Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (7/15/19)

Image credit: Trevor Larnach (Photo by Tom DiPace)

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 9-14. Contributing this week were Josh Norris, J.J. Cooper, 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. Trevor Larnach, OF, Twins
Team: High Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .462/.517/.615 (12-for-26), 3 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff get all the headlines in the Twins’ system, but Larnach has spent the season putting up very impressive numbers in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. He’s continued to adjust his approach to make his big-time power play to all fields, thus helping unlock his potential as a classic big, hairy monster who profiles in a corner outfield spot. (JN)

2. Cal Raleigh, C, Mariners
Team: High Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .375/.524/1.125 (6-for-15), 5 R, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 5 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: The California League’s home run leader has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball since June began. Raleigh already has eight home runs this month, and he’s hit 14 of his 21 home runs since the start of June. Raleigh is doing solid work behind the plate as well. The Mariners’ farm system is vastly improved over the past 18 months and Raleigh is one of the big reasons why. (JJ)

3. Francisco Alvarez, C, Mets
Team: Short-season Kingsport (Appalachian)
Age: 17
Why He’s Here: .563/.650/.813 (9-for-16), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Alvarez skipped the Dominican Summer League and made his debut stateside with a bang. Alvarez’s hit tool is advanced, and he has worked on a five-game hit streak this week with an RBI in three consecutive games. It’s an aggressive assignment, but Alvarez is taking it in stride and showing why he was one of the premier 2018 international signings. (JC)

4. Sam Huff, C, Rangers
Team: High Class A Down East (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .417/.533/1.167 (5-for-12), 3 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: 
Fresh off his Futures Game MVP-winning performance, Huff came back to the Carolina League and kept on mashing. Three more home runs this week brings his season total to 23, which ties him for eighth in the minor leagues. That, plus his work behind the plate (59 percent caught-stealing rate, one passed ball), makes him one of the biggest breakout prospects of the year. (JN)

5. Alex Jackson, C, Braves
Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .429/.429/1.143 (6-for-14), 4 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 0 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Jackson only got to play in three games this week because of the Triple-A all-star break, but he made those three games count, smashing two home runs in his first game back and another on Sunday. Jackson is hitting only .229 this season and he strikes out too much, but he does have power that plays (18 home runs in only 227 plate appearances). His defense continues to improve, as he presents pitches well. (JJ)

6. Spencer Howard, RHP, Phillies
Team: High Class A Clearwater (Phillies)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 14 SO

The Scoop: After missing roughly two months with a barking shoulder, Howard has returned looking no worse for wear. His fastball has reportedly been up to 100 mph, and he’s continued carving up his opponents in the Florida State League. His combination of velocity and plus stuff across the board has made him one of the most electric pitching prospects in the Phillies’ system. (JN)

7. Tarik Skubal, LHP, Tigers
Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.80, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: 
It is safe to say that the Altoona Curve are quite tired of seeing Tigers pitching prospects make their Eastern League debuts. Casey Mize’s first turn in the EL resulted in a no-hitter against Altoona, and Skubal’s maiden voyage in Double-A was nearly as scintillating. The lefthander whiffed 11 Curve hitters on July 7, then followed that performance five days later with 10 more punchouts at home against Altoona once more. His 118 strikeouts rank seventh in the minor leagues. (JN)


8. Kyle Lewis, OF, Mariners
Team: Double-A Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .304/.360/.826 (7-for-23), 7 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Lewis continues to make strides every month he moves away from his knee issues. In April, he was getting on base. In June, he began hitting for average. Now in July, the power is coming. Lewis hit three homers this week after previously hitting four the entire season, a highly promising development considering power was considered his best tool prior to his injury. After three years of stops and starts due to his knee, Lewis finally appears to be coming into his own. (KG)

9. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox
Team: Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .438/.500/.938 (7-for-16), 4 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1 SB

The Scoop: Robert went from the Futures Game to Triple-A Charlotte, marking his second promotion of the season. But then he had to wait for the Knights to return from their all-star break. Charlotte is one of the easiest parks in baseball to hit home runs, but it’s not like Robert needs any help, as he’s already hit 18 home runs this season. Pitchers seem to be deciding that if they can’t beat him, bruise him. He has three hit-by-pitches in four games with Charlotte. (JJ)

10. Jo Adell, OF, Angels
Team: Double-A Mobile (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .429/.529/1.000 (6-for-17), 4 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1 SB

The Scoop: Adell’s freak spring training injury was supposed to ruin his chance of reaching the majors this year. With the way he’s playing, he’s giving himself a chance regardless. After reaching base three times and making a diving catch in the Futures Game to start the week, Adell delivered six hits—including a pair of homers—in his first three games back at Mobile. Adell has sharpened the previous weaknesses in his game and grown physically, looking more and more the part of a major leaguer even at the tender age of 20. (KG)

11. Josh Green, RHP, Diamondbacks
Team: High Class A Visalia (California)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: The minor leagues’ premier groundball artist showed in his last start that he can rack up the strikeouts too. His outing against Inland Empire was the first double-digit strikeout performance of his career, and he got six grounders against zero flyouts as well. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last three outings, and he’s struck out 23 against just seven hits and two walks in that time. His 66.7 percent groundball rate is the best in the minors among pitchers in full-season ball. (JN)

12. Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals
Team: Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .391/.462/.609 (9-for-23), 8 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Carlson is hitting well in the upper minors, and he had a four-game hit streak this week. The outfielder had back-to-back three-hit performances while scoring five runs in those two contests. His knowledge of the strike zone is continuing to improve, which allows him to square up pitches with consistency. Carlson has always had bat speed, and his power is translating more in games.


