Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (6/10/19)

Image credit: Mario Feliciano (Photo by Zachary Lucy/Four Seam Images)

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 June 3-9. 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. Mario Feliciano, C, Brewers
Team: High Class A Carolina (Carolina)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .429/.500/1.286 (9-for-21), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 11 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Feliciano entered the year with a ton of upside, and it’s beginning to show up loudly and often. He’s loose and athletic both at the plate and behind it, and he has built on a strong May with a blistering June. In nine games this month, Feliciano has swatted five home runs (as many as he did all of last month) and is 14-for-32 overall (JN)

2. Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates
Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: As awesome as Keller’s outing was, it could have gone very poorly. In the first inning against Toledo, Keller gave up a single and back-to-back walks, loading the bases with no outs. At that point, his lone start of the week looked like a reprise of the first inning of his one MLB start. But he refocused, settled down and then put together a run of dominance that made it his best pro start of his career. He struck out the next three batters to escape the jam. He struck out three of the four batters he faced in the second (walking the other one) and struck out the side in the third and fourth. With 12 outs recorded, Keller had 12 strikeouts. He picked up one more in the fifth to reach a career-high 13 whiffs. The complete dominance was impressive—Keller faced 19 batters and only three of them put the ball in play. (JJ)

3. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros
Team: Triple-A Round Rock (Pacific Coast)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .367/.412/.933 (11-for-30), 10 R, 2 2B, 5 HR, 10 RBIs, 3 BB, 9 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The Astros called up Yordan Alvarez to the major leagues on Sunday, and then watched as he hit an opposite-field home run in his MLB debut. Tucker was ahead of Alvarez in the call-up pecking order last year. This year, he’s working to catch up. After a brutal start, Tucker has been hitting well since May rolled around. His 21 home runs are second most in the Pacific Coast League (trailing only Alvarez) as he’s already topped 20 home runs for a third straight season. He’ll likely catch his career high (25) by the midway point of the season. (JJ)

4. Blake Rivera, RHP, Giants
Team: Low Class A Augusta (South Atlantic)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Wallace State (Ala.) JC has produced a number of major leaguers recently, including Derek Holland and Craig Kimbrel. Rivera is on a promising track to join them. After a rough first start to the season, the Giants’ 2018 fourth-round pick has limited opponents to a .197/.289/.253 slash line over his last 10 starts. Rivera has impressed with a heavy fastball that sits at 94 mph and touches 98 mph, and it’s playing well against South Atlantic League competition. (KG)

5. Peter Lambert, RHP, Rockies
Team: Rockies (National)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: The Rockies’ top pitching prospect was brilliant in his major league debut, shutting down a powerful Cubs offense in Wrigley Field. Lambert has progressively added strength and velocity over the years and sat 93-94 mph against the Cubs, a promising development to go with his advanced breaking ball and changeup. (KG)

6. Zac Gallen, RHP, Marlins
Team: Triple-A New Orleans (Pacific Coast)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.75, 2 GS, 12 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 16 SO

The Scoop: Pitching in Triple-A right now is like walking on a rope bridge across the Grand Canyon. One false step and disaster awaits. With anyone and everyone able to hit the ball out, ERAs have ballooned and any ERA under 4.00 is impressive. Through excellent command and solid stuff, Gallen has managed to avoid disaster start after start. His 1.57 ERA leads the PCL by more than a run—there are only six qualified pitchers with an ERA under 4.00. Gallen has allowed one run or less in 10 of his 13 starts. In the PCL this year, that’s a truly amazing feat. (JJ)


7. Rico Garcia, RHP, Rockies
Team: Double-A Hartford (Eastern)
Age: 25
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.75, 12 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 15 SO

The Scoop: Garcia had two good outings this past week, allowing just one earned run in his 12 frames. The Rockies’ No. 22 prospect tossed six hitless innings against Trenton, which included 11 strikeouts. Garcia is able to put more batters away thanks in part to his uptick in fastball velocity and solid secondaries, which help keep hitters off his heater. (JC)

8. Evan White, 1B, Mariners
Team: Double-A Arkansas (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .429/.448/.821 (12-for-29), 10 R, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Recently, White has started to offer hope that he’s going to be more than a defensive whiz at first base who hits a lot of singles. White homered in three straight games and has four home runs this month after hitting 14 in his first two pro seasons. White has consistently posted high on-base percentages and is an extremely athletic first baseman, but first basemen do need to show some thump, which has been an issue for the 2017 first-round pick. (JJ)

9. Luis Barrera, OF, Athletics
Team: Double-A Midland (Texas)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .355/.375/.548 (11-for-31), 11 R, 0 2B, 3 3B, 0 HRs, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Barrera probably won’t need much more time in Double-A. The speedy center fielder is hitting .296/.346/.497 this season, showing a knack for finding the sweet spot from the left side. Barrera doesn’t have much power and his swing plane suggests that’s probably never going to be part of his game, though he has the wheels to stretch singles into doubles and turn doubles into triples. (BB)

10. Anthony Kay, LHP, Mets
Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: Kay was fantastic against Hartford, striking out nine batters across 5.1 scoreless innings. The lefthander needed 94 pitches to get through his outing, throwing 62 of them for strikes. The Mets’ No. 5 prospect has been consistent against Eastern League competition, and he has seen more success thanks to his developing curveball and above-average changeup. (JC)

