Prospect Hot Sheet (July 1): Nats’ Lopez Keeps Dealing

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players have done from June 24-30. 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: J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Kyle Glaser, Josh Norris and Vince Lara-Cinisomo

1. Reynaldo Lopez, rhp, Nationals
Team: Triple-A Syracuse (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.64, 2 GS, 14 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 6 BB, 14 SO

The Scoop: Lucas Giolito received the promotion to the big leagues this week to fill in for Stephen Strasburg, but he hasn’t been nearly as effective in June as Lopez, his Double-A Harrisburg teammate. Lopez earned a promotion to Triple-A after racking up double-digit strikeout games in four his last six Double-A starts. He owns a plus fastball and a breaking ball and curveball that both flash plus at times. Lopez ranks second in the minors with 104 strikeouts, and unlike many short power pitchers, he drives the ball down in the zone and has given up just two home runs in May and June, and none in his last seven starts. (JJ)

2. Andrew Benintendi, of, Red Sox
Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .423/.483/.692 (11-for-26), 7 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 3 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: After a slow start in his move to Double-A, the No. 7 overall pick in last year’s draft got cooking this week. Benintendi notched his first four-hit game in Double-A and continued to show signs of being one of the best all-around prospects in the game. (JN)

3. Ian Clarkin, lhp, Yankees
Team: high class A Tampa (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.69, 10.2 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 12 SO, 4 BB

The Scoop: After missing all of last year with elbow inflammation and getting off to an iffy start this year, the Yankees’ 2013 first-round pick is finally rounding into form. Clarkin’s strikeout rate has improved each successive month, and he held opposing batters to a .222 average and .615 OPS in June. (KG)

4. Ian Happ, 2b, Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .591/.600/.695 (13-for-22), 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The Cubs bumped Happ from high Class A Myrtle Beach to Tennessee just more than a week ago, and he hasn’t stopped hitting. The 2015 first-rounder drew a pinch-hit walk in his first game at the new level, then collected 11 hits in his next 15 at-bats over four games. (JN)

5. Trey Mancini, 1b, Orioles
Baltimore Orioles
Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .522/.607/.826 (12-for-23), 6 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 BB, 2 SO, 1 GDP

The Scoop: Mancini hit .359 to win the Eastern League batting title last year, and he ranks seventh in the International League batting race this season at an even .300. In his past 30 games at Norfolk, he’s hitting .354/.421/.531 with five homers and five doubles. Mancini could be ready to add more power to an already-powerful Orioles offense later this summer. (ME)

6. Felix Jorge, rhp, Twins
Team: high Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 2.19, 2 GS, 12.1 IP, 13 H, 3 R, 0 HR, 13 SO, 1 BB, 1 HBP

The Scoop: Jorge shined in June, going 5-0, 1.59 in five starts in the Florida State League, recording a 0.91 WHIP and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He pitched so well, in fact, that he now ranks top 10 in the minors this season in ERA (1.67) and WHIP (0.94). (ME)

7. Aaron Judge, of, Yankees
Team: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .370/.514/.815 (10-for-27), 7 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: The 6-foot-7 Fresno State product has resurrected his season by having a huge June. After hitting .183 in May, Judge slashed .343/.477/.686 with nine homers in June. The right fielder’s giant strike zone will always be an issue for him to control, but he’s squaring up balls with regularity, making a September callup—if not sooner—a certainty. (VLC)

8. Dominic Smith, 1b, Mets
Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .345/.387/.759 (10-for-29), 7 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: The stocky lefthanded hitter might never consistently show the power you’d expect, given his position and size, but he’s starting to tap into it more, with 24 extra-base hits. His loose, sweet swing portends an above-average hitter. (VLC)

9. Michael Gettys, of, Padres
Team: high class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .414/.438/.655 (12-for-29), 5 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 0 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-4 SB

The Scoop: Gettys matured in the offseason with learning to put failure behind him, and the results has been a completely different player from a down 2015. The Midwest League all-star starter earned a promotion to Lake Elsinore in June, where he collected a hit in each of his first eight games, including five multi-hit efforts. (KG)

10. Freddy Peralta, rhp, Brewers
Team: low Class A Wisconsin (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.04, 2 G, 8.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 12 SO, 4 BB, 1 HBP

The Scoop: The Brewers prioritized young pitching prospects when they traded Adam Lind to the Mariners last December, and Peralta is the best of the bunch. Making one start and one four-inning relief appearance this week, the 20-year-old Dominican notched 12 strikeouts while allowing only one run. In 10 appearances since May 1, Peralta has struck out 56 in 42 innings while allowing a .183 opponent average. (ME)

11. Joan Gregorio, rhp, Giants
Team: Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.38 ERA, 13 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 15 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: A 6-foot-7 Dominican with a mid-90s fastball, Gregorio was promoted to Triple-A in May and had some early struggles at that level, recording a 6.54 ERA in his first seven starts. He’s made the adjustment now—if his two starts last week were any indication—by holding opponents to a .191 average and .475 OPS and throwing 66 percent of his pitches for strikes. (KG)

