Spring Training Hot Sheet: Baseball's 10 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (3/14/23)
The Hot Sheet is back! Baseball America's staff ranks the 10 hottest prospects from the previous week. This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did through March 13. Contributing this week was Josh Norris.
This 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.
1. Josh Jung, 3B, Rangers
Why He’s Here: .417/.417/1.167 (5-for-12), 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 0 BB, 1 SO
The Scoop: The math with Jung is simple: When he’s on the field, he hits. After recovering from a shoulder injury suffered before last season, he blitzed Triple-A and made his big league debut. He ran into a bit of a rough patch in his big league debut but made some swing changes in the offseason and has come on strong in the spring. He’s 9-for-29 this spring with a pair of home runs.
2. Casey Schmitt, 3B, Giants
Why He’s Here: .500/.500/1.000 (7-for-14), 2 R, 0 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: After a 2022 season that started at High-A and ended in Triple-A, Schmitt established himself as one of the best prospects in San Francisco’s system. He’d already long been known as a stellar defender, but a burgeoning offensive game was the icing on the cake. He’s been red hot this spring, going 12-for-26 with a pair of home runs in nine Cactus League games. He also has two triples, which equals the total he produced in 126 minor league games in 2022.
3. Oscar Colas, OF, White Sox
Why He’s Here: .417/.462/.917 (5-for-12), 4 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 BB, 0 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Colas has a good shot of landing in the White Sox’s outfield on Opening Day, possibly pushing Eloy Jimenez to a DH role. The Cuban signee was impressive on both sides of the ball in his first season after signing with Chicago. Across three levels, he hit .314/.371/.524 with 23 home runs. He’s been scorching this spring, too, with a 1.052 OPS and two longballs in 14 games.
4. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 3B, Reds
Why He’s Here: .444/.444/1.111 (4-for-9), 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 0 BB, 1 SO
The Scoop: If he doesn’t make it as a big leaguer, Encarnacion-Strand might have a future with the grounds crew … because the dude rakes. The former Twins farmhand has crushed all spring and added his fourth Cactus League home run this past week. He’s played in 12 games and recorded multiple hits in half of them, including a 3-for-3 effort with a double and a home run on March 10.
5. Hayden Wesneski, RHP, Cubs
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Wesneski was the lone piece the Cubs received from the Yankees in return for reliever Scott Effross. The righthander made his big league debut in 2022 and went 3-2, 2.18 in six games (four starts) and tossed in an immaculate inning for good measure. He spun four perfect frames in his last outing and so far this spring has allowed just five hits over 8.2 innings while striking out 11 hitters.
6. Jared Shuster, LHP, Braves
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.35, 6.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO, 1 HR
The Scoop: The Braves do not have a Top 100 prospect, but Shuster’s spring might have him knocking on the door of the list. The Wake Forest alum has allowed just two hits in 8.2 innings over three games—two starts. Atlanta has had an excellent recent run of graduating young talent to the big leagues and turning them into productive players or better. Shuster could be the next in line.
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7. Michael Toglia, 1B, Rockies
Why He’s Here: .333/.368/.667 (6-for-18), 4 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Toglia made his big league debut in 2022 and could get extended playing time in 2023 as part of the first wave of the Rockies’ sneaky-good farm system. He’s making a case for inclusion with a strong Cactus League campaign, which was jump-started in recent days by home runs in consecutive games off of two of the game’s better upper-level pitching prospects—Kyle Muller (A’s) and Drey Jameson (D-backs).
8. Kerry Carpenter, OF, Tigers
Why He’s Here: .500/.533/.929 (7-for-14), 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop: Carpenter came out of nowhere (some might argue he came out of Virginia Tech) in 2022 to post one of the minor leagues’ most dominant seasons. He crushed 30 home runs at both upper-level affiliates before moving to Detroit for 103 at-bats. He posted a .795 OPS during that time. This spring, he’s continued to hit. He has a pair of home runs in 28 at-bats and should get plenty of run this year in the big leagues.
9. Jasson Dominguez, OF, Yankees
Why He’s Here: .429/.500/1.286 (3-for-7), 2 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop: The Yankees have gotten a ton of production from their top prospects this spring, and Dominguez’s outburst might be the most tantalizing. The 20-year-old’s four home runs not only lead the team, but also place him in an 11-way (!!!) tie for the top of the spring training leaderboard. He’ll get more upper-level experience this year and should have Yankees fans excited for the day he reaches the Bronx.
10. Heston Kjerstad, OF, Orioles
Why He’s Here: .333/.385/.833 (4-for-12), 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: Kjerstad has done well to make up for all the time and reps he lost during the pandemic and to injuries afterward. The Arkansas product led the Arizona Fall League in home runs and has swatted three more so far this spring. Five of his 11 hits have gone for extra bases, furthering his case to move up the ranks of Baltimore’s top-ranked farm system.