Ranking The 20 Hottest MLB Prospects | Hot Sheet (5/7/24)


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 6. Contributing this week were Baseball America staffers Josh Norris, Geoff Pontes, J.J. Cooper and Matt Eddy.

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. Kristian Campbell, 2B/OF, Red Sox

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

Why He’s Here: .500/.545/1.050 (10-for-20), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Campbell was the talk of Red Sox minor league camp this spring. The former Georgia Tech star had transformed his profile from a hit over power second baseman to a power hitter with a chance to play center field. Campbell was added to the Red Sox Top 30 list in the latest update, and is coming off the best week of his career. Campbell homered in the first three games of the series at Asheville, and collected at least one hit in all five games he played in. His highlight game of the week came on Thursday when Campbell went 4-for-4 with a home run, a double, 3 RBIs and a walk. If Campbell continues to produce while limiting some of the added whiff that’s come with his added power he could blossom into an everyday regular. (GP)

2. Lazaro Montes, OF, Mariners

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

Why He’s Here: .455/.538/.909 (10-for-22), 8 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 14 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: So far in 2024, Montes is proving himself as one of the best teenaged ball strikers in the minor leagues. The Cuban slugger is … well … slugging. This past week he mashed three more home runs, doubling his total for the season and putting himself in sole possession of the California League lead and into a tie for second place in Low-A with Lynchburg’s Ralphy Velazquez. He’s looking passable in the outfield, too, which should only raise his value as he moves up the ladder. (JN)

3. Yilber Diaz, RHP, D-backs

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

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Diaz is an up-arrow prospect in Arizona’s system and showed why in his most recent start. Facing Midland on May 2, the righthander spun seven dazzling innings with 11 strikeouts. He also got 21 swings and misses during the outing, the highest total of anyone in the minor leagues that day. He now has 42 strikeouts in 25 innings, tying him for sixth in the minors. (JN)

4. Gage Workman, SS, Tigers

Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Age: 24

Why He’s Here: .381/.458/.952 (8-for-21), 7 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 5 SO, 1 SB

The Scoop: There’s a little hesitation in saying that Workman has figured it out at the plate, because Workman has shown these flashes before. He has an excellent start to last year in the Midwest League, but then hit .191 after being promoted to Double-A Erie. And that was a return to Erie, because he spent all of 2022 with the SeaWolves. But there’s still something to pay attention to here. Workman has bagged switch-hitting to hit exclusively lefthanded. He’s still pretty helpless against lefties, but focusing on only one swing, he’s hitting much better against righthanders this year (.317/.423/.617). Workman has always struggled with strikeouts, but he’s currently whiffing at a very respectable 24.4% rate. If he can hit like this, his excellent glove could still find a path to the big leagues as a multi-position backup. (JC)

5. Jared Serna, 2B, Yankees

Team: High-A Hudson Valley (South Atlantic)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: .429/.455/.952 (9-for-21), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: A great deal of Serna’s damage this past week came in one game. On May 1, the infielder crushed three home runs at Wilmington—historically one of the South Atlantic League’s most pitcher-friendly parks—to help his Hudson Valley team hold on for a 13-11 win over the Blue Rocks. Serna wasn’t a three-hit wonder, though. He collected hits in all five of the games he played this past week, including multiple knocks in four of the contests. (JN)

6. Jackson Wolf, LHP, Padres

Team: Triple-A El Paso (Texas)
Age: 25

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.82, 2 GS, 11 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: We all know that Padres GM A.J. Preller is not afraid to trade anyone. He rivals Jerry Dipoto in trade volume, relying on the ability to draft and develop prospects who can act as trade currency. Wolf’s an example of that, as the Padres’ 2021 fourth-round pick was traded to the Pirates with two other prospects in 2023 for Rich Hill and Ji-Man Choi. But like a boomerang, Wolf had ended up back in San Diego. The Pirates ended up designating him for assignment, the Padres claimed him and worked out a deal to bring him back to his original club. Weeks like this make that look like a prescient move. Wolf is one of the softer tossers around, with a fastball that rarely breaks 90 mph, but he managed to have a 10-strikeout game this week. That’s encouraging, but Wolf isn’t likely to pile up that many strikeouts regularly. But if he’s generating weak contact, which he does when he’s on, he can be an effective up-and-down starter. (JC)

