Prospect Hot Sheet (July 28)
This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from July 21-27. 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. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Phillies (24) Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)
Hoskins is the Phillies’ first baseman of the future, and that future should be coming as soon as possible. Tommy Joseph has given Philadelphia 201 games of replacement-level performance as the team’s starting first baseman the last two years, while Hoskins continues to show the combination of hitting ability, bat speed, patience and power that should have him taking Joseph’s job soon.
2. J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (22) Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)
Crawford is supremely talented but his performance left scouts wondering whether he would ever fulfill his potential as a cornerstone player. You can’t write it off as small sample size either, as Crawford has played 177 games in Triple-A where he’s drawn walks at a high volume but otherwise struggled. Whatever the reason, Crawford has flipped the switch in July, hitting seven of his nine home runs this month and batting .302/.406/.663 in that time. That doesn’t overwrite the previous year-plus of Crawford’s Triple-A struggles, but it’s an encouraging signal for his future.
3. Jose Siri, OF, Reds (22) Low Class A Dayton (Midwest)
Siri signed five years ago out of the Dominican Republic, but he’s just now breaking out as a legitimate prospect in his first extended campaign in a full-season league. His free-swinging approach gives reason to be skeptical about his performance translating against better pitching, but he’s impressing scouts with his tools by showing power and speed while riding a 32-game hitting streak.
4. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox (20) High Class A Winston-Salem (Carolina)
Coming off his second Futures Game, being ranked the No. 5 prospect in the game, a Baseball America cover and then becoming the centerpiece in the Jose Quintana trade, Jimenez joined the White Sox with considerable hype. He has shown his new teammates and coaching staff why he’s one of the most prized prospects in baseball, batting .400/.471/.733 in his first 13 games in the White Sox's organization.
5. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves (21) High Class A Florida (Florida State)
After a rocky first half, Toussaint has taken a leap forward in the second half, similar to his 2016 season. This month, Toussaint has a fantastic 36-6 K-BB mark in 26 innings with a 2.42 ERA over four starts, earning him a promotion to Double-A.
6. Luiz Gohara, LHP, Braves (20) Double-A Mississippi
Can Gohara stay healthy? That’s been the knock on him throughout his career and it remains a risk, but when he’s on the mound, his stuff is fantastic, with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and an out pitch in his swing-and-miss slider. After a season-high 11 strikeouts in six shutout innings in his last start, Gohara got bumped up to Triple-A.
7. Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox (21) Double-A Birmingham (Southern)
There’s no secret to Kopech. He has an electric fastball and piles up strikeouts but doesn’t always know where the ball is going. In his last start, he struck out a season-high 12 batters in six innings, and he’s managed to tame his control in his last three starts, with just four walks over 20 innings. What's happened is he's doing a better job of being more in-line in his delivery to the plate instead of spinning off in his finish which leads to wildness. Of course, over his previous 36 innings, he walked 30 batters, so Kopech will have to string together more low-walk starts to show it’s real progress.
8. Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves (23) Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Sims might get overlooked amidst a wave of younger arms in the system, but he has been a positive development story for the Braves and could be in the big leagues soon. After struggling with his control last year and getting hammered in Triple-A, Sims has shaved his walk rate from 5.9 BB/9 in 2016 down to 2.8 BB/9 this year.
9. Michael Chavis, 3B, Red Sox (21) Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Rafael Devers just got to Boston. And with Dave Dombrowski calling the shots, the reality is that there probably isn’t a future for Chavis in Boston. In that case, Chavis has made himself a valuable trade chip that other teams will be following closely, with his .283/.338/.533 line in 33 games since getting to Double-A another promising sign.
10. Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets (22) Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
The time is coming for Dominic Smith in New York. With Lucas Duda traded to Tampa Bay and Smith having his best month yet in a strong season, he’s shown enough at this point to merit a callup. Overall Smith is hitting .383/.426/.713 with 1o doubles, seven homers and 22 RBIs in 22 games this month.
