Spring Training Hot Sheet: Baseball's 10 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (3/28/23)
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 27. 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. Alec Burleson, OF, Cardinals
Why He’s Here: .500/.533/.857 (7-for-14), 3 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 1 RBIs, 0 BB, 1 SO
The Scoop: Burleson was one of the better hitters in the minor leagues last season, when he put together a .905 OPS and hit 20 home runs at Triple-A Memphis. The East Carolina alum struggled in the big leagues, however, hitting .118 over 48 at-bats. He’d had a relatively slow spring until recently; nearly half of his hits and extra-base hits have come since March 20.
2. James Outman, OF, Dodgers
Why He’s Here: .375/.444/.750 (6-for-16), 2 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Outman had a memorable moment in his first big league stint, when he homered in his first at-bat. After going back down to Triple-A, he hit for the cycle twice in four days with Oklahoma City. Outman will be back with the Dodgers for Opening Day after a hot Cactus League campaign that has seen him go 15-for-51 with three home runs with just a few days remaining before the regular season begins.
3. Anthony Volpe, SS, Yankees
Why He’s Here: .313/.389/.750 (5-for-16), 5 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Volpe forced the Yankees’ hand with an outstanding spring and earned a spot on the big league roster for Opening Day. The 21-year-old performed throughout the Grapefruit League against all types of pitching, including a recent game against the Phillies when he finished a home run shy of the cycle and collected two extra-base hits against Phillies ace Aaron Nola.
4. Michael Toglia, 1B, Rockies
Why He’s Here: .368/.429/.737 (7-for-19), 7 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: The Rockies as a whole were hot this week, earning three spots on the Hot Sheet. Toglia has long been known as a player with a power-over-hit profile, and that’s shown up during spring training. He’s hit for a higher average (.288), and nearly half of his hits have gone for extra bases, but his strikeout rate is still hovering around 30%.
5. Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Rockies
Why He’s Here: .500/.563/.786 (7-for-14), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: In limited action due to injury last season, Tovar proved he was much more than a stellar gloveman. He’d started showing increased bat life during the 2021 Arizona Fall League, but was a bit overmatched during his big league debut in 2022. He’s put together a solid spring, with plenty of contact (a strikeout rate of just 17.5% and a pair of home runs in 57 plate appearances). He should get plenty of time this season to show just how much of his potential he can achieve.
6. Jared Shuster, LHP, Braves
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 3.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Even in a thinned-out Braves system, Shuster has made a compelling case that there are a few more gems to be mined. The Wake Forest alum has been excellent this spring, with just seven hits and 18 strikeouts in 18.2 innings. He battled tooth and nail with Dylan Dodd for the fifth spot in Atlanta’s rotation and made the Opening Day roster with Kyle Wright set to begin the year on the injured list. In the interim, he’ll continue to vie for a permanent spot in the starting five.
7. Kevin Kelly, RHP, Rays
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 3.60, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Tampa Bay’s Rule 5 pick from Cleveland made the big league roster. The Virginia alum has been stellar this spring, with 21 strikeouts in 13.1 innings. He allowed two runs in his last outing, but also racked up four strikeouts, including swinging whiffs of all-star Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu.
8. Sean Hjelle, RHP, Giants
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.80, 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: The mammoth Hjelle has been lights-out this spring, with 22 strikeouts in 17 three-run innings. In fact, he’s struck out exactly four hitters in each of his five March outings. He looks likely to nab a relief role on San Francisco’s Opening Day roster.
9. Brenton Doyle, OF, Rockies
Why He’s Here: .600/.600/1.000 (6-for-10), 2 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBIs, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Doyle has always been a tooled-up prospect … he’s just never fully put it together. He’s got power and speed but has been a well below-average hitter throughout his career. Doyle has been excellent this spring, with a .326/.404/.457 line. If he can carry his spring into the regular minor league season, he could revive his prospect stock.
10. Kerry Carpenter, OF, Tigers
Why He’s Here: .462/.500/.692 (6-for-13), 3 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO
The Scoop: Carpenter did nothing but hit all season long in the minor leagues and in doing so became one of the best stories of the year in the Tigers’ system. He clubbed six more home runs in the big leagues, bringing his total to 36 for the season. The Virginia Tech product has been solid this spring—he’s sporting a .954 OPS—and looks likely to head north with Detroit.