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Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (7/23/18)

Eloy-Jimenez-2017-brian-westerholt
Eloy Jimenez (Photo by Brian Westerholt)

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from July 16 to July 22. Contributing this week were JJ Cooper, Josh Norris and Kyle Glaser.

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. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox
Team: Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .429/.429/.857 (12-for-28), 6 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: After an extended stint on the disabled list, the White Sox’s No. 1 prospect returned on July 15 and quickly kicked off the cobwebs. The sample isn’t particularly large, but Jimenez has responded to the better pitching at Triple-A with … better hitting. He’s already socked half as many home runs (five) in 20 games with Charlotte as he did in 52 with Double-A Birmingham. (JN)


2. Corey Ray, OF, Brewers
Team: Double-A Biloxi (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .478/.520/1.043 (11-for-23), 8 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 3 SB

The Scoop: Ray didn’t have a great first full season in pro ball, but this year he’s managed to improve on almost all of the weaknesses he demonstrated in 2017. He’s improved his strike rate and his walk rate while hitting for massively more power. Ray now has 19 home runs (tied for the Southern League lead) and he also leads the league with 30 steals. (JJ)


3. Adonis Medina, RHP, Phillies
Team: High Class A Clearwater (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 12 SO, 0 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: After a disastrous start in his last outing prior to the Futures Game, Medina came out of the break with one of the best outings of his career. The righthander whiffed a career best-tying 12 in seven sparkling innings. After shining at low Class A in 2017, Medina has put up eerily similar rate stats this year with Clearwater. He’s whiffed exactly 10 per nine innings at both levels, walked approximately three per nine and surrendered a BABIP of just more than .300. (JN)


4. Justin Dunn, RHP, Mets
Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 1.50, 12 IP, 15 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 13 SO, 2 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Binghamton has treated Dunn quite well since earning a promotion from high Class A St. Lucie. He’s shown easy velocity this year from a whip-quick arm, as well as an improved ability to drive balls down in the zone. His 107 strikeouts this year are the second-most in the Mets’ organization and his 2.52 ERA is the best among pitchers at full-season levels. (JN)


5. Brandon Lowe, 2B, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .391/.423/1.000 (9-for-23), 7 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: It does seem in some ways that Brandon Lowe has come out of nowhere, but in reality, this is something he’s pretty much always done. When he was at Maryland, Lowe hit .338 over his two seasons (he redshirted as a freshman). He slugged .542 as a redshirt sophomore while walking more than he struck out. Lowe didn’t hit in the Midwest League, but he was great in the Florida State League last year (.311/.403/.524), was just as good in Double-A Montgomery this year (.291/.400/.508) and he’s been insanely good in Durham (.318/.392/.662). (JJ)


6. Jazz Chisholm, SS, Diamondbacks
Team: High Class A Visalia (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .421/.450/1.105 (8-for-19), 6 R, 0 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Chisholm moved from low Class A Kane County to Visalia during this Hot Sheet period and, boy, did he go out with a bang. The Bahamas native ended his time with the Cougars by going 5-for-6 with a triple and two homers. His approach needs to improve, but power to all fields is beginning to show up in his game. He’s explosive but needs polish. He’ll get just that in the California League. (JN)


7. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Blue Jays
Team: Triple-A Buffalo (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.75, 12 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 12 SO, 3 BB, 1 HR

The Scoop: The hard-throwing Reid-Foley has long had control problems, but it appears he may be conquering them. He’s walked two batters or less in seven of nine starts, all while continuing to miss bats. His latest start was his best, tossing six shutout innings with two hits allowed, one walk and seven strikeouts in a win over Durham. (KG)


8. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins
Team: High Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .545/.545/.909 (12-for-22), 6 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: After missing 2017 with Tommy John surgery, Kirilloff has come back with a vengeance. After laying waste to low Class A Cedar Rapids, Kirilloff earned a spot in the Futures Game and a promotion to Fort Myers. He hasn’t missed a beat with the Miracle and has shown the ability to fill up all three triple-slash categories all season long. His 15 home runs are second in the Twins’ system, and his 76 RBIs rank at the top. (JN)


