Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (6/17/19)

Image credit: Drew Waters (Photo by Tony Farlow)

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 10-16. 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. Drew Waters, OF, Braves
Team: Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .444/.459/.722 (16-for-36), 3 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-2 SB

The Scoop: It’s not like Waters wasn’t having an excellent season when June began. But his .416/.566/.828 June has unquestionably pushed him to the point where he is the most productive hitter in the Southern League. Waters now leads the league in nine major offensive categories including batting average (.338), slugging percentage (.535), OPS (.916), extra-base hits (36) and total bases (147). What is easy to forget is just how difficult it is to hit in Double-A (with the traditional minor league ball) compared to the Triple-A leagues. There are 35 Triple-A hitters slugging .550 or better. There are only three Double-A hitters slugging above .550. (JJ)

2. Luis Gil, RHP, Yankees
Team: Low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.75, 12 IP, 11 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 18 SO, 3 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: The rotation in Charleston is packed with intriguing arms, including Alexander VizcainoRoansy ContrerasHarold Cortijo and Luis Medina. Depending on who you talk to, Gil might be the best of the bunch. He can sit in the mid- to upper 90s with his fastball and can get swings and misses on his changeup as well. His 81 strikeouts are second in the system, and he’s racked them up in just 59.2 innings. (JN)

3. Ty France, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .474/.524/1.421 (9-for-19), 6 HRs, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 0 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: In just 105 Triple-A at-bats, France has now hit 15 home runs to go with a .426 average. Since being demoted back to El Paso, France has been one of the best hitters in the minors. And in reality, it’s not really helping him get back to San Diego anytime soon. It’s hard to find a more blocked prospect than France. He plays first and third base in an organization that has Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer signed through 2028 and 2025, respectively. France has plenty of company among El Paso hitters having big years. Eight different Chihuahuas have reached double-digit home runs—El Paso’s 152 home runs are more than all but eight minor league teams hit all of last year. There have been three minor league teams to hit 200 or more home runs in a season this century. Lancaster’s 217 in 2005 is the most for any minor league team in the 21st century. El Paso is on pace to equal that mark in their 100th game this year. The Chihuahuas are on pace to hit 303 home runs. (JJ)

4. Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians
Team: Triple-A Columbus (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .360/.385/1.040 (9-for-25), 7 R, 2 2B, 5 HRs, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: Bradley has maintained a pretty straightforward profile since his early days in the Indians’ system. He brings gigantic raw power, but it comes at the expense of a strikeout rate that pushes into the red flag territory, though he walks enough that he’s not just a feast-or-famine hitter. Sometimes, the outcome is a 4-A player, but if Bradley can make adjustments to get a little better plate coverage, the power upside is there for a 40-homer masher. (BB)

5. Aaron Ashby, LHP, Brewers
Team: High Class A Carolina (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Ashby was bumped up to high Class A Carolina this week, a reward for an extremely effective first half in the Midwest League. He responded by striking out the first three batters he faced. Ashby only allowed four balls to leave the infield all day as he stayed two steps ahead of Winston-Salem’s hitters. For a hitter, Ashby is a pest. He varies his timing to the plate dramatically from pitch to pitch. Sometimes, he hangs on his balance point. Sometimes, he takes a big leg kick. On other times, he barely brings his foot off the ground before coming home. And he mixes in all varieties of breaking balls. He’ll make it big and loopy early in counts, tighten it to a sharper sweeper and sometimes tighten it up further to a short, sharp break with two strikes. There’s a reason Ashby is striking out 11.7 batters per nine innings this year, and there’s no reason to think he can’t keep it up. (JJ)

6. Ben Braymer, LHP, Nationals
Team: Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern) 

Age: 25

Why He’s Here: 1 G, 1 GS, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 8 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Braymer spun a gem in his one start this week, firing eight scoreless innings while allowing just one walk. His control was much better during the outing, as he had walked seven batters across his previous two starts. Washington’s No. 20 prospect tossed over 100 pitches for just the second time this year, allowing him to get through eight innings for the first time this season. 

