Ranking The 20 Hottest MLB Prospects | Hot Sheet (5/28/24)


Baseball America’s Hot Sheet ranks the 20 hottest prospects from the previous week. This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers how minor league players performed through May 27. Contributing this week were Baseball America staffers Josh Norris, Geoff Pontes and J.J. Cooper.

This simply recognizes how the hottest prospects in the minors did in the past week—it’s not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.

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1. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Cubs

Team: Triple-A Iowa (International)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .444/.500/.926 (12-for-27) 10 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 7 SO, 5 SB, 0 CS.

The Scoop: Crow-Armstrong is currently in that void that exists for a player who is big league ready to help, but could use additional time in the minors to add some further polish. His center field defense is so good that if he’s just a fringe-average player offensively, he’ll be useful for the Cubs. Crow-Armstrong can be too aggressive at the plate, but his power/speed combo shows up whenever he’s in Triple-A. He now has 11 home runs and 20 steals in 59 career games with Iowa. (JC)

2. Adael Amador, 2B, Rockies 

Team: Double-A Hartford (Eastern) 
Age: 21 

Why He’s Here: .323/.447/.710 (10-for-31), 10 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBIs, 7 BB, 8 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Portland and Hartford played an unusual eight games last week as they made up games from the snowed out opening series in Portland. After a very difficult start to the season, the Rockies’ No. 1 prospect woke up in a big way. Amador hit his first four home runs of the series including a two-homer game on Saturday. The multi-home run game was a part of a five-hit game accounting for a good amount of his weekly production. Amador homered in the series opening and closing games and had a multi-hit game on Wednesday. Hopefully this is a jump start for the rest of Amador’s season. (GP) 

3. Jonny Farmelo, OF, Mariners 

Team: Low-A Modesto (California) 
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .370/.455/.704 (10-for-27), 8 R, 5 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: On a loaded Modesto, team it’s hard to stand out. The lineup boasts six to seven Mariners Top 30 prospects on any given night. Farmelo, a Mariners 2023 first-round pick, has maintained his production from the Nuts’ leadoff spot for most of the season. Last week at Rancho Cucamonga, Farmelo paced the Modesto lineup with three multi-hit games and five games where he reached base two or more times. While Farmelo didn’t hit a home run last week, he racked up the doubles and triples finishing with seven combined extra-base hits. Farmelo is a plus athlete with speed, power projection, plate skills and the ability to play all three outfield spots. (GP) 

4. Spencer Giesting, LHP, D-backs

Team: High-A Hillsboro (Northwest)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Quietly, Giesting has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the minor leagues this season. Start after start, he’s stifled the competition in the Northwest League. In a return to High-A, the lefthanded Charlotte alum has lasted five or more innings in every start and has gone seven frames in each of his last two. His most recent turn was his best yet, featuring 13 strikeouts over seven three-hit shutout innings. His 0.66 ERA is the lowest in the minor leagues. (JN)

5. Tyler Fitzgerald, OF, Giants

Team: Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)
Age: 26

Why He’s Here: .440/.563/1.240 (11-for-25) 12 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 5 BB, 8 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS.

The Scoop: With injuries piling up in San Francisco, Fitzgerald’s stay in Sacramento may be a short one. He was sent back to Triple-A after sitting on the Giants’ bench without playing for a few days, and he showed that he doesn’t get very rusty when he sits. His versatility truly stands out. The Louisville product has already played first and second base, shortstop, all three outfield spots, pinch run, pinch hit and even pitched twice. The fact that he hasn’t caught isn’t surprising, but the fact that he’s yet to play a game at third this year is, since he has plenty of past experience there. (JC)

6. Luis Perales, RHP, Red Sox

Team: High-A Greenville (South Atlantic)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: All season, scouts buzzed about Perales thanks to an improved arsenal that includes a newly added cutter. In what turned out to be his final start at High-A, Perales overpowered Greensboro for five stunning innings. His day finished with a dozen strikeouts and 26 swings and misses at a pitch mix fronted by a four-seamer that sat in the upper 90s and touched 99 mph twice and backed by the cutter, a slider and a split-changeup. Perales already has a spot on Boston’s 40-man roster. Now he’ll get his first test at the upper levels. (JN)

7. Matthew Lugo, 3B, Red Sox 

Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Age: 23 

Why He’s Here: .370/.452/.778 (10-for-27), 7 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 4 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: It’s been a remarkable turnaround for Lugo in 2024 as he’s in the midst of the best stretch of his career. Last week we highlighted the significant improvement in contact, chase and top-end exit velocities for Lugo. He continued to perform last week in Portland’s eight-game showdown with Hartford. Lugo recorded four multi-hit games while showing both power and plate skills. With a 195 wRC+ Lugo is among the hottest hitters in Double-A over the opening two months of the season. It would not be a shock to see Lugo earn promotion to Triple-A Worcester within the next month. (GP) 

