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Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (5/13/19)

Bobby_Dalbec_RodgerWood.jpg
Bobby Dalbec (Photo by Rodger Wood)

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 May 6-12. Contributing this week were Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Josh Norris, Kyle Glaser 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. Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Red Sox
Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .500/.556/1.438 (8-for-16), 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Boston’s No. 1 prospect and the owner of the most power in the system had been struggling to find his home run stroke in the early going this season, but that all changed this week. He entered May 8 with just two long balls, then went deep that night. Two nights later, he hit three home runs, seemingly breaking himself out of his funk during a sizzling four-game stretch. (JN)


2. Yordan Alvarez, 1B, Astros
Team: Triple-A Round Rock (Pacific Coast)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .400/.464/.840 (10-for-25), 3 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Alvarez is doing everything he can to bully his way out of Triple-A. His 15 home runs are tied with Rangers prospect Sam Huff for the most in the minor leagues, and he’s getting on base in nearly 50 percent of his plate appearances. The lefty hitter has also shown all-fields power over the course of his career.


3. Yerry Rodriguez, RHP, Rangers
Team: Low Class A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 0-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: Rodriguez primarily gets results off one pitch, a power fastball that he used with great success last year. Rodriguez will need to develop more of his arsenal as he moves up, but it's working for now in the low Class A South Atlantic League, where he has a 1.38 ERA and a 36-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 26 innings. (BB)


4. Austin Riley, 3B/OF, Braves
Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .348/.464/.913 (8-for-23), 1 2B, 4 HRs, 8 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Riley went into April 25 with two home runs on the season. In the 17 games since, he's hit 12 home runs, including a trio of two home run games. That's three more home runs than anyone else in the minors over that stretch. Riley has also started to play left field this week. With Josh Donaldson and Freddie Freeman entrenched at third and first base, respectively, for as long as they remain healthy this season, giving Riley some time in left field makes sense. It's not a long-term spot for him, but he's not the first corner infielder to try left field as a path to a quicker big league promotion. At the least, it makes Riley a viable option if the Braves have an injury at any one of five spots, since the Braves have Ronald Acuna capable of sliding over to center or right field if either Ender Inciarte or Nick Markakis goes down. (JJ)


5. Nolan Jones, 3B, Indians
Team: High Class A Lynchburg (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .625/.786/1.000 (5-for-8), 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBIs, 6 BB, 1 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Jones led all Indians minor league hitters with 89 walks last year. He's probably going to lead the farm system in walks again, with 25 through 32 games. Cleveland's No. 2 prospect, Jones hit 19 home runs a year ago but has yet to go deep this season. (BB)


6. Mitchell White, RHP, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: 2 G, 2 GS, 0-0, 1.54, 11.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 16 SO

The Scoop: White entered 2018 as a Top 100 prospect, but he fell off the list after a modest season last year with Double-A Tulsa. The results have been significantly better in his return to the Texas League, with White posting a 2.10 ERA, 37 strikeouts and seven walks through 30 innings. With 163.1 innings at Double-A for his career, White should be moving up to Triple-A soon. (BB)


7. Jorge Mateo, SS, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .333/.357/.667 (9-for-27), 7 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 9 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Mateo fell from Top 100 prospect status as poor pitch selection and a long swing caught up to him at the upper levels and rendered him a below-average hitter, at best, in scouts’ eyes. While small sample size, the introduction of the major league ball to Triple-A and the launching pad that is Las Vegas have to be taken into account with his hot start to 2019, what is notable is how much more contact Mateo is making. Mateo has cut has strikeout rate nearly nine percent from last year. While it remains to be seen if he can sustain the improvement, his improved contact skills are giving him a much better chance to take advantage of his top-flight speed and become a solid offensive contributor. (KG)


8. Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 8 SO, 0 BB

The Scoop: After dazzling with triple-digit heat during the Arizona Fall League, Pearson has opened the season by grabbing the competition by the neck and refusing to let go. Gifted with a power arsenal and a feel to pitch that doesn’t always accompany those types of pitchers, Pearson pushed his way to Double-A quickly and has whiffed 43 batters against just three walks in 26 innings this year. (JN)


9. Jarren Duran, OF, Red Sox
Team: High Class A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .529/.588/.556 (9-for-17), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: When players get off to a hot start to their pro careers, it's worth raising an eyebrow. But polished college players can sometimes find the New York-Penn or Northwest League beneath their experience level, only to get exposed once they face tougher pitching or hitters. A hot start the next year makes that impressive debut more concrete. At this point, what Duran has done in stops at the New York-Penn, South Atlantic and Carolina League is reaching the point of demonstrating he's clearly better than a seventh-round pick. He's now logged 98 pro games and he's hitting .370/.412/.516 combined. He's obviously not a .370 hitter, but Duran's all-fields approach and plus-plus speed makes him an interesting, top-of-the-order outfielder. (JJ)


10. Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians
Team: Triple-A Columbus (International League)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .563/.588/1.250 (9-for-16), 4 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: The Indians’ No. 7 prospect has the best raw power in the system, and it continues to translate well in games. Against Triple-A Charlotte, Bradley had 11 total bases and hit two home runs as a part of a four-hit game. He followed up that performance with a three-hit game and another bomb. While he isn’t striking out as much, it still is an issue for him and needs to be worked on before making the next step. (JC)


11. Niko Hulsizer, OF, Dodgers
Team: Low Class A Great Lakes (Midwest)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .455/.571/.909 (5-for-14), 4 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, 1 SO

