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Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (7/29/19)

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Brailyn Marquez (Photo by Dan Arnold)

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 July 22-28. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, J.J. Cooper, Kyle Glaser,  Justin Coleman and Ben Badler.

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. Brailyn Marquez, LHP, Cubs
Team: Low Class A South Bend (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 14 SO

The Scoop: The unquestioned best pitching prospect in the Cubs’ system, Marquez put together his best start as a pro on July 25. The lefthander set a career high with 14 strikeouts, doing so in part with a fastball that touched as high as 101 mph. The start continued a stellar July in which Marquez has whiffed 33 batters in 21.1 innings. He’s also allowed just one home run since May 1. (JN)


2. Sean Murphy, C, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .500/.533/1.750 (6-for-12), 6 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: After missing a big chunk of the year with a torn meniscus in his knee, Murphy returned to Las Vegas just in time to rediscover his power stroke. After hitting eight home runs in Double-A in 2018, Murphy swatted more than half of that total in two days with the Aviators, including three in one game on July 26. (JN)


3. Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 5.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Pearson’s start on July 24 was the first time in his professional career that he’d pitched into the sixth inning. It was the ninth time this season, however, that he’d allowed one or fewer hits in an appearance. Blessed with one of the best arsenals in the minors, Pearson has let up an absurd 35 hits against 80 strikeouts in 61.1 innings in his first test at the upper levels. (JN)


4. Jorge Mateo, SS, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .429/.500/1.000 (12-for-28), 12 R, 4 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Mateo has benefited significantly from his 2019 environment. A year ago, Mateo hit .230/.280/.353 with just three home runs in 131 games last year with Triple-A Nashville. This season, Mateo has popped 16 homers through 94 games with a .301/.339/.530 slash line for Oakland's new PCL affiliate in more hitter-friendly Las Vegas with more hitter-friendly baseballs. There has been some true improvement for Mateo this year, though much of the underlying skill set (and risk that comes with it) remains the same. (BB)


5. Devin Sweet, RHP, Mariners
Team: Low Class A West Virginia
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.40, 2 GS, 15 IP, 13 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 20 SO

The Scoop: Sweet is not an elite prospect—he was signed out of North Carolina Central last year as a nondrafted free agent. But he is an example of how a pitcher with a plus changeup can dominate in low Class A. Pitch after pitch, Rome batters couldn’t help themselves. Even when Sweet doubled up on the changeup, it was deceptive enough to generate swings and misses. Fittingly, he finished the game with a changeup for his career-high 12th strikeout of the game. It was also the first nine-inning complete game shutout in West Virginia team history. (JJ)


6. Darick Hall, 1B, Phillies
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .310/.444/.724 (9-for-29), 9 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Hall took advantage of a pair of doubleheaders this week, recording a hit in seven of nine games to raise his average from .241 to .249 on the year. Hall has increased his walk rate five percent over what he delivered last year at Double-A, helping his all-around offensive game improve and become a more imposing middle-of-the-order threat. (KG)


7. Pedro Castellanos, 1B, Red Sox
Team: High Class A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .407/.448/.815 (11-for-27), 8 R, 1 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Three home runs this week were a welcome sign for Castellanos, who had previously swatted just two homers this season. Castellanos shows good bat control from the right side, though he's going to have to grow into more power to carry him as a first base prospect. (BB)


8. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, Orioles 
Team: Triple-A Norfolk (International) 
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .462/.481/.808 (12-for-26), 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: 

Mountcastle had a hit in every game he played this past week, extending his hit streak to 12 games. The infielder had a multi-homer game against Triple-A Rochester, his second such game of the season. Mountcastle also had a four-hit performance against Triple-A Lehigh Valley, showing off his plus hit tool and continuing to prove that his bat will play in the big leagues. (JC)


9. Mason Martin, 1B, Pirates
Team: Bradenton (Florida State)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .346/.433/.923 (9-for-26), 9 R, 3 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 4 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: With the Triple-A ball producing home runs at a rate far beyond the rest of the minors, it can be fairly argued that there should be two minor league home run champs—one who got to play in Triple-A and one who didn’t. Among sluggers who haven’t reached Triple-A, Martin is your home run leader with 28 home runs between low Class A Greensboro and high Class A Bradenton. (JJ)


10. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Marlins
Team: Double-A Jacksonville (Southern) 
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO

The Scoop: 

Sanchez dominated in his only start of the week, tossing seven scoreless innings. The righthander was economical, needing just 76 pitches before making his exit. It was the first start this month where Sanchez didn’t walk a batter, throwing more strikes while suppressing hits. (JC)


11. Jared Walsh, 1B/OF, Angels
Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25
Why He’s Here: .481/.533/1.037 (13-for-27), 10 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Yes, Walsh is benefitting from playing in Salt Lake with the new Triple-A balls. Even in that context, though, he’s mashing. Walsh moved into the PCL lead among qualified hitters with a 1.095 OPS after his latest big week, which included a three-home run game on July 23 and going 6-for-8 over both games of a doubleheader on July 27. For good measure, he also threw a scoreless inning of relief in the doubleheader sweep. A two-way threat with legitimate power and a low-90s fastball, Walsh already made his major league debut this season and is earning his way back up with his performance. (KG)