8. Max Clark, OF, Tigers

Team: Low-A Lakeland (Florida State)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .450/.560/.750 (9-for-20), 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 5 BB, 3 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: As a prep product, Clark hasn’t moved as quickly as his fellow 2023 draftees Paul Skenes, Wyatt Langford or Dylan Crews, but he has a high ceiling just the same. After a slower start, Clark has begun to turn it on of late. The Indiana high school alum had four extra-base hits this past week, half the total he’d produced in the rest of May, and as many as he’d collected all of April. At his best, he has a chance to be a prototypical leadoff hitter with hittability, speed and a hint of power. (JN)

9. Tink Hence, RHP, Cardinals

Team: Double-A Springfield (Texas) 
Age: 21 

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Hence’s bounceback season continues. He’s back No. 1 in the Cardinals system and can argue for the title of best pitching prospect still in the minor leagues based on his 2024 production. Over 45.2 innings in 2024 Hence has struck out 31.7% of batters he’s faced while walking 7.5%. On Friday, Hence shoved again, striking out 13 (a career high) in his start against Tulsa. Hence is showing quality across his pitch mix with the ability to command it and work deep into games. He’s mixing a mid-90s four-seam fastball with three secondaries in a changeup, slider and curveball that all generate swinging strike rates of 23% or higher. (GP) 

10. Aidan Smith, OF, Mariners

Team: Low-A Modesto (California)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .429/.600/.762 (9-for-21) 9 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 9 BB, 4 SO, 2 SB, 1 CS.

The Scoop: Yet another in what seems like a never-ending conga line of young Mariners’ hitting prospects, Smith hasn’t grown into his power yet, but he’s showing well-rounded plate skills. After a slow start in April, Smith has walked more than he’s struck out this month. Since May 1 his .448 on-base percentage is fourth-best in the California League. It’s also third best in the Modesto outfield, as Jonny Farmelo and Lazaro Montes have been even better. (JC)

11. Angel Genao, SS, Guardians

Team: Low-A Lynchburg (Carolina)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .409/.480/.591 (9-for-22), 3 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 1 SO, 5-for-5 SB

The Scoop: After a down season in 2023 that was hampered by a knee injury, Genao is beginning to fulfill the promise he showed in 2022 in the Arizona Complex League. The 20-year-old shortstop has shown a budding power-speed combo that has evaluators’ full attention. His .350 average is third in the Carolina League, his .547 slugging percentage is second and his 54 hits are tops on the circuit, while his 19 extra-base hits are tied for the most in the CL. (JN)

12. Michael McGreevy, RHP, Cardinals

Team: Triple-A Memphis (International)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.13, 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: I’m not sure what was on the menu for Cardinals pitching prospects last week but the organization got career starts from Tink Hence and 2021 first-rounder Michael McGreevy. In a complete game loss, McGreevy struck out 11 Durham Bulls as he scattered five hits over eight innings. McGreevy showed his trademark command, not walking a batter in the hard-luck loss. McGreevy could be an immediate plug-in option at the back of the Cardinals rotation should they need a fill-in. He’s a command and groundball specialist who’s unlikely to generate many double-digit strikeout games in the major leagues. (GP) 

13. Alan Roden, OF, Blue Jays 

Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern) 
Age: 24 

Why He’s Here: .414/.485/.724 (12-for-29), 7 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 5 BB, 3 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: Lots of hitters who struggled to find their footing in the chilly opening months of the Eastern League have started to turn it around as the temperatures in New England get warmer. The Blue Jays’ No. 8 prospect had a big week at home against Somerset. Over the seven-game series, Roden had three multi-hit games while reaching base in all seven contests. Roden flexed some power in the week’s opening game as he hit a pair of home runs in Tuesday’s 4-for-5 showing. Roden has a balance of plate skills with good contact, approach and fringe-average power. He can play either corner outfield spot defensively. (GP)

14. Spencer Schwellenbach, RHP, Braves

Team: Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Age: 23 

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO, 0  HR

The Scoop: As if coming off Tommy John surgery wasn’t difficult enough, Schwellenbach worked as a starter for the first time since prior to college in 2023. It looks like that was the calm before the storm as Schwellenbach has been excellent to begin 2024. After six strong starts at High-A, Schwellenbach was promoted to Double-A and has dominated. In his second start with Mississippi, Schwellenbach one upped his Double-A debut tossing seven scoreless innings while allowing just two hitters to reach base and striking out eight. Schwellenbach has shown five pitch shapes this season in a four-seam, slider, curveball, changeup and cutter. Schwellenbach mixes shapes and throws strikes with above-average power. (GP)

15. Luisangel Acuña, SS, Mets

Team: Triple-A Syracuse (International)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .393/.438/.500 (11-for-28) 10 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO, 3 SB, 2 CS.

