Prospect Hot Sheet (8/6/18)

Image credit: Dylan Cease (Getty Images)

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from July 30-August 5. 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. Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox
Team: Double-A Birmingham (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 12 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 16 SO, 2 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Cease has been flat-out dominant since being promoted to Double-A Birmingham. The righthander, who was part of the package the Cubs used to get Jose Quintana last year, has whiffed 49 already in 34.2 innings with the Barons. Put in perspective, he’s already racked up 34.5 percent of the whiffs the Southern League’s leader (Jackson’s Taylor Widener) after just six starts. (JN)

2. Nolan Gorman, 3b, Cardinals
Team: Rookie-level Johnson City (Appalachian)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .522/.560/1.043 (12-for-23), 7 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: The Cardinals’ first-rounder is simply overmatching the competition in his first season as a pro. He bypassed even a tune-up in the AZL and went to straight to the Appalachian League, where he’s already tied for the league lead in home runs, with 11. He went deep in three straight games this week to vault him up the leaderboard and onto Hot Sheet. (JN)

3. Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, Rays
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .455/.586/.864 (10-for-22), 4 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 7 BB, 3 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Lowe has developed into one of the best first base prospects in the minors. The jump from high Class A to Double-A is a test he has so far aced, translating his plus raw power into games with excellent strike-zone judgment and a knack for squaring the ball up when he does swing. Through 49 games with Montgomery, Lowe is batting .339/.445/.607 with 13 home runs and more walks (35) than strikeouts (30). (BB)

4. Tony Santillan, RHP, Reds
Team: Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.77, 11.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 15 SO.

The Scoop: Santillan has had a great year, as he’s earned a jump to Double-A while continuing to feature stuff that compares with almost anyone in the minors. As good as his year has been, his month since jumping to Double-A has been even better. In the past, Santillan’s control troubles led to him erratically mixing strong starts with poor ones. Now, he’s throwing strikes (he’s walking two batters per nine innings in Double-A) and dominating. (JJ)

5. Nick Neidert, RHP, Marlins
Double-A Jacksonville (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.13, 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 13 SO, 0 BB, 1 HR

The Scoop: Neidert has long been about command over stuff, but that command is getting swings and misses by the bunch. Neidert’s strikeout rate has increased each season from 6.8 to 8.6 to 9.4 and, after recording 11 and 12 strikeout games already this year, he reached the baker’s dozen in his latest start on Saturday. Neidert’s 90-93 mph fastball, out-pitch changeup and superb pitchability have resulted in a 10-6, 2.95 mark this season, and he’s moving closer and closer to his big league debut. (KG)

6. Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves
Team: high Class A Florida (Florida State)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 7.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO.

The Scoop: A quick glance at Anderson’s stats for the season (2-5, 2.57) reminds you why he’s one of the more promising young starters in the minors. But it’s actually been a little better than that. Anderson had some acclimation issues in April, as he made it out of the third inning in only one of four starts. But since then, he’s been among the best pitchers in the Florida State League. Anderson has allowed more than two runs only once in his past 15 starts. Since July 1, he’s posted a 0.61 ERA with 13 hits allowed in 29.2 innings with five walks and 37 strikeouts. (JJ)

7. Vidal Brujan, 2B, Rays
Team: Low Class A Bowling Green (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .444/.522/.944 (8-for-18), 6 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 3 BB, 1 BB, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The 5-foot-9 Brujan has a short swing from both sides of the plate, good bat control and plus-plus speed. He has an ideal tablesetter’s offensive profile, with the ability to get on base at a high clip and then take advantage of his wheels on the basepaths. (BB)

8. Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .360/.429/.760 (9-for-25), 5 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 BB, 10 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: It’s been a frustrating season in the big leagues for the Mets, but there is help on the way. Alonso has had a truly tremendous season from start to finish, and his 26 home runs are just five behind minor league leader Seuly Matias. His 95 RBIs are the most in the minors. He’s been a bit of an all-or-nothing hitter so far in Triple-A, but his raw power is clearly elite among prospects. He should get a chance to show it off in Queens sometime soon. (JN)

9. Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Red Sox
Team: Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .429/.556/1.214 (6-for-14), 4 R, 1 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO

The Scoop: Dalbec hit .256/.372/.573 with 26 home runs in 100 games for high Class A Salem, so the Red Sox promoted him to Double-A Portland last week. In his third game with the Sea Dogs, Dalbec drew two walks and slugged a pair of home runs. Patience and power are Dalbec’s offensive strengths, though after striking out in 31 percent of his Carolina League plate appearances, he still has holes to close off against upper-level pitching.

10. Cavan Biggio, 2B, Blue Jays
Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .381/.500/.810 (8-for-21), 5 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 5 BB, 7 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: The longer the season goes on, the more it becomes apparent Biggio’s power spike is not a fluke. Biggio hit two more home runs last week, moving him into second place in the Eastern League in both homers (23) and slugging percentage (.532). After hitting 11 home runs and slugging .363 last year, Biggio’s increased loft in his swing is paying off, and helping him become a part of the Blue Jays’ long-term plan. (KG)

11. Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox
Team: Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 2 G, 2 GS, 0-0, 2.57, 14 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 17 SO

The Scoop: Kopech’s walk rate on the year is still high, but recently he has shown flashes of why he has frontline starter potential if he can improve his fastball command. Since the all-star break, Kopech has a 2.25 ERA over four starts with a 32-4 K-BB mark in 24 innings. (BB)

12. Jhoan Duran, RHP, Twins
low Class A Cedar Rapids (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.03, 13.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 17 SO, 2 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Duran certainly has the positive first impression thing down. After being traded from the D-backs to the Twins in the Eduardo Escobar deal, Duran’s first two starts in his new organization were brilliant. He pitched seven no-hit innings with eight strikeouts in his Twins organization debut on July 30, and on Sunday followed up with a quality start featuring nine strikeouts. (KG)

13. Corbin Martin, RHP, Astros
Team: Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 3.46, 13 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 13 SO.

