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Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (6/3/19)

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Wander Franco (Photo by Brad Krause/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 May 27-June2. 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. Wander Franco, SS, Rays
Team: Low Class A Bowling Green (Midwest)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .474/.500/.947 (9-for-22), 7 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 0 SO, 3 SB

The Scoop: Wander Franco is 18 years old, in low Class A and we may already have run out of superlatives to describe him. Instead, let’s look at some facts.

  • In 108 minor league games, only one pitcher has managed to strike him out more than once (kudos to you, Angels prospect Robinson Pina)
  • He has not struck out swinging since May 20, and he has not struck out at all since May 24, a span of 29 plate appearances
  • Through June 2, Franco is hitting .326 in the Midwest League as an 18-year-old. Through June 2, 2017, when he was in the Midwest League as an 18-year-old, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit … .326.
  • Franco did not swing and miss once during this Hot Sheet period. He has not swung and missed since the third inning on May 26. (JN)

2. Adbert Alzolay, RHP, Cubs
Team: Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.75, 12 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 17 SO, 0 HR

The Scoop: Chicago’s No. 6 prospect allowed just one earned run across two starts, completing six innings in back-to-back starts for the first time this season. The righthander was in a groove against Triple-A Round Rock, retiring 16 in a row at one point. He has had good command of his mid-90s fastball, which allowed him to work towards his secondary offerings in order to put hitters away for strikeouts. (JC)


3. Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals
Team: Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .412/.545/.882 (7-for-17), 7 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Carlson’s breakout year shows no sign of slowing down. The 20-year-old outfielder put together three multi-hit games last week and is showing a tantalizing mix of tools and savvy. He’s showing above-average hitting ability, plus power, above-average defense and enough speed and instincts to be a base-stealing threat. With his well-rounded game blossoming at such a young age, some evaluators are beginning to write up Carlson as the No. 1 prospect in the Cardinals' system. (KG)


4. Trevor Larnach, OF, Twins
Team: High Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .500/.522/.900 (10-for-20), 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Larnach struggled in April, but since then he has looked like the offensive force the Twins expected him to be when they drafted him No. 20 overall last year. The pitcher-friendly Florida State League has suppressed his home run totals, but Larnach leads the league with 17 doubles, while his .856 OPS ranks fourth. (BB)


5. Luis Urias, 2B, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .429/.529/.714 (12-for-28), 5 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Urias had 17 home runs in five minor league seasons entering this year. He has nearly matched that career total with 14 homers in 40 games for Triple-A El Paso, though much of that boost is probably the new Triple-A baseballs. While there's likely a fair bit of inflation that will revert in Urias' power numbers, he remains one of the best pure hitters in the minors, with excellent plate coverage and ability to manipulate the barrel, leading to a .367/.462/.741 line this year. (BB)


6. Will Benson, OF, Indians
Team: Low Class A Lake County (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .409/.500/1.000 (9-for-22), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: Benson simply mashed this past week with three multi-RBI games and homering in back-to-back games as well. Cleveland’s No. 21 prospect still has some swing-and-miss to his game, but he is hitting nearly 100 points higher than he did last season and his power is continuing to translate as well. (JC)


7. Sam Huff, C, Rangers
Team: High Class A Down East (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .435/.480/.739 (10-for-23), 4 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Very quickly, both through his own merit and the attrition in the system, Huff is bullying his way into the conversation of the Rangers’ best prospect. He’s simplified his swing this season without sacrificing any of the raw power that has helped him rack up 19 home runs, good for third in the minor leagues. Oh, and he’s also stopped 59 percent (13 of 22) of runners trying to steal from behind the plate. (JN)

8. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox
Team: Double-A Birmingham (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .467/.467/.767 (14-for-30), 7 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Robert signed for $26 million in 2016, but he struggled in his first full season last year. A thumb injury kept him off the field for much of the season, and when he was playing, his numbers were down and several scouts came away disappointed. Now healthy and with time to acclimate to a new country on and off the field, Robert is thriving. An excellent athlete, Robert is hitting .377/.430/.699 through 46 games. While there's some swing-and-miss in his aggressive approach, Robert has plus raw power that he has been able to tap into in games against upper-level pitching. (BB)


9. Alex Faedo, RHP, Tigers
Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 12 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: What a difference a few ticks of velocity makes. Faedo’s fastball was down a touch in 2018, and he got clobbered when he reached the Eastern League. With his heater back to the range he showed as an amateur, the results have flipped. Faedo’s 69 punchouts are third in the league, and his nine home runs allowed are largely a product of pitching at hitter-friendly UPMC Park. (JN)


10. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres
Team: High Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: 1-0, 1.35 ERA, 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: Is Gore the best pitching prospect in baseball? You can make a compelling case in his favor. Blister issues slowed Gore last year, but he has been sensational this season, maintaining a 1.17 ERA in the Cal League with a sterling 73-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 53.2 innings. The scouting reports match the results, with Gore combining premium stuff and polish from an easy delivery, giving him the makings of a potential No. 1 starter. (BB)


11. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins
Team: Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .350/.458/.750 (7-for-20), 4 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: A wrist injury in spring training cost Kirilloff the first month of the season. The power took a bit of time to show up again, but Kirilloff hit his first two home runs of the season this week. When he's at 100 percent, he shows plus to plus-plus power potential, along with some of the best pure hitting skills in the minors. (BB)


12. Jorge Mateo, SS, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .394/.412/.667 (13-for-33), 7 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 8 SO, 1-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Oakland’s No. 8 prospect had a hit in all seven games he played this week, stretching his hitting streak to 10 games. Mateo is known as a glove-first infielder, but his bat-to-ball skills and plus-plus speed were on display during this stretch of games. He doesn’t hit for much power, but five extra-base hits in 33 at-bats is a welcomed sight. (JC)


13. Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants
Team: High Class A San Jose (California)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .364/.417/.636 (8-for-22), 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Ramos missed a month after spraining his left knee on a swing on April 24, but he returned to San Jose’s lineup last week and showed no signs of rust. Ramos notched a hit in each of his first five games back, including hitting a home run on consecutive days, and now is batting .294/.421/.600 with five doubles and seven home runs in 25 games this year. While the Giants’ season increasingly appears to be a lost one, the success of their 2017 first-rounder is a sign of hope for the future. (KG)


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Baseball America Prospect Report -- October 18, 2019

Today's prospect report focuses on winter league action, highlighted by Rays prospect Wander Franco.

14. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles
Team: Low Class A Delmarva (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO, 1 HR

The Scoop: Rodriguez dominated once again last week. That isn’t new. What is new is how long he dominated. Rodriguez completed seven innings for the first time in his professional career in his last start, an important development considering durability is one thing he has been trying to improve. He showed it’s growing by retiring nine of his final 10 batters, including a strikeout to punctuate his outing. (KG)



15. Austin Beck, OF, Athletics
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .478/.536/.783 (11-for-23), 7 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Beck had three multi-hit performances this week, helping him to stretch his hit streak to seven games. Oakland’s No. 5 prospect is starting to show a bit more extra-base power, which could be the difference between his ceiling being that of an everyday regular or a fourth outfielder. His approach at the plate has also paid dividends this week, helping him to get on base via walks more often than usual. (JC)


16. Edward Cabrera, RHP, Marlins
Team: High Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.50, 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 9 SO, 2 BB

The Scoop: Cabrera is part of a school of intriguing Marlins pitchers clustered at high Class A Jupiter. He boasts a pair of plus pitches in his fastball, which he can run up to the upper 90s, and his slider. His changeup is a bit behind the other two, and its development will likely be the key to whether he will start or relieve long term. His 55 punchouts are tied for sixth in the Marlins' system. (JN)


17. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, Orioles
Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .357/.357/1.214 (5-for-14), 4 R, 4 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Mountcastle has moved to first base primarily this season, but that’s not an issue because he’s showing more than enough bat to profile at the position. The physical masher homered three times in one game Sunday, which followed a homer the night before. While the balls in Triple-A are flying out, Mountcastle’s power and hitting ability are real and should get him to Baltimore soon. (KG)


18. Grant Lavigne, 1B, Rockies
Team: Low Class A Asheville (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .435/.458/.739 (10-for-23), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Lavigne had at least one hit in every game he played this week with four multi-hit performances. The Rockies’ No. 5 prospect is starting to come around offensively after a rough go of it in the South Atlantic League, homering and posting his second three-RBI performance of the season. Even though he is a first base-only player, Lavigne’s offensive showing and defensive prowess make him a high-ceiling player at the position. (JC)


19. Pavin Smith, 1B, D-backs
Team: Double-A Jackson (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .450/.476/.800 (9-for-20), 4 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: Smith’s second full season hasn’t gone much better than his disappointing first full year, but he at least showed signs of life last week. Smith delivered three consecutive multi-hit games to finish the week, capped by a 4-for-5 showing on Sunday, and importantly showed extra-base power with four doubles and a home run. That’s critical because while Smith continues to see the ball well with 26 walks and 27 strikeouts this year, his ability to make impact on contact has been in question since his pro debut. (KG)


20. Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Red Sox
Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .333/.379/.815 (9-for-27), 7 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 11 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Dalbec is the prototype player for today’s game: A massive human who whiffs, walks and rakes. Nearly 47 percent of his plate appearances have ended in either a strikeout, walk or home run. The Eastern League as a whole does these three things 34.6 percent of the time. His 12 homers (a third of which came during this Hot Sheet period) are the second-most in the league, behind only Hartford’s Vince Fernandez. (JN)

HELIUM

Jon Heasley, RHP, Royals
Heasley struggled in his move to Oklahoma State’s starting rotation as a draft-eligible sophomore. He got too slider heavy and scuffled to a 4-6, 5.96 season with 93 hits allowed in 80 innings. The Royals stayed on him, however, and nabbed him as a 13th-round pick. Since then, Heasley has improved his changeup to the point where it’s an above-average pitch and he’s found a little more velocity, sitting 92-95 mph regularly. His pro numbers have far outpaced his stint as a college starter. Heasley is 4-2, 2.70 this season with 53 strikeouts and 13 walks in 46.2 innings for low Class A Lexington. In a college pitching heavy draft for the Royals, Heasley is looking like a late-round find. (JJ)

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