Yonathan Daza, OF, Rockies
Team: Triple-A Albuquerque 

Age: 25

Why He’s Here: .563/.632/.938 (9-for-16), 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: 

Daza has always been known as an elite defensive outfielder, but his bat is starting to come around. The Rockies’ No. 19 prospect has a 13-game hit streak going, with 10 multi-hit games during that span. He isn’t hitting for much power, but Daza has been putting the barrel on the ball with consistency. (JC)


8. Nick Allen, SS, Athletics
Team: High Class A Stockton (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .393/.469/.607 (11-for-28), 6 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Allen scored a $2 million bonus as a third-round pick out of high school in 2017, then proceeded to hit .239/.301/.302 in low Class A Beloit last year. Despite his struggles, Allen showed the makings of a plus defender at shortstop, and now he’s turning things around at the plate. Through 64 games, Allen is batting .296/.367/.455 for the Ports. (BB)

9. Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves
Team: Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 1.50, 12 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 16 SO, 6 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: After opening the year as the second-youngest pitcher in the Southern League, Anderson has been dominant. The No. 3 overall pick from two years ago has been particularly outstanding in June, when he’s racked up 23 whiffs in 17.2 innings and put up a mark of 3-0, 1.53 over three starts. (JN)

10. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros
Team: Triple-A Round Rock (Pacific Coast)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .458/.517/.917 (11-for-24), 6 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Tucker’s slow start is officially a thing of the past. The slugging outfielder reeled off an eight-game hit streak that raised his batting average 27 points, and he moved into a tie for the minor league home run lead with a two-homer game against Tacoma on Saturday. He is now hitting .283 with 23 home runs, 55 RBIs and a 1.010 OPS on the season. There is no obvious spot for Tucker in Houston right now, but he’s showing he’s ready for another crack at the majors when the time comes. (KG)

11. Evan White, 1B, Mariners
Team: Double-A Arkansas (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .350/.381/.800 (7-for-20), 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: There are questions about whether White will hit for enough power to carry him as an everyday first baseman, but he’s continuing to hit well now that he has reached the upper levels of the minors. After hitting 11 home runs in 124 games a year ago in the high Class A California League, White has gone deep eight times in 45 games this year, with a .293/.364/.483 overall line. (BB)

12. Owen Miller, 2B, Padres
Team: Double-A Amarillo (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .565/.615/.739 (13-for-23), 4 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Miller just keeps hitting and hitting and hitting. The Illinois State product finished the week with four consecutive multi-hit games and enters the all-star break leading the Texas League in hits with 83. He’s not just slapping singles either. Miller ranks fourth in the league with 118 total bases and is among the league leaders in doubles and slugging percentage. In a loaded Padres system, Miller is setting himself apart as one of the best pure hitters San Diego has. (KG)

13. Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP, Mets 

Team: Low Class A Columbia (South Atlantic) 

Age: 18

Why He’s Here: 2 G, 2 GS, 0-0, 1.93 ERA, 9.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: Woods-Richardson has found some difficulty producing a string of quality starts, but this week the Mets’ No. 8 prospect was able to put together back-to-back solid outings. He tossed five clean innings against Asheville, followed by a 4.1-inning outing against Lexington in which he made an early exit due to his high pitch count (80). While he is still raw, Woods-Richardson is getting some swing-and-miss with his high-spin rate fastball and good feel for his curveball. 


