Thank you Matt Moore, one of the top pitching prospects in the game, for making our job a little easier this week. The Rays' Double-A lefty threw a nine-inning no-hitter, making him an easy choice for the top spot.

Remember that the Prospect Hot Sheet is not a re-ranking of the Top 100 Prospects. This is a snapshot of which top prospects are excelling and which ones are struggling right now. Stats cover the period from June 10 through last night, June 16.

Contributing: Ted Cahill, J.J. Cooper, Kyle Dugan, Matt Eddy, Michael Kanen, Brandon Moree and Jim Shonerd.

Matt Moore
Team: Double-A Montgomery (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.69, 13 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 16 SO
The Scoop: The true, no-asterisk no-hitter is a rare beast in the minor leagues. The pitchers who have the elite stuff to do it might hold a team hitless for six or seven innings, but in the minor leagues pitch counts and arm health take precedent over no-hit glory. We'll see the occasional complete-game, seven-inning no-hitter during a doubleheader, the combined no-hitter involving multiple pitchers or even the rare full nine-inning job by a minor league veteran or other non-prospect pitching the game of his life.

That's what makes Matt Moore's outing yesterday so special. The top lefty pitching prospect in the game threw a nine-inning no-hitter in Mobile, struck out 11 and walked two while outdueling Diamondbacks righthander Jarrod Parker. Moore, who turns 22 tomorrow, was able to go the distance by working efficiently, throwing 76 of his 106 pitches for strikes. That's been one of the key differences this year. He's learned to challenge hitters by throwing more strikes early in the count to get ahead before putting them away with his knockout stuff. His fastball yesterday reached the mid-90s, his curveball was a wipeout offering and his changeup gave him a third above-average pitch. Moore is gunning for another minor league strikeout title, as his 103 whiffs tie him for second with Cardinals righthander Shelby Miller and trail only Rockies lefty Edwar Cabrera by seven. If you had to pick a minor league pitcher who has a chance to go to the major leagues and win a strikeout crown or throw a no-hitter, Moore wouldn't be a bad pick.
2011 Stats

Team: Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: 1-0, 1.29, 2 GS, 14 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 17 SO, 4 BB, 1 HBP, 14/8 G/F
The Scoop: Miller joined the Tigers' Jacob Turner at the Double-A level in June, and the two high school pitchers drafted in 2009 now stand on equal footing in the race to the big leagues. Miller has met expectations in the Texas League thus far by delivering three strong starts that include a 22-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's allowed just four runs in 20 innings, saving his best work for his Wednesday start. Facing Arkansas, Miller completed eight shutout innings while not allowing a baserunner to reach third base. He struck out eight, walked two and allowed just four hits.
2011 Stats

Team: Triple-A Columbus (International)
Age: 24
Why He's Here: .500/.538/1.083 (12-for-24), 2 HR, 2 2B, 3 3B, 7 RBIs, 8 R, 2 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: Orlando Cabrera may have broken up Justin Verlander's no-hitter on Tuesday night, but overall he's gone just 14-for-76 (.184) in his past 23 games as the Indians' primary second baseman. That's to say that Kipnis is heating up at just the right time. He smashed seven extra-base hits six games this week, and he's slugging .698 so far in June. Kipnis' other skills had been on display all season—he walks, he shows no platoon split with a .920 OPS versus lefties—so the additional power is a welcome addition. (Though not part of his official count, Kipnis receives credit here for a 1-for-2 with a double performance in Columbus' June 10 suspended game against Rochester. The two teams will complete the game at a later date.)
2011 Stats

Team: low Class A South Bend (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 10 SO
The Scoop: Getting Daniel Hudson in the trade that sent Edwin Jackson to the White Sox last year already looks like it will be a win for the Diamondbacks. If Holmberg develops into a solid mid-rotation starter, then that would just be gravy. Holmberg extended his scoreless innings streak to 27 innings, a stretch that's lowered his ERA to 2.61 in 76 innings. He racks up strikeouts and ground balls and has excellent feel for pitching, so his dominance of Midwest League hitters isn't a major surprise. Given his polish, he has the potential to move quickly through the system.
2011 Stats

Team: low Class A Hickory (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 2-0, 1.80, 10 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 16 SO
The Scoop: The Rangers drafted Jackson last year out of high school as a supplemental first-round pick, but he didn't make his official pro debut until May 20 this year. The Rangers have sent many of their high school draft picks to short-season Spokane after spending the early months of the season in extended spring training, but the organization instead opted to send Jackson to Hickory for his first professional start. Rome tagged Jackson for four runs in four innings in that game, but since then he's been a South Atlantic League standout, with a low-90s fastball that can reach the mid-90s. His five-inning, 10-strikeout game against Charleston yesterday gives him 29 in 25 1/3 innings, while his ERA through six starts sits at 3.20.
2011 Stats

Team: high Class A Lake Elsinore (California)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .515/.556/.697 (17-for-36), 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 6 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Gyorko extended his hitting streak to 10 games last night against High Desert, the third time the 22-year old has had a hitting streak reach double digits this year. Gyorko's current streak has been particularly impressive because he has had multiple hits in each of his last nine games.

