Prospect Hot Sheet (Sept. 2): Jonathan Holder Takes Over

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players have done from Aug. 26-Sept. 1. 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, Kyle Glaser and Josh Norris.

Yankees1. Jonathan Holder, rhp, Yankees

Team: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 2 G, 0.00, 1 SV, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 14 SO

Relievers never make the Prospect Hot Sheet because they typically don’t throw enough innings. But on Sunday, Holder, a 2014 sixth-round pick from Mississippi State, struck out the first 11 batters he faced in a relief appearance. Only a infield fly that dropped because of a miscommunication kept him retiring all 12 batters he faced. No problem—he just struck out the next batter to give him 12 whiffs in the span of 13 batters.

Holder throws four pitches, but he primarily relies on a 92-95 mph fastball and a slow, big-breaking curveball. Rochester batters tended to chase pitches out of the zone on Sunday, but Holder’s exceptional control and solid stuff have played at Triple-A. He has not walked a batter in his last 15 outings and has a 41-to-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his last 21 innings. Understandably, he earned a September callup from the Yankees. (JJC)

2. Erick Fedde, rhp, Nationals

Team: Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.39, 13 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 20 SO, 3 BB

Fedde had Tommy John surgery early in his pro career—just like fellow Nationals Lucas Giolito and Stephen Strasburg and former Nat Jordan Zimmermann—and this week he signaled that he might not be far off from Washington when he turned in his two finest starts at Double-A. The Nationals certainly won’t complain about Fedde’s performance this season, not when he went 8-5, 3.12 with exemplary strikeout (9.1) and walk (2.2) ratios per nine innings in his first full season post surgery. (ME)

3. Osvaldo Abreu, ss, Nationals

Team: high Class A Potomac (Carolina)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .480/.536/.834 (12-for-25), 9 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K

Abreu hasn’t had a great year, though a power surge at the buzzer will help sweeten his final numbers. After hitting three home runs through his first 116 games, he went deep three times in his last six games. Batting .246/.328/.344 overall this season, Abreu doesn’t project as a regular but could develop into a utility infielder. (BB)

4. Mike Soroka, rhp, Braves

Team: low Class A Rome (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 SO

Part of arguably the most prospect-laden rotation in the minors, Soroka has been Rome’s steadiest performer. Of Soroka’s 25 outings, he has failed to make it through five innings just twice. Despite a pitch limit that usually hovers around 90, Soroka finished the seventh inning in six of his starts (and three of his final four) because he is so pitch efficient. His stuff is well suited for a mid-rotation role, and his feel and command may let his stuff play up even more than that. (JJC)

5. Jose De Leon, rhp, Dodgers

Team: Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 SO

De Leon’s season got off to a late start because of a shoulder issue, and his velocity still wavers more than it did last year, but no one in the minors was better in August. He struck out 33 and walked no one in his last three starts. De Leon has reached double digits in strikeouts in five of his past nine outings.

The Dodgers must get creative to clear 40-man roster room for De Leon as a possible September callup. Los Angeles doesn’t have a lot of fat on its roster, and it has nine players on the 60-day disabled list—including ace Clayton Kershaw—which means every September addition will cost another player his 40-man spot. (JJC)

6. Tyler Beede, rhp, Giants

Team: Double-A Richmond (California)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 11 SO, 1 BB

Eastern League opponents battered Beede for a 4.71 ERA in April, but the 2014 first-rounder rebounded in a big way in the second half. He put an exclamation point on a fine season by throwing a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts at home against the Hartford Nomads on Monday. He ranks second in the EL with a 2.87 ERA and 133 strikeouts. (ME)

7. Connor Sadzeck, rhp, Rangers

Team: Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 1.54, 11.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 HBP, 3 BB, 18 SO

When the Rangers promoted Sadzeck to Double-A last year, the results were ugly. He had more walks (17) than strikeouts (16) in 19.2 innings to go with a 9.61 ERA. Sadzeck has huge arm strength, with a fastball that reaches 100 mph late into starts, but he had trouble keeping his long arms and legs in his 6-foot-7 frame together to repeat his delivery. While he still needs to sharpen his command, he has significantly improved his control and seen his stock rise to become one of the best pitching prospects in the Rangers system. (BB)

3ds_phillies838. Alberto Tirado, rhp, Phillies

Team: low Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 10 SO, 0 BB

Wild out of the bullpen in his first full season with the Phillies after being acquired last summer in the Ben Revere deal with Toronto, Tirado has flipped the switch since moving into the Lakewood rotation. He whiffed 10 more on Thursday night, bringing his total to 83 strikeouts in 53.1 IP as a starter. (JN)

9.­ Rowdy Tellez, 1b, Blue Jays

Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .333/.419/.852 (9-for-27), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO

Tellez has flown a bit under the radar in an Eastern League jam-packed with stars this season. Despite a tantalizing hitter’s porch to Tellez’s pull side in right field in New Hampshire, he has shown the ability to go to center or left field when needed. He has cleaned up his body, too, which has helped him improve defensively. (JN)

10. Jason Martin, of, Astros

Team: high Class A Lancaster (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .353/.400/.1.118 (6-for-17), 6 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO

The 2013 eighth-round pick has long tantalized with athleticism, but he struggled to translate it into production on the field. Now, it appears things are finally beginning to click. Martin’s latest big week gave him 20 doubles and 23 home runs on the year. While some of that is a product of playing in hitter-happy Lancaster, he does have an .803 OPS on the road and has visibly matured both physically and mentally. In addition to his offensive improvement, Martin has ably played all three outfield positions and will secure his first 20-20 season with one more stolen base. (KG)

