Prospect Hot Sheet (9/19/23): Wyatt Langford Makes Quite the Introduction

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Image credit: Wyatt Langford (Photo: Eddie Kelly)

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 how minor league players performed from Sept. 12-17. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, Kyle Glaser, Geoff Pontes and J.J. Cooper.

This simply recognizes how the hottest prospects in the minors did in the past week—it’s not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.

J.J. Cooper will answer your questions in a Prospect Hot Sheet chat that begins at 2 p.m. ET today. You can ask questions in advance of the chat start to get to the top of the queue.

1. Wyatt Langford, OF, Rangers

Team: Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .500/.593/1.045 (11-for-22) 4 R, 4 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 BB, 6 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS
The Scoop: Most of the time, what a player does in his brief post-draft debut doesn’t really matter much in the total evaluation of the player. Some players slowly adjust to pro ball. Some have much quicker adjustments. But every now and then, a player makes a loud enough debut that it’s hard not to give it more weight. Langford has hit 10 home runs in just 39 pro games. He’s just finished an exceptional stint in Double-A and is headed to Triple-A for one more week of games. Langford’s stint in Double-A lasted just 12 games, but he fit a month of production into those two weeks. In 12 games, Langford had eight multi-hit games compared to seven strikeouts. He had seven extra-base hits (including this week’s four home runs), and he also walked 11 times. He’s hit for average, hit for power and walked more than he’s struck out as a pro. It’s an impeccable debut, and reminiscent of Evan Longoria’s gold standard 2006 pro debut. Longoria played more games thanks to the June draft date, but Langford’s season so far has been even better on a rate basis. He has as many doubles (14) as Longoria had in 62 games in 2006, a better strikeout-to-walk rate and a better batting average and on-base and slugging percentages. Longoria did have a better home run rate (one every 15.3 PAs compared to Langford’s one home run every 17.4 PAs. (JC)

2. Clayton Beeter, RHP, Yankees

Team: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 13 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Beeter’s time in Triple-A hasn’t been as smooth as his time in Double-A, but he turned in a gem in his penultimate start of the season. Against Buffalo, the righthander—who represented the Yankees in the Futures Game—struck out a career-high 13 over five innings. He also garnered 21 swings and misses that day, a total that stood as the most in the sport—including the major leagues—for the games of Sept. 14. He is one of 21 pitchers in the minors with 150 or more strikeouts. (JN)

3. Orelvis Martinez , SS, Blue Jays

Team: Triple-A Buffalo (International)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .360/.448/.800 (9-for-25), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 4 BB, 10 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: After a down 2022 where Martinez hit 30 home runs but hit for a .203 batting average, Martinez has done a very good job of improving some of his weaknesses. Entering 2023 the slugging infielder made significant growth from a contact and approach perspective improving his swing decisions and seeing more pitches per at bat. This culminated in a strong season across the top two levels of the minors as a 21 year old. Last week, Martinez collected a hit in all six games in which he played and went on a three game home run streak from Thursday to Saturday. Entering 2024, Martinez has a chance to earn everyday playing time with the Blue Jays, where his power-hitting and improved approach will fit in nicely with the Jays heavily homegrown lineup. (GP)

4. Owen Caissie, OF, Cubs

Team: Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .471/.526/.765 (8-for-17), 3 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: When the Southern League used the experimental, pre-tacked baseball, Caissie struck out 105 times in 310 plate appearances (33.8%). Since the regular, mud-rubbed ball was put back in play on July 14, he has struck out 59 times in 218 plate appearances (27.1%). In other words, there’s more Joy in Cubville, because the Mighty Caissie hasn’t struck out as often. He’s also one of 11 players 21 years old or younger who have hit 20 or more home runs while playing exclusively at the upper levels of the minor leagues. (JN)

5. Richard Fitts, RHP, Yankees

Team: Double-A Somerset (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.35, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Quietly, Fitts has amassed one of the more impressive seasons in the minor leagues. The Auburn alum ranks seventh in the minors in strikeouts with 163, including four games with double-digit Ks. His latest outing featured a career-high 11 strikeouts. Fitts got 20 swings and misses that day, making him one of four pitchers to reach that mark on Sept. 15. He is one of nine minor league pitchers with 160 or more strikeouts. (JN)

6. Carson Williams, SS, Rays

Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .429/.538/.524 (9-for-21), 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO, 3-for-4 SB
The Scoop: While Williams has spent much of his season playing Patrick to Junior Caminero’s SpongeBob, the shortstop is a standout prospect in his own right. Williams has a strong combination of approach and power at the plate with standout defensive ability at shortstop. Last week Williams had hits in all six games he played as well as bookended multi-hit affairs to begin and end the week. Williams has a chance to be the Rays everyday shortstop as some point next year depending on the outcome of Wander Franco’s off the field issues. While Williams will not match Franco’s production, he will provide a defensive upgrade with offensive prowess at the plate. (GP)