All but one of his four extra base hits this week came in High Desert, one of baseball's best launching pads. But Gyorko's gap-to-gap approach at the plate has played particularly well at Lake Elsinore, which is one of the few pitcher-oriented parks in the California League. Gyorko's .387 average leads the Cal League among players still in the circuit, and trails only Jose Altuve's .408 overall. Gyorko may join Altuve in Double-A in the near future. James Darnell is hitting .353 at Double-A San Antonio and the Padres could move Gyorko and Darnell up at the same time.
2011 Stats

Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: .423/.464/.846 (11-for-26), 3 HR, 2 2B, 6 R, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 4-for-4 SB
The Scoop: Scouts never questioned Valdespin's raw tools, but they cautioned that the young middle infielder's game required a lot of refinement. Playing shortstop every day at Double-A may have afforded Valdespin that extra incentive he needed to mature. He's swiped 16 bases in 19 tries on the year, and in June he's turned on the power (five homers, .733 slugging) and tuned down the strikeouts (11 percent of at-bats). His performance may prove to be a statistical blip, but the Mets have to be happy with what they've seen lately.
2011 Stats

Team: high Class A Stockton (California)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .333/.419/.741 (9-for-27), 3 HR, 2 2B, 6 RBIs, 9 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Choice's raw power graded out as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale coming out of last year's draft, when the Athletics made him the 10th overall pick. But scouts also felt his unorthodox swing could lead to high strikeout totals, and both of those projections have been borne out in his first full season with high Class A Stockton. Choice broke out of a two-week homerless spell by going deep three times this week, moving him into a tie for fourth place in the Cal League with 14 on the year. When he's not going deep, making contact has proven to be a challenge though. Choice has struck out 80 times in 249 at-bats, which is also the fourth most in the league. His average has hovered under .250 most of the season, and he's batting .249/.351/.490 after 62 games.
2011 Stats

Team: low Class A Beloit (Midwest)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: 0-0, 2.45, 2 GS, 14 2/3 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 14 SO
The Scoop: Last year, Salcedo finally bit off more than he could chew. After compiling sub-1.70 ERAs in the Dominican Summer and Gulf Coast leagues in his first two pro seasons, Salcedo floundered in the Florida State League last year (6.26 ERA in six starts) when injuries forced the Twins' hand. Minnesota sent him down to the Rookie-level Elizabethton in June, and he recovered nicely. Clearly, those struggles didn't cause long-term problems for Salcedo. The Midwest League all-star has been a picture of consistency this year—he's allowed two runs or less in nine of his last 11 starts. If you want to quibble with results, Salcedo's strikeout rate (6.6 per nine innings) falls short of elite status, but he already has a feel for setting up hitters. He has solid stuff (90-93 mph fastball and a good changeup) already, and as he refines his breaking ball he should miss more bats.
2011 Stats

Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .323/.400/.581 (10-for-31), 5 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 4 BB, 7 SO
The Scoop: With the promotions of Aaron Crow, Tim Collins, Mike Moustakas, Danny Duffy and Eric Hosmer to the big leagues, the season-ending injury to John Lamb, the control troubles of Mike Montgomery and Chris Dwyer and the slow start for Christian Colon, you can make a pretty fair argument that the Royals no longer have the top farm system in the game. But there's still plenty of intriguing prospects in one of the game's deepest systems. And few of those prospects are more intriguing than Myers. The right fielder missed nearly a month with a knee infection, but he's working hard to make up for lost time—he's hitting .314/.364/.490 since returning to the lineup on June 5.
2011 Stats

