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Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (8/27/18)

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from August 20-26. Contributing this week were Kyle Glaser and JJ Cooper.

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. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros
Team: Triple-A Fresno (Pacific Coast)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .600/.636/1.500 (12-for-20), 9 R, 6 HR, 12 RBIs, 2 BB, 1 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: Twice the Astros have brought Tucker to the majors this year. The first time was to let him become the team’s everyday left fielder. But after he failed to hit in less than 50 at-bats, he was sent back to Fresno. He was brought back to Houston two weeks ago, but that was for a seven at-bat cameo that proved nothing. Tucker has not hit as a big leaguer yet, much like Alex Bregman had a disastrous first 50 MLB at-bats before settling in. But every time the Astros send him back down, he goes right back to hitting. Tucker hit six home runs in a four-game stretch this week. His last on Saturday was his most dramatic, as the three-run home run in the ninth capped off a five-run, ninth-inning comeback that clinched the Pacific Coast League’s Northern Division title. Tucker now has 23 home runs and 20 steals in the PCL, giving him a 20-20 season despite the fact that he spent nearly a month in the majors. (JJ)

2. Evan White, 1B, Mariners
Team: High Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .588/.652/1.353 (10-for-17), 7 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: White has consistently found the barrel all season, but earlier in the year he largely drove the ball the opposite way into right field. He began to focus on turning on inside pitches this month and his power numbers have ticked up dramatically. White has hit five of his 11 home runs and slugged .743 this month, emphatically responding to questions about just how much power he really possessed and showing he may just have the thump necessary to profile at first base. (KG)

3. Tony Santillan, RHP, Reds
Team: Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.98, 2 GS, 13.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 12 SO

The Scoop: One of the best developments of the season for the Reds is Santillan’s newly improved command and control. Santillan’s pure stuff is as good or better than any Reds pitcher in the system other than Hunter Greene, but now he’s married it with a consistency of pitch efficiency and location that had previously eluded him. (JJ)

4. Moises Gomez, OF, Rays
Team: Low Class A Bowling Green (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .333/.357/.889 (9-for-27), 6 R, 3 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 11 SO

The Scoop: The list of breakout prospects for the Rays this year is a long and varied one. Gomez hasn’t taken the steps forward this season that his teammate Ronaldo Hernandez has, but he’s still a tooled-up outfielder with power potential. Hernandez leads the league with 20 home runs, but after this week’s power binge, Gomez has climbed into the top 10 in the league. Gomez has to done down some his over-aggressiveness at the plate, but outfielders with plus power and above-average speed are hard to find. (JJ)

5. Michael Chavis, 3B, Red Sox
Team: Triple-A Pawtucket (International)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .424/.441/.818 (14-for-33), 11 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 9 SO

The Scoop: Chavis’ return from his half-season PED suspension has seen him go right back to slugging home run runs like the did last year. Chavis now has a 15-game hit streak that included home runs in his first two games after his promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket. Chavis now has nine home runs in only 40 games this season. (JJ)

6. Jhoan Duran, RHP, Twins
Team: Low Class A Cedar Rapids (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 6.2 IP, 1 H, R, 3 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: It’s always important to make a great first impression. Duran was traded from the D-backs to the Twins in the Eduardo Escobar trade. At the time, Duran had shown a blistering fastball but the results had often failed to match the stuff. But with Cedar Rapids, Duran has put together the best back-to-back starts of his season. In his five starts as a Twin, Duran has held hitters to a .150 batting average. Even more impressively, he’s striking out 45 percent of righthanded batters he’s faced. (JJ)

7. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves
Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Fans understandably do not root for payroll savings. In 2015, the Braves landed Toussaint in a trade because of their willingness to take on the injured Bronson Arroyo and his $9.5 million salary. The D-Backs got less than 300 at-bats from utility infielder Phil Gosselin and the monetary savings in return. It was always a trade that could come back to haunt the D-Backs because of Toussaint’s massive upside. It’s taken a while, but Toussaint is getting ready to haunt Arizona for years to come. Since July 1, he has a 1.44 ERA between Double-A Mississippi, Triple-A Gwinnett and Atlanta. (JJ)

8. Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals
Team: Low Class A Lexington (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .400/.538/.850 (8-for-20), 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 5 BB, 7 SO, 2-for-3 SB

The Scoop: Pratto has had a very odd year. Considered one of the best prep hitters in the 2017 draft class, Pratto has struck out more (28.5 percent of plate appearances) than expected this year. His power has also been a little less than expected as well. But the first baseman has also swiped 20 bags this season, which was equally shocking. Pratto is finishing strong and giving signs of improvement. He hadn’t slugged better than .430 in any month this season, but so far in August he’s hitting .341/.418/.600. (JJ)

9. Jake Fraley, OF, Rays
Team: High Class A Charlotte (Florida State)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .476/.478/.810 (10-for-21), 3 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO

The Scoop: A high-energy player, Fraley has had his career stalled by a variety of injuries. But when he’s gotten on the field and stayed healthy, the past year has shown some very promising signs. Fraley was the best hitter in the Australian Baseball League last winter. After spending the first half of this season on the DL, he’s been one of the best hitters in the Florida State League over the second half of the season. Fraley, a former Louisiana State star, is an excellent center fielder defensively, so his combination of defense, speed and improved approach at the plate makes him an interesting prospect. (JJ)

10. Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians
Team: Triple-A Columbus (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .429/.520/.714 (9-for-21) 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 4 BB, 5 SO

The Scoop: Yes, it’s a long season, but Bradley is a perfect example about how one truly awful month can weigh down a hitter. In April, Bradley hit a truly putrid .114/.202/.228. Ever since then, he’s been a model of consistency. He doesn’t hit for much average, but he has power (seven home runs in May, seven more in June, seven more in July and three so far this month) and he does draw enough walks to make up for some of his strikeouts and low average—he’s posted a .325-.345 OBP each of the last four months. But that awful April explains why Bradley is still hitting .228 with a .313 OBP despite his improved consistency over the past four months. Bradley is what he is. He has 26 home runs right now and has hit 23 or more in each of his four full pro seasons. (JJ)

11. Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pirates
Team: Double-A Altoona (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .438/.471/.594 (14-for-32), 9 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Reynolds missed most of the first two months of the season after having hamate bone surgery and took some time to round into form. With each passing month away from surgery, he keeps getting hotter and hotter. Reynolds posted a .784 OPS in June, an .821 OPS in July, and now has a .907 OPS in August after his latest big week. He has five multi-hit efforts in his last seven games, fulfilling his role as the No. 3 hitter in the Altoona lineup. (KG)

12. Dean Kremer, RHP, Orioles
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 12 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 14 SO, 3 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Kremer has been everything the Orioles hoped for since they acquired him in the Manny Machado deal. The first Israeli citizen ever drafted (he was born in California to Israeli parents and has dual citizenship), Kremer pitched six scoreless innings in each of his two outings this week and moved to 4-2, 2.29 in seven starts since joining the Orioles organization. With a 90-95 mph four-seam fastball, a nascent curveball and an out-pitch slider, Kremer is showing both the stuff and performance of a future rotation member in Baltimore. (KG)

13. Mitchell White, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 9 SO, 0 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: General soreness held White back in spring training and through the first month of the season, and when he came back in he struggled with his delivery and pace, causing his stuff to tick down. After an uneven few months, White has rediscovered his prime form. He has a 2.25 ERA over his last six starts and saved his best for Friday, when he tossed seven scoreless innings with zero walks and nine strikeouts to beat Arkansas. (KG)


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14. Riley Adams, C, Blue Jays
Team: High Class A Dunedin (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .643/.688/.857 (9-for-14), 5 R, 3 2B, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: Riley carried a reputation as an offensive catcher with questionable defense coming out of last year’s draft, but he’s largely struggled at the plate his first full season. He gave a glimpse of what he can do at his best last week, recording a hit in four straight games and finishing with a 3-for-3 effort on Sunday. Adams has remained behind the plate all year—and encouraging sign not everyone thought was likely—and his latest offensive surge is another mark in his favor as we reach the end of the season. (KG)

