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Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (8/19/19)

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 Aug 12-18. 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. Zack Collins, C, White Sox
Team: Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .538/.586/1.115 (14-for-26), 8 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBIs, 3 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: Collins has had an excellent year at Triple-A, but he’s been especially scorching in the second half after coming back from his first stint in the big leagues. In 27 games after the Triple-A all-star break, Collins has slashed .375/.470/.698. The White Sox still view him as an option behind the plate, but he’s also begun dabbling at first base as well. His power would profile at the position, but the discernible platoon split he’s shown in the minors is concerning. (JN)

2. Kris Bubic, LHP, Royals
Team: High Class A Wilmington (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: After dominating at low Class A Lexington, Bubic hasn’t skipped a beat in the Carolina League. The southpaw has been unstoppable of late, and he has tossed back-to-back nine-inning complete games. He’s allowed one run during those outings and has whiffed 22 against just two walks. His 174 strikeouts in 132.1 innings are the most in the minor leagues. (JN)

3. Jeremiah Jackson, SS/2B, Angels
Team: Rookie-level Orem (Pioneer)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: .375/.448/1.208 (9-for-24), 8 R, 2 2B, 6 HR, 12 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: There have been 10 different times that a Pioneer League hitter has finished the year with 20 home runs. But 20 home runs seems to be the upper limit for a hitter in the league. Cecil Fielder and Steve Garvey are among those 20-home run hitters. But until this year, Greg Morrison's 23 home runs in 1997 were the only time a hitter broke though the 20-home run ceiling. Jackson has joined him. With three full weeks left in the season, Jackson has a very good chance of breaking Morrison's league record, but also busting through the record for any rookie league. Mitch Einertson and Joy Gritts each hit 24 home runs in the Appalachian League. (JJ)

4. Jaylin Davis, OF, Giants
Team: Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25
Why He's Here: .364/.440/1.182 (8-for-22), 10 R, 6 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: When the 2019 season began, Davis had largely been written off as a solid organizational player. He'd always shown power, but he was a slow-moving college draftee who had become Rule 5 eligible before he'd ever reached Triple-A. This year, he's managed to change those perspectives, at least a little. He mashed in a return to Double-A and has managed to amp up that power after a jump to Triple-A. His 33 home runs is third-most in the minors. His July trade to the Giants opened up a better opportunity for him to find some big league time, as he was stuck behind a crowded group in Minnesota's outfield. But we should know how seriously the Giants take Davis' power jump in the not-to-distant future. He's Rule 5 eligible again this offseason, so either San Francisco will add him to the 40-man roster, or they'll give another team a solid chance to see if Davis' power bump is sustainable. (JJ)

5. Jeren Kendall, OF, Dodgers
Team: High Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .476/.607/1.000 (10-for-21), 9 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 7 BB, 4 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: After two years with a stiff, uphill swing, Kendall has finally loosened and let his athleticism play in the batter’s box to great success. The 2017 first-round pick has been on a tear since July 23, raising his average 41 points from .172 to .213 with a notably freer, more dynamic swing. Most encouraging were his seven walks against just four strikeouts last week, a stark reversal from the copious swings and misses that have defined his career to this point. (KG)

6. Luis Garcia, RHP, Astros
Team: High Class A Fayetteville (Carolina)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 6 IP, 1.50, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO

The Scoop: Garcia spun a gem against high Class A Down East, allowing just four baserunners while striking out a season-high 13 batters. It was his second consecutive double-digit strikeout start, as the righthander made the most of his fastball-curveball combo to keep hitters off balance. Garcia struck out six of the seven batters he faced across the fourth and fifth innings, managing to keep damage to a minimum. (JC)

7. Logan Gilbert, RHP, Mariners
Team: Double-A Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 11 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 16 SO

The Scoop: Seattle’s No. 4 prospect made two quality outings for Double-A Arkansas this past week. The righthander struck out eight batters in each start and managed to work around three walks in his second outing. Gilbert generated key ground balls in both starts to navigate his way through two outings without allowing a run. (JC)

8. Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners
Team: High Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .500/.550/1.000 (9-for-18), 3 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: After a truncated but brilliant turn at low Class A West Virginia, Rodriguez was promoted to high Class A Modesto in the middle of the week. For his opening act, the Mariners’ prodigy went 4-for-5 with a grand slam. The Mariners aggressively jumped Rodriguez to the South Atlantic League as an 18-year-old, and he rewarded their faith with 20 doubles and 10 home runs in 67 games before receiving the bump up. (JN)

9. Kevin Cron, 1B, D-Backs
Team: Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast)
Age: 26
Why He's Here: .333/.391/1.095 (7-for-21), 7 R, 1 2B, 5 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Putting Cron in Reno in 2019 is the case of the perfect player in a perfect situation. Cron's offensive contribution is largely tied to home runs. In the major leagues this year, that's meant home runs (five in 27 games), but a .207 batting average and a .266 on-base percentage. With Reno, it's meant that Cron has had one of the most amazing runs we've ever seen. Three different stints in the majors and a trip to the injured list will likely keep Cron from becoming the first 50-home run hitter the minors have seen since Ron Kittle hit 50 in 1982, but as it is he has 38 home runs in only 72 minor league games. And with five more MLB home runs, he does have a shot of finishing the 2019 season with 50 home runs between the majors and minors combined. (JJ)

10. Austin Allen, C, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 25
Why He’s Here: .462/.462/.962 (12-for-26), 9 R, 7 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 0 BB, 1 SO

