Ranking The 20 Hottest MLB Prospects | Hot Sheet (6/4/24)


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 June 3. 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. Brandon Sproat, RHP, Mets

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

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.64, 14 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 15 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Despite all the negativity around the major league team, Mets fans have reasons to be optimistic. The team’s pitching development is beginning to churn out some intriguing starting pitching prospects. Sproat is among the hottest names in the system and last week he delivered a signature performance. He made two starts, going seven in each, while allowing a single earned run over period. He struck out 15 in total, including 10 on Sunday, and allowed just eight total baserunners. Sproat mixes a deep arsenal of pitch shapes with a four-seam, two-seam, slider, curveball and changeup. He has shown the ability to generate whiffs and weak contact and projects as a rotation piece in the future. (GP) 

2. Alejandro Rosario, RHP, Rangers

Team: Low-A Down East (Carolina)
Age: 22

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

The Scoop: After a subpar career at Miami, Rosario has looked like a new pitcher since turning pro. He’s changed the way he’s used his arsenal and begun to re-introduce his split-fingered fastball, all to great success. His most recent outing was a high-water mark in terms of strikeouts, which was especially impressive considering he needed just 66 pitches to get through six innings. For the year, he has 49 strikeouts against just five walks in 31.1 innings. (JN)

3. Trey Sweeney, SS, Dodgers 

Team: Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast) 
Age: 24 

Why He’s Here: .393/.433/1.143 (11-for-28), 10 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 14 RBIs, 2 BB, 8 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The Dodgers acquired the 2021 first-rounder from the Yankees early this offseason. Up until last week, Sweeney had shown inconsistent flashes to begin the season. That changed when he hit six home runs last week in Oklahoma City’s series at Albuquerque. Sweeney had hits in all six games of the series and had three multi-hit games in total. In addition he had a pair of multi-home run games in the series, including a three-homer game on Wednesday. Sweeney has a solid combination of all-around skills, but likely is best suited for a utility role. (GP) 

4. Kyle Teel, C, Red Sox 

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

Why He’s Here: .417/.517/.833 (10-for-24), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Marcelo Mayer and Roman Anthony grab most of the headlines, but Teel is on fire in Double-A Portland over the last month. He’s hitting .370/.463/.598 over his last 24 games while handling catching duties. Teel stayed hot with three multi-hit games and trio of home runs last week. He is showing above-average plate skills with developing power and a knack for consistently getting the ball in the air. Teel is one of the top catching prospects in the minor leagues. (GP) 

5. Henry Bolte, OF, Athletics

Team: High-A Lansing (Midwest)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .474/.583/.789 (9-for-19) 7 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SO, 4 SB, 1 CS

The Scoop: Bolte is having a breakout season in the Midwest League and currently ranks among the league leaders in almost every offensive category. Bolte still swings through pitches in the zone, but he knows the strike zone, and pitchers respect him enough that he draws plenty of walks. When he makes contact, he punishes the ball. He’s a power-speed prospect who is well worth keeping an eye on. (JC)

6. Luis Perales, RHP, Red Sox

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

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: After eviscerating the competition at High-A, Perales moved to Double-A and didn’t skip a beat. The righthander—who already has a spot on the 40-man roster—can dominate with an arsenal led by a high-90s fastball and buttressed with a nasty breaking ball and splitter. After punching out seven in his first five innings, he now has 53 strikeouts in 31.1 innings across the two levels. (JN)

7.  Josue De Paula, OF, Dodgers

Team: Low-A Rancho Cucamonga (California)
Age: 19

Why He’s Here: .409/.536/.682 (9-for-22), 3 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 6 BB, 7 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: De Paula is one of the most precocious hitters in the minors, and he’s continuing to buttress that reputation in his second turn at Low-A. The lefty-swinging teenager added three extra-base hits to his ledger this past week to bring his slugging percentage to .471, the eighth-best figure in the league. His 19 XBHs are the third-most in the league, just two off the lead. (JN)