Team: low Class A Great Lakes (Midwest)
Why He's Here:
.423/.423/.962 (11-for-26), 3 HR, 5 2B, 5 RBIs, 6 R, 0 BB, 8 SO
The Scoop:
Garcia came out of the gates on fire, belting six home runs in his first 11 games, a Herculean effort in the cold April weather in the Midwest League. While he obviously wasn't going to maintain that kind of pace, Garcia has the bat speed to be a legitimate power threat, yet he'd scarcely been heard from since. Garcia homered just twice between April 18 and June 12, but he broke out of his shell this week. The Puerto Rican teenager homered in three consecutive games, bringing his season total to 11, which ties him for the second highest total in the MWL. After hitting just .202/.248/.309 in May, Garcia has hits in nine of his last 10 games.
2011 Stats

Team:  Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: 1-0, 1.17, 1 GS, 7 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO
The Scoop: With Vizcaino, the stuff has never been the question, but his health always has been. So Vizcaino's recent promotion to Double-A Mississippi is notable both because it makes him one of the younger pitchers in the Southern League and also because with 66 innings, he's on pace to blow past his career high of 85 last year. His stuff compares pretty favorably to fellow Braves prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado. Teheran, Mike Minor and now Delgado are all getting starts in Atlanta because of injuries. Vizcaino isn't ready to make that jump just yet, but he's not far behind.
2011 Stats

No. 13 T.J. HOUSE, LHP
Team: high Class A Kinston (Carolina)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: House's seven-inning, complete game, one-hitter against Anthony Ranaudo this past week showed just how good the young lefty can be, even when he's not locating. His four walks all came in separate innings, limiting the amount of damage Salem was able to inflict. In repeating the high Class A level, House has not yet demonstrated that he's ready for a promotion to Double-A. He's not fooling same-sided batters as well as you'd like to see—lefties have hit .292/.382/.523 through 65 at-bats.
2011 Stats


Angels 3B Luis Jimenez continued his strong season by going 11-for-27 (.407) with six extra-base hits for Double-A Arkansas, among them four doubles and his sixth and seventh home runs of the year. He turned in the rare zero walk, zero strikeout performance this week, highlighting his belief that he can make contact with anything the pitcher's got. Jimenez plays DH roughly once per week as he returns to full strength following 2009 shoulder surgery . . . While his two-start major league cameo in early May resulted in a 5.19 ERA, Braves RHP Julio Teheran hasn't had any problems handling Triple-A this season with Gwinett. The 20-year-old came out strong in his start this week (7 innings, three hits, zero walks, three strikeouts), retiring the first six batters he faced. Teheran allowed a leadoff double in the third, then promptly retired the next 10 batters in a row. He challenged batters by throwing 60 of 88 pitches for strikes (68.2%). He missed a chance to return to the majors as a fill-in for Tommy Hanson tonight (the Braves turned to Randall Delgado) only because he had pitched on Monday . . . Ever since his average briefly dipped below the Mendoza Line on May 9, Yankees C Gary Sanchez has turned it around in a hurry for low Class A Charleston. The 18-year-old has hit .367 since then sandwiched around a two-week stint as extended spring training for insubordination (as first reported by the New York Daily News) and he hit .381/.435/.714 (8-for-21) with a homer and four doubles this week . . . Brewers RHP Tyler Thornburg was limited by an oblique strain after being drafted out of Charleston Southern last year, but that is behind the 22-year old now. A former two-way player in college, Thornburg has dominated the Midwest League and turned in another strong start this week. He allowed just two hits in seven innings, while striking out nine. Thornburg is now 7-0, 1.57 and is pushing hard for a promotion to high Class A . . . Astros 2B Jose Altuve got off to a blazing start at high Class A Lancaster, but questions remained if the 21-year old would be able to continue his tear outside of one of the best hitting environments in the minor leagues. The Astros promoted Altuve to Double-A at the start of June and, so far, he has continued to hit. He went 10-for-29 (.345) with six extra-base hits this week, including four doubles and two triples. He's hitting .393/.422/.689 in his first two weeks with Corpus Christi . . . Angels CF Mike Trout, still just 19 years old, turned in another spectacular week at Double-A Arkansas. He had a pair of three-hit games and went 12-for-26 (.462) and scored 10 runs. He also swiped five bases, and now leads the Texas League with 23 . . . The keys to RHP Blake Beavan's success are simple. He must fill the strike zone and limit walks, and to that end he's walked just two batters per nine innings this season. Despite his 6-foot-7 stature, Beavan is more Doug Fister than Michael Pineda (in keeping with current Mariners horses). Pitching for Triple-A Tacoma, the 22-year-old has turned in three straight strong starts in June, going 2-1, 1.29 with 17 strikeouts, five walks and no homers allowed in 21 innings (and that includes a start in Tucson). He shut down the Pacific Coast League-best Sacramento River Cats on Sunday, completing eight shutout innings and allowing just four hits.