11. Cody Bellinger, 1b/cf, Dodgers

Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .400/.484/.920 (10-for-25), 7 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 5 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

Not only is Bellinger a good athlete who plays above-average defense at first base, but he runs well enough that he occasionally plays center field. Oh, yeah—and he can mash. Batting .266/.362/.489 this season, Bellinger has cut his strikeout rate (from 28 percent last year to 20 percent this year), increased his walk rate (10 percent to 13 percent) and shown plus power, especially lately with 10 of his 23 home runs coming over the last month. (BB)

12. Triston McKenzie, rhp, Indians

Team: low Class A Lake County (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 2.61, 10.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 HR, 15 SO, 3 BB

The 2015 supplemental first-rounder continues to brandish one of the better strikeout-to-walk ratios you’ll see. McKenzie pushed it to 49-to-6 this week with two more strong outings. (ME)

13. Anderson Tejeda, ss, Rangers

Team: short-season Spokane (Northwest)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .296/.367/.630 (8-for-27), 5 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, 11 SO

Along with outfielder Leody Taveras, Tejeda is one of a pair of talented teenagers added late to the Spokane roster. Tejeda signed out of the Dominican Republic for $100,000 in 2014, and he started this season in the Dominican Summer League. He hit two home runs in a game this week against Tri-City, and evaluators note that the ball jumps off his bat. He’ll stay at shorstop for now, but his arm could allow him to shift to third base if necessary. (JN)

14. Chance Sisco, c, Orioles

Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .440/.481/.800 (11-for-25), 4 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO

Sisco received a September promotion . . . to Norfolk from Double-A Bowie. He made a good impression on his new teammates, going 2-for-5 with a home run in his International League debut. Power isn’t typically a big part of Sisco’s game, which is more dependent on his pure hitting ability and sharp sense of the strike zone. He has hit .320/.405/.429 in 482 plate appearances this season. (BB)

15. Jorge Alfaro, c, Phillies

Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .455/.455/.818 (10-for-22), 7 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO

After a brief callup to Philadelphia while the Phillies waited for trade acquisition A.J. Ellis to arrive from Los Angeles, Alfaro is back in the Eastern League to help Reading make a run for the title. With Reading, Alfaro has shown all season why the Phillies pushed to acquire him in the Cole Hamels trade last summer. One of the most athletic catchers in the minors, he has cleaned up his receiving and blocking and retained his powerful throwing arm. He needs to polish his selectivity at the plate, but he’s hit for both power and average this season. (JN)

16. Willy Adames, ss, Rays

Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .448/.467/.586 (13-for-29), 2 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 8 SO, 0-for-1 SB

Adames gets better every season. Upon jumping to Double-A, he trimmed his strikeout rate from 27 percent last year to 21 percent this season. His power jumped as well, with 11 home runs this season after four last year, and his isolated slugging improved from .121 to .161. Part of that is park-related, but the arrows are clearly pointing up for Adames, who is one of the best shortstop prospects in baseball and could make his major league debut next season. (BB)

17. Ruddy Giron, ss, Padres

Team: high Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .500/.500/.727 (11-for-22), 3 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBIs, 0 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Padres preseason No. 5 prospect began the year in a horrendous slump and saw his swing mechanics spiral as he tried to get out of it. After a reset to rebuild all aspects of his swing with instructors in late June, he finally broke out and hit .299 in July to earn a promotion to Lake Elsinore. The 5-foot-11 Dominican has continued to rake since the promotion, hitting .457/.500/.743 in 10 games and driving the ball to all fields. (KG)

18. Luis Urias, 2b, Padres

Team: high Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .440/.481/.720 (11-for-25), 3 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 0 SO

The precocious 19-year old continues to surge towards the Cal League batting title with a .331 average after his latest spectacular week. What’s more, the power is starting to show up for the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Mexico native. After largely settling for line drive singles early in the year, Urias is beginning to turn on the ball and drive it into the gaps. He has a .512 slugging percentage since the all-star break compared to a .395 mark prior, adding to his case as one of the top pure hitting prospects in the minors. (KG)

19. Jeimer Candelario, 3b, Cubs

Team: Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .385/.467/.692 (10-for-26), 7 R, 5 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO

Candelario erased memories of a poor first half at Double-A Tennessee by annihilating the Pacific Coast League for three months. The smooth-fielding, switch-hitting third baseman has hit .325/.413/.538 with 32 extra-base hits in 72 games at Iowa. (ME)

20. Carlos Asuaje, 2b, Padres

Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .370/.414/.704 (10-for-27), 5 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO

The Pacific Coast League rookie of the year is wrapping up a productive first season as a member of the Padres organization. Outfielder Manuel Margot may be the headliner from last offseason’s Craig Kimbrel deal with the Red Sox, but it’s Asuaje’s development that helped salve the sting of shortstop Javier Guerra’s disappointing 2016. Asuaje has the defensive versatility to serve as a part-time player for the Padres if he doesn’t stick as an everyday second baseman. (JJC)


Jordan Yamamoto, rhp , Brewers. The 6-foot foot Hawaiian was dialed in this week with two dominant starts at low Class A Wisconsin. First the 20-year-old struck out 10 over seven innings at Quad Cities, and followed up with six scoreless innings and 11 strikeouts his next outing against Ceder Rapids.

Yamamoto leads the Midwest League with 152 strikeouts in 134.1 innings in his pro breakthrough. Drafted in the 12th round in 2014 out of high school in Honolulu, he throws all four pitches, including a fastball that checks in at 93-94 mph. The key this year has been the maturation of his slider, which now is a sharper weapon to contrast with his curveball. He was particularly dominant in August, going 1-1, 2.63 with 34 strikeouts in 27.1 innings. (JN)

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