Prospect Hot Sheet (May 6): A Young D-backs Lefty Shines

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players have done from April 29-May 5. 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. Cody Reed, lhp, Diamondbacks
Team: low Class A Kane County (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00. 12.1 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 20 SO, 0 BB

The Scoop: The Alabama prep product continued his great full-season debut with 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball Thursday for Kane County against Fort Wayne. So far this year he has struck out 31 while walking none. Reed does it with an unconventional delivery in which he coils his big body before unleashing a pitch, so he hides the ball well. Though his fastball tops out at 91 mph, he has an above-average changeup and pinpoint command. He admittedly needs to work on polishing his curveball. Read more about him here.

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

The Scoop: Urias is 19 years old and in Triple-A and won’t turn 20 until August. And yet he’s still mowing down hitters like a seasoned vet. He spun six perfect innings this week in his longest Triple-A outing. His three-pitch mix is complemented by his age-defying poise, and the combination has added up to 29 strikeouts, three walks and just 14 hits allowed over 24 innings this season at Oklahoma City.

3. Chris Shaw, 1b, Giants
Team: high Class A San Jose (California)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .423/.500/1.000 (11-for-26), 6 R, 3 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Scouts worried that a broken hamate sustained while at Boston College would sap Shaw’s power. They needn’t have worried. Shaw led the Northwest League with 12 homers last year and has picked right up, ranking near the California League leaders in homers with six and ranking third with 23 RBIs. The 2015 first-rounder has top-scale power but also a fluid-enough swing that makes it likely he’ll be a better-than-average hitter.

4. Paul DeJong, 3b, Cardinals

3ds_cardinals81Team: Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .455/.538/1.000 (10-for-22), 3 2B, 3 HR, 4 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-2 on SB

The Scoop: DeJong’s struggles in April were understandable given that he’s processing the jump to Double-A with fewer than 300 pro at-bats. He collected three multi-hit in the past week. DeJong has excellent power, and his defense at third base has improved now that he’s focused on one position. He played catcher, first base, second base, third base and outfield at Illinois State.

5. Harrison Bader, of, Cardinals
Team: Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .500/.536/.692 (13-for-26), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Bader, who sparked the Gators on their 2015 run to the College World Series, hit well in his pro debut a year ago and has surpassed that this season. One of the youngest players in the Texas League, he has a solid hitting approach and has flashed more power this season with five homers. However, Bader is striking out more and walking less, perhaps a byproduct of his increased power. He also has been thrown out on six of 10 stolen-base attempts, so there are rough edges to address.

6. Ryan Castellani, rhp, Rockies
Team: high Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 10 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: The 2014 second-rounder out of a Phoenix high school has jumped off to a fast start in the California League, recording a 3.38 ERA and strikeout rate of 11.0 per nine innings. This week, Castellani threw eight one-hit innings with 10 strikeouts and one walk at home against Lake Elsinore, recording a terrific 89 game score for his efforts.

7. Ryon Healy, 1b, Athletics
Team: Double-A Midland (Texas)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .500/.576/1.000 (14-for-28), 11 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 5 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: A line-drive machine, Healy finished tied for fourth in the Double-A Texas League batting race last season (.302) but came up a little short in the power department for a corner infielder. That hasn’t been a problem this year. His six longballs are tied for third in the TL and his 1.100 OPS ranks second only to the Angels’ Sherman Johnson. Healy’s nine extra-base hits were tops in the minors this week, which is what a first baseman needs to do on a consistent basis.

8. Brandon Waddell, lhp, Pirates
Team: Double-A Altoona (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 1.46, 12.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 10 SO, 0 BB

The Scoop: A key part of Virginia’s College World Series run as a sophomore in 2014, Waddell has been so precise this season that he’s already been promoted to Double-A. He doesn’t have overpowering velocity, but he has excellent command. Waddell throws a curveball that gets average to above-average grades, with depth and excellent shape. His changeup is also a potentially average pitch. He has struck out 29 against just three walks this season.