13. Seth Beer, OF, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .333/.517/.619 (7-for-21), 6 R, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Beer hit and hit and hit as an amateur, and he’s unsurprisingly doing the same as a pro. Beer upped his season numbers to .324 with 21 home runs, 74 RBIs and a .995 OPS with his latest huge week and hasn’t slowed down since being promoted to Double-A. Beer lacks a defensive home, but he has time to improve and his bat more than covers that shortcoming. (KG)


14. Kris Bubic LHP, Royals
Team: High Class A Wilmington (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Logically, Bubic should have started the season at high Class A Wilmington. He was an experienced, successful college pitcher with plenty of feel to go with solid stuff. But the Royals draft binge on college pitching last year meant there simply wasn’t room in the Blue Rocks’ rotation at the beginning of the season. Bubic responded by dominating low Class A Lexington—his changeup is not something the average low Class A hitter can think about hitting. Wilmington hasn’t been much more of a challenge yet—this was the third time in eight starts that Bubic has worked six or more innings while not allowing a run. (JJ)

15. Luis Medina, RHP, Yankees
Team: Low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Medina spun a gem in his start against the Rome Braves, fanning a season-high 10 batters. The Yankees’ No. 11 prospect works with a fastball-curveball combo and occasionally throws a changeup to get hitters off his triple-digit heater. While the strikeouts were impressive, his one walk was more noteworthy seeing how his control has been spotty this season.


16. George Valera, OF, Indians
Team: Short-season Mahoning Valley (New York-Penn)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .318/.483/.545 (7-for-22) 4 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 7 BB, 6 SO, 3 SB

The Scoop: It was frustrating for the Indians, Valera and prospect fans in general that Valera missed almost all of his pro debut in 2018 thanks to a hamate injury. The Indians were still comfortable with jumping Valera to the New York-Penn League, which is a pretty aggressive assignment for an 18-year-old. Valera has shown he’s more than capable of handling the jump. He’s shown an ability to draw walks to go with his solid power. (JJ)

17. Riley Greene, OF, Tigers
Team: Short-season Connecticut (New York-Penn)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .375/.464/.458 (9-for-24), 6 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: 

Greene has hit the ground running in pro ball and has compiled a seven-game hit streak thanks to his hot hitting this week. He also scored a run in five consecutive games as well. Greene’s reputation as an advanced prep bat has allowed him to be patient at the plate while making good contact. 

18. Raimfer Salinas, OF, Yankees
Team: Rookie-level GCL Yankees West (Gulf Coast)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .400/.471/.667 (6-for-15) 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: 

Salinas barely got on the field in 2018 as he was slowed down by finger and knee injuries, but he’s had two or more hits in six of his 11 games this season. The Yankees have a large number of high-upside prospects who are far away, but Salinas could end up being one of the better players in that group if it all comes together. (JN)

19. Gilberto Jimenez, OF, Red Sox
Team: Short-season Lowell (New York-Penn)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .364/.391/.545 (8-for-22) 5 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 SB

The Scoop: Jimenez is one of the more interesting prospects in the Red Sox system as a center fielder with offensive potential. He lit up the Dominican Summer League last year and has been just as good so far with Lowell. (JJ)

20. Lazaro Armenteros, OF, Athletics
Team: High Class A Stockton (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .333/.412/.600 (10-for-30), 5 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 11 SO, 1 SB

The Scoop: Armenteros’ first healthy pro season has been a tale of swings and misses interspersed with displays of huge power. Last week, Armenteros showed the damage he can do when he makes contact, but he also struck out 11 times to give him 160 whiffs in 86 games this year. Armenteros’ power-speed combination is tantalizing, but his 42 percent strikeout rate needs to come down for him to have a shot at success at higher levels. (KG)


Brayan Bello, RHP, Red Sox
Team: Low Class A Greenville (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 13 SO

With the exception of one three-inning outing in the Gulf Coast League last year, Bello was jumping straight from the Dominican Summer League to the South Atlantic League this year and all too often it has showed. Bello’s stuff is excellent, but that hasn’t kept him from some nightmarish outings. He’s given up seven or more runs five different times this year. But when Bello’s fastball isn’t catching too much of the plate he can have outings like the one he had this week.

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