The Scoop: Whatever concerns exist about Allen’s defense, there is no question he can hit. The lefthanded masher has continued his long track record of consistent, impact contact this season, recording nine extra-base hits in six games last week. While the ball is flying in Triple-A, Allen’s extra-base power has always been real, and he is firmly in the mix for a September callup to San Diego. (KG)

11. Gabriel Arias, SS, Padres
Team: High Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .462/.481/.962 (12-for-26), 7 R, 0 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Arias always had a good-looking swing. He just swung at pitches he couldn’t hit. That has changed in the second half of the minor league season, and as a result Arias is scorching hot at the plate. The gifted defensive shortstop has hit .367/.405/.565 since the All-Star break and is collecting hits by the bunches. He has recorded multiple hits in six of his past nine games, including a 4-for-4 effort on Saturday night. With his newfound plate discipline, Arias has turned into an offensive force. (KG)

12. Travis Swaggerty, OF, Pirates
Team: High Class A Bradenton (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .483/.515/.828 (14-for-29), 6 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: The Pirates’ first-rounder from last year’s draft, Swaggerty was jumped to high Class A on Opening Day and has held his own. He treaded water a bit in the first half, but he has been excellent down the stretch. In the second half, Swaggerty has put together a .322/.379/.455 slash line with 13 doubles and four home runs. Moreover, he’s been effective against both lefties and righties all season long. (JN)

13. Nick Solak, 2B/OF, Rangers
Team: Triple-A Nashville (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .481/.517/.778 (13-for-27), 9 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: If you're switching organizations, you want to make a good first impression. Solak is doing an excellent job of giving the Rangers reason to be proud of their July decision to acquire him for righthander Peter Fairbanks. Solak has hit 10 home runs in just 29 games with Nashville. The Rangers have continued the Rays' attempts to help Solak learn to play the outfield in addition to second base. His defense is fringy at either spot, but if he keeps mashing like this, it won't matter all that much. (JJ)

Logan Gilbert (Photo By Daniel Shirey MLB Photos Via Getty Images)

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14. Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals
Team: Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .304/.448/.609 (7-for-23), 3 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 6 BB, 7 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Carlson earned a promotion to Triple-A last week and had no trouble acclimating to the new level. The Cardinals’ top prospect recorded a hit in each of his first four games with Memphis, including three consecutive multi-hit games to conclude the week. He saved his best for last, hitting a triple and his first Triple-A homer on Sunday. Whether it’s in the coming weeks or early next season, Carlson’s MLB debut isn’t far off. (KG)

15. Cory Abbot, RHP, Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: Chicago’s No. 11 prospect allowed just three baserunners in his start against Double-A Jacksonville. He was able to fill up the strike zone as usual, using up 99 pitches before making his exit. Abbot was able to mix his pitch sequences, which helped him to rack up the strikeouts. (JC)

16. JJ Bleday, OF, Marlins
Team: High Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .381/.480/.667 (8-for-21), 6 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 BB, 3 SO

The Scoop: Bleday is starting to heat up after a slow start to his pro career. The No. 4 pick in the 2019 draft extended his hit streak to nine games with last week’s performance, which included two home runs in a three-day stretch. Bleday has elevated his batting average from .186 to .240 in his past 10 games. It’s been the type of offensive performance the Marlins hoped for when they made him their most recent first-round pick. (KG)

17. Kevin Padlo, 3B, Rays
Team: Triple-A Durham (International)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: .391/.462/.783 (9-for-23), 5 R, 3 2B, 2 2B, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: Since being promoted to Triple-A, Padlo is hitting .319/.407/.681 with eight home runs in 28 games. As impressive as that is, Padlo was nearly as impressive before his promotion—it's just that the Southern League's much less hitter-friendly offensive environment made it harder to see the promise. This has been a very impressive season for Padlo, and the Rays have worked hard to clear 40-man roster space for this offseason. But with a still crowded roster, other teams should be watching to see if Padlo is left unprotected for this offseason's Rule 5 draft. (JJ)

18. Jeter Downs, SS, Dodgers
Team: High Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .389/.542/.556 (7-for-18), 7 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBIs, 6 BB, 2 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: Downs helped generate runs this week for high Class A Rancho Cucamonga. The bat-first infielder scored at least one run in five of his six starts across the past week. He didn’t hit for much power outside of three doubles, but the Dodgers’ No.10 prospect did swipe three bases to get himself into scoring position. (JC)

19. Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles
Team: Short-season Aberdeen (New York-Penn)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .375/.483/.583 (9-for-24), 5 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBIs, 4 BB, 7 SO

The Scoop: After a slow start in the New York-Penn League, Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick in the most recent draft, appears to be finding his groove. The switch-hitter earned raves as an amateur for his work as a hitter and as a catcher, and he was dubbed by scouts as one of the best draft prospects in recent memory. He spent a bit of time after being drafted recovering from a bout of mononucleosis but this week started hinting at his massive potential. His five doubles this Hot Sheet period were tied for the second-most in the minor leagues. (JN)

20. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox
Team: Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .357/.387/.821 (10-for-28), 9 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 1 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Chicago’s top prospect kept up his stellar season with six extra-base hits this past week. He scored three runs in back-to-back games and also had a multi-homer contest against Triple-A Columbus. With his above-average bat speed and improved swing path, Robert is barreling the baseball with more consistency and could very well be called up in September. (JC)


Ezequiel Duran, 2B, Yankees

After a nondescript half-season with Rookie-level Pulaski in 2018, Duran is making noise in 2019 in the New York-Penn League. He’s used his 60-grade power to lead the short-season league with 12 home runs and post an .863 OPS that places him fifth on the circuit. He’s got the chops to stay up the middle as well, with some evaluators noting that he has the athleticism to fill in at shortstop if necessary.

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