8. Xavier Isaac, 1B, Rays

Team: High-A Bowling Green (South Atlantic)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: .364/.444/.727 (8-for-22), 4 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Isaac’s calling card has long been his light-tower power. His nine home runs place him second in the South Atlantic League, just one off the lead. His 44 RBIs are the most on the circuit, too, and his 88 total bases are just one behind Pirates prospect Charles McAdoo for the most in the league. Lefty power is one of the most coveted tools in the game, and Isaac has it in spades. (JN)

9. Lazaro Montes, OF, Mariners

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

Why He’s Here: .407/.469/.630 (11-for-27), 4 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Montes added another home run to his record this past week, bringing his season total to nine, the best in the California League. In fact, the powerful Mariners slugger holds the Cal League’s triple crown through roughly two months of action. Those figures also include a league-best .330 batting average and an RBI total of 57 that outpaces next-best hitters (teammates Michael Arroyo and Luis Suisbel) by 21 RBIs. His 102 total bases are the most in the Cal League. (JN)

10. Spencer Horwitz, 1B, Blue Jays

Team: Triple-A Buffalo
Age: 26 

Why He’s Here: .455/.586/.864 (10-for-22), 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 6 BB, 1 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: There’s no doubting Horwitz’s ability to hit. The first baseman is a career .306/.412/.468 hitter as he approaches 450 minor league games. Horwitz lacks the plus power of your prototypical first baseman, but has excellent plate skills, walks at a high rate and limits strikeouts. Last week, Horwitz’s bat made Syracuse pay over and over again. Horwitz reached base twice in five of the six games in the series and drove in nine runs. His signature game of the week came on Saturday. Horwitz went 5-for-6 with a pair of doubles, a home run and six RBIs. Horwitz is a strong minor league hitter who might not have enough power for a full-time role at first base in MLB.  (GP) 

11. Hao-Yu Lee, 2B, Tigers

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

Why He’s Here: .444/.448/.815 (12-for-27), 7 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 0 SB

The Scoop: The Tigers acquired Lee from the Phillies in exchange for Michael Lorenzen at the 2023 trade deadline. Last week he collected a hit in all six games at Richmond, including a four-hit game on June 1. Lee hit three home runs last week and has eight on the season, which puts him on pace to obliterate his personal best of nine.  (ME)

12. Kevin McGonigle, SS/2B, Tigers 

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

Why He’s Here: .455/.500/.727 (10-for-22), 3 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The Tigers drafted McGonigle in the supplemental first round last year out of high school in Pennsylvania. The Florida State League has posed little challenge in his full-season debut. The sweet-swinging lefthanded hitter collected a hit in five of six games at Clearwater last week, including a pair of three-hit games. (ME)

13. Quinn Mathews, LHP, Cardinals 

Team: High-A Peoria (Midwest)
Age: 23 

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

The Scoop: A year ago at this time, Mathews put together a string of gutsy performances in the NCAA Tournament for Stanford. Now, he’s one of the top breakout pitching prospects of 2024. Mathews was often viewed as a pitchability lefty who wasn’t expected to dominate pro ball. But a jump in fastball velocity and overall stuff has seen Mathews boost his stock this season. Last week Mathews continued his dominant run with High-A Peoria tossing six scoreless innings while allowing just two baserunners to reach. Mathews is the perfect example of what can happen with pitchers with high pitchability experience a jump in stuff. (GP)

14. Richard Fitts, RHP, Red Sox

Team: Triple-A Worcester (International)
Age: 24

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

The Scoop: Fitts matched his season high with seven strikeouts in a gem of a start at Charlotte, one of the toughest pitcher’s parks in the minor leagues. He retired the first 21 batters he faced, not allowing a hit until Oscar Colas singled in the eighth. Fitts sat 94 mph in this start and commanded his riding fastball for called strikes and whiffs. His high-80s slider was his best secondary in this start. (ME)