11. Willie Calhoun, 2B/LF, Dodgers (22) Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)
With a sweet lefty swing, Calhoun is a high-contact hitter who hammers the ball when he does connect. He’s the rare hitter with more extra-base hits (52) than strikeouts (47), and while it’s not clear yet whether his future is at second base or left field, his offensive impact could carry him no matter which glove his wears.
12. Yanio Perez, OF/1B, Rangers (21) High Class A Down East (Carolina)
In his debut after signing for $1.14 million in the offseason, Perez cooled down after his hot start in hitter-friendly Hickory in the low Class A South Atlantic League, but he’s picked things up again this month. While Perez has dabbled at third base, he’s spent most of his time at first base and in right field, so he’s going to have to continue to mash.
13. Logan Ice, C, Indians (22) Low Class A Lake County (South Atlantic)
The Indians second-round pick a year ago got off to a tough start in his first full season, but has been a different player since the All-Star break. In the first half, Ice hit .201/.310/.295 in 44 games. In the second half, the Oregon State product has hit .288/.360/.538 in 23 games.
14. Max Schrock, 2B, Athletics (22) Double-A Midland (Texas)
Schrock continues his quiet ascent as one of the best hitters in the minors. None of his tools jump out, but Schrock has the bat control, plate coverage and hand-eye coordination for his hitting ability to carry him as an everyday regular in the big leagues.
15. Jack Flaherty, RHP, Cardinals (21) Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Flaherty’s stock has climbed this year, entering the season as the Cardinals’ No. 11 prospect and now ranking as the No. 3 prospect in the organization and, with Alex Reyes sidelined, the club’s top healthy pitching prospect. That should put him in position to compete for a job in the St. Louis rotation to start 2018. He keeps excelling every level he climbs, including an impressive first nine starts at Triple-A.
16. Mauricio Dubon, SS/2B, Brewers (23) Triple-A Colorado Springs (Pacific Coast)
Dubon reached base in all six of his plate appearances Thursday, going 3-for-3 with a home run, a double, two walks and a hit by pitch. With a .304/.344/.496 line through 26 games since getting to Triple-A, Dubon is positioning himself for a crack at Milwaukee’s second base job in 2018 if Jonathan Villar can’t rebound from a down year.
17. Ryan McMahon, INF, Rockies (22) Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast)
McMahon’s resurgent year hasn’t slowed down since getting to Triple-A in June. He’s batting .386/.407/.634 in 47 games, and while Albuquerque is an extreme hitter’s environment, he’s also batting .347/.366/.541 on the road.
18. Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants (17) Rookie-level Arizona League
The Giants’ first-round pick, No. 19 overall, has been stuffing the stat sheet as one of the youngest players in the Arizona League. The 17-year-old Puerto Rican is batting .403/.446/.727 in 83 plate appearances and showing his plus-plus speed with seven stolen bases in eight attempts.
19. Seuly Matias, OF, Royals (18) Rookie-level Burlington (Appalachian)
Matias’ plate discipline and pitch recognition will be tested more as he moves up the ladder, but when he puts the sweet spot on a pitch, it’s usually hammered. Matias hit his fifth home run of the season yesterday, boosting his season line to ..287/.342/.509.
20. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF, Phillies (18) Short-season Williamsport (New York-Penn)
When Ortiz signed, he had humongous raw power, but his pitch recognition skills and overall game hitting ability were still shaky. But as an 18-year-old in a league full of college draft picks, Ortiz has excelled, batting .277/.409/.553 with five home runs in 27 games. While his power comes with some strikeouts, the swing-and-miss has been manageable for this level, especially given his age.
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Ronaldo Hernandez, C, Rays Signed out of Colombia for $225,000 in 2014, Hernandez’s career was delayed when he took a foul tip to the groin, had surgery and missed most of the 2015 season. He excelled in 2016 in the Dominican Summer League, and he’s continued showing why the Rays were drawn to his hitting ability this year while skipping the Gulf Coast League and going to the Rookie-level Appalachian League. Hernandez is hitting .395/.431/.588 in 130 plate appearances, showing good barrel awareness and contact frequency and has a league-leading 14 doubles.