7. Jaden Hamm, RHP, Tigers 

Team: High-A West Michigan (Midwest)
Age: 21 

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Hamm was a popular breakout pick among the Baseball America staff entering the season and so far he’s delivered on that promise. Over a pair of starts last week, Hamm tossed a total of 7.1 scoreless frames, while allowing a total of eight base runners across the two starts. Hamm is still building up to go deeper into starts, but has shown solid stuff and pitchability in 2024. Hamm should see promotion to Double-A at some point early this summer. (GP) 

8. Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Guardians

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

Why He’s Here: .318/.348/.909 (7-for-22) 7 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO.

The Scoop: This may be Manzardo’s last appearance on the Hot Sheet, because he’s been called up to Cleveland. If so, he’s heading out on a heck of a heater. Manzardo hit only one home run in his first 16 games this year. He’s hit eight in his past 13 games. His three homers this past week were all from left to right center field, which isn’t all that unusual for Manzardo. He’s a hitter whose hits sometimes leave the park. Of his nine home runs this year, only three were yanked to right field. He’s hit that many to straight center and six of his home runs are from left center to right center field. (JC)

9. Pedro Ramirez, 2B/3B, Cubs

Team: High-A South Bend (Midwest)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .481/.500/.741 (13-for-27) 5 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2 SB.

The Scoop: The Cubs have one of the most stacked farm systems in baseball right now, and the development of prospects like Ramirez is one of the reasons. Overshadowed to some extent by uber-prospect Jefferson Rojas, Ramirez is a name to watch himself because he’s always hit. He announced himself by hitting .359 in the Dominican Summer League in 2021. He followed that up by hitting .329 in the Arizona Complex League in 2022. His .266/.358/.404 slash line in the Carolina League is quite solid for a 19-year-old, and he’s been even better this year, hitting a Midwest League best .365 so far. (JC)

10. Robert Hassell III, OF, Nationals 

Team: Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern) 
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: .500/.520/.792 (12-for-24), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: It’s been a resurgent first month of the season for Hassell. He’s hitting .341/.434/.471 over his first 22 games and is coming off his hottest week of the season. Hassell opened the series against Altoona with home runs on consecutive days. Over the course of the week, Hassell had five multi-hit games including three-hit games that bookended the series. Hassell has shown improved plate skills this season but his underlying exit velocity is still underwhelming with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 100.3 mph. Hassell’s profile is based around his plate skills and ability to take advantage of his best contact with good angles. (GP)  

11. Chayce McDermott, RHP, Orioles

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

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: McDermott’s start for Norfolk was only the beginning of a magical night for Norfolk on May 3. He left without surrendering a hit, putting the onus on the bullpen to do the same for seven more outs. Mission accomplished. Nolan Hoffman and Kaleb Ort finished the no-hitter, another feather in the cap of a very talented team. The outing gave McDermott 41 strikeouts in 28 innings and lowered his season ERA to 2.89. (JN)

12. Paul Skenes, RHP, Pirates

Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)
Age: 21

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.74, 10.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 11 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: Skenes reached 75 pitches and six innings in his April 30 start against Buffalo to establish career highs in pro ball. He wasn’t quite as sharp in his May 5 followup versus the Bisons but remains the most dominant pitcher in the high minors. Each time out, Skenes is throwing 99 mph heat and backing it with a swing-and-miss slider and splitter. His inexorable move toward Pittsburgh will result in a callup before long. (ME)

13. Jacob Wilson, SS, Athletics 

Team: Double-A Midland (Texas) 
Age: 22 

Why He’s Here: .458/.458/.792 (11-for-24), 5 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: There was quite a bit of debate around the Athletics taking Wilson sixth overall in last year’s draft. So far, it looks like they made a wise decision. Wilson is hitting .429/.443/.679 over his first 22 games in 2024. Last week, Wilson put together four multi-hit games, including a four-hit effort on Friday. Wilson doesn’t hit for tremendous power and rarely walks but he puts the ball in play consistently and is showing a potentially double-plus hit tool. (GP)