9. Tyler O’Neill, OF, Cardinals
Team: Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .333/.429/1.056 (6-for-18), 5 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: The Cardinals optioned O’Neill back to Triple-A after he came off the disabled list with a hamstring injury, and the muscular Canadian promptly resumed mashing. After recording a hit in four of his first six games back, O’Neill went off on Sunday with three home runs, giving him 23 in 56 games at Triple-A this year. As important, O’Neill had as many walks as strikeouts (three), a huge targeted area for improvement. (KG)


10. Luis Rengifo, 2B, Angels
Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .360/.429/.720 (9-for-25), 9 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB

The Scoop: Coming into this season, Rengifo was most notable for being traded twice. Scouts from other teams saw Rengifo as a useful middle infielder who probably wouldn’t hit enough for his athleticism and defense to matter. A year later, Rengifo has advanced three levels and is now knocking on the door of a big league job. Rengifo has managed to walk more than he’s struck out at all three levels, showing potential to be a useful table-setter who has a shot at being the Angels’ everyday second baseman next year. (JJ)


11. Aaron Shortridge, RHP, Pirates
Team: Short-Season West Virginia (New York-Penn)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 10 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 16 SO

The Scoop: Shortridge was a dominant reliever for California just a year ago, but he’s proven this year that he’s more than capable of starting, which is why the Pirates picked him in the fourth round this year. With three fringe-average or average pitches and an ability to fill the strike zone, Shortridge has had no problems handling the jump to the New York-Penn League. His start on July 16 (5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO) was the best of his very young pro career, but then he went on to make an even better start on July 22 (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 SO). (JJ)


12. Kyle Isbel, OF, Royals
Team: Rookie-level Idaho Falls (Pioneer)/low Class A Lexington (South Atlantic)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .538/.647/1.308 (7-for-13), 7 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 4 BB, 0 SO, 2 SB

The Scoop: Isbel had a game so good, it was his farewell to a team. On Monday, Isbel went 4-for-5 with a double and two home runs (two days after a three-hit game). The Royals decided that the UNLV star was too good for the Pioneer League at that point and moved him up to Lexington. And to greet his new team, he also homered in his first game in Lexington. (JJ)


13. Brice Turang, Brewers
Team: Rookie-level AZL Brewers
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .538/.563/.615 (7-for-13), 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 0 SO, 4 SB

The Scoop: Turang has yet to have a hitless pro game and he hasn’t struck out since the first game of his very young pro career. He’s also yet to commit an error. Turang was considered a potential top-10 pick heading into the spring, but after a solid yet unspectacular senior year of high school, he slid to the 21st pick. He didn’t sign until right at the signing deadline, so he’s just getting going, but he’s shown no rust. (JJ)


mariners-900x635.jpg

Justin Dunn Takes Long Route To Seattle

A first-round pick by the Mets in 2016, Dunn was traded to the Mariners in the offseason deal that sent Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano to New York.

14. Zac Gallen, RHP, Marlins
Team: Triple-A New Orleans (Pacific Coast)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.75, 12 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 11 SO, 7 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: One of four players traded by the Cardinals to the Marlins for Marcell Ozuna last winter, Gallen is knocking hard on the door to the majors. A four-pitch righthander who knows his strengths and pitches to them, Gallen improved to 6-5, 3.80 with his pair of winning starts this week. He’s keeping the ball on the ground more than ever, helping him keep runs off the board even when his control isn’t sharp. (KG)


15. Tony Gonsolin, RHP, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Southern)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 3.00, 12 IP, 13 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 15 SO, 1 BB, 1 HR

The Scoop: Gonsolin touched 99 mph as a reliever last year and looked the part of a fast-rising bullpen arm, but the Dodgers wanted to see what he could do as a starter. So far, he’s made the move look brilliant. Gonsolin cruised through the California League, posting a 2.69 ERA and holding 94-96 mph into the late innings and earned a promotion to Double-A. In his first two starts at the level this week, Gonsolin pitched a pair of six-inning, two-run outings, with eight strikeouts in his first start and seven in his second. With plus velocity and two solid secondaries, Gonsolin boasts the lowest ERA in the Dodgers' system and is quickly climbing toward the majors. (KG)