11. Edmundo Sosa, SS, Cardinals
Team: Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .435/.480/.957 (10-for-23), 8 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Sosa is a solid defensive shortstop who has shown steady bat-to-ball skills throughout his career. He doesn’t have much power, but those attributes should be enough for him to carve out a career as a utility infielder, with a chance for more if he can develop a more selective approach, as he’s walked in just three percent of his plate appearances with Triple-A Memphis. (BB)

12. Kris Bubic, LHP, Royals
Team: High Class A Wilmington (Royals)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 10 SO, 1 BB

The Scoop: After tearing up low Class A Lexington, the Royals moved Bubic to the Carolina League. In his third start, Bubic dominated. The Stanford-bred southpaw carved up Fayetteville with 10 strikeouts over six innings. In doing so, he joined Ljay Newsome (Mariners), Zac Gallen (Marlins) and Deivi Garcia (Yankees) as the only pitchers in the minors with three games of double-digit strikeouts. (JN)

13. Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: To keep Pearson’s innings down this year as he works back from a freak injury that cost him virtually the entire 2018 season, the Blue Jays have Pearson working on a on/off schedule. One start, he works roughly five innings and then the next start, he’s limited to two innings. After struggling through his first truly poor outing of the season on May 30, Pearson was in complete control in a pair of outings this week. He retired all six batters he faced on June 4, striking out half of the batters he faced, and then he faced the minimum again on June 9, allowing one hit but having that lone baserunner erased on a caught stealing. Pearson had shown his top-of-the-scale stuff coming into the season, but he’s shown his control and command have taken a big step forward. (JJ)

14. Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers
Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 8 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: The SeaWolves rotation has a case for the best in the minor leagues. It features Manning, along with two other first-rounders in Casey Mize and Alex Faedo and, as of Sunday, Kyle Funkhouser (a former first-rounder who didn’t sign and then became a fourth-rounder as a senior). Against Trenton, Manning mixed a low- to mid-90s fastball with his signature power curveball and a changeup that elicited plenty of swings and misses over six innings. Young and athletic, Manning should be part of what could be a very potent Tigers rotation in the coming years. (JN)

15. Brady Feigl, RHP, Athletics
Team: High Class A Stockton (California)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 8 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: Feigl was able to navigate around some traffic on the bases against Visalia in his start this week. The righthander didn’t walk a batter, but he worked around seven hits and collected nine strikeouts. He held the opposition to six singles and a double, which helped him to post zeros on the scoreboard. It was only the second start all season that Feigl needed over 100 pitches to make it through an outing. Oakland’s No. 26 prospect makes the most of some deception in his delivery, but still needs to continue working on his changeup to keep progressing as a starter. (JC)

16. Kyle Lewis, OF, Mariners
Team: Double-A Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .407/.469/.593 (11-for-27), 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Lewis was piling up the multi-hit games this week and even had a six-game hit streak. The outfielder also collected an RBI in three straight games, thanks to multiple hits in five games. Seattle’s No. 8 prospect is starting to show the ability to make more consistent contact with the bat and is tapping into some of his plus-plus raw power that he showed as an amateur. (JC)


17. Brent Rooker, OF, Twins
Team: Triple-A Rochester (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .444/.605/.630 (12-for-27), 8 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 8 BB, 10 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Rooker went on the disabled list with a left wrist strain on May 18. Since coming back on June 1, he’s been nearly unstoppable. Rooker has a 10-game hit streak since his return, including four consecutive mulit-hit games last week. The slugging outfielder has elevated his season slash line to .276/.378/.512 with surge, and he’s put himself in range for first big league callup. (KG)

18. Trevor Rogers, LHP, Marlins
Team: High Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 2.31, 11.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 17 SO, 3 BB

The Scoop: Like Erie in the Eastern League, Jupiter also has a case for the most talented rotation in the minor leagues. Rogers and Braxton Garrett give the Hammerheads two first-rounders, and Edward Cabrera has been nails as well. Rogers has gotten his outs on the strength of excellent command of a low-90s fastball and average slider. He’s continuing to develop his changeup, but for now he mostly operates with his two best pitches. So far, it’s worked out nicely. (JN)

19. Brendan McKay, LHP, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.70, 10 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 10 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: McKay has been dominant all season long between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A. The lefthander, who is continuing to be developed as a two-way talent, has used impeccable command to methodically put away hitters. With the Rays battling the Yankees for the top spot in the American League East, McKay could be an intriguing option down the stretch, especially with how conservative his innings have been deployed. (JN)

20. Khalil Lee, OF, Royals
Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .381/.536/.810 (8-for-21), 9 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 6 BB, 7 SO, 4-for-5 SB

The Scoop: Lee shows above-average raw power in batting practice, though his swing path isn’t geared for loft, so that juice often doesn’t translate into games. That wasn’t the case this past week, with Lee hitting his third and fourth home runs of the season, bringing his season line to .263/.365/.394 through 57 games. (BB)



Caleb Sampen, RHP, Rays

The Dodgers took Sampen in the 20th round of the 2018 draft, then dealt him to the Rays this past January in exchange for big league reliever Jamie Schulz. With low Class A Bowling Green, Sampen has used a 90-95 mph fastball and paired with a plus cutter, as well as developing changeup and curveball. That combination has helped him impress evaluators to the point where they see a back-end starter’s future if he continues to develop. (JN)

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