Prospect Hot Sheet (May 13): Christin Stewart Powers Up

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players have done from May 6-12. 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, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Josh Norris and Vince Lara-Cinisomo

1. Christin Stewart, of, Tigers
Team: high Class A Lakeland (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .400/.538/.950 (8-for-20), 4 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: When the Tigers drafted Stewart out of Tennessee at No. 34 overall last year, they knew he had plus raw power. The question was whether he would make enough contact against better pitchers. So far, Stewart struck out 25 percent of the time, but that’s a manageable rate for a player with the type of power he has shown. He is hitting .258/.373/.608 in 33 games with 12 home runs, a whopping total in the Florida State League, where the two closest players in the league each have six. Stewart has a pull-heavy approach, but the left fielder has the power to go deep to any part of the field and has shown he isn’t simply an all-or-nothing slugger by mixing in 19 walks. (BB)

2. Kyle Tucker, of, Astros
Team: low Class A Quad Cities (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .500/.571/.583 (12-for-24), 4 R, 2 2B, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO, 9-for-9 SB

The Scoop: Tucker put the bandit in River Bandits this week, stealing nine bases in as many chances in seven games. The No. 5 overall pick in last year’s draft produced a lot more than just speed. He also slammed two doubles, walked six times and has racked up a cool .828 OPS in the first six weeks of his full-season debut. Outfielders with both power and speed are always hot commodities, and Tucker has the tools fit that profile at the highest level. (JN)

3. Julio Urias, lhp, Dodgers
Team: Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: This is your weekly reminder that Urias is the youngest pitcher in the Pacific Coast League. The new wrinkle is that the Dodgers have discussed making him the youngest pitcher in the major leagues. Word out of Los Angeles is that Urias could come up to bolster a beleaguered bullpen. And why not? Urias and his devastating three-pitch mix continue to dominate much older Triple-A hitters. He hasn’t allowed a run in his past 16 innings, which spans four starts. In his last three turns in the rotation, he has lasted 15 innings, allowed no runs on seven hits and four walks and struck out thirteen. He won’t turn 20 until August. (JN)

4. Dylan Cozens, of, Phillies
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .280/.333/.880 (7-for-25), 7 R, 5 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Cozens’ calling card always has been his power, and no minor league park can hold him. Given a full season at Double-A Reading and homer-friendly FirstEnergy Stadium, Cozens showed what he can do by launching four home of his five home runs at home this week. He has 10 longballs this year, putting him one ahead of Hartford’s David Dahl for the Eastern League lead. Cozens, a right fielder, has refined his hitting approach this year, but with nearly 30 percent strikeouts, there’s still room for improvement. (JN)

5. Bradley Zimmer, of, Indians
Team: Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .320/.485/.680 (8-for-25), 6 R, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 7 BB, 10 SO, 6-for-8 SB

The Scoop: Zimmer is hitting for more power than ever, though it is coming at the expense of contact. He’s hitting .246/.369/.525 through 31 games with seven home runs already, even if he is striking out 30 percent of the time. If Zimmer can find the right balance between putting the ball in play and creating damage when he does connect, he can be a dangerous all-around player at the premium position of center field. (BB)

6. Clint Frazier, of, Indians
Team: Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .308/.455/.615 (8-for-26), 9 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 7 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Seeing most of his time in right field at Akron because of the presence of Bradley Zimmer, Frazier has showcased a strong all-around game worthy of deployment on a corner. Batting either first or second in the order, he smacked five extra-base hits and drew seven walks in seven games this week, and on the season he ranks among the Eastern League leaders with 13 doubles and 27 runs. (ME)

7. Derek Fisher, of, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .400/.435/1.050 (8-for-20), 5 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The 37th overall pick in 2014 out of Virginia, Fisher was almost an afterthought that year because of the draft kerfuffle involving top overall pick Brady Aiken and fifth-rounder Jacob Nix. But Fisher is a super-athletic player with double-plus raw power and good speed. The problem is, his power doesn’t always show up like it has recently at Corpus Christi. Fisher has four homers in his past four games, including two on Thursday against Frisco. His recent run has brought his batting line to .237/.348/.491, and he has drawn 20 walks already. (VLC)