16. Brandon Dixon, Reds
Team: Triple-A Louisville (International)
Age: 26.
Why He’s Here: .591/.625/.955 (13-for-22) 8 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB

The Scoop: Dixon has always hit, which is why he’s made it to the big leagues this year for the first time. He also doesn’t have a true defensive position, which is why he’s bounced around the diamond, trying to use his versatility to make up for his lack of above-average defense at any spot. Dixon played left field, first base, second base and third base this week during his hot streak. He’s also played right field this year, but his best spot is in the batter’s box. (JJ)


17. Trent Thornton, RHP, Astros
Team: Triple-A Fresno (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.80, 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: The Astros do an excellent job developing their minor league pitchers and Thornton, a durable, reliable back-of-the-rotation starting candidate is one of the examples. Thornton’s 7-7, 3.91 has been ballooned by a truly horrendous start against Las Vegas early this month where he gave up 11 runs (10 earned) in 1.1 innings in a start that added a full run to his ERA. Other than that, he’s been very effective. It’s hard to see where he fits into the Astros' stacked rotation this year, but Houston has a pair of starting pitchers hitting free agency after this season (Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel) so there may be a spot for Thornton to compete for in 2019.


18. Jose Siri, OF, Reds
Team: Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .350/.435/1.100 (7-for-20) 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2 CS

The Scoop: Siri strikes out too much, rarely walks and his batting average understandably suffers because of those two attributes. But he is physically gifted, and when he’s hot, he can carry a team for weeks at a time. Siri had one of those weeks this week. He homered in three different games this week (one was a two-home run game and another was a game with a homer and a triple). Pensacola won all three of those games. (JJ)


19. Kevin Kramer, SS, Pirates
Team: Triple-A Indianapolis (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .577/.607/.692 (15-for-26), 4 R, 3 2B, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 3 SB

The Scoop: In 2015, the Pirates doubled up on polished college shortstops, taking Kevin Newman in the first round and Kevin Kramer in the second round. Newman has proven to be the better shortstop, but he’s struggled to impact the ball at all—he has a sub-.100 isolated power for his career with a .385 career minor league slugging percentage. Kramer plays more second and third base in deference to Newman, but he also does a much better job of doing damage at the plate. Playing on the same teams as Newman, Kramer has posted a better on-base percentage and slugging percentage isn’t close. And his 11 home runs this year is almost as many as Newman has in his career. Both likely have MLB careers ahead of them, but it won’t be surprising if Kramer ends up having more impact. (JJ)


20. Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Blue Jays
Team: Triple-A Buffalo (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .370/.400/.889 (10-for-27), 7 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Tellez has bounced back nicely from a rough 2017. In a repeat year at Triple-A, the hulking first baseman has improved his OPS by .140 points (from .628 to .768) and, with his latest big week, surpassed last year’s his home run total in 45 less games. He has multiple hits in four of his seven games during the week, including a two-home run night against Durham on Saturday. (KG)

HELIUM

Patrick Sandoval, LHP, Astros
An 11th-round pick from Mission Viejo (Calif.) HS in 2015, Sandoval delivered one of the year’s most remarkable streaks. Beginning May 29, Sandoval pitched 42 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run for low Class A Quad Cities and high Class A Buies Creek. The 6-foot-3 lefty’s streak encompassed eight straight starts and came to an end on July 16. Overall, Sandoval is 9-1, 2.56 in what has been a breakthrough season. His fastball ranges from 88-94 mph, and his changeup is an advanced offering that draws swings and misses and earns plus grades from evaluators. He also has a big mid-70s curveball that’s above-average when he nails it, and a short, tight slider in the low 80s that also flashes average to above-average potential. With an out-pitch changeup, two potential above-average breaking balls and a fastball he can ramp up and down, Sandoval has put himself on the prospect map with both his stuff and his streak. (KG)

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