The Scoop: Acuña hasn’t gotten off to a great start in Triple-A, but there’s still the building blocks of a good MLB player. He hits the ball harder than his .099 isolated power seems to indicate. He can really rotate when he rips a swing. But he hits a ton of ground balls. His power is generally to right center field, but until he gets more comfortable pulling the ball in the air, his bat-to-ball skills and adequate power are going to be masked. (JC)

16. Heston Kjerstad, OF, Orioles

Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)
Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .524/.615/.905 (11-for-21) 6 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS.

The Scoop: Being an Orioles prospect is both thrilling and maddening at the same time. Kjerstad is an example. He didn’t hit in his major league stint this year, but he also got only 17 plate appearances in 19 days. When he was promoted, he went 0-for-4, then got into another game three days later as a pinch hitter for one at-bat. He started another game four days later, started two days later, didn’t play for three days, then pinch hit on back-to-back days, sat for two more days and then went 0-for-3 in his final game before being demoted. Now that he’s back in Norfolk playing every day, he’s once again mashing. With Colton Cowser, Anthony Santander and Ryan O’Hearn all hitting, Kjerstad might be in Norfolk for a while, but he still seems ready to hit in the big leagues if a regular job ever opens up. (JC)

17. Logan Evans, RHP, Mariners

Team: Double-A (Texas)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Evans, one of the newest members of Baseball America’s Top 100, has been one of the sport’s best breakout stories of the season. The righthander jumped straight to Double-A for his first full season and has thrived. In one of the most hitter-friendly leagues in the sport, Evans has worked to a league-best 1.39 ERA. He’s been even better in the season’s second month, when he’s gone 3-1, 0.79 and has allowed no more than four hits in any of his four starts. He punched out hitters in his most recent turn, bringing his May mark to 27 strikeouts against just three walks. (JN)

18. Kevin McGonigle, SS, Tigers

Team: Low-A Lakeland (Florida State)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .421/.520/.579 (8-for-19) 6 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 5 BB, 3 SO, 2 SB, 0 CS.

The Scoop: This is exactly what we hoped to see in McGonigle’s first full pro season. He’s collecting hits in bushels. McGonigle is one of the more advanced hitters in the Florida State League when it comes to strike-zone knowledge and bat-to-ball skills. His late start to the season means his .329 batting average doesn’t yet rank among FSL batting leaders, but if he keeps up this hitting, it’s only a matter of time. (JC)

19. C.J. Kayfus, 1B, Guardians

Team: High-A Lake County (Midwest)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .579/.636/.947 (11-for-19) 8 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS.

The Scoop: Kayfus’ batting average climbed above .300 on the third day of the season. It’s yet to dip below it again. Kayfus has been one of the keys to an exceptional Lake County offense. He ranks fourth in the league in batting, but is third on his own team. In a move that will be useful for helping him reach the majors, Kayfus is starting to play nearly as much left field as he does first base. His bat will be key to getting him to the majors, but adding a plausible second position will give him more opportunities. (JC)

20. Yilber Diaz, RHP, D-backs

Team: Double-A Amarillo (Texas)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Diaz has been dominant for most of the season, and this past week was just another example. The righthander rung up eight strikeouts, bringing his season total to a Texas League-high 70. The total also ties him with Cardinals breakout prospect Quinn Mathews for the third-most in the minors. Diaz’s slider has been particularly dastardly, garnering swinging-strike and miss rates of 28.3% and 55.9% respectively. (JN)


Demetrio Crisantes, SS, Diamondbacks

Dylan White’s weekly RoboScout article mentioned Cristantes on Sunday as a name to keep an eye on in the Arizona Complex League. Crisantes signed for $425,000 in the seventh round of the 2022 draft but did not debut until the following summer. Crisantes returned to the complex to begin this season and has surpassed his 2023 production. He’s shown well-refined plate skills with a zone-miss rate of 13.6% and a chase rate of 18.3%, while walking more than he’s struck out. Crisantes is showing above-average to plus raw power as well with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 104.7 mph and a 43.9% hard hit rate. The 19-year-old doesn’t have a ton of projection, but he’s an advanced teenage bat with potential 55-60 grade power at peak and a chance to stick in the infield. (GP) 

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