Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (7/30/18)

Image credit: Brent Rooker (Photo by Four Seam Images)

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from July 23-29. Contributing this week were JJ Cooper, Josh Norris 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. Trevor Rogers, LHP, Marlins
Team: Low Class A Greensboro (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.31, 13.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 19 SO

The Scoop: It was time for the Marlins to get some good news with one of their recent first-round prep pitchers. The club’s 2014 first-round pick Tyler Kolek is slowly working back from Tommy John surgery in the New York-Penn League and 2016 first-rounder Braxton Garrett is unlikely to throw any significant innings until 2019 as he recovers from his own TJ. But Rogers, the club’s 2017 first-round pick, has started to get on a roll after a very slow start with low Class A Greensboro. After giving up as many or more runs than innings pitched in three of his first five starts, Rogers has worked six or more innings in his last three starts, culminating with Sunday’s gem, where he struck out a career-best 12 batters and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning. (JJ)

2. Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox
Team: Double-A Birmingham (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 12 SO, 1 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: The first taste of the upper levels was supposed to be one of the biggest tests in Cease’s young career. So far, he’s passing quite easily. His most recent start was easily the best at his new level. He carried a perfect game deep into the outing and finished with a dozen punchouts over seven, one-hit innings. The 12 strikeouts ties a season high, set previously in a nearly identical start for high Class A Winston-Salem. (JN)

3. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins
Team: High Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .556/.581/.889 (15-for-27), 9 R, 6 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Talk about making up for lost time. After the Pittsburgh-bred outfielder missed the 2017 season with Tommy John surgery, Kirilloff has quickly and loudly shown the baseball world what it was missing. He’s destroyed at both levels of Class A ball this year and has been brilliant from day one. He leads the minor leagues in total bases, is one extra-base hit off the lead in that category and is seventh in the minors in OPS. Add a Futures Game appearance to the mix and you’ve got one of the very best years in the minor leagues. (JN)

4. Deivi Garcia, RHP Yankees
Team: Low Class A Charleston (League)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 12 SO, 0 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Garcia might not cut the most imposing figure on the mound, but he’s taken some of the biggest steps forward in the Yankees’ system this year. The righthander pairs a low-90s fastball with a power, downer curveball and this week used the mix to set a career high with 12 strikeouts. Through seven turns at Charleston, Garcia has punched out 56 and walked just eight in 34.2 innings. That’s good for 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings. (JN)

5. Brent Rooker, 1B, Twins
Team: Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .500/.606/.923 (13-for-26), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 7 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: After a slow April and May, Rooker has heated up under the summer sun. Since June 1, Rooker has hit an eye-popping .310/.394/.629 and has swatted 13 of the 20 home runs he’s hit this season. It only seemed to be a matter of time for Rooker, who finished second in the Twins’ system with 18 home runs last year despite not joining the organization until after the draft. He’s worked this year to get more selective at the plate and to improve himself on defense. Judging by the last two months, it’s working. (JN)

6. Ramon Laureano, OF, Athletics
Team: Triple-A Nashville (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .500/.586/1.167 (12-for-24), 9 R, 4 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Sunday was the only day this week where Laureano didn’t have an extra-base hit (he settled for a 2-for-3 day). Laureano is one of a number of former Astros outfielder prospects finding success elsewhere. Other members of that club include Teoscar Hernandez, Brett Phillips, and Domingo Santana. With enough arm for right field and enough speed and defense to be playable in center, Laureano is making a case for a big league callup. (JJ)

7. Jose Adolis Garcia, OF, Cardinals
Team: Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25
Why He’s Here: .360/.385/1.160 (9-for-25), 8 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 14 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Garcia led all minor league hitters this past week with 29 total bases, which he managed to do with only nine hits. Of course, if you make sure every one of your hits goes for extra bases, you can still do a lot of damage. The Cardinals seem to love having too many minor league outfielders. A few years ago it was Randal Grichuk, Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty in Triple-A. Now it’s Garcia, Tyler O’Neill, Randy Arozarena and Oscar Mercado all trying to battle for a spot in St. Louis. (JJ)

8. Jeremiah Jackson, SS, Angels
Team: AZL Angels
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .435/.536/1.087 (10-for-23), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: A second-round pick last month, Jackson is off to a fast start in his pro debut, hitting .333/.391/.628 through his first 20 games. There is some swing-and-miss to Jackson’s game, but his big-time bat speed and raw power have translated to the AZL, with 42 percent of his hits going for extra bases, including five home runs. (BB)

9. Hans Crouse, RHP, Rangers
Team: Short-season Spokane (Northwest)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 12 SO, 0 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: After having part of his season derailed by a cut on his thumb, Crouse has flat-out dominated the Northwest League. The 2017 second-rounder has whiffed 41 over 33 innings, including two double-digit strikeout performances over his last three starts. Utilizing a 93-96 mph heater that touches 98 and a slider that grades as plus, Crouse whiffed a career-best 12 in seven innings against Tri-City. (JN)

10. Tanner Houck, RHP, Red Sox
Team: High Class A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.75, 12 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 12 SO, 1 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: After an ugly first couple of months of the season, Houck has found the form that made him a first-rounder. Part of that owes to resuming throwing his two-seam fastball, which made him especially effective at Missouri. Since June 1, Houck has pitched to a 2.98 ERA, has whiffed 57 in 57.1 innings and has been getting ground balls at a better than 2-to-1 rate. He still needs to iron out his control and command, but Houck’s rebound in the season’s second half has been a welcome addition to a depleted Boston farm system. (JN)

11. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox
Team: Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .500/.500/.950 (10-for-20), 4 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: A stint on the disabled list slowed Jimenez, but it sure didn’t stop his assault on International League pitchers. He’s bashed five of his seven Triple-A home runs since his return on July 15, and in 25 games with Charlotte is outpacing his Double-A numbers by a good margin. With Jimenez leading the way, the future looks very bright in Chicago. (JN)

12. Joey Bart, C, Giants
Team: Short-season Salem-Keizer (Northwest)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .444/.522/1.000 (8-for-18), 5 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 0 SO

The Scoop: As the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, Bart is doing exactly what he’s supposed to do in the Northwest League. In 77 at-bats with the Volcanoes, Bart has swatted nine home runs, which is good for second in the league behind Spokane first baseman Curtis Terry. Two of those long balls came in his game on July 27, marking the second multi-homer game of his short career. With the way he’s hitting, it shouldn’t be much longer before Bart moves up. (JN)

13. William Contreras, C, Braves
Team: Low Class A Rome (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .409/.480/.864 (9-for-22), 6 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: There’s a promising group of catching prospects right now at the low Class A level, including Contreras, who continues to stand out for his hitting ability. He’s also having his best month yet, batting .299/.375/.623 in 22 games in July. (BB)

14. Tristan Pompey, OF, Marlins
Team: Low Class A Greensboro (South Atlantic)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .524/.630/.905 (11-for-21), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 6 BB, 7 SO, 3-for-5 SB

The Scoop: The Marlins have moved Pompey aggressively since making him their third-round selection last month. After a brief tune-up in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Pompey moved to low Class A Greensboro, where’s he caught fire. In 20 games with the Grasshoppers, the Kentucky alum has failed to get on base in just three games. He’s already lived up to his billing as having a strong knowledge of the strike zone with 12 walks in his brief time in low Class A. (JN)

15. Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .313/.353/.688 (10-for-32), 5 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Vladdy Jr. just got promoted to Triple-A. Could Bichette be far behind? Bichette has already taken his defensive game to a new level this year, showing he can stay at shortstop. And of course he’s always been best known for his offensive game, which has gone through some streakiness this season, but he’s a talented hitter who’s adept at driving the ball to the middle of the field. (BB)

16. Alex Call, OF, White Sox
Team: Double-A Birmingham (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .476/.500/1.000 (10-for-21), 4 R, 5 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: It’s been a great season for Call, as he earned a promotion to Double-A and has hit .298/.382/.500 since joining Birmingham. There’s only one problem—he’s in an organization that is overflowing with outfielders. Eloy Jimenez is one of the best prospects in the game. Double-A teammates Luis Alexander Basabe and Joel Booker are also interesting, and at high Class A, Micker AdolfoLuis Robert and Luis Gonzalez are another trio of high ceiling hitters roaming the outfield. (JJ)

17. Mark Vientos, 3B, Mets
Team: Rookie-level Kingsport (Appalachian)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .375/.500/.833 (9-for-24), 6 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 6 BB, 2 SO

The Scoop: The arrows are pointing in the right direction on Vientos, a 6-foot-4 third baseman whose mix of plate patience, bat speed and power project well at the position. For a long-levered hitter, Vientos doesn’t strike out excessively either, and he could be in line for a breakout once he gets to full-season ball in 2019. (BB)

18. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .333/.364/.810 (7-for-21), 4 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: On the weekend when Guerrero Jr. traveled to Cooperstown for his father’s Hall of Fame induction, he also said a long overdue goodbye to Double-A, with Eastern League pitchers rejoicing at his departure. If the Blue Jays were in a playoff push, Guerrero would likely already be hitting in the middle of their big league lineup. Instead, it’s more likely the Blue Jays will delay his service time just long enough to squeeze out an extra year of team control by keeping him in the minors to start the 2019 season. (BB)

19. Seuly Matias, OF, Royals
Team: Low Class A Lexington (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .385/.429/.769 (10-for-26), 6 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Seuly Matias leads the minors with 30 home runs in just 84 games. Seuly Matias has a .343 isolated power. Yet, Seuly Matias is also hitting .228/.308/.571 with just 23 walks and 119 strikeouts. The power is stunning, and when Matias gets a pitch in his hot zone, there’s a high probability of destruction. There’s middle-of-the-order masher upside, but there are also adjustments Matias will have to make with his approach and pitch recognition to be more than Wily Mo Pena. (BB)

20. Brusdar Graterol, RHP, Fort Myers
Team: High Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.59, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 10 SO, 3 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Graterol is part of a star-studded group of players on the Fort Myers club that also includes outfielder Alex Kirilloff and shortstop Royce Lewis. Graterol stands out for his high-octane fastball, which has touched as high as 102 mph this year. He’s still refining his slider and changeup and has encountered a few bumps in the road after a move up from low Class A, but simply getting to the Florida State League as a 19-year-old is plenty impressive. (JN)


Luis Santana, 2B, Mets: At 5-foot-8, 175 pounds and already at second base, Santana doesn’t immediately jump out, but he’s one of the more talented hitters beneath the full-season levels. Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200,000, Santana ranked as one of the Top 20 Dominican Summer League prospects a year ago and was so advanced that this year the Mets skipped him over the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and assigned him to the Rookie-level Appalachian League. He’s a strong, 19-year-old righthanded hitter with a compact, efficient swing and excellent bat control, hitting .359/.465/.461 with more walks (20) than strikeouts (14) in 33 games. (BB)

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