15. Alex Faedo, RHP, Tigers
Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.29, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO

The Scoop: Faedo’s season has been a little disappointing overall, mainly because his fastball hasn’t been as firm as it was at Florida, but Faedo was bumping more 92s and 93s this week, which makes a big difference in his effectiveness. His changeup has improved as well, which explains why lefthanded hitters have had so much trouble hitting him this year. This was Faedo’s first double-digit strikeout outing as a pro, as he had all three of his offerings working, but more importantly, he also kept the ball in the park. A flyball pitcher, Faedo had given up 15 home runs in his first 10 Double-A starts. (JJ)

16. Parker Dunshee, RHP, Athletics
Team: Double-A Midland (Texas)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 SO, 2 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: People keep doubting Dunshee, and he keeps on performing. Dunshee sits just 87-90 mph and none of his secondaries grade better than average, but he mixes his pitches, hits his spots, and keeps sending flummoxed batters back to the dugout. Dunshee has held his opponent scoreless in three of his last four outings, including 7.1 hitless innings in his latest start, and overall he is now 12-6, 2.44 in his first full season as a professional. (KG)

17. Jonathan Hernandez, RHP, Rangers
Team: Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 8 SO, 0 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Hernandez took his lumps when he first got to Double-A but appears to be figuring it out. The electric righthander responded from his worst outing of the year—5.2 innings, 10 hits, nine earned runs—with a brilliant stretch. Hernandez has a 1.14 ERA in his last four starts since the disastrous outing, with just 13 hits allowed in 23.2 innings. It’s a hugely positive step forward, and one that has rekindled faith he can become a mid-rotation starter or better. (KG)

18. C.J. Chatham, SS, Red Sox
Team: High Class A Salem (Carolina)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .545/.565/.636 (12-for-22), 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Chatham heads into the final week of the 2018 season with a shot at winning the Carolina League batting crown. The former Florida Atlantic star doesn’t drive the ball much and he needs to walk a little more, but he does hit more than his share of hard line drives. The Salem shortstop is hitting .380 this month. He’s currently five points behind Potomac Nationals first baseman Ian Sagdal for the league batting lead. (JJ)

19. Vidal Brujan, 2B, Rays
Team: High Class A Charlotte (Florida State)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .364/.440/.864 (8-for-22), 8 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO, 4-for-5 SB

The Scoop: The Rays are hoarders when it comes to second basemen. Between Daniel RobertsonJoey WendleChristian ArroyoBrandon LoweKean WongNick Solak and Tristan Gray, they have an embarrassment of riches stuck between the majors and high Class A. But Brujan could end up being the best of this group. He has an extremely selective batting eye, blazing speed and the knack for baserunning to take advantage of that speed. (JJ)

20. Cody Poteet, RHP, Marlins
Team: Double-A Jacksonville (Southern)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.13, 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 12 SO, 0 BB, 1 HR

The Scoop: Poteet appears determined to finish a disastrous season on a high note. The 2015 fourth-round pick is 3-14, 5.07 and was demoted once already, but he was brilliant in his lone start last week. Poteet pitched eight innings, didn’t allow a hit after the third, allowed one run and struck out a career-high 12 batters. It was a redemptive outing for Poteet, and overall he has a 3.81 ERA in his last four starts since returning to Double-A. (KG)


C.J. Alexander, 3B, Braves

Coming into 2018, Alexander ranked 38th on Baseball America’s preseason Top 50 junior college draft prospects. Coming into the 2018 draft, Alexander had climbed to rank No. 279 on the BA 500 draft rankings. Despite a strong season at State College of Florida JC, Alexander lasted until the 20th round and signed for just $125,000. Since signing, he’s been one of the best hitters in whatever league he’s in. Alexander is currently torching the Florida State League to the tune of a .377/.406/.525 slash line. Overall, between the Gulf Coast League, Appalachian League and the FSL, he’s hitting .373/.441/.525. Alexander has to keep working to show he can stay at third base and his raw power has yet to really help him clear the fences in pro games, but he’s looking like a steal of a late-round pick. (JJ)

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