Some weeks, the Hot Sheet is filled with the biggest names in the minors. We'll choose between Bryce Harper and Matt Moore for the top spot, while sprinkling Mike Trout and Julio Teheran into the top 13.

And then there are weeks like this one. Few of the minors' biggest names had big weeks this week, so that gives us the opportunity to turn the spotlight on some of the less-noticed stars of the first half of the 2011 season.

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 24-30.

Contributing: J.J. Cooper, Kyle Dugan, Matt Eddy, Michael Kanen and Jim Shonerd.

Team: low Class A South Bend (Midwest)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 0-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 Ks
The Scoop: Other pitchers had good months, but no one else had a June to compare to David Holmberg. The Diamondbacks lefty last gave up a run on May 22. In June he gave up seven hits and no walks in 29 innings.

As impressive as the numbers are, the way Holmberg is doing it is just as notable. A 2009 second-round pick of the White Sox out of high school in Port Charlotte, Fla., Holmberg came to the Diamondbacks in the Edwin Jackson trade. His fastball, which used to sit at 88-89 mph, now will touch 93 mph, and he has shown a feel for a slow curveball with the ability to tighten it up at times. He also throws a plus changeup. Add it up, and he's a polished 19-year-old.

"He's really, really good," said a scout who saw Holmberg recently. "He's got an innate feel of how to pitch. The delivery is as good as you want it to be. He's everything you draw up for a Class A guy. He's advanced for Double-A."

2011 Stats

Team: Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: 0-0, 2.70, 1 GS, 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 R, 1 BB, 14 Ks.
The Scoop: Like many pitchers, Erlin has found that the jump from high Class A to Double-A is one of the steepest in the minors. It doesn't help when you're going from Myrtle Beach, a pitcher's park, to the more hitter-friendly parks of the Texas League. Before coming to Frisco, Erlin had allowed four or more earned runs twice in his first 26 pro starts. He gave up four or more earned in three consecutive starts for Frisco, including a career-worst six runs in five innings in a loss to Midland on June 15.

Erlin bounced back this week with one of the most dominant starts of his career. A control pitcher with great feel whose changeup and curveball are responsible for much of his success, Erlin had struck out 10 in a game only once as a pro before this week, which makes his 14 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings on Sunday rather remarkable. Erlin doesn't give in, and his lack of a blow-you-away fastball (he sits at 87-90 mph on most nights) does make him prone to home runs. He gave up two more on Sunday, and now has given up eight in six Double-A starts.
2011 Stats

Team: Triple-A Pawtucket (International)
Why He's Here:
2-0, 3.60, 2 GS, 13 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 13 Ks
The Scoop:
Weiland is an example of why pro teams like drafting college closers. At Notre Dame, he was a two-pitch pitcher who excelled with a 91-94 mph fastball and a hard slider. Given a chance to stretch out as a pro starter, the righthander has turned his slider into a plus curveball, added a useable changeup and even picked up a fourth pitch by developing a cutter this year. His fastball also has gotten better, even in longer stints, as he'll now touch 96 mph while sitting anywhere from 90-95 mph. In other words, he's a significantly better pitcher than the one the Red Sox drafted as a third-rounder in 2008. Weiland now projects as a No. 3/No. 4 starter instead of a power reliever.
2011 Stats

Team: Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: 1-0, 0.00, 12 1/3 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 12 Ks.
The Scoop: Some other National prospect has stolen much of the limelight this season, but it's not because Peacock isn't trying. A 2007 41st round draft-and-follow out of Palm Beach (Fla.) CC, Peacock has picked up strikeouts wherever he's gone. He led all Washington farmhands with 148 in 142 innings last year, and he's kept up that impressive pace this year in his first full season with Harrisburg, striking out 120 in 93 innings while walking just 21, putting to rest some reports that he may be better suited for the bullpen. Peacock gets a good downhill plane on his 91-94 mph fastball. Combine that with a solid curveball and he has the makings of a middle of the rotation starter.
2011 Stats

Team: High Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .414/.452/.759 (12-for-29), 2 HR, 4 2B, 14 RBIs, 7 R, 2 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: It was boom or bust for Arenado this week. He kicked things off by going 4-for-5 with six RBIs last Friday, the first of four multi-hit games on the week. On the other hand, he had a 13-game hitting streak snapped the next day and went hitless on Wednesday and Thursday. The five strikeouts this week was abnormally high for Arenado, whose inside-out stroke has make him one of the Cal League's toughest hitters to fan, going down on strikes just once every 10.37 plate appearances on the year. He'll be sorry to see June end. He mostly treaded water early this year, batting .271/.320/.426 through the end of May, but then he flipped the switch in June, batting .358/.394/.526 in 95 at-bats.

