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Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (9/4/18)

This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what minor league players did from August 28 to Sept. 3rd. Contributing this week were Kyle Glaser, 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. DJ Peters, OF, Dodgers
Team: Double-A Tulsa (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .444/.484/1.074 (12-for-29), 8 R, 2 2B, 5 HR, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Peters remains the same balance of pluses and minuses that he was going into last year, but he’s a lot higher profile now thanks to 55 home runs in two seasons. Peters hit 27 home runs in the California League in 2017. Thanks to his furious finish, he finished with 28 home runs in the Texas League in 2018. The rest of Peters’ season didn’t match his Cal League stint, as Peters walked less and hit for less average, but the power is still some of the best in the minors, and there aren’t many center fielders anywhere in pro ball who can crank 25-plus home runs in a season. (JJ)

2. Richie Martin, SS, Athletics
Team: Double-A Midland (Athletics)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .545/.565/1.045 (12-for-22), 8 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 SO, 3-for-4 SB

The Scoop: Coming into 2018, Martin was viewed as an athletic shortstop whose glove could be an asset, but his bat always seemed to get in the way. After being demoted from the Texas League in 2017, Martin looked much better for Midland in 2018 and is showing signs that he can hit enough to let his glove play. When Martin gets locked in, he’s ripped off some pretty impressive hot streaks. He hit .379/.430/.563 in May and .309/.385/.485 in August. He needed to go 6-for-8 over his final two games to finish the season at an even .300, and he managed to do exactly that. (JJ)

3. Francisco Mejia, C, Padres
Team: Triple-A El Paso (Pacific Coast)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .455/.458/1.045 (10-for-22), 8 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HRs, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: The version of Mejia that showed up since the Indians traded him to the Padres is the one San Diego had been banking on. After a brutal April and May that was well out of line with his past performance, Mejia has returned to previous form, batting .328/.364/.582 in 31 games since joining the Padres’ Triple-A club. (BB)

4. Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets
Team: Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .382/.417/.882 (13-for-34), 7 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: The Mets made news last week when they announced that Alonso would not be part of the team’s September callups. Instead, he’ll head to the Arizona Fall League. Before that, though, he finished the season with a flourish. In his last at-bat of the season, he smashed a walk-off home run in the last at-bat ever at Cashman Field, which will close next year when the team moves into a new ballpark. (JN)

5. Will Benson, OF, Indians
Team: Low Class A Lake County (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .357/.471/.821 (10-for-28), 7 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBIs, 6 BB, 9 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Benson’s season was a boiling mass of contradictions. He showed excellent power, solid athleticism and even played some center field in addition to his natural right field position. But although he finished strong, his season overall was quite ugly. He finished with a .180/.324/.370 stat line because of 152 strikeouts. He hit 22 home runs but only 11 doubles despite solid speed. Benson was already on a slow track (this is his second full pro season), but he’ll likely head to spring training facing a possible return to the Midwest League. (JJ)

6. Deivi Garcia, RHP, Yankees
Team: Double-A Trenton (Eastern)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 0.00, 10.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 15 SO, 5 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: After zooming through the lower levels, Garcia made a huge impression in his Double-A debut. The 19-year-old spun five no-hit innings with seven punchouts to push his new club to the division title. That outing represented another jewel in Garcia’s season, which included seven perfect innings with a dozen strikeouts at high Class A in one outing. That was one of three efforts with double-digit whiffs this year for Garcia, who averaged more than a dozen strikeouts per nine innings over 14 starts. (JN)

7. Jazz Chisholm, SS, D-Backs
Team: High Class A Visalia (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .400/.429/.800 (10-for-25), 4 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 11 SO, 1-for-2 SB

The Scoop: As a 20-year-old already in high Class A, Chisholm finished the season batting .329/.369/.597 in 36 games with the Rawhide. Between two Class A levels this season, Chisholm belted 25 home runs, showing off his big lefthanded power potential, albeit with a relatively free-swinging approach he will have to tighten up. (BB)

8. Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers
Team: Triple-A Toledo (International)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .458/.548/.792 (11-for-24), 7 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: It’s time for Stewart to get an opportunity to prove himself at the big league level in 2019 after batting .264/.364/.480 with 23 home runs this season in Triple-A. Stewart has long had an impressive combination of patience and power, and this season he made positive developmental strides with his contact skills, cutting his strikeout rate from 25 percent last year in Double-A to 21 percent this season in Triple-A. (BB)

9. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros
Team: Triple-A Fresno (Pacific Coast)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .421/.586/.789 (8-for-19), 5 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 8 BB, 2 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Tucker finished the season on a tear, batting .449/.522/.897 since Aug. 1 over his final 92 plate appearances. Tucker is major league ready, and while the competition for 2019 American League rookie of the year should be fierce with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez and the mix, Tucker should be one of the game’s top rookies next season. (BB)

10. Zac Lowther, LHP, Orioles
Team: High Class A Frederick (Carolina)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 3.50, 2 GS, 12 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 14 SO

The Scoop: Lowther’s deception, location and guile worked all season. Lowther’s stuff seems like it would not play over the course of a 140-game season, but here we are. The season is over and Lowther went 5-3, 2.53 with 100 strikeouts in 92.2 innings. It’s still an open question whether Lowther’s ability to hide the ball in his delivery and get swings and misses with a high-80s/low-90s fastball will be enough at higher levels, but you can’t help but admire how it worked this season.

11. Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals
Team: Low Class A Lexington (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .429/.459/.714 (15-for-35), 13 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 8 SO, 2-for-2 SB

The Scoop: The No. 14 overall pick in the 2017 draft, Pratto batted .280/.343/.443 in his first full season. It’s a solid season, though not one in line with a standout first base prospect given the offensive demands of the position, and Pratto will have to find a way to make more contact after striking out in 28 percent of his plate appearances this year. (BB)

12. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates
Team: Double-A Altoona (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .538/.625/.654 (14-for-26), 6 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 9 RBIs, 5 BB, 3 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: All season long, Hayes has drawn reviews for his work at third base. Now, after a season developing at Double-A, his bat has started to get noticed too. He was consistent all season long, hitting .293 before the all-star break, and then hitting the same .293 down the stretch. After hitting two home runs all of last year in the Florida State League, Hayes swatted seven in Double-A. If he continues to develop with the bat, Hayes will get a chance to walk in his father’s footsteps at some point next season. (JN)

13. Bo Bichette, 2B, Blue Jays
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .382/.432/.647 (13-for-34), 8 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: After taking the minors by storm last year in first full professional season, Bichette put forth an excellent encore in his first test at the upper levels. His 43 doubles were one shy of the most in the minor leagues, and his 61 extra-base hits placed him among the top 10 in the sport as well. He won a championship last year in the Florida State League and now will compete for a second ring as his Fisher Cats enter the Eastern League playoffs. (JN)

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14. Austin Riley, 3B, Braves
Team: Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .324/.343/.618 (11-for-34), 6 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 12 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Riley had four seasons in one. There was the season-beginning dominance in his return to Double-A Mississippi. There were the adjustment periods, both to Triple-A Gwinnett after he was promoted when the power waned and then when he struggled after returning from a knee injury that cost him a month. But Riley started the season strong and he finished it equally on an upswing. He hit .300/.347/.609 in August and finished with 19 home runs in 108 games. Johan Camargo’s emergence means the Braves head into 2019 not needing Riley to contribute immediately, but he remains the likely long-term answer at third. (JJ)

15. Omar Estevez, SS, Dodgers
Team: High Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .359/.432/.564 (14-for-39), 10 R, 5 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Estevez got hot in August and never cooled down. The Cuban infielder closed the season a 25-game hitting streak, capped by a 4-for-5 effort in the season finale on Monday. He batted .355 with 13 doubles during the streak, rekindling a flicker of hope for his career. Estevez had largely disappointed since signing for $6 million in 2015 and was having another bad season in a repeat year of the Cal League, but his season-ending surge provides hope that maybe something has finally clicked. (KG)

16. Spencer Turnbull, RHP, Tigers
Team: Triple-A Toldeo (International)
Age: 25
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 2.03, 13.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 19 SO, 3 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Turnbull earned a promotion to Triple-A for his final two starts of the season, and he made them count. The 2014 second-rounder struck out 11 in 6.1 innings in his Triple-A debut, and followed with seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts in his second and final outing of the season. With his strong finish, Turnball got his ERA under 4.00 for the year and finished 5-8, 3.92 with 133 strikeouts in 119.1 innings overall. (KG)

17. Nick Madrigal, 2B, White Sox
Team: High Class A Winston-Salem (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .400/.432/.457 (14-for-35), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBIs, 2 BB, 1 SO, 4-for-4 SB

The Scoop: It’s been a heck of a year for Madrigal, who closed out his college career at Oregon State with a College World Series win, was taken No. 4 overall in the draft, and now will chase a second ring with Winston-Salem. He lived up to his billing in pro ball by hitting .303 across three levels, with just five strikeouts in 155 at-bats. He also ended the year on an eight-game hitting streak, including a four-hit game on the last day of the season. (JN)

18. Patrick Sandoval, LHP, Angels
Team: Double-A Mobile (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 8 SO, 0 BB, 0 HR

The Scoop: Sandoval broke out with a 32-inning scoreless streak this summer as a member of the Astros organization, got traded to the Angels for Martin Maldonado at the deadline, and promptly embarked on a 21.2 inning scoreless streak with his new organization. Sandoval capped off his breakout 2018 with one final exceptional outing. He struck out five of his first nine at Pensacola on Aug. 28, and rode that hot start to four scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. It was a fitting end for Sandoval, who rose from low Class A to high Class A to Double-A and finished the year 11-1, 2.07 overall with 139 strikeouts and 27 walks in 117.1 innings. (KG)

19. Ademar Rifaela, OF, Orioles
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .462/.462/.1.231 (6-for-13), 3 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0-for-0 SB

The Scoop: Rifaela’s breakout 2017 didn’t carry over into 2018, but he at least managed to finish on a high note. Rifaela went 4-for-5 with two home runs in Bowie’s final game of the season, giving him three home runs in his final three games. Rifaela nearly doubled his season home run output with the stretch—he had four home runs in 97 games before these final three—but is was still a down season after he hit 24 homers last year. Now, Rifaela will head into the offseason and try rediscover his previous form. (KG)

20. Jacob Heyward, OF, Giants
Team: High Class A San Jose (California)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .400/.441/.833 (12-for-30), 6 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 10 SO, 1-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Jason Heyward’s little brother shows big raw power in batting practice, but getting to it in games was a problem. Heyward finally found a way to get to it in the final week of the season, hitting three doubles and three home runs to power a six-game hitting streak at San Jose. He was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento for the last two games of the year, and went 2-for-3 with another double in the final game of the year. (KG)


Alejandro Kirk, C, Blue Jays

The Scoop: Signed out of Mexico in 2016, Kirk got just two at-bats in 2017 before making this year his de facto first full season. And boy, did he make an impression. He punished baseballs from open to close, finishing among the top five in the league in all three triple-slash category. He's a big boy who makes a big impact, particularly on fastballs. He knows how to work the count, too, and walked 12 more times than he struck out this season. He split his time behind the plate and at DH, and allowed just one passed ball and threw out 43 percent of runners when he strapped on the tools of ignorance. (JN)

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