Prospect Hot Sheet (April 15): Bombs Away

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet looks at what minor leaguers have done since Opening Day. Remember, this feature simply recognizes what the hottest prospects in the minors did since April 7—it’s not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.

Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Josh Norris and Vince Lara-Cinisomo

1. Joey Gallo, 3b, Rangers
Team: Triple-A Round Rock (Pacific Coast)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .333/.417/.833 (10-for-30), 9 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 5 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: After tastes of success and failure in the majors last year, Gallo started the year back in Triple-A and picked up right where he left off. He swatted four home runs in the first week to tie him for second in the minors. As ever, Gallo brings power that ranks as the best in the game, and also high walk and strikeout rates. To return to Texas, he must continue to refine his strike-zone judgment and sand off the rough edges at third base. It should be only a matter of time. (J.N.)

2. Brent Honeywell, rhp, Rays
Team: high Class A Charlotte (Florida State)
Age: 21.
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.75, 2 GS, 12 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 11 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: The Rays like to move their pitchers slowly, so don’t be surprised by Honeywell’s assignment back to the Florida State League. But don’t expect him to stick around Charlotte for too long, because he has looked sharp in the early going. Honeywell throws his screwball only sporadically, but when he has used it this year, no one is hitting it. His varied arsenal may be too much for FSL hitters, and he’s now using a high-80s cutter to further mess with opponents. (J.J.C.)

3. Andy Ibanez, 2b, Rangers
Team: low Class A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .552/.594/.897 (16-for-29), 5 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-7 SB

The Scoop: Ibanez is too advanced for low Class A. He’s 23, he played on Cuba’s 2013 World Baseball Classic team and was one of the best Cuban prospects on the market when the Rangers signed him last year for $1.6 million. Several teams were surprised Texas was able to sign Ibanez at a relatively inexpensive price and stay within their international bonus pool for a player who immediately ranked as the No. 8 prospect in a strong farm system. So far, he has come as advertised, showing mostly average-at-best tools but a polished bat. Double-A will be a more appropriate test of Ibanez’s skills, when he reaches that level. (B.B.)

4. Edwin Diaz, rhp, Mariners
Team: Double-A Jackson (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 1.64, 2 GS, 11 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 16 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: The Puerto Rico draft class of 2012 has a chance to be the island’s best ever. Carlos Correa went No. 1 overall to the Astros, followed by Jose Berrios to the Twins in the supplemental round and then Diaz to the Mariners in the third. Diaz recorded a 4.57 ERA in 20 starts at Jackson last year, missing plenty of bats but walking too many batters and allowing too many stolen bases. He has reined in the free passes to this point, though he already has allowed three steals in two starts. (M.E.)

5. Travis Demeritte, 2b, Rangers
Team: high Class A High Desert (California)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .435/.481/1.304 (10-for-23), 9 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 8 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The city of Adelanto, Calif., tried all winter to evict the Mavericks, but their effort failed. Demeritte most certainly is pleased with that outcome. In High Desert, the most hitter-friendly atmosphere in the minors, he has gotten off to a blazing start with a minor league-leading five home runs. Demeritte, a 2013 first-round pick, was suspended 80 games last season for performance-enhancing substances and now must work to reestablish his prospect status. He’s off to a good start. (J.N.)

6. Jeff Hoffman, rhp, Rockies
Team: Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 1.38, 2 GS, 13 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 9 SO, 4 BB, 1 HBP

The Scoop: Hoffman hasn’t yet toed the rubber in Albuquerque, but then few Pacific Coast League parks could be considered pitcher-friendly. He made starts in Tacoma and Reno during the week, allowing just two runs in 13 innings and making good on the promise he showed as the ninth overall pick in the 2014 draft and as the key piece the Rockies received in last summer’s Troy Tulowitzki trade. (M.E.)

7. Hunter Wood, rhp, Rays
Team: high Class A Charlotte (Florida State)
Age: 22.
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 12 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 10 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: Wood has pitched his way into the Rays’ starting-pitching plans. The one-time reliever has shown he’s quite comfortable working longer stints. Wood has plenty of fastball (92-95 mph) and a changeup with plenty of deception. He’s struggled a little bit more with the feel for his curveball in the early going, but he’s shown the willingness to keep throwing it till he gets the feel for it. (J.J.C.)

8. Jorge Mateo, ss, Yankees
Team: high Class A Tampa (Florida State)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .379/.455/.586 (11-for-29), 8 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 10 SO, 4-for-5 SB

The Scoop: One of the minors’ elite speed merchants, Mateo is a shortstop with slashing power and a decent plan at the plate. Thus far he has notched two doubles, two triples and four stolen bases in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. With a good first half, Mateo should make his way to Double-A Trenton shortly after his 21st birthday. (J.N.)

9. Alex Bregman, ss, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .333/.419/.667 (9-for-27), 8 R, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: As if the Astros needed another star middle infielder! Bregman’s week included more extra-base hits (three) than strikeouts (two), and if he can keep that ratio near 1-to-1, then we could be in store for a Dustin Pedroia-type season. The second overall pick in the 2015 draft won’t keep up this home run pace, but look for him to gap the ball often enough to keep pitchers honest. (M.E.)

10. Alec Mills, rhp, Royals
Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 24.
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 0.82, 2 GS, 11 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 16 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: Mills was one of the more effective pitchers in the Carolina League last year, but some of that could be mitigated by the righthander’s outstanding control and a spacious home ballpark at high Class A Wilmington. Two starts into his Double-A career, Mills’ success seems less park-derived. With an average fastball and a plus changeup, he has dominated in home starts against Frisco and Midland. Plus control could allow him to move quickly. (J.J.C.)

