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Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (4/15/19)

Luis_Robert_BillMitchell.jpg
Luis Robert (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Welcome back to the Hot Sheet, which ranks the 20 hottest prospects from the previous week. This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from April 8-14. Contributing this week were J.J. Cooper, Justin Coleman, Josh Norris and Ben Badler.

Remember, 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. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox
Team: High Class A Winston-Salem (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 475/.512/1.025 (19-for-40), 13 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 15 RBIs, 1 BB, 9 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: This is what the White Sox were waiting for, and all it took was an extended period of health. Robert is one of the most tooled-up athletes not only in his organization, but in all of the minor leagues. He wowed evaluators in the Arizona Fall League, and now is doing the same again in his return to high Class A. Catch him while you can in Winston-Salem, he shouldn’t be there very long. (JN)


2. Nolan Gorman, 3B, Cardinals
Team: Low Class A Peoria (Midwest)
Age: 18
Why He's Here: .395/.442/.868 (15-for-38), 10 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBIs, 3 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: Oh, you thought last year was a fluke? Think again. Gorman, whom evaluators tab as having the potential for 70-grade power once he reaches the major leagues, picked up 2019 where he left off last year. In 73 pro games, Gorman has swatted 21 homers in just 275 at-bats, good for one roughly every 13 at-bats. (JN)


3. Yordan Alvarez, OF, Astros
Team:
Triple-A Round Rock (Pacific Coast)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .344/.488/.969 (11-for-32), 9 R, 2 2B, 6 HR, 12 RBIs, 9 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: The Dodgers signed Alvarez for $2 million on the last day of the 2015-16 international signing period. Two weeks later, before Alvarez ever played a game for the Dodgers, they traded him to the Astros for reliever Josh Fields. It's not a blunder on the level of the White Sox trading Fernando Tatis Jr. to the Padres before Tatis ever played an official pro game, but Alvarez's stock has blown up since then, with a combination of patience and plus-plus power from the left side that makes him the game's No. 36 overall prospect. (BB)


4. Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers.
Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Age: 21.
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.75, 2 GS, 12 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 15 K

The Scoop: Manning throws a three-pitch mix which is helped out by his excellent extension on the mound. The 6-foot-6 righthander attacks hitters with a fastball that sits 91-95 mph followed by a harder, low-80s power curveball. His first start was pretty dominant, giving up just one run across five innings against the Trenton Thunder. He followed up that performance with an even better one against the Altoona Curve, spinning seven scoreless innings while surrendering just one hit and striking out 10 batters. (JC)


5. Tirso Ornelas, OF, Padres
Team: High Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: .326/.423/.535 (14-for-43), 11 R, 2 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 8 BB, 12 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Ornelas was part of the Padres' pool-busting 2016-17 signing class when they spent roughly a gazillion dollars on international free agents. He has an advanced hitting approach for his age, controlling the strike zone well with good bat control from the left side. If he keeps raking, he could finish the season as a teenager in Double-A. (BB)


6. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles
Team: Low Class A Delmarva (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.00, 11 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 20 SO

The Scoop: All of a sudden, the Orioles have some very interesting young pitching. DL Hall is one of the best young lefthanders in the game, and Rodriguez is quickly coming up behind him. Rodriguez has made his first two starts look incredibly easy thanks to a 92-97 mph fastball that explodes on hitters from an easy delivery. He also mixes both a power slider and an 11-to-5 curveball. Of the first 40 batters he's faced, Rodriguez has struck out 20. (JJ)

7. Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals
Team:
Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .310/.353/.619 (13-for-42), 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 5 BB, 7 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The Cardinals drafted Carlson when he was 17, put him in the low Class A Midwest League the next year and he's continued up the ladder as one of the youngest players in his league each season. While Carlson has yet to post big numbers, that could change this year, with signs of emerging power to go with already strong plate discipline for his age. (BB)


