Prospect Hot Sheet (April 14)

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players have done from the start of the season. Remember, this feature 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.

Contributing: Ben Badler, Kyle Glaser, Josh Norris and Vince Lara-Cinisomo.

1. Brent Honeywell, rhp, Rays (22)

Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 20 SO/13 IP

The Rays are flush with pitching at the upper levels of the minor leagues, and Honeywell might have the brightest future of the bunch. His 20 strikeouts in 13 innings this season are the second-most in the minors. (JN)

2. Ian Happ, 2b, Cubs (22)

Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast)

Why He’s Here: 5 HRs

After homering five times in 29 big league spring training games, Happ, another of the Cubs’ pack of talented hitters, has equaled that mark in his first eight minor league games. That total included longballs in three straight games. (JN)

3. Albert Abreu, rhp, Yankees (21)

Low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 17 SO

Part of the package the Yankees acquired from the Astros in exchange for Brian McCann, Abreu whiffed a career-best 11 hitters in his second start of the season and touched 100 mph with his fastball. (JN)

4. Dane Dunning, rhp, White Sox (22)

Low Class A Kannapolis (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 21 Ks

While he didn’t make the headlines that Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez did, Dunning has performed the best of the three pitchers the White Sox acquired for outfielder Adam Eaton. He punched out 13 in his second start and has walked nobody all year. (JN)

5. Jeimer Candelario, 3b, Cubs (23)

Iowa (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: 10 XBHs

Where or whether he’ll play in Chicago is anyone’s guess, so all he can do is produce. Ten extra-base hits (six doubles, two triples and two homers) is an excellent way to begin the season. (JN)

6. Cody Bellinger, 1b, Dodgers (21)

Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: 1.147 OPS, 11-for-28

The Dodgers’ top prospect raked to end 2016 at Oklahoma City and went right back to it to start 2017. He nearly pushed his way to L.A. with a strong spring, and he’ll be there sooner than later thanks to his versatility and athleticism. (VLC)

7. Cedric Mullins, of, Orioles (22)

Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: 1.440 OPS, 3 HRs

Mullins’ start is a bright spot in a mostly bereft Orioles system. Just 5-foot-8 and lacking a big-school pedigree, the switch-hitter has solid tools and has opened eyes with his great beginning. (VLC)

8. Kevin Kramer, 2b, Pirates (23)

Double-A Altoona (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .423/.531/.846, 3 HR

Pittsburgh’s No. 21 prospect, Kramer is know more for his strike-zone discipline than his power. After hitting four home runs in 118 games last year with high Class A Bradenton, he’s one shy of tying last year’s home run total thanks to a big power burst to open 2017. (BB)

9. Carter Kieboom, ss, Nationals (19)

Low Class A Hagerstown (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .483/.545/.655

With Kieboom, the No. 8 prospect in the Nationals system and 28th overall pick in last year’s draft, it’s more about the sum of the parts rather than one standout tool. A big year from Kieboom would be a big boost to a Nationals farm system that’s lost significant upper-level talent recently in trades. (BB)

10. Bo Bichette, ss, Blue Jays (18)

Low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: 1.184 OPS, four BB

The son of Dante Bichette is forming a powerful 1-2 punch with the son of Vlad Guerrero in the Midwest League. Bichette’s bat speed helps him overcome a somewhat unconventional swing, and he shows good opposite field power. (VLC)

11. Juan Soto, of, Nationals (18)

Low Class A Hagerstown (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 1.018 OPS

Last season’s breakout Gulf Coast League star has carried his success into his first taste of full-season ball. The 18-year-old Dominican is riding a six-game hitting streak and is 14-for-33 overall on the young season with more walks (4) than strikeouts (1). (KG)

12. Franklin Barreto, 2b/ss, Athletics (21)

Triple-A Nashville (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: 12-for-29, 2 HRs

Oakland’s top prospect made a great impression on big league manager Bob Melvin in spring training and is already bucking for a promotion. The A’s will find a place for his bat eventually. (VLC)

13. Max Povse, rhp Mariners (23)

Double-A Arkansas
Why He’s Here: 12.2 IP, 0 ER

The Mariners acquired Povse in the Alex Jackson trade last offseason, and the 6-foot-8 righthander made a great first impression in his new organization. Povse tossed seven shutout innings with two hits allowed in his first start, and followed up with 5.2 scoreless with three hits allowed in his second outing. (KG)

14. Francisco Mejia, c, Indians (21)

Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .429 AVG

Mejia put together a 50-game hitting streak between two levels of A-ball last season, and he’s at it again in Double-A. He’s hit in all six of Akron’s games and has multiple hits in half of those games. Dating back to last season, he’s hit in 14 straight games. (JN)

15. Anthony Alford, of, Blue Jays (22)

Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .500 AVG

In his first taste of the upper levels, Alford has started hot. He carded hits in five of his first six games, recorded multiple hits in each of his first four and reached base in all six. (JN)

16. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3b, Blue Jays (18)

Low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: .320/.469/.600

The Blue Jays No. 1 prospect is making the jump to full-season ball without a problem. The 18-year-old Guerrero posted three multi-hit efforts in his first eight games, had more walks (7) than strikeouts (4), and homered twice in his first week with Lansing. (KG)

17. Amed Rosario, ss, Mets (21)

Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: .344/.353/.344

Rosario spent just two months in Double-A last year, but it’s hard to argue he wasn’t ready for a promotion after he hit .341/.392/.481 in 54 games in the Eastern League last year. Rosario has the combination of hitting ability and defensive skill at a premium position to become a cornerstone player in the near future for the Mets. (BB)

18. Dom Smith, 1b, Mets (21)

Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: .406 AVG

The Mets’ No. 2 prospect dropped 24 pounds in the offseason by cutting out wet burritos from his diet, and the slimmed-down Smith had an excellent first week in his new form. Smith slashed .406/.441/.594 with five multi-hit nights in eight games, including a big 4-for-6 night with four runs scored, a double, a home run and three RBIs. (KG)

19. Travis Blankenhorn, 3b, Twins (20)

Low Class A Cedar Rapids (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: .400/.438/.833, 3 HR

Blankenhorn, the No. 10 Twins prospect, packs plenty of strength into his lefthanded swing. His aggressive approach will be tested against upper-level pitching, but he has the power potential to be a 20-homer bat. (BB)

20. Kolby Allard, lhp, Braves (19)

Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Why He’s Here: 1.80 ERA

The Braves skipped Allard over high Class A straight to Double-A, and the 19-year-old lefthander showed he could handle the aggressive assignment with a solid first two starts. Allard pitched five innings in each of his first two outings, giving up a total of nine hits and two runs while striking out eight and walking three in first 10 innings at Double-A. (KG)


Oneil Cruz, 3b/ss, Dodgers: Signed for $950,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Cruz ranked as the team’s No. 27 prospect in the Prospect Handbook, but the Dodgers have shown how much they think of him by pushing him to the low Class A Midwest League this year after he played in the Dominican Summer League last year. Cruz has grown nearly half a foot over the last few years and is now 6-foot-6, which might making sticking in the dirt tricky long term, but he’s athletic for his size with a fluid swing, good barrel control for a lanky, long-armed hitter and a chance to hit for power. (BB)

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