9. Aaron Judge, of, Yankees
Team: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .333/.438/.778 (9-for-27), 7 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: With the Yankees’ offense stuck in something worse than neutral, fans have begun clamoring for Judge to be summoned to the Bronx. The monolithic masher’s six extra-base hits this week placed him behind just three hitters in the minors, and his five home runs this season have him tied with Tampa third baseman Miguel Andujar for the most in the organization. Judge’s teammate Ben Gamel (who already was on the 40-man roster) got the first callup this season, but if he keeps mashing, then Judge’s time will come at some point.

10. Jorge Mateo, ss, Yankees
Team: high Class A Tampa (Florida State)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .417/.462/.667 (10-for-24), 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB, 3 CS

The Scoop: When you think about Mateo, you think about speed. He stole a minor league-best 82 bases last year at two Class A levels and zoomed to the top of the Yankees’ prospect ranks. He’s still as speedy this year, but he’s starting to bang the ball around the yard. To wit, he had just two home runs last season and has eclipsed that total in 25 games this year in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. Mateo ended the week with seven hits in a three-game series against Clearwater and leads the league in OPS with a .970 mark.

11. Dansby Swanson, ss, Braves
Team: Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .435/.519/.739 (10-for-23), 5 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 0 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: New level has been no problem for the Braves’ No. 1 prospect. Promoted from high Class A Carolina on April 30, Swanson just keeps on hitting. He swatted a home run in his first game with Mississippi and has yet to whiff through four games. It’s unclear whether Swanson will be the solution at shortstop when Atlanta opens SunTrust Park next year, but it’s clear that he’s a big part of the team’s future no matter where he winds up on the diamond.

12. Andrew Benintendi, of, Red Sox
Team: high Class A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .500/.542/.700 (10-for-20), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 1 SO

The Scoop: Hitting streaks can be misleading. After all, a hitter who goes 1-for-4 every day is a .250 hitter. But Benintendi’s 22-game hitting streak has not only shown him to be a model of consistency, it’s also demonstrated that he’s more advanced than Carolina League pitchers. He has 11 multi-hit games during the hitting streak, and he’s walking more than he strikes out and is driving the ball with authority. The case can be made that Benintendi, a Southeastern Conference standout last year, should be following Dansby Swanson to Double-A before long.

13. Jarrett Parker, of, Giants
Team: Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)
Age: 27
Why He’s Here: .320/.393/1.120 (8-for-25) 8 R, 1 3B, 6 HRs, 13 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Parker’s brutal April (.171/.300/.284) turned into an outstanding start to May as he slugged six home runs, including a three home-run game against Salt Lake on Sunday. He always has had power, and his homers come in bunches. Unfortunately for Parker, the streaky power comes with a lot of strikeouts, and things haven’t gotten much better in 2016, when he has struck out every third plate appearances.

14. Freddy Peralta, rhp, Brewers
Team: low Class A Wisconsin (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 2 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: The Brewers scooped up a bunch of lower-level prospects through trades over the last several months, including Peralta and fellow righthanders Daniel Missaki and Carlos Herrera from the Mariners in December in exchange for Adam Lind. Peralta doesn’t blow hitters away with his fastball, yet he has racked up 24 strikeouts in 21 innings with three solid pitches along with advanced feel for mixing his stuff and hitting his location.

15. Albert Abreu, rhp, Astros

HoustonAstrosTeam: low Class A Quad Cities (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.50, 1 G, 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: Power arm? Check. Feel to spin two average to plus breaking pitches? Check. Plus changeup? Check another box for Abreu, who has a diverse repertoire of swing-and-miss pitches, leading to 31 strikeouts in 20 innings for a 36 percent strikeout rate. Abreu isn’t wild, but he does have 10 walks, three hit batsmen and six wild pitches, so sharpening his control is what will take him to possible Top 100 Prospect status.