The Scoop: Hulsizer showed outstanding raw power while at Morehead State, but questions about his ability to make enough contact made him available to the Dodgers in the 18th round last year. Hulsizer is striking out a lot, but there's enough patience, power and lower-level production that he's at interesting late-round sleeper, with a .280/.397/.570 slash line through 28 games. (BB)


12. Tyler Ivey, RHP, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Ivey opened eyes with an impressive turn at the Class A levels last year and has continued to excel at Double-A. After tossing five hitless innings in his last start, Ivey is 3-0, 0.86 with 31 strikeouts and six walks in 21 innings to start the year for Corpus Christi. With three quality pitches in his fastball, curveball and slider and a long track record of throwing strikes, Ivey is increasingly standing out in a pitching-rich Astros system. (KG)


13. Luis Urias, 2B, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .474/.524/1.105 (9-for-19), 6 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: Three seemed to be Urias’ lucky number this past week, as the Padres’ No. 3 prospect had three three-hit games for Triple-A El Paso. Urias went 2-for-24 in his first go-round with the Padres earlier this season, and he has done nothing but hit since his demotion. With the exception of Austin Riley, he’s been as hot a home run hitter as anyone in the minors over the last three weeks, even though that’s not normally his game. Known for his natural bat-to-ball ability, Urias is starting to drive the ball more. (JC)


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14. Austin Hansen, RHP, Astros
Team: High Class A Quad Cities (Midwest League)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Hansen had an excellent month of April, and his first start in May was brilliant. The righthander needed 89 pitches to get through seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts. It was his second double-digit strikeout game of the season. Last season, he pitched mostly out of the bullpen, whereas this season he has thrived in the rotation. His three-pitch mix can work as a starter in the future if he irons out some control issues that have plagued him from time to time. (JC)


15. Joe Ryan, RHP, Rays
Team: Low Class A Bowling Green (Midwest)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 11 SO, 0 BB

The Scoop: Ryan, the Rays’ seventh-rounder from the 2018 draft, qualifies as one of this season’s biggest surprises. The Cal State Stanislaus alum leads the Midwest League with 47 strikeouts (although teammate Shane McClanahan is nipping at his heels) and features a 93-96 mph fastball with excellent life when elevated at the front of a traditional four-pitch mix. His slider is the best of his offspeed pitches.



16. Bruce Zimmerman, LHP, Orioles
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Zimmerman was one of four prospects the Orioles acquired from the Braves last summer in the trade that sent Kevin Gausman to Atlanta. In his first full season in the O’s system, Zimmerman has allowed two runs or less in five of his first six starts, including his latest gem this week. Zimmerman’s feel for pitching has long been considered his greatest attribute, and so far he’s showing it’s enough to get the best of Double-A competition. (KG)


17. Mason McCoy, SS, Orioles
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .550/.625/.850 (11-for-20), 7 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: McCoy was a productive player at Iowa, but he was considered a somewhat physically limited senior sign. A strong debut season in the New York-Penn League was followed by a much less impressive 2018 season in the South Atlantic League. If he had followed up last year with a similar performance this season, McCoy might have found himself fighting for a roster spot in spring training next year. Instead, he's had an outstanding first month. McCoy is playing a little bit over his head right now, but he's made some useful improvements. He's gotten more patient at the plate and he's using the opposite field better. McCoy earned a promotion to Bowie this week and responded by hitting .550 in his first week at Double-A. (JJ)


18. Nicky Lopez, SS, Royals
Team: Triple-A Omaha (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .556/.652/.833 (10-for-18), 6 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 5 BBs, 2 SO, 4-for-5 SB.

The Scoop: Lopez has been exceeding expectations ever since the Royals drafted him in the fifth round in 2016. Now, he's getting very close to a big league callup. He's hitting .363 this season while walking four times as often as he strikes out. As a shortstop/second baseman who is capable of playing either spot respectably well, he's a viable utilityman replacement if the Royals ever decide to move on from Chris Owings and his .453 OPS. (JJ)


19. Alex Jackson, C, Braves
Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .300/.364/.950 (6-for-20), 6 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: With raw power that can rival anyone in the Braves' system, Jackson showed how much damage he’s capable of last week. He homered in four of five games to close out the week, and overall all six of his home runs this season have come in the last 10 games. Jackson’s ability to make enough contact to get to his power on a consistent basis has long been in question, but there are no doubts he has the power to change the game in one swing. (KG)


20. Yohan Ramirez, RHP, Astros
Team: High Class A Fayetteville (Carolina)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: 0-1, 1.80, 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Ramirez is arguably too old to make this Hot Sheet. After all, he's a 24-year-old in high Class A. But there's an explanation. Ramirez didn't sign his first pro contract until he was 21 years old. He's been making up for lost time ever since. His control needs to continue to improve, but there's some interesting makings of a potential useful reliever. Ramirez has a 93-95 mph fastball and a short slider he can throw for strikes. Of the last 36 batters he's faced, he's stuck out 20. Everything is working for him right now, which may help him earn a bump to Double-A this season. He'd still be old for Double-A, but with each jump up the ladder, his teammates get closer and closer to his age. (JJ)



HELIUM


Rodolfo Castro, 2B, Pirates
Castro, who is repeating low Class A, has broken out this season by swatting 11 home runs in his first 28 games. For reference, he had just 20 homers in his first 214 games before this season. Castro shows power from both sides of the plate, although he’s been unbelievably deadly from the left side. He’s 8-for-24 against righties, and five of those hits have left the park. He’s alternated between middle infield positions this year and projects more as a second baseman, albeit one with a strong enough arm to make throws from deep in right field on shifts. (JN)

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