11. Kohl Stewart, rhp, Twins
Team: high Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.50, 2 GS, 12 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 13 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: The former high school quarterback has been zipping them in so far. Coming off a season which saw his strikeout rate drop precipitously to 4.9 per nine innings, Stewart, the first high school pitcher selected in the 2013 draft, is back to missing bats through his two starts. He has fanned 13 in 12 innings, including seven in six scoreless frames Thursday. (V.L.C.)

12. Donnie Dewees, of, Cubs
Team: low Class A South Bend (Midwest)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .464/.500/.821 (13-for-28), 7 R, 2 2B, 4 3B, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-4 SB

The Scoop: The former North Florida stud struggled a bit in his pro debut at short-season Eugene, but he is showing the same bat-to-ball skills that made him a second-round pick in 2015. Dewees has good hand-eye coordination and scouts believe there is home-run power to come at some point. (V.L.C.)

13. Dillon Tate, rhp, Rangers
Team: low Class A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 10.2 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 16 SO

The Scoop: Tate has carved up South Atlantic League hitters in his first two starts, punctuated by a 10-strikeout game yesterday. It’s a great start, but there’s not much new to learn about Tate, who should be dominating SAL lineups as the No. 4 overall pick in last year’s draft out of UC Santa Barbara. He should be able to move through the system quickly, though it bears watching how his stuff holds up at the end of his first full season in pro ball after it dipped last year toward the end of the college season. (B.B.)

14. Grant Holmes, rhp, Dodgers
Team: high Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 11 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: Holmes has terrific stuff, but his lack of command got him behind in a lot of counts and allowed too many free baserunners last year, which could become problematic in the less-forgiving ballparks of the California League. So far, the higher run environment hasn’t bothered Holmes one bit. He has overmatched hitters with his plus fastball, power curve and a changeup that has made major progress over the last year. (B.B.)

15. Mike Soroka, rhp, Braves

3ds_braves83Team: low Class A Rome (South Atlantic)
Age: 18.
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.90, 2 GS, 10 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 12 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: The big league Braves are 0-9, and now Hector Olivera, one of the system’s top prospects heading, is suspended indefinitely. At least Atlanta fans can look to the minors to find bright spots. A fascinating pitcher takes the mound somewhere in the Braves system seemingly every night, and Soroka has been the best so far. The 2015 first-rounder from a Calgary high school dominated in his first two Rome starts. He is advanced for his age with rare control for a pitcher with who tops out in the mid-90s with an above-average breaking ball. (J.J.C.)

16. Trea Turner, ss, Nationals
Team: Triple-A Syracuse (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .421/.560/.474 (8-for-19), 5 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 6 BB, 4 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The Nationals’ shortstop of the future played the table-setter role perfectly in the opening week, when the average temperature during Syracuse’s homestand was about 45 degrees. The speedy Turner reached base 14 times in six games while swiping two bags in two tries. (M.E.)

17. David Dahl, of, Rockies

Team: Double-A Hartford (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .276/.323/.828 (8-for-29), 7 R, 1 2B, 5 HR, 10 RBIs, 2 BB, 13 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: In an injury-plagued 2015 season, Dahl hit six home runs. He has connected for a minor league-leading five in his first eight games of 2016. When healthy, Dahl hits, but he does need to prove that he can stay healthy, for he has played 100 games in a season only once in his four-year career. Dahl has an intriguing power-speed profile as a true center fielder, though he appears to be selling out for power thus far with a strikeout rate of 42 percent. (J.J.C.)

18. Andrew Benintendi, of, Red Sox
Team: high Class A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .344/.382/.656 (11-for-32), 5 R, 2 2B, 4 3B, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 1 SO

The Scoop: The reigning College Player of the Year, Benintendi has swatted four triples in his first eight games and has struck out only once. Those offensive skills, plus sparkling defensive chops in center field, helped thrust him immediately toward the top of a front-loaded Red Sox system. He joins Salem teammates Yoan Moncada, a second baseman, and Rafael Devers, a third baseman, to form the core of the most talented roster in the minors. (J.N.)

19. Amir Garrett, lhp, Reds
Team: Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Age: 23.
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.50, 2 GS, 12 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 11 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: Garrett’s baseball career didn’t really take off until 2014, when he gave up basketball to focus on baseball, and he has taken impressive steps forward since then. His slider has become a pitch he can throw in the zone as well as bury as a chase pitch. His changeup has become something he’s much more comfortable using, and his fastball has always been above-average. He shut down everyone but Ozzie Albies in his 2016 debut in a loss against Rome’s Chris Ellis, then outdueled Jacksonville’s Jarlin Garcia in his second start. (J.J.C.)

20. Isan Diaz, ss, Brewers
Team: low Class A Wisconsin (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .333/.484/.625 (8-for-24), 5 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 7 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Acquired from the Diamondbacks in January as part of the Jean Segura trade, Diaz won the MVP award in the Rookie-level Pioneer League last year, hitting .360 with 13 homers. He began the season on fire in the chilly Midwest League, reaching base in each of his first eight games and swatting a homer and four doubles. With Orlando Arcia the Brewers’ shortstop of the future, Diaz faces a probable shift to second base. (J.N.)


Derian Gonzalez, rhp, Cardinals: It was easy to overlook Gonzalez last year on the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Cardinals, who had a pair of triple-digit flamethrowers in Sandy Alcantara and Junior Fernandez. The three are reunited this year at low Class A Peoria, where Gonzalez struck out 10 with one run, one walk and two hits allowed over five innings in his first start. A 21-year-old from Venezuela who’s 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Gonzalez threw strikes and missed bats with both his plus fastball and curveball, with his fastball sitting in the low 90s on Wednesday and reaching 97 mph last year. He doesn’t have the same upside as Fernandez or Alcantara, but he’s another promising arm to watch from the Cardinals’ Latin American pipeline. (B.B.)

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