• Eduardo Escobar, ss, White Sox: The White Sox have a rich tradition with shortstops from Venezuela—see: Luis Aparicio and Ozzie Guillen—and coming into the year, Escobar looked like a potential candidate to be the next in line. The 5-foot-10, 150-pound Escobar put a poor April behind him with a solid May at Triple-A Charlotte, hitting .271/.291/.469 with four home runs, nearly equaling his total of six last year. So far in June, though, he's slipped back to his early season woes. In his last 10 games Escobar has gone 5-for-35 and is still in the middle of a 0-for-17 hole with seven strikeouts.

Chun Chen, c, Indians. Chen had been holding his own with Double-A Akron, but this week is one he'll want to forget, both offensively and defensively. At the plate, the 22-year-old hit just .083/.115/.125 (2-for-24) with a double and 10 strikeouts. Chen had been hitting a solid .292/.335/.487 coming into the week, so it could be written off as an aberration. His defense, which was the biggest sore point for him entering the year, took a nose dive. Chen allowed three passed balls this week—including two in one game—and has 10 for the season, the third most among Eastern League catchers. He also committed an error Thursday, getting called for catcher's interference. The good news is that was his first error of the season, and he leads EL catchers in throwing out basestealers at 36.5 percent (27 of 74).

Gary Brown, of, Giants: Brown hit his lone bump in the road this week in what has otherwise been a breakout campaign. After torching high Class A Cal League pitchers in May, hitting .397 with a 1.064 OPS, the Giants' first-rounder of a year ago has suddenly stumbled in June, going just 2-for-27 in San Jose's last six games. Strikeouts have been one of the only red flags on the 22-year-old's resume this spring, and he went down six times last week. Brown still sports a .332/.403/.487 line, indicative of how well he had been doing.

Brett Eibner, of, Royals: Kansas City's robust farm system has taken its share of hits so far in 2011, and you can tack Eibner's name to the list of unexpected injuries and inconsistent performances. A two-way standout for Arkansas this time last year, Eibner signed late as a second-round pick and had a hand injury that delayed his pro debut until early April, when he hit a home run in his first at-bat for low Class A Kane County. The next night, Eibner hurt his left thumb while making a diving catch and has struggled since returning to the Cougar lineup, hitting 2-for-23 in his first six games back.


Henry Sosa, rhp, Giants: After reestablishing himself as a prospect with a strong 2010 campaign, Sosa quickly saw the goodwill he earned vanish when he racked up a 10.41 ERA in 23 innings for Triple-A Fresno this season. Accordingly, San Francisco removed him from their 40-man and assigned him to Double-A Richmond, where he's very quickly turned his season around. Coming out of the pen on June 11, Sosa hurled four scoreless innings and induced eight ground outs along with three strikeouts. He made his first start for Richmond this season on Wednesday, going another five clean innings with four strikeouts. Sosa has yet to be scored upon in his 10 2/3 innings at Double-A this season, and he needs more performances like this week (nine innings, no runs, four hits, two walks, six strikeouts) for the clock is ticking for the 25-year-old.


Kyle Blanks, 1b, Padres. Things change quickly in baseball. Just two years ago Blanks stood as the Padres' top prospect. He made his big league debut as a 22-year-old in 2009, switching off his natural position of first base to play left field and belting 10 home runs. He lasted about six weeks in San Diego last year (and didn't hit much) before succumbing to Tommy John surgery. Still, Blanks has 13 home runs and a .436 slugging through 87 big league games. But the Padres organization to which he returns has Anthony Rizzo entrenched at first base, so despite Blanks' output for Triple-A Tucson (.375/.412/.719 with seven extra-base hits in 34 plate appearances) he'll either have to grow accustomed to left field or hope for a trade.


Rougned Odor, ss, Rangers: Our friends in the scouting world have eyes beyond just the teams playing official games. Bill Mitchell has a report today on a Mariners prospect who was throwing up to 100 mph in spring training and will start in the short-season Northwest League. Odor, a 17-year-old shortstop who signed out of Venezuela for $425,000 in January, will join him in the NWL, following in the aggressive path the Rangers used when they assigned shortstop Jurickson Profar to Spokane in 2010 after signing him for $1.55 million out of Curacao in 2009. Odor separated himself at extended spring training with his sweet swing, advanced approach at the plate and ability to hit the ball to all fields. He probably projects better at second base down the road, but his he should have plenty of bat for a middle infielder.