The Scoop: Martin’s season has been better than anyone could have rightfully expected. It would have been a very solid season if Martin had held his own and eventually begun to dominate at high Class A Buies Creek. Instead, he quickly proved himself too good for the Carolina League and was quickly bumped up to Double-A. Martin has been equally dominant there. He’s less than two starts away from qualifying for the ERA leaderboard. If he can keep up his current 2.78 ERA he’ll slot in as second-best in the league just .03 behind Logan Allen. (JJ)

14. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres
Team: Low Class A Fort Wayne (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 1 G, 1 GS, 0-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 SO

The Scoop: Blisters have limited Gore’s workload this year, but when he’s been on the mound, he has shown the makings of a pitcher who could one day pitch at the front of a rotation. After his best start of the year last week, Gore is averaging 12.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 this season. (BB)

15. Mark Vientos, 3B, Mets
Team: Rookie-level Kingsport (Appalachian)
Age: 18
Why He’s Here: .478/.520/.913 (11-for-23), 4 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Last year’s second-rounder has done quite well for himself in a return to Kingsport after a season-ending cameo there in 2017. He’s already swatted eight home runs and is among the Appalachian League’s leaders in many offensive categories. The most impressive part, perhaps, is the amount of contact he’s making. He’s whiffed just 24 times in 37 games, good for a strikeout rate of just 14.7 percent. Add in his 9.2 percent walk rate, and you’ve got a pretty darn good first full year. (JN)

16. Ryan Noda, 1B, Blue Jays
low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .333/.462/.905 (7-for-21), 6 R, 4 HR, 14 RBIs, 5 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Noda had a huge debut after the Blue Jays drafted him in the 15th round last year, and the Cincinnati product continues to mash in his first full season. He recorded a hit in each of his final six games last week, including four home runs, and raised OPS to .895 on the year. While he’s a college hitter playing against lesser competition in low Class A, Noda is doing what he should do, leading the Midwest League in on-base percentage (.419) and ranking fifth in slugging percentage (.475). (KG)

17. Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates
Team: low Class A West Virginia (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .318/.348/.682 (7-for-22), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: All season, Cruz has been one of the most intriguing players in the minor leagues. At 6-foot-6 he’s unlikely to play shortstop, but his raw power should allow him to profile just about anywhere he’d need to move. His 14 homers and 59 RBIs are both second in the system (behind Will Craig) and his .294 average is fifth in the system among players at full-season affiliates. (JN)

18. Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays
Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .360/.370/.560 (9-for-25), 6 R, 5 2B, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: After slumping midway through July, Bichette has rounded back into form. The touted young infielder is in the midst of a 10-game hit streak, during which he’s hit .364 with a 1.051 OPS. Bichette has moved into the Eastern League lead in hits (119), doubles (35) and total bases (196) with the hot stretch, and positioned himself for a potential promotion to Triple-A Buffalo to join Vlad Jr. (KG)

19. Ryan Jeffers, C, Twins
Team: Low Class A Cedar Rapids (Twins)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .538/.613/1.115 (14-for-26), 5 R, 6 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 BB, 1 SO, 0 SB.

The Scoop: Jeffers was a little bit of a surprise as a second-round pick, but so far it sure looks like the Twins knew what they were doing. Jeffers blitzed the Appalachian League and has been nearly as good after a promotion to Cedar Rapids. He’s currently hitting .406/.520/.608 between the two stops, topping his batting average at UNC Wilmington this season by nearly 100 points. (JJ)

20. Mariel Bautista, OF, Reds
Team: Rookie-level Billings (Pioneer)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .471/.500/.765 (16-for-34), 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 3 SB.

The Scoop: The Reds have put Bautista on a slow path through the minors. He spent two years in the Dominican Summer League, and then after hitting .320 last year in the Arizona League, he was rewarded with a one-level bump to Billings, which means he’s a 20-year-old in a rookie league. But Bautista does hit wherever the Red send him, there plenty of bat speed and Bautista is a plus runner who can handle center field. (JJ)


Malcom Nunez, 3B, Cardinals: Nunez is example No. 842 of how signing bonuses don’t necessarily equate to talent for international prospects. Despite being under the penalty and limited to bonuses of no more than $300,000, the Cardinals signed Nunez for $300,000 on July 2. Since Nunez is 17, he has been able to play right away in the Dominican Summer League—and he has dominated. The No. 26 international prospect heading into July 2, Nunez has batted .427/.504/.708 through 26 games with 15 walks, 18 strikeouts and four home runs. With plus power, a plus arm and a strong track record in Cuba’s junior national leagues before he left the country, Nunez is immediately looking like a great value for the Cardinals. (BB)

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