8. Josh Hader, lhp, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 1.54, 2 GS, 11.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 14 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: Hader has dominated this spring, and he finally got his first win on Wednesday when he completed six innings for just the second time in seven starts. The lefthander combines a funky, low-slot delivery with above-average velocity. His fastball touches the mid-90s, but it has been the further refinement of a changeup this season that has kept righthanded batters at bay. Hader this season has struck out 46 and walked 12 in 35 innings and not allowed a home run. (VLC)

9. Tim Anderson, ss, White Sox
Team: Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .387/.406/.548 (12-for-31), 10 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 7 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: Anderson made the Hot Sheet largely on the strength of a great series against Norfolk. He went 12-for-22 (.545) in the three games, raising his slash line to .277/.304/.338 after a brutal April. He even hit his first homer of the season. Anderson has impressive bat speed and projects to hit 12-15 homers at his peak while also hitting for average. (VLC)

10. German Marquez, rhp, Rockies
Team: Double-A Hartford (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 SO, 8 BB

The Scoop: Marquez, sent to the Rockies in the trade that moved Corey Dickerson to the Rays, is part of a strong Hartford rotation that includes Kyle Freeland, Harrison Musgrave and the currently injured Antonio Senzatela. Marquez might have the best stuff of the quartet. The 6-foot-1 righthander has a balanced delivery, and the ball explodes out of his hand as he easily and consistently works 93-95 mph. His curveball has tight spin and projects as a plus pitch. He has allowed just 22 hits in 35 innings so far. (VLC)

11. Jake Gatewood, 3b, Brewers

3ds_brewers79Team: low Class A Wisconsin (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .364/.391/.955 (8-for-22), 7 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: The 6-foot-5 Gatewood is beginning to tap into his incredible raw power at Wisconsin this season. Shifted from shortstop to third base and repeating the Midwest League this season, he launched four homers this week and now ranks among the MWL leaders with five homers, 13 extra-base hits and a .189 isolated slugging percentage. (ME)

12. Raimel Tapia, of, Rockies
Team: Double-A Hartford (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .419/.471/.710 (13-for-31), 8 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 4 BIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-5 SB

The Scoop: Tapia’s bat is his calling card, but on May 3 he was hitting just .202. Since then, Tapia has picked up a hit in every game—and multiple hits in most of those contests—bringing him up to .264/.322/.434 through 31 games. Tapia always has been an aggressive hitter who has had success because of his hand-eye coordination and feel for the barrel, but he has shown more plate patience with his 12 walks already half the 24 he put up in 131 games a year ago. (BB)

13. Cody Reed, lhp, Reds
Team: Triple-A Louisville (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 2.25, 2 GS, 12 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 HR, 10 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: Sure, Reed allowed four runs in four innings to Toledo on Thursday, but the southpaw shined in a duel with Pirates top prospect Tyler Glasnow of Indianapolis last Saturday, allowing one run over eight innings with eight strikeouts. (ME)

14. Jorge Bonifacio, of, Royals
Team: Triple-A Omaha (Pacific Coast)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .444/.531/.778 (12-for-27), 12 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Bonifacio reached Double-A as a 20-year-old at the end of the 2013 season and thrived upon his introduction to the Texas League. Then he spent the next two full seasons there, struggling offensively and barely putting up an OBP over .300 each year, though the right fielder did show more power last season. It’s early, but Bonifacio’s hitting has been more encouraging this season upon his jump to Triple-A Omaha, where he’s batting .336/.382/.582 in 32 games. (BB)

15. Keury Mella, rhp, Reds
Team: high Class A Daytona (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 2.57, 2 GS, 14 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: The Reds farm system is rich in pitching. Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed and Amir Garrett get most of the attention—and justifiably so—but Mella is right behind them in an impressive second layer of arms. Yes, he’s repeating the high Class A level, and scouts look at Mella’s delivery and wonder whether he would be better suited in a relief role, but he has two legitimate weapons in his plus fastball and a slider to put hitters away. (BB)

