issuing 18 walks in his first 29 innings, he walked only one against 18 strikeouts in 10 innings last week. Javier signed for just $10,000 and doesn’t have huge stuff, but he clearly is getting results with his four average pitches, headlined by a low-90s fastball and slow curveball. (ME)

11. Keegan Thompson, RHP, Cubs
Team: high Class A Myrtle Beach (Carolina)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: A 2017 third-rounder from Auburn, Thompson has the pitchability to move quickly, and that’s exactly what he’s done this year by jumping to the Carolina League. He ranks among the league leaders in walk rate (1.7 per nine innings) and WHIP (1.08). Thompson’s stuff plays up because of his feel, and he projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter with average velocity, a nice changeup and two distinct breaking pitches. (ME)

12. J.J. Matijevic, OF, Astros
Team: high Class A Buies Creek (Carolina)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .385/.393/.808 (10-for-26), 4 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: A college performer at Arizona, Matijevic lasted until the supplemental second round in 2017 because he posed a tough positional profile in pro ball. The lefthanded hitter played mostly first base and DH in the Pacific-12 Conference, but the Astros have committed to him in left field. Matijevic quickly proved his bat was too advanced for the Midwest League, where he compiled a 1.155 OPS in 13 games this year, and now he is seeing results in the Carolina League. (ME) 

13. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres
Team: Double-A San Antionio (Texas)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .367/.394/.700 (11-for-30), 6 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Tatis’ slow April seems like a distant memory now. The Padres No. 1 prospect has hit .339/.416/.642 with 11 doubles, two triples and six home runs in 26 games this month, and seems to be getting hotter with each passing day. He’s riding a six-game hit streak and has gone from a .564 OPS at the end of April to an .829 OPS by Memorial Day. (KG)

14. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP, Phillies
Team: Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 1.38, 13 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 12 SO, 6 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: The Phillies own the fourth-best ERA in the National League, so they’re not exactly hurting for pitching help. But whenever the need arises, De Los Santos has put himself in position for a call-up. The trade return from the Padres for Freddy Galvis, De Los Santos has a 1.40 ERA in nine starts at Lehigh Valley, including two starts of six or more innings and one run allowed this week. With a 93-96 mph fastball that touches 98, an improving short slider in the low-80s and a solid-average changeup he’s learning to throw at the right times, De Los Santos is demonstrating both the stuff and results he needs to get the call to Philadelphia. (KG) 

15. Drew Waters, OF, Braves
Team: low Class A Rome (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .357/.400/.750 (10-for-28), 4 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: When it comes to position players, power and speed make up one of the most coveted combination. Waters has exhibited those traits early in this first full professional season. His six home runs, including two during this Hot Sheet period, are tied for second in the organization. Scouts saw above-average speed and the potential for plus power coming out of the draft, and those skills are beginning to manifest themselves. (JN)

16. Corbin Martin, RHP, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 1GS, 7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO.

The Scoop: One of the fastest movers of the 2017 draft class, when Martin was promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi his first start was a flop–.1 innings, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 ER. But since then, he’s been much of the same dominating pitcher he was in Buies Creek. Even with that awful outing, Martin has a 3.38 ERA for the Hooks and a 20-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 21 innings. (JJ)

17. Sandro Fabian, OF, Giants
Team: high Class A San Jose (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: ..368/.400/.947 (7-for-19), 5 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Fabian is pretty straightforward. He’s a free swinger who, when he swings at the right pitches, makes impact contact. When he swings at bad pitches, the strikeouts pile up. Fabian showed this week how good he can be when his pitch selection is right, hitting three home runs in four games playing at Modesto and Lake Elsinore, two parks where home runs do not come easy. Fabian is batting just .244/.288/.423 on the year even with his big week, but he’s showing signs he may be getting his pitch selection right track. (KG)

18. Austin Gomber, LHP, Cardinals
Team: Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.64, 1 GS, 14 H, 11 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 15 SO.

The Scoop: Gomber has taken a significant step forward this year, not because his stuff has gotten significantly better but because he’s locating it better. Improved command has made his ability to mix pitches and drop in a quality curveball more and more effective. Gomber doesn’t have a lot of margin for error with his average fastball, but he’s spotting it well enough this year to avoid the home runs that have given him problems in the past. (JJ)

19. Brent Rooker, 1B, Twins
Team: Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .391/.481/.870 (9-for-23), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-0 SB
The Scoop: Rooker possessed some of the biggest power in the 2017 draft class, and it’s showed up since his earliest taste of pro ball. He’s been especially potent in May, when he’s slugged .511 with six of his seven home runs. He’s struck out at roughly the same clip in May as he did in April, but he’s quadrupled his walk total with four days left in the month. (JN)

20. Evan White, 1B, Mariners
Team: High Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .409/.480/.773 (9-for-22), 5 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Most of the discussion around White involves his elite defense at first base, but you’ve got to hit to be a big leaguer, and White is hitting. The Mariners 2017-first rounder is on a 10-game hit streak, including four multi-hit efforts. A groin strain delayed White’s season debut and it took him some time to round into form, but over the past month White is hitting .322/.389/.496 and showing he may not be long for Modesto. (KG)

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