14. Steele Walker, OF, White Sox
Team: High Class A Winston-Salem (Carolina)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .474/.500/.872 (9-for-19), 3 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Walker combines strong hands with good rhythm and balance in the box, leading to a .295/.384/.470 line through 56 games split between two Class A levels this year. Pair that with a firm grasp of the strike zone and Walker has plenty of promising offensive attributes, though as an average runner, there’s risk of him potentially having to move off center field down the road. (BB)

15. Aristides Aquino, OF, Reds
Team: Triple-A Louisville (International)
Age: 25
Why He’s Here: .348/.423/.957 (8-for-23), 5 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Aquino got his first taste of the major leagues with one game last year, and he’s doing everything in his power to get back there. Aquino extended his hitting streak to 20 games with his latest big week. His 1.060 OPS would rank second in the International League if he had enough at-bats to qualify (he missed nearly a month with a right shoulder sprain), and he’s on pace to set new personal bests in nearly every offensive category. With the Reds looking like they will be sellers at the trade deadline, Aquino has put himself in position to return to the majors. (KG)

16. Cristian Pache, OF, Braves
Team: Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .333/.400/.741 (9-for-27), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Pache is one of the most electric prospects in the minor leagues. He combines burgeoning offensive skills with off-the-charts defensive abilities in center field. He and teammate Drew Waters have been terrorizing pitchers all year in the Southern League. After a strong June, he’ll close the first half with a stellar slash line of .291/.348/.506 with nine homers, which equals his career total entering the year. (JN)

17. Bowden Francis, RHP, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (Southern)

Age: 23

Why He’s Here: 2 G, 2 GS, 0.00 ERA, 13 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 22 SO

The Scoop: Francis was a strikeout artist this week, punching out double digits in back-to-back starts for the first time this season. He tossed six innings in his first outing, allowing three walks and a hit while striking out 12. His second outing was even better, allowing two hits and a walk across seven innings with 10 strikeouts. Francis is getting good mileage out of his fastball-slider combo and is starting to see more swing-and-miss as a starter. (JC)

18. Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox
Team: Low Class A Greenville (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .333/.385/.750 (8-for-24), 3 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: After a rough first month, Casas has turned it in over the last six weeks. Since May 1, Boston’s 2018 first-round pick is hitting .302/.376/.597 with 10 doubles and 10 home runs. His homer total and .973 OPS during that period are second in the league (both behind Pittsburgh’s Mason Martin). (JN)

19. Shane McClanahan, LHP, Rays
Team: High Class A Charlotte (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 10 SO, 2 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: As a lefthander with high-octane gas, McClanahan was one of the most coveted arms in the 2018 draft. His stock dropped a little bit after a middling junior year at South Florida, but he’s responded well in his first full season as a pro. He tore up the competition at low Class A Bowling Green, and then he was dominant in his first start in the Florida State League. Scouts have seen him run his fastball up to 99 mph this year and believe his slider has the potential to be an above-average pitch as well. (JN)

20. Sheldon Neuse, 3B, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .545/.577/.909 (12-for-22), 7 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The move to Las Vegas has benefitted pretty much every A’s hitter at Triple-A, including Neuse. The thick-bodied masher strung together four consecutive multi-hit games to conclude the week, raising his season average 28 points in the process. It’s difficult to tell if anything has truly improved given the context of Las Vegas and the introduction of the major league ball to Triple-A, but at the very least Neuse is performing as he should given the circumstances. (KG)


Angel Martinez, SS, Indians

Martinez is the son of Sandy Martinez, a former catcher who played eight seasons in the big leagues and is now the Dominican field coordinator for the Nationals. Angel Martinez got a head start on his baseball education, and his savvy on the field showed when he ranked as the No. 39 international prospect last year, with the Indians signing him for $500,000 out of the Dominican Republic. The 17-year-old switch-hitter ranks third in the Dominican Summer League in OPS, batting .417/.509/.708 through his first 12 games, with more walks (8) than strikeouts (7). Like fellow Indians shortstop Brayan Rocchio, Martinez doesn’t have big-time power or speed, but he has a quick, compact swing and good strike-zone judgment with a knack for finding the barrel. His high baseball IQ is also evident in the field, where he reads hops well and has a solid-average arm.

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