16. Renato Nunez, 3b, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Nashville (Pacific Coast)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .393/.452/.714 (11-for-28), 5 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Nunez did most of his damage late in the week, going 5-for-8 the past two games, which included an inside-the-park grand slam Thursday. He’s now slashing .300/.358/.567 with seven homers in his first taste of Triple-A. Nunez has some of the best power in the system, ranking alongside Matt Olson and Ryon Healy, and the quality of his at-bats has improved as he’s climbed the ladder. (VLC)

17. Tyler Glasnow, rhp, Pirates
Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 2.25, 2 GS, 12 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 12 SO, 6 BB

The Scoop: While he doesn’t get locked in every time out, Glasnow once again this week showed the flashes of dominance that excites the Pirates. He was in complete control on Saturday against Louisville, when he located his fastball and curveball. It’s the third time this year that Glasnow has struck out nine or more while walking one or fewer. But in his Thursday outing, he once again struggled to throw strikes—his strike percentage dropped to 51 percent—and he predictably struggled. (JJC)

18. Josh Ockimey, 1b, Red Sox
Team: low Class A Greenville (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .467/.619/1.067 (7-for-15), 4 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 6 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Put plainly, Ockimey hits the ball very, very hard. His power drew raves as a prep star in Philadelphia, and the 2014 fifth-rounder has continued to mash in his two seasons as a pro. His seven homers this year are tied for South Atlantic League lead, and he has improved his strikeout and walk rates dramatically this season. Ockimey leads the SAL in OPS, and he ranks among the top two in both on-base and slugging percentages. He still has to do some work to sharpen his defense, but his power will always be his trademark. (JN)

19. Trey Mancini, 1b, Orioles
Baltimore Orioles
Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .286/.333/.607 (8-for-28), 3 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Mancini began the season at Double-A Bowie before advancing to Norfolk on April 25. The first baseman hit just .229 with a double and a triple through his first 10 Triple-A games, but he has smoked the ball for power over the course of the past eight games, striking three homers and three doubles while hitting .290. (ME)

20. Ricardo Pinto, rhp, Phillies
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.69, 13 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 8 SO, 4 BB

The Scoop: After pitching in the pitcher’s paradise of the Florida State League for half a season, it would have been easy to expect Pinto to struggle when moving to Reading’s hitter-friendly park. He hasn’t. The Phillies’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2015 has adjusted nicely, with his only blip an eight-run outing in his second start of the year. Pinto was especially good this week, using his three-pitch mix to hold the opposition to one run over 13 innings. In his Thursday start against Trenton, he even took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. His fastball and changeup are major league offerings now, but he needs to continue to sharpen his slider. (JN)


Francisco Rios, rhp, Blue Jays. At last year’s trade deadline, the Blue Jays used just about every pitching prospect they had to boost their team into the postseason for the first time since winning the World Series in 1993.

When it was all said and done, Miguel Castro, Jesus Tinoco, Jeff Hoffman, Daniel Norris, Jairo Labourt, Matt Boyd, Alberto Tirado and Jimmy Cordero were gone from the system, leaving righthander Conner Greene as the organization’s top pitching prospect.

Fellow righties Sean Reid-Foley, Jon Harris and Justin Maese joined Greene in Toronto’s Top 10 Prospects as well. Now, it appears there’s more pitching talent bubbling at the lower levels.

Rios started the year at low Class A Lansing, where he went 2-0, 1.20 with just 21 hits allowed in 30 innings. He struck out 43 and walked eight in that span. The hot start earned him a promotion to high Class A Dunedin, and he debuted at the level on Thursday against Clearwater. Rios wasn’t dominant against the Threshers, but fanned six in 5 1/3 innings.

A scout who saw a recent start of Rios’ confirmed that the stuff matched the numbers. The 20-year-old whom the Jays signed out of Mexico in 2012 started his arsenal with a fastball with late life in the 92-94 mph range. He backed it up with a well above-average curveball that held a tight fastball line and a below-average changeup that he nonetheless threw with the same arm speed as his fastball. Another evaluator who saw him called the repertoire “TV stuff in the making.”

Rios needs to work on commanding the ball lower in the zone and sharpening his changeup, but he has the makings of a legit pitching prospect to help restock the Blue Jays’ cupboard.

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