7. Colt Keith, 3B, Tigers

Team: Triple-A Toledo (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .316/.480/.842 (6-for-19) 7 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 BB, 6 SO, 1 CS
The Scoop: Keith enters the final week of the Triple-A season within tantalizing reach of a couple of milestones. If he can hit three more home runs this week, he would reach 30 for the season. He comes into this week with a .311 overall batting average for the season, but his .296 average at Triple-A Toledo could also be pushed above .300 with a solid week. However this week turns out, Keith is capping off an excellent bounce-back season. A serious shoulder injury was the only big issues with his 2022 season, but this year he’s shown he can hit for average and power, make solid swing decisions and do it all while topping 120 games played. Next year, he’s pushing for a spot in Detroit. (JC)

​​8. Niko Kavadas, 1B, Red Sox

Team: Triple-A Worcester (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .316/.435/.790 (6-for-19), 4 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 BB, 7 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Kavadas has struggled this season following his breakout 2022 campaign, but the lefthanded masher is at least finishing the year on a high note. Kavadas hit three homers in Worcester’s series against Syracuse last week, including hitting two home runs in the series opener and a critical three-run blast in the series finale to help the Red Sox pull away. Overall Kavadas is batting .250/.327/.614 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 13 games in September, his highest batting average, best OPS and most home runs in a month since May. (KG)

9. Max Wagner, 3B, Orioles

Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .500/.529/.750 (8-for-16), 5 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2022, Wagner has had an uneven first full season but is finishing strong. The former ACC Player of the Year recorded multiple hits in three of four games against Harrisburg last week and has at least one hit in 18 of his last 21 games. He went 2 for 4 in the series opener, ripped a pair of doubles the following night, went 3-for-4 with a homer the next night and finished by going 1 for 3 in his final game. Overall Wagner is batting .281/.333/.461 in his last 21 games. (KG)

10. Max Rajcic, RHP, Cardinals

Team: High-A Peoria (Midwest)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.50, 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Rajcic delivered an excellent regular season and continued it into the playoffs for Peoria. The 2022 sixth-rounder allowed only one hit and one run over six innings, walked three and struck out nine to lead the Chiefs to a 4-3 win over Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League Division Series opener. Rajcic struggled with his control at times – he hit a batter and threw a wild pitch in addition to his three walks – but he limited damage and stayed off of barrels, surrendering just a single in the fourth inning for his only hit allowed. (KG)

11. Zach Dezenzo, 3B, Astros

Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .381/.435/.714 (8-for-21), 3 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0-for-0 SB
The Scoop: One of the top pop-up prospects in 2023, Dezenzo went from unheralded 12th round pick to Top 100 adjacent prospect in just a few months. Blessed with some of the best raw power of any player in the minors, Dezenzo’s 90th percentile exit velocity is well above 107 mph, only one of a dozen players to average 107 mph or more. Last week Dezenzo start the series off against Tulsa with a pair of home runs in Tuesday’s game before putting forth two more multi-hit efforts throughout the week. Dezenzo’s combination of average bat-to-ball skills and approach with plus-plus power make him an intriguing option for the Astros in 2024 should a need arise. (GP)

12. Roman Anthony, OF, Red Sox

Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .438/.591/.500 (7-for-16), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO, 2-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Anthony has spent all season earning a rep as one of the minor leagues’ biggest breakout prospects. The sweet-swinging lefthander showed flashes at Low-A before exploding at High-A and Double-A over the final 64 games of his season. Since the move to Greenville, Anthony has slashed .301/.422/.565 with 18 doubles and 13 home runs. Moreover, he’s done so while producing excellent exit velocities and maintaining stellar rates of contact and swing decisions. (JN)

13. Drew Gilbert, OF, Mets

Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .400/.526/.733 (6-for-15), 3 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBIs, 4 BB, 4 SO, 0-for-0 SB
The Scoop: After flattering with Double-A Corpus Christi as a member of the Astros, Gilbert has taken off since his move to the Mets. Over 35 games with the Rumble Ponies, Gilbert hit .325/.423/.561 with six home runs matching his total with Corpus Christi in 60 games. Gilbert has a strong combination of average tools across the board and potential for above-average hitting at the major league level. Gilbert is a part of the Mets next wave of young talented players. (GP)

