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Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (4/22/19)

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Ty France (Photo courtesy of El Paso)

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 15-21. Contributing this week were Kyle Glaser, Ben Badler and Justin Coleman. 

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. Ty France, 3B/1B/2B, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .571/.636/1.500 (16-for-28), 13 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 17 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: In a loaded Padres system, it was France who led the organization in total bases, runs and RBIs last year and tied for the lead in home runs. That performance got him put on the 40-man roster in the offseason, and he’s now on the verge of mashing his way to his major league debut. France extended his hit streak to 14 games during his incredible week, capped by hitting back-to-back homers twice with Josh Naylor on Sunday. Most notably, France did his damage while primarily playing second base, a position he had never previously played in his professional career. With Ian Kinsler batting .154 with four extra-base hits this season and Luis Urias just demoted to Triple-A, the stars are aligning for France to make his major league debut at second base in San Diego. (KG)


2. Drew Waters, OF, Braves
Team: Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .375/.412/.656 (12-for-32), 4 R, 6 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: While fellow 20-year-old outfielder Cristian Pache is hitting .309/.361/.618 for Double-A Mississippi, Waters—born a month after Pache—is right there with his teammate at .333/.389/.515 through 15 games. The 22 strikeouts are high, but if Waters gets a fastball in his hot zone early in the count, he's up there doing damage with an aggressive approach. (BB)


3. Will Benson, OF, Indians
Team: Low Class A Lake County (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .444/.500/1.333 (8-for-18), 7 R, 1 2B, 5 HRs, 12 RBIs, 2 BB, 9 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Usually it's a pitcher who puts himself on the Hot Sheet based on one dominant game. But Benson managed to do it as a hitter, hitting four home runs—yes, four home runs—on April 18. Benson endured a rough 2018 season with Lake County, batting .180/.324/.370 with 152 strikeouts in 123 games last year. Through his first 13 games back there, he's hitting .340/.426/.830, albeit with a 39 percent strikeout rate that remains concerning. (BB)


4. Trey Supak, RHP, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 2 G, 2 GS, 1-0, 0.00, 13 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: Back in Double-A after 16 starts there last season, Supak looks like he won't need much more time in the Southern League. Through his first four outings, Supak has a 1.52 ERA and a 15-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 23.2 innings. (BB)


5. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B/1B, Orioles
Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International) 
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .370/.357/.889 (10-for-27), 8 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 0 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Mountcastle continues to show he is a pure hitter capable of changing a game with one swing. That’s taken on particular importance because he’s moved from third base to first base this year on account of his well below-average arm. (JC)



6. Bryan Abreu, RHP, Astros
Team: High Class A Fayetteville (Carolina) 
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 3.72, 9.2, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 18 SO, 2 HR

The Scoop: Abreu has picked up where he left off last season, when he dominated the Midwest League with a 1.64 ERA and a sparkling 15.97 strikeouts per nine innings. The Astros’ No. 10 prospect attacks hitters with a plus fastball that tops out at 96 mph. In addition, he throws what is considered to be the best curveball in the organization. That two-pitch mix has helped him post 25 strikeouts against just six walks in 14.2 innings to start the season. (JC)



7. Luis Gil, RHP, Yankees
Team: Low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: The Yankees’ No. 26 prospect dominated against Augusta in his lone start, tossing five scoreless innings of one-hit ball with nine strikeouts. Gil features a fastball that can touch triple digits and a curveball that could be above-average with more consistency. He tends to have some issues maintaining his delivery and gets into trouble with walks, but he was in control during his last start and showed just how dominant he can be. (JC)



8. Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates
Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International) 
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.79, 11.1 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 13 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: The Pirates’ top prospect has bounced back with two solid starts after a pair of rocky outings to begin the year. After giving up 11 hits and five earned runs in 8.2 innings to start the year, he pitched 5.1 innings of one-run ball in his third start and delivered six scoreless innings on Sunday. With more outings like he had this week, Keller will find himself in Pittsburgh’s rotation before the end of the season. (JC)

9. Omar Estevez, 2B/SS, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .571/.591/.905 (12-for-21), 4 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Estevez looked like another Cuban signing bust for the Dodgers after his first two seasons, but a new series of hitting drills got him to stay behind the baseball more and set off a late-season outburst at the end of last year. He’s carried over his scorching finish into 2019, fashioning four-multi-hit games in the past week to give him a .443 batting average and a 1.142 OPS to start the season. Estevez lacks big tools beyond his bat so he will need his offense to carry him, but since last July he’s shown that may not be a problem. (KG).


10. Chris Rodriguez, RHP, Angels
Team: High Class A Inland Empire (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0-00, 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Rodriguez missed all of last season nursing a stress reaction in his back but has come back a new man in 2019. In his season debut, he flashed a fastball up to 97 mph and command of three secondaries that all drew plus grades from evaluators in attendance. He’s since shown it wasn’t a fluke, delivering his third straight scoreless start to open the season last Friday. With four scoreless innings, seven strikeouts and no walks in his latest outing, Rodriguez once again showed the stuff to overwhelm his peers and further solidified his status as another premium pitching prospect in the Angels' system with Griffin Canning and Jose Suarez. (KG)


11. Tyler Beede, RHP, Giants
Team: Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25
Why He's Here: 2 G, 2 GS, 0-0, 2.70, 10 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 15 SO

The Scoop: The baseballs are flying in Triple-A ballparks this year, but that hasn't been the case with Beede on the mound. A first-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2014, Beede's stock has tumbled in recent years, but he's going to force his way back to San Francisco pitching like this, with a chance to develop into a back-end starter. (BB)