15. Adrian Del Castillo, C, Diamondbacks 

Team: Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast) 
Age: 24 

Why He’s Here: .462/.533/.808 (12-for-26), 7 R, 6 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Few hitters are having a better season than Del Castillo in 2024. He has taken the Pacific Coast League by storm with a 142 wRC+ ver 51 Triple-A games while showing above-average power with a low strikeout rate. Del Castillo continued his hot hitting last week by opening the series against Salt Lake City with four consecutive multi-hit games. He also had extra-base hits in five straight games to open the series last week, as he showcased his balance of contact and power. Del Castillo continues to see a majority of his time defensively behind the plate, and offers the D-Backs an offensive catcher with a short to the majors ETA. (GP)

16. Will Wagner, 2B, Astros

Team: Triple-A Sugar Land (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .611/.680/1.000 (11-for-18) 7 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 5 RBIs, 6 BB, 2 SO, 1 SB

The Scoop: Wagner is the kind pure-hitting multi-position infielder that often finds a way to carve out a solid big league career. He’s not a big home run threat, but he makes tons of solid contact, and at the rate he’s going, he’ll have twice as many walks as strikeouts before long. He actually started this year in a brutal slump. He didn’t get his batting average to .200 until April 20, but he’s been on such a tear that he raised his batting average to .300 on Sunday. (JC)

17. Michael Arroyo, 2B, Mariners

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

Why He’s Here: .381/.519/.667 (8-for-21), 9 R, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 4 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB

The Scoop: Arroyo is arguably the fourth best hitting prospect to play for Modesto this year. He’s also one of the best prospects in the California League. That’s just how loaded the Nuts are, as Arroyo hits in a lineup that includes Lazaro Montes, Jonny Farmelo, Aidan Smith and (when healthy) Colt Emerson. (JC)

18. Ashton Izzi, RHP, Mariners

Team: Low-A Modesto (California)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 2 G, 2 GS, 10 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 HBP, 5 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: The Mariners have been patient with Izzi, a projectable fourth-rounder out of Illinois in 2022. He didn’t make his pro debut until 2023 and didn’t reach full-season ball until this year. He’s still not close to being a finished product, but he can run his fastball up to 97, he has a solid slider and no one seems to square him up. He’s allowed just one home run, no triples and seven doubles in 10 starts. (JC)

19. Jarlin Susana, RHP, Nationals

Team: High-A Fredericksburg (South Atlantic)
Age: 20

Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 H, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: It’s hard to believe that Susana is still only 20 years old, because he’s already gone through the cycle of being a premium arm to one whose lack of fastball movement causes concerns. He has struggled most of this season in High-A, but this week’s start was easily the best of the season for him. (JC)

20. Austin Bergner, RHP, Tigers

Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Age: 27

Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.80, 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: Bergner is consistently an excellent pitcher at Double-A Erie. And frustratingly for him and the Tigers, that success never seems to carry over to Triple-A. Bergner is 12-5, 3.13 with a solid 194-to-68 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a .209 opponent’s average in 167 Double-A innings. When he gets promoted to Triple-A Toledo, everything falls apart. He’s made 22 appearances and 16 starts for Toledo over three different seasons, and he’s 2-6, 8.60 with a .286 opponent’s average. Bergner posted an 11.57 ERA in five April starts in Toledo. Sent back to Double-A, he’s 2-1, 3.20 in five starts, including this gem last week. At this point, it’s fair to say that it’s hard to say it’s going to convince anyone he’s ready for another shot at Triple-A, but it’s still an excellent week. (JC)


Walter Pennington, LHP, Royals

Pennington was one of the surprise stars of spring training as he struck out 16 of the 29 batters he faced while posting a 1.23 ERA in nine appearances. While that was impressive, it was fair to wonder if the funky lefty could do the same thing in Triple-A over a longer stint. He has cleared that hurdle as well.

Pennington, a nondrafted free agent the Royals signed in 2020 out of the Colorado School of Mines, made three appearances last against Indianapolis. He faced 21 batters. He struck out 12 of them and allowed only one to reach base. He’s posted a 1.85 ERA overall with a hard-to-fathom 62-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 39 innings. It’s best to describe Pennington as a slider-fastball reliever. He uses his slider more than anything else against righties or lefties. He spots his low-90s fastball, but it’s that plus slider that ties up hitters. With the Royals needing bullpen help, it’s hard to believe Pennington won’t get the call at some point. (JC)

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