12. Luis Campusano, C, Padres
Team: High Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .400/.464/.680 (10-for-25), 4 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 0 SO

The Scoop: As the season wears on and the Campusano keeps smoking baseballs, California League pitchers are openly naming the young catcher as the hitter they fear most in the league. Campusano furthered his lead in the California League batting title race with another big week that included four straight multi-hit games, and amazingly he did it without striking out a single time in 28 plate appearances. Campusano is swinging to do damage while not chasing, resulting in an intimidating at-bat that leaves pitchers little room for error. (KG)


13. Jojanse Torres, RHP, Astros
Team: High Class A Fayetteville (Carolina)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Torres didn’t make his pro debut until he was 22, but he’s quickly making up for lost time. Having an upper-90s fastball helps a pitcher move quickly. Torres sat 96-98 mph for all seven innings of the first complete game shutout in Fayetteville Woodpeckers history. Torres has four pitches, but it was his fastball and a changeup with solid deception and occasional late drop that completely shut down the Lynchburg lineup. Scouts who have seen Torres this year project him as a future reliever because of his age, arm strength and a delivery with some effort and max-velocity intent. But he’s starting to show flashes of control and command and some feel as well. (JJ)


Nate_Pearson_MikeJanesFourSeam.jpg

2020 Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects Podcast With Guest Nate Pearson

Ben Badler and Kyle Glaser break down the Blue Jays Top 10 prospects, then Nate Pearson joins Kyle for an interview.

14. Josh Naylor, OF/1B, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .524/.583/.857 (11-for-21), 7 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: Naylor didn't produce enough for the Padres to keep him in San Diego, but he's also too good for Triple-A. With a .324/.399/.571 line in the PCL, Naylor should force his way back to the big leagues soon. (BB)


15. Gabriel Arias, SS, Padres
Team: High Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: .385/.407/.769 (10-for-26), 6 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: In 32 games since the California League all-star break, Arias is hitting .357/.400/.540. In some organizations, he might be a top 10 prospect, but that's harder to pull off in one of the most stacked farm systems in baseball. (BB)


16. Ty France, 3B, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25
Why He’s Here: .333/.357/.704 (9-for-27), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Even in the context of launching pad El Paso, France is thriving. The third baseman leads the Chihuahas in virtually every offensive category, including a batting average that now sits at .380 after his latest huge week. While certainly not the Babe Ruth-level performer El Paso makes him seem, France has cemented that he’s a legitimate major league prospect with his bat and will be back up at some point after making his debut earlier this year. (KG)


17. Josh Fleming, LHP, Rays 
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern) 
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.50, 18 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: 

Fleming went the distance in back-to-back starts, allowing one run across nine innings in his first start followed by a nine-inning shutout in his second. The lefthander worked around some traffic, pitching to contact and letting his defense convert outs. His stuff isn’t tantalizing, but Fleming pounds the strike zone and keeps hitters guessing by mixing up his pitch sequences. (JC)


18 Misael Urbina, OF, Twins
Team: DSL Twins
Age: 17
Why He’s Here: .462/.533/1.077 (6-for-15), 5 R, 2 2B, 3 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Urbina ranked No. 10 in the 2018 international class, and he has rewarded the Twins early in his career. The athletic outfielder was lauded for his defense prior to signing, and this season has shown precocious offensive skills. He’s walked more times (15) than he’s struck out (10) and has put together a stellar .917 OPS this season in the Dominican Summer League. (JN)


19. Griffin Jax, RHP, Twins
Team: Double-A Pensacola (Southern) 
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.26, 14 1/3 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 16 SO

The Scoop: Jax spun back-to-back seven inning performances for Double-A Pensacola. The righthander allowed four hits, two walks, one earned run and eight strikeouts in each outing. He managed to get one out in the eighth inning of his second start against Jacksonville before making his exit. While his stuff isn’t premium, Jax makes the most of his advanced feel to pitch and throws plenty of strikes. (JC)


20. Seth Brown, 1B, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Age: 27
Why He’s Here: .480/.567/1.520 (12-for-25), 12 R, 1 3B, 8 HR, 13 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: He’s gotten to play at home and at El Paso this week with a Triple-A baseball, so Brown has been playing in a very friendly environment this week, but what he did has to be acknowledged. In one week, Brown has three multi-home run games. Brown also hit five home runs in a three-game stint early in the season, so when he’s locked in, the ball flies. (JJ)

Helium


Johan Rojas, OF, Phillies


At 18 years old, Rojas has already hit his way out of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and into the college-heavy New York-Penn League. He’s shown plate discipline and power, with swinging-strike and isolated power rates that rank in the 90th percentile. Scouts who have seen him this year in the GCL believe he has a chance to be a regular if he reaches his potential.

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