12. Rhys Hoskins, 1b, Phillies
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .414/.485/.862 (12-for-29), 11 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: In the continuing back-and-forth battle with teammate Dylan Cozens for the minor league lead in home runs, Hoskins answered in a big way. After Cozens swatted his 22nd earlier in the game, Hoskins clubbed a grand slam to re-tie the race and notch his fourth longball of the week. (JN)

13. Jake Bauers, of, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .304/.370/.739 (7-for-23), 5 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: One of the youngest players in the Southern League, Bauers has more than held his own. He continues to get to his average power, and he does it while posting modest strikeout rates (15 percent) and plenty of walks (11 percent). Bauers doesn’t have a massive ceiling, but as a corner bat with hitting ability and some power, he could have a lengthy big league career. (JJ)

14. Angel Perdomo, lhp, Blue Jays
Team: low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 2.70, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 12 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: The 6-foot-6 lefthander threw just three pitches in the Midwest League all-star game on June 21, but that was enough to elicit buzz on the field and press box. Perdomo has a crisp fastball that touches 93 mph, but his long levers make the ball look like it’s jumping on the batter. His slider flashes at least average, but his changeup is still in development. (VLC)

15. Luis Urias, 2b, Padres
Team: high Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .429/.485/.643 (12-for-28), 6 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Urias has been a revelation for the Padres this year. The 5-foot-9 middle infielder was jumped to high Class A after only a half-season at low Class A Fort Wayne last season. He ahs responded by ranking among the California League leaders in batting average (.325) and on-base percentage (.387), and he’s the toughest batter in the league to strike out. (JJ)

16. Yeudy Garcia, rhp, Pirates
Team: high Class A Bradenton (Florida State)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 0.68, 13 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 15 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: One of the more under-the-radar prospects in the Pirates system has turned it on over the last two months. Since May, the flamethrowing Garcia has gone 3-3, 1.41 with 65 strikeouts in 57 innings. The strikeout total is the second most in the system in that span, behind only top prospect Tyler Glasnow. (JN)

17. Adonis Medina, rhp, Phillies
Team: short-season Williamsport (New York-Penn)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 8.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: The Dominican teen continues to shine against older competition in the New York-Penn League, and he has yet to allow a single run through three starts and 21 innings. This week he carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning before allowing a one-out hit to Auburn. While Medina sports a poor 9-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio, he has help opponents to a .088 average (6-for-68), which is far and away the best mark in the league. (ME)

18. Dan Vogelbach, 1b, Cubs
Team: Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .373/.419/.793 (11-for-29), 5 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: While Cubs manager Joe Maddon stresses versatility with his young position players—see Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and rookie Willson Contreras—the first-base-only Vogelbach won’t present those same opportunities. More accurately, he’s a quality bat who plays a survivable first base and is best suited to be a DH. Vogelbach’s patient hitting approach will probably play in the majors, but barring an injury to Anthony Rizzo, even Joe Maddon’s creativity has its limits. (JJ)

19. Mike Clevinger, rhp, Indians

3ds_indians83Team: Triple-A Columbus (International)
Age: 25
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 3.75, 12 IP, 14 H, 5 R, 14 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: The righthander, acquired from the Angels for reliever Vinnie Pestano in August 2014, has gone 8-0, 2.70 overall. The Indians got Clevinger back to throwing the way he did as an amateur, and they have achieved great success. Clevinger’s fastball sits in the low to mid-90s and his hard slider is his best secondary offering. (VLC)

20. Chris Paddack, rhp, Padres
Team: low class A Greensboro (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 9 SO, 0 BB

The Scoop: In what turned out to be his final start in the Marlins organization, Paddack was simply brilliant against Hickory, leaving after five innings with a no-hitter intact for the third consecutive start. Five days later, the Padres acquired him in exchange for closer Fernando Rodney. (KG)


Dawel Lugo, 3b, Diamondbacks
The Blue Jays signed Lugo out of the Dominican Republic for $1.3 million in 2011, and he established himself as one of the organization’s Top 10 Prospects by 2013. Things went south for Lugo last year at high class A Dunedin, however, and Toronto cut bait with him when he was just 20, trading Lugo last August to the Diamondbacks for two months of Cliff Pennington. Arizona moved Lugo moved off shortstop to third base, and he has rediscovered the success that made him a top prospect, hitting .294/.331/.479 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI at high Class A Visalia. He’s also been a vacuum at the hot corner and showed off an impressive arm from deep down the line in the California-Carolina League All-Star Game. The tools for a smooth swing were always there for Lugo, and a fresh start in a new organization has allowed him to find a rhythm and blossom. (KG)

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