12. Seth Beer, OF/1B, Astros
Team:
High Class A Fayetteville (Carolina)
Age: 
22
Why He’s Here:
.391/.440/.957 (9-for-23). 6 R. 4 2B, 3 HR, 1 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: 
The 2018 first-rounder returned to high Class A after a middling showing at the level last year and has kicked his game up a notch. Beer has six multi-hit games already and is getting to his power with a three-double game on April 16 and three home runs in a five-game stretch. It’s critical that he continues to get to his power, because the offensive-minded Beer may have to break into the majors as a designated hitter unless his defense and athleticism take radical steps forward. (JC)



13. Dermis Garcia, 1B, Yankees
Team: High Class A Tampa (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .333/.360/.917 (8-for-24), 2 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Garcia is a bit of a one-tricky pony, but that one trick—massive raw power—sure is fun to watch when a pitch comes right into his swing path. Make a mistake and Garcia can hammer it out of the park, something he did four times this past week, though his pitch recognition and swing hold him back as a prospect. (BB)


14. Cal Quantrill, RHP, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 2.31, 11.2 IP, 11 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Quantrill fell off the Top 100 Prospect list with a rocky season at Double-A last year, but just as everyone seemingly stopped paying attention, he finished the year strong at Triple-A El Paso. Back at El Paso with the major league ball flying out at a prodigious rate all around Triple-A, Quantrill managed to keep the ball in the yard in his hitter-friendly home park while striking out more than one batter per inning over two starts last week. Quantrill has gotten better each successive start to begin the year, and if his command and consistency continue to trend in the right direction, his major league debut won’t be far off. (KG).


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2019 Florida State League All-Star Teams

Prospects like Royce Lewis, Jonathan India, Vidal Brujan and William Contreras headline the 2019 Florida State League All-Star Game.

15. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Mariners
Team: L
ow Class A West Virginia (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .462/.500/.769 (12-for-26), 7 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Kelenic was the centerpiece prospect the Mariners acquired from the Mets in the Edwin Diaz/Robinson Cano trade last offseason and is off to a nice start in his new organization. The 19-year-old outfielder is on a nine-game hitting streak after his hot week, including five multi-hit games in that stretch. With plus athleticism and five above-average tools, Kelenic will remain a premium prospect as long as he keeps performing. (JC)


16. Edmundo Sosa, SS, Cardinals
Team: Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .556/.579/.889 (10-for-18), 3 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Health and improved effort led Sosa to move from Double-A to Triple-A to the majors last season. Though he’s known for his glove, he showed a power spike last season and is now showing improved contact ability. Sosa notched a pair of three-hit games last week and overall is off to a .354/404/.563 start to the season. He’s long been seen as a future utilityman, but if his offense keeps trending up like it has the last two seasons, he’ll become much more. (KG).


17. Livan Soto, SS, Angels
Team: Low Class A Burlington (Midwest)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .524/.565/.619 (11-for-21), 4 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, 4 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Originally signed by the Braves, Soto was one of the prospects released when the organization was punished for violating international signing rules. He’s been a strong addition to the Angels' system, showing an excellent defensive skillset, good bat-to-ball skills and a solid understanding of the strike zone. The infielder still has some physical maturing to do, but he’s starting to show the ability to impact the ball at a young age. (JC)


18. Sean Hjelle, RHP, Giants
Team: Low Class A Augusta (South Atlantic)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 2 G, 2 GS, 0-0, 2.53, 10.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Hitters see a wave of long arms and legs coming at them when Hjelle drops the ball downhill from his 6-foot-11, 225-pound frame, and despite his extremely tall, gangly frame, Hjelle has the body coordination to keep everything in-sync to throw consistent strikes. A second-round pick out of Kentucky last year, Hjelle shouldn't need too much time in August before a bump to the next level. (BB)


19. Pavin Smith, 1B, D-backs
Team: Double-A Jackson (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: .346/.346/.731 (9-for-26), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Smith still has the bat control and strike-zone discipline that stood out when Arizona drafted him with the No. 7 overall pick in 2017. He also slugged just .392 last year in the Cal League, so the big question mark is whether he will hit for enough power to be an everyday first baseman. It's still super early, but three home runs in his first 13 games is a welcome sign. (BB)


20. Ryan Castellani, RHP, Rockies
Team: Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Albuquerque was a difficult place to pitch well before the introduction of the major league ball to Triple-A. Now that the new ball has been put it into action, it’s become a nightmare. Castellani, however, hasn’t been fazed. The righthander delivered six scoreless innings against Tacoma on Friday, a feat that stood out in a series that saw a combined 47 runs scored in three games. Castellani’s ability to keep the ball on the ground—thanks to his heavy sink out of a three-quarter arm slot—kept Tacoma from putting the ball in the air where damage could be done, a preview of what he’ll be capable of when he rises to Colorado. (KG)


HELIUM

Tarik Skubal, LHP, Tigers

Skubal flashed first-round potential as a lefty throwing 95 mph at Seattle, but Tommy John surgery wiped out most of his sophomore and junior seasons and he struggled badly with his control upon his return as a redshirt junior in 2018. The Tigers still drafted him in the ninth round and have been rewarded, as Skubal, like many others before him, has progressed in his second year back from surgery. The 6-foot-3 southpaw has put his control issues behind him with 20 strikeouts and three walks in 16.2 innings for high Class A Lakeland while posting a 1.12 ERA. With a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, a solid curveball, an average changeup and now his control back, Skubal suddenly looks the part of the high draft pick he was once projected to be. (KG)

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