No. 14 Will Warren, RHP, Yankees 

Team: Triple-A Scranton Wilkes Barre (International)

Age: 24 

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.84, 10.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 14 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: At the moment the Yankees have as much pitching talent in their systems as they have had in years, Warren is at the center of the group of potential future starters. Mixing a dynamic breaking ball in his mid-80s sweeping slider and a low-to-mid-90s sinker, Warren does a good job of generating both ground balls and whiffs. Over two starts last week, Warren generated 24 swinging strikes and 11 ground balls between the two games, showcasing why Warren has a shot to be a solid mid-rotation for many years to come. Tested at the Triple-A level for a majority of the season, Warren has found his stride in four September starts. (GP)

15. Jonathan Clase, OF, Mariners

Team: Double-A Arkansas (Texas)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .294/.381/.647 (5-for-17) 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 SO, 6 SB

The Scoop: Clase’s great start to his season hit the skids in the second half of the season after his promotion to the Texas League. He hit .222/.331/.396 for Arkansas, but his speed never slumped. With his six steals in six attempts this week, he ended up just a steal short of a 20-80 season. His 79 steals was third most in the minors this year. (JC)

16. Dylan Crews, OF, Nationals

Team: Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern)

Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .385/.556/.462 (5-for-13), 4 R, 1 2B, 2 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB.

The Scoop: Crews has suffered by having to be compared to Wyatt Langford, who is finishing off one of the best post-draft pro debuts in recent years. Coming out of a draft where there were two elite college outfielders in consideration at the top of the draft, Crews has had a fine debut. He’s hit .292/.377/.467 with five home runs in 35 games, but his struggles at Double-A (.208/.318/.278) have put a damper on his season, especially when you compare it to Langford’s absurd recent run. Long-term, Crews remains one of the best prospects in the minors. (JC)

No. 17 Colt Emerson, SS, Mariners

Team: Low-A Modesto (California)

Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .500/.563/.643 (7-for-14), 1 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 1 SO

The Scoop: Emerson has put together a fantastic start to his professional career. He hit his way out of the Arizona Complex League in short order and then continued producing once he reached Low-A Modesto. The California League’s regular season is over, but Modesto is still alive and vying for the championship, giving Emerson more chances to shine. He’s taken advantage. He’s hit .500 thus far in the postseason, including a walk-off single in the first game of the division series against San Jose. (JN)

18. Michael Arroyo, 2B, Mariners

Team: Low-A Modesto (California)

Age: 18

Why He’s Here: .600/.714/1.000 (6-for-10), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 1 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Arroyo has turned it on in the playoffs to put Modesto on the brink of a California League championship. The Colombian teenager went 5 for 5 with a home run, four RBIs and three runs scored in the clinching game of the Cal League semifinals against San Jose to send the Nuts to the finals. He followed by reaching base three times in four plate appearances – including hitting an RBI double – in Game 1 of the championship series against Rancho Cucamonga. Thanks in large part to Arroyo’s efforts, Modesto is now just one win away from a championship. (KG)

19. Robby Snelling, LHP, Padres

Team: Double-A San Antonio (Texas)

Age: 19

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

The Scoop: Snelling put an appropriate capper on his brilliant regular season last week. The 2022 supplemental first-rounder pitched five innings with only five hits and one run allowed against Springfield to pick up the win. He finished the year 11-3, 1.82 and still has an opportunity to further add to his special season – he is scheduled to start the Missions’ Texas League playoff opener against Amarillo on Tuesday. (KG)

20. Brock Porter, RHP, Rangers

Team: Low-A Down East (Carolina)

Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 3.60, 1 GS, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 0 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: The Rangers kept Porter on tight pitch counts throughout the second half of the season, but the righthander finished his season on a very solid stretch to wrap up his first full pro season. Porter worked five innings for the first time since June 2 and only the second time all year. But Porter has shown impressive growth this season. He is getting strikeouts with his fastball. His changeup is his best pitch, but his slider is now improving to the point where it’s not a distant third pitch. He picked up multiple strikeouts with his slider against the Mudcats, something he struggled to do early in the season. Porter walked 14.3% of batters this year, but in his final five starts he cut that to 5.4% (counting his playoff appearance). (JC)


Gian Zapata, OF, D-backs

Zapata signed with Arizona in the most recent international class on the strength of solid present tools and a long, lanky frame that came with a great deal of remaining projectability. In his first pro experience, he’s opened eyes. The 17-year-old hit .254/.364/.522 in the DSL with eight doubles and nine home runs. He has a chance to stick in center field, but if he doesn’t, scouts still see the offensive gifts—including potentially plus power—to profile in a corner. (JN)

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