Prospect Hot Sheet
This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from June 23-29. 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. Ryan McMahon, 1B/2B, Rockies (22) Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast)
McMahon struggled for the first time in his career last season at Double-A but has bounced back in a huge way in 2017. The Rockies promoted him June 1 after he wrecked Eastern League pitchers in his second try at Hartford and now has 15 multi-hit efforts in 26 games at Albuquerque. That included a both a five-hit game and a four-hit game this week, as well as five straight games with an RBI. Overall he has 31 hits in his last 64 at-bats.
2. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Twins (22) Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
Gonsalves is following up his breakthrough year with arguably an even better one. He cut his walk rate per nine innings from 4.5 last year at Double-A to 1.9 this season, all while continuing to miss bats. He delivered back-to-back seven-inning, one-run starts this week, and is starting to round into prime form after beginning the year on the disabled list with shoulder soreness.
3. Jacob Nix, RHP, Padres (21) High Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Nix missed the first six weeks of the season with a groin strain that has lingered since last year. After decent but unspectacular results in his first five starts, he fired a two-hit shutout with no walks and 11 strikeouts against prospect-laden Rancho Cucamonga. He retired his first 17 batters, didn’t allow a runner past second base and threw 75 of 108 pitches for strikes.
4. Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians (21) Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Bradley has reduced his strikeout rate from 29.7 percent last year to 23.1 percent this year despite moving up a level, and he has done it while keeping his power production intact. He had as many home runs (three) as strikeouts this week, and he remains on pace for his third straight season with at least 27 home runs.
5. Dane Dunning, RHP, White Sox (22) High Class A Winston-Salem (Carolina)
The 2016 first-round pick and final piece of the Adam Eaton deal is continuing a sterling debut season in the White Sox organization. Dunning delivered a quality start in his first outing of the week and followed with seven scoreless innings and eight strikeouts in his second start. The efforts improved his season mark to 5-4, 1.98 with a 1.00 WHIP and 92 strikeouts in 77.1 innings.
6. Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (23) Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Stewart is going to have to hit a lot to be an everyday big leaguer, and that is exactly what he is doing. He recorded multiple hits in six of seven games during the week, including a multi-homer night that gives him 18 longballs in 77 games this year.
7. Aramis Garcia, C, Giants (24) High Class A San Jose (California)
Garcia never got a chance to perform at his best last year after breaking his orbital bone sliding into second base. Given another shot at San Jose, he ranks second in the California League with a .530 slugging percentage, a mark greatly improved by his stretch of four home runs in three days this week.
8. Triston McKenzie, RHP, Indians (19) High Class A Lynchburg (Carolina)
McKenzie continues to establish himself as one of the elite pitching prospects in the game. The 6-foot-5 righthander pushed his Carolina League-leading strikeout total to 104 with his two latest strong starts, and opponents are hitting a mere .193 off him this season.
9. Austin Hays, OF, Orioles (21) Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
All Hays did his first full week in Double-A was extend his hitting streak to 16 games, homer twice and finish it off with a 4-for-5, 4-RBI effort against Altoona. The 2016 third-rounder already looks like one of the steals of that draft, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
10. Will Smith, C, Dodgers (22) High Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California)
Smith is primarily known as an elite defensive catcher who can handle big velocity and shut down a running game with his arm. The 2016 first-rouner began showing he can win games at the plate, too, this week. He hit three home runs in four days to help Rancho Cucamonga go 4-1 in the five games he played
11. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Phillies (18) High Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)
Sanchez missed a month with neck soreness but has been every bit as sharp as before since returning to Lakewood. The young Dominican recorded back-to-back seven-strikeout performances during the week, and he now has 46 strikeouts against just four walks in 45.1 innings this season.
12. Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays (19) Low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
Another week, another Hot Sheet appearance for Bichette. This time he strung together five consecutive multi-hit games, finished the week by homering in back-to-back games and brought his average on the season up over .400 before falling a tick below it back to .399 at week’s end.
13. Zack Granite, OF, Twins (24) Triple-A Rochester (International)
Granite ran his hit streak to 11 games with another excellent week, and overall he has a hit in 28 of 29 games in June. The former Seton Hall standout is hitting .470/.527/.667 during the month and making a strong case for a callup to the majors.
14. Corbin Burnes, RHP, Brewers (22) Double-A Biloxi (Southern)
The 2016 fourth-rounder is on the fast track. He ascended to Double-A less than a year after being drafted and now is making a push for another jump to Triple-A. With his latest strong week, Burnes is 2-1, 1.53 in five starts at Biloxi with 32 strikeouts and five walks in 29.1 innings.
15. Josh Lowe, OF, Rays (19) Low Class A Bowling Green (Midwest)
It has not been an easy first full season for last year’s No. 13 overall pick, but Lowe began showing signs of a turnaround this week. He homered three times in four days and delivered 12 RBIs during the week, which is even more impressive considering he had two home runs and 17 RBIs all season up to that point.
16. Austin Gomber, LHP, Cardinals (23) Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Gomber got back on track this week after an up-and-down season thus far. The Florida Atlantic product fired eight innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts in his first start, and he followed with seven scoreless innings and nine strikeouts in his next outing. The starts were good enough to lower his ERA on the season by nearly a full run, from 5.09 to 4.10.
17. Scott Kingery, 2B, Phillies (23) Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)
It was a very good week for Kingery. Not only did he get promoted to Triple-A, but he secured a 20-20 season by hitting three home runs and stealing a base in his first four days at Lehigh Valley. To cap it all off, the 2015 second-rounder was named to the Futures Game.
18. Chris Shaw, OF, Giants Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)
A lot of focus has been on Shaw's future position, but the truth is he will get to the big leagues whether he plays left field or first base—as long as he continues to hit. He went off at the end of the week, going 7-for-10 with three home runs and seven RBIs in the final two games. He finished his first 30 games at Triple-A with an .843 OPS.
19. Marco Gonzales, LHP, Cardinals (25) Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Gonzales’ journey back to the majors received a boost this week. The lefthander, who missed all of 2016 recovering from Tommy John surgery, delivered back-to-back seven inning starts to lower his ERA to 2.56. Gonzales is proving both durable and effective, which is impressive in his first year back from surgery.
20. Keston Hiura, DH, Brewers (20) Rookie-Level AZL Brewers (Arizona)
The best hitter in the 2017 draft class played like it in his first full week of pro baseball. Hiura, a UC Irvine product, went 12-for-21 with two doubles, two triples, a home run, seven runs scored and 10 RBIs over five games, exactly the type of impact production that made him the No. 9 overall pick in the draft.
Daniel Johnson, OF, Nationals (21) Low Class A Hagerstown
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The Nationals drafted Johnson in the fifth round from New Mexico State last year after he led the Western Athletic Conference in batting (.382), slugging (.630), home runs (12), total bases (155) and stolen bases (29). He has quietly continued that level of all-around excellence in his first full season, hitting .313/.378/.576 with 16 homers, 42 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 70 games at Hagerstown. He matches that production with 80-grade arm strength and the athleticism to remain in center field. Johnson’s main question entering the year was how refined his baseball skills were, and he is showing they are just fine.