2011 Stats

Team: High Class A Bradenton (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .455/.594/.733 (10-for-22), 12 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 9 BB, 4 Ks, 1 SB, 1 CS.
The Scoop: Pittsburgh thought enough of Grossman's top-of-the-order potential coming out of high school in Texas to give him $1 million as a sixth-rounder in 2008, swaying him from a University of Texas commitment. The returns on the investment have looked fine so far, and never better than this week, when Grossman hit .455/.524/.773, part of an eight-game hitting streak that included four doubles and a home run. The 21-year-old is in his second go-round with Bradenton and has already walked 65 times in 76 games, nearly equaling his mark from last year in a full season.
2011 Stats

Team: Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: .417/.517/1.000 (10-for-24), 4 HR, 2 2B, 8 RBIs, 7 R, 4 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Sands had just 78 games of experience above low Class A when the Dodgers called him up to the majors in April. He had fleeting success, but then predictably had his struggles, batting .200/.294/.328 in 125 at-bats before being dispatched back to Albuquerque. The renowned launching pad that is Isotopes Park is a perfect match for Sands' plus raw power, but two of his home runs this week came on the road at Iowa, and he's been doing more than just slugging. Sands is working on a nine-game hitting streak and has drawn 13 walks in 21 games since coming back to Triple-A.

2011 Stats

Team: Rookie-level Orem (Pioneer)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: .500/.563/.615 (13-for-26), 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBIs, 7 R, 4 BB, 4 SO, 3-for-4 SB
The Scoop: The 18th overall pick in 2010, Cowart signed at the August deadline and didn't see much action in his draft year, so he did not move up to low Class A in his first full season. Perhaps that was best for the young switch-hitter, who needed time to hone his lefthanded swing. He also needed reps at third base, where he played in high school while not pitching. For building confidence with the bat, Cowart could not have asked for a better assignment. The Pioneer League offers many of the most favorable places to hit in the minors, and he has taken full advantage by batting 20-for-41 (.488) through 11 games while racking up two doubles, a triple, five walks and nine RBIs.
2011 Stats

Team: High Class A Myrtle Beach (Carolina)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: 1-0, 1.50, 2 GS, 12 IP, 13 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 18 SO, 11/4 G/F
The Scoop: It seems like ages ago that Loux was the Diamondbacks' 2010 first-round pick. His journey from rejected Arizona pick to the Rangers organization has been well-documented, but he's been pitching like a first-rounder lately. Loux hasn't lost a decision since May 13 and has allowed just four runs in his last 24 innings of work. Loux has been just as tough on lefties (.232 average) as righties (.230) thanks to his above-average changeup, and he ranks third in the Carolina League with 92 strikeouts in 79 innings on the season.
2011 Stats

Team: High Class A Palm Beach (Florida State)
Age: 19
Why He's Here: 1-0, 2.25, 2 GS, 12 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 R, 6 BB, 14 Ks.
The Scoop: Martinez hadn't thrown an official pitch in the U.S. until he made his first start with low Class A Quad Cities this year, so his promotion to high Class A Palm Beach qualifies as a meteoric ascent. The Cardinals had little choice because Martinez was encountering little resistance in the Midwest League. In his first Florida State League start against Bradenton, Martinez went six innings, surrendering two earned runs and striking out seven. He's racking up the strikeouts (57) with an overpowering, mid- to high-90s fastball that some scouts rate as an 80 on the 20-80 scale. His secondary stuff isn't bad either. In fact, the total package compares favorably with just about anyone in the minors.
2011 Stats

Team:  Low Class A Kane County (Midwest)
Age: 21
Why He's Here: .357/.400/.929 (10-for-27), 1 2B, 5 HRs, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 2 CS.
The Scoop: Eibner may still be working to regain his timing after two months in the dugout with a thumb injury, but there's no question that his power is back. With six home runs overall, Eibner is already tied for second on the Kane County roster. His raw power has always been impressive, and it's one of the big reasons the Royals were willing to let him head to the outfield when many teams wanted him as a power pitcher (he can touch 97 mph off the mound). The 2010 second-round pick has some lost time and as a raw college product, the injury may keep him from making the jump to high Class A Wilmington this year, but his overall package of tools is quite impressive.
2011 Stats

Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 20
Why He's Here: .462/.533/.654 (12-for-26), 1 HR, 2 2B, 4 R, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO, 1 HBP, 8-for-11 SB
The Scoop: Gose's plus-plus speed can change the complexion of a game, especially when he's reaching base 16 times in a week. In fact, he reached base in each of the Fisher Cats' seven games, attempting a steal in the first six. He stole two bags last Friday against the Portland battery of Caleb Clay/Stolmy Pimentel and catcher Tim Federowicz. On Tuesday he stole three bases against Trenton lefthander Manny Banuelos and catcher Jose Gil. Gose now leads the Eastern League with 38 steals in 49 attempts (78 percent). He