16. Roman Quinn, of, Phillies
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .423/.500/.654 (11-for-26), 6 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 3 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, 3-for-5 SB

The Scoop: Wrist, heel and quad injuries have thwarted Quinn’s ability to stay on the field the last three seasons, with 88 games in 2014 his career-high. Just staying healthy will be critical this year for Quinn, who packs explosive speed and athleticism into a small frame, turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples with 80 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale.

17. Yoan Moncada, 2b, Red Sox

3ds_redsox85Team: high Class A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .444/.565/.778 (8-for-18), 11 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 5-for-5 SB

The Scoop: Maybe the scariest part of Moncada’s season is what he hasn’t done—at least yet—which is hit for power. He’s hitting .348/.478/.506 with 20 walks (third in the Carolina League), and he has used his double-plus speed to steal 19 bases (second in the minors). With his plus raw power—some scouts expect him to hit 25-30 home runs in his prime—it’s only to get more exciting as Moncada matures as a hitter and starts tapping into that over-the-fence power in games.

18. Aristides Aquino, of, Reds

3ds_reds79Team: high Class A Daytona (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .429/.478/.857 (9-for-21) 6 R, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Aquino models his game after Vladimir Guerrero. He’s a tall right fielder with power and a big arm who has worn No. 27 for much of his minor league career. (He now wears No. 6 for Daytona, however.) Unfortunately for Aquino, he has discovered that Guerrero’s ability to swing and drive pitches anywhere in or out of the strike zone is a skill that is not replicable for mere mortals. But when he gets his long arms extended, Aquino can really drive the baseball. His five home runs is tied for third most in the Florida State League.

19. Kyle Freeland, lhp, Rockies
Team: Double-A Hartford (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.93, 2 GS, 14 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 1 HR, 11 SO, 4 BB

The Scoop: Freeland ranked as the No. 2 college pitcher in the 2014 draft—behind only Carlos Rodon—but his prospect status took a hit in 2015 as he dealt with shoulder and elbow trouble. He seems to be back on track in 2016. Freeland has handled an aggressive jump to Double-A this season by recording a 1.42 ERA through six starts and leading the Eastern League with 38 innings. He has pitched deep into games and generated groundballs at a high rate (54 percent, according to while recording 11 strikeouts in his past 14 innings.

20. Wuilmer Becerra, of, Mets

3ds_mets81Team: high Class A St. Lucie (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .565/.600/.609 (13-for-23), 4 R, 1 2B, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: Power production will determine Becerra’s ultimate ceiling, but the young right fielder is building a track record for hitting the ball hard and going the other way when pitched away. He batted .300 at Rookie-level Kingsport in 2014, then .290 at low Class A Savannah in 2015 and now .405 through 74 at-bats this season at St. Lucie. The 6-foot-4 Becerra has the raw power to turn on the inside pitch, but for now the Mets will happily let him hit develop a feel for hitting now and worry about home runs later.


C.J. Hinojosa, ss, Giants. Hinojosa has long been a significant prospect. He ranked No. 70 on the BA 500 coming out of high school in 2012. Hinojosa seemed to be living up to those expectations with a strong freshman season at Texas, when he hit over .300 while starting every game for the Longhorns at shortstop. Unfortunately, his college career got worse and worse the longer he stayed. As a junior in 2015 he hit just .242/.321/.403 and fell to the 11th round.

The Giants took a chance on the talent, paid him a well above-slot $200,000 and have been rewarded. Hinojosa has regained some of the feel he showed in high school and early in his collegiate career. He’s hitting .382/.481/.517 at high Class A San Jose (he leads the California League in average and on-base percentage) while playing every day at shortstop. His amateur track record is better than that of Matt Duffy or Kelby Tomlinson. If the Giants can get him to the big leagues, it will reinforce their status as the wizards of choosing and developing collegiate middle infielders.

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