14. Brady House, 3B, Nationals

Team: Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .400/.500/.850 (8-for-20), 4 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: House can get overshadowed in a system that also includes James Wood and Dylan Crews, but he shouldn’t. After a slow start to his career, he’s rebounded in a big way over the past few years, especially now that he has a clean bill of health. The third baseman reached Double-A last season, returned to the level this season and is continuing to take. He swatted three home runs this past week—including a walk-off blast on May 1—bringing his total to five for the season. Not bad for the fourth-youngest player in the league on Opening Day.  (JN)

15. Tink Hence, RHP, Cardinals

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

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: The longest outing of Hence’s career was also the best. On April 30, Hence went seven strong innings and punched out 10 hitters in his team’s win over Tulsa. The righthander also got 15 whiffs over the course of the outing in near-equal measure against his three-pitch mix. For the season, Hence’s 32.6% strikeout rate ranks second in his system, behind only Quinn Mathews. (JN)

16. Logan Evans, RHP, Mariners

Team: Double-A Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: Evans was the talk of Mariners’ camp and earned an Opening Day assignment to Double-A after being drafted in the 12th round last year. He struck out just five batters combined in his first three Texas League starts but has been cooking of late. Evans struck out a career-high nine in a start against San Antonnio last week, generating 11 whiffs with sharp command of his breaking stuff. (ME)

17. Gavin Cross, OF, Royals

Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 23

Why He’s Here: .409/.409/.773 (9-for-22), 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBIs, 0 BB, 7 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Drafted ninth overall out of Virginia Tech in 2022, Cross stumbled through his full-season debut last year at High-A. But things are looking up this season. Cross popped his first two home runs of the season last week—including a long opposite-field poke—and is hitting .301 with power and a manageable strikeout rate over the past 20 games, dating back to the Naturals’ second series of the year. (ME)

18. Cade Smith, RHP, Yankees

Team: Low-A Tampa (Florida State)
Age: 22

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 SO.

The Scoop: Early in the season, the Florida State League is a weird gumbo of players with vastly different resumes. There are a significant number of pitchers from big-name college programs pitching in warm weather before they get promoted to High-A, and then there are a lot of younger Latin American hitters making the jump from the complex league. Smith, a Mississippi State product, is one of those experienced pitchers whose FSL stay should be brief. He had Dunedin hitters swinging out of their shoes with his mid-80s slider, and he was throwing enough strikes with his 92-94 mph fastball to keep hitters from sitting on the slider. (JC)

19. T.J. Rumfield, 1B, Yankees 

Team: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International) 
Age: 23 

Why He’s Here: .360/.429/.680 (9-for-25), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 4 BB, 8 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The Yankees acquired Rumfield in November of 2021 from the Phillies and he’s slowly climbed the organization’s ladder reaching Triple-A in 2024. Last week, Rumfield collected three multi-hit games while reaching base in all six games against Jacksonville. While Rumfield had two home runs last week, he’s truly a hit over power prospect who rarely swings and misses in-zone.  Rumfield is running a higher strikeout rate, but his contact numbers (90% zone-contact) suggest that number is due for positive regression. (GP) 

20. Drew Romo, C, Rockies 

Team: Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast) 
Age: 22 

Why He’s Here: .556/.500/.889 (10-for-18), 3 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: It feels like Romo has been a prospect forever, as he’s been famous since his underclass seasons as a high school player. He’s just a shout away from the Rockies major league club and has continued to produce at the plate in 2024. Romo started last week hot as he collected nine hits in his first 11 at bats of the week, including four extra-base hits. Romo is a switch-hitter with strong bat-to-ball skills and enough defensive chops to be an everyday regular. (GP) 


Josh Ekness, RHP, Marlins

Miami popped Ekness in the 12th round of the 2023 draft out of Houston, where he transferred after two seasons at Lamar. At both stops the righthander showed a promising combination of high-octane heat and a nasty slider. This year, he’s using that mix to bully Low-A hitters. Over 10 games, Ekness has pitched 13 innings, allowed five hits, walked three and struck out 21. He’s brought his fastball up to 99 mph and has posted respective whiff and strikeout rates of 16.7% and 42%. The latter figure is the second-best in the Marlins’ system among pitchers with more than 10 innings. The caveat here is that he’s a college arm in Low-A, but the stuff is intriguing enough to make him someone to monitor as a possible quick mover. (JN)

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