8. Luis Campusano, C, Padres
Team: High Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .474/.533/.684 (18-for-38),9 R, 5 2Bs, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 6 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Campusano has made a better impression on scouts for his defense than his offense, with soft hands and a plus arm behind the plate. So the fast start, albeit in the high Class A Calfornia League, is a welcome sign for Campusano, who's done a better job early on getting the ball in the air to tap into his strength. (BB)


9. Hans Crouse, RHP, Rangers
Team: Low Class A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 11 SO, 0 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: With a new grip on his changeup, Crouse has been dominant in his first two turns of the season. He’s still throwing the mid-90s fastball and wipeout slider, but the improved third pitch helps him lefthanders something to think about as well. The No. 2 prospect in the short-season Northwest League is quickly earning a reputation in the South Atlantic League as well. (JN)


10. Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays.
Team: High Class A Dunedin (Florida State League)
Age: 22.
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.75, 3 GS, 12 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 17 K

The Scoop: Pearson is taking a step in the right direction after suffering from an injury plagued 2018. He suffered from oblique issues for the first month of 2018, and then took a line drive off his pitching elbow which caused him to miss time with a broken ulna. The hard-throwing righthander is slowly beginning to build up innings, highlighted by his most recent start where he tossed five scoreless innings with nine strikeouts against the Bradenton Marauders. The most encouraging sign for Pearson is how consistently he's throwing strikes. So far two out of every three pitches he's thrown is a strike. (JC)


11. Will Craig, 1B, Pirates
Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .308/.438/.795 (12-for-39), 9 R, 1 2B, 6 HR, 11 RBIs, 7 BB, 10 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: When the Pirates drafted Craig, he was a strong-armed third baseman. He's since slid across the infield to first base, where that arm isn't as handy and the expectations for his bat become even harder to meet. Craig did show improved power last year, hitting 20 home runs. He's more than picked up where he left off with a minor league leading six home runs. (JJ)


12. Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pirates
Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .371/.450/.714 (13-for-35), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs, 5 BB, 9 SO, 3-for-5 SB.

The Scoop: The Pirates outfield of the future just a few years ago was Starling MarteGregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen with Austin Meadows eventually replacing McCutchen. McCutchen is now long gone, Polanco is working back from a shoulder injury and Meadows is starring in Tampa Bay. Replacements Corey Dickerson (hamstring) and Lonnie Chisenhall (finger) are both on the injured list, so the Pirates outfield of the present has ended up being Marte, Jason Martin and Melky Cabrera. Reynolds is off to a fine start, but with a trio of MLB outfielders currently on the IL, his path to Pittsburgh this year will only get tougher as the season wears on. (JJ)


13. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP, Phillies
Team: Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.75, 2 GS, 12 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 19 SO

The Scoop: De Los Santos' fastball-changeup combo is quite good, but the encouraging sign early this season is he's getting some swings and misses with his breaking ball, which has long been a distant third pitch. De Los Santos likes to go up in the strike zone with his fastball and is prone to overthrowing a little when he does so, but when he's dotting the black of the plate to De Los Santos' glove side like he has so far, he's a real tough at-bat for righthanded hitters. So far this year they are hitting .080 against him. (JJ)


14. Willie MacIver, C, Rockies
Team: Low Class A Asheville (South Atlantic)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .382/.405/.824 (13-for-34), 6 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 2 BB, 12 SO.

The Scoop: If you recognize MacIver's name, you're likely either a true prospect aficionado or you live in the Northwest and remember MacIver from his time at Washington. But MacIver is offering reminders of the promise he showed before a broken hamate ruined his draft year at Washington. He's getting a chance to catch more and he's finding the small dimensions of Asheville's McCormick Field very much to his liking so far. McIver his five home runs in three years at Washington with a metal bat. He's already hit four this year in just 12 games. (JJ)

Carter Kieboom Zachlucyfourseam

Stephen Strasburg Signing Opens Path For Carter Kieboom

With Strasburg's signing seemingly dimming the chances of an Anthony Rendon return, a clear path opens for Kieboom.

15. Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals
Team: Triple-A Fresno (Pacific Coast)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .382/.488/.618 (13-for-34), 3 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 6 BB, 12 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: All he does is hit, hit, hit, no matter what. Kieboom is the youngest position player in the PCL, and he’s come out of the gates blazing hot. This, after more than holding his own last year in his first taste of Double-A. Both Triple-A leagues are using the major league baseball this year, which should boost offensive numbers around the league. Kieboom’s pedigree and track record, however, say he would be hitting no matter what pitchers threw his way. (JN)


16. Will Stewart, LHP, Marlins
Team: High Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.35, 13.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 11 SO, 5 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Stewart had quite the year in 2018, when he went from unheralded pitcher, to prospect, to a part of one of the biggest trades off the winter. He’s started off well with his new organization, using his signature combination and changeup in concert with an improved slider to help hold down the competition in his first two FSL starts. He was particularly dynamic in his most recent turn, when he allowed one hit over 7.2 innings. (JN)


17. Jorge Mateo, SS, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .395/.435/.605 (17-for-43), 11 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 9 SO, 4-for-7 SB

The Scoop: Consistency has not been Mateo's strong suit. He runs hot and cold. When he's hot, he's a dynamic difference-maker with speed and gap power. When he runs cold, he's an easy out. He was an easy out way too often last year, as he hit .230/.280/.353 for Triple-A Nashville. But right now, he's hot again and as such, he's one of the more dynamic players in the Pacific Coast League. (JJ)


18. Eli Morgan, RHP, Indians
Team: High Class A Lynchburg (Carolina)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: 2-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 11 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 15 SO.

The Scoop: After blitzing through the New York-Penn League and South Atlantic League, Morgan was solid but unspectacular last year at Lynchburg, which helps explain why he's back in the Carolina League after throwing 99.1 innings there last season. Morgan is showing he's ready for a bump to Double-A. In his first two starts, Morgan's changeup-heavy approach has been too much for the league's hitters. Morgan's changeup has plenty of deception and some late drop, which allows his 90-91 mph fastball to sneak by hitters as well. At his best, he'll trick righthanded hitters into taking fastballs on the outer edge of the plate because they've just swung through similarly placed changeups that dropped out of the zone. Morgan works quickly and aggressively attacks hitters, but he'll have to prove his fastball and slider are good enough to let the changeup continue to play at higher levels. (JJ)


19. Daniel Tillo, LHP, Royals
Team: High Class A Wilmington (Carolina)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 1.38, 13 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 7 SO, 3 BB, 1 HR

The Scoop: It might be easy to overlook Tillo in a Wilmington rotation that also includes Brady SingerJackson Kowar and Daniel Lynch, but that would be a mistake. The lefthander has carved hitters in his first two starts with a hard-cutting fastball in the 93-95 mph range and paired it with a slider that comes in on roughly the same plane as his heater. That combination has given hitters fits in the early going, and he came two infield dinkers away from a seven-inning no-hitter his last time out. (JN)


20. Tres Barrera, C, Nationals
Team: Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .538/.586/.846 (14-for-26), 5 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO.

The Scoop: Barrera is closer to the big leagues now that he was coming out of last season because the Nationals have sent Pedro Severino to the Orioles. Barrera is a better all-around defender than the now-departed Severino, so his path to at least a backup job depends on him showing he's at least a usable bat. So far, he's done more than that, as he's off to a very hot start. The Texas Longhorn has never hit better than .278 or topped eight home runs in a season, but so far he's showing signs of improvement. (JJ)


Helium

Josh Green, RHP, D-Backs

Keep an eye on Arizona righthander Josh Green, the team’s 14th rounder from 2018 who skipped low Class A in his first full pro season. BA profiled Green during spring training, and the early reviews have been excellent. He’s still getting grounders at a better than 3-to-1 clip and has drawn early comparisons to former D-Backs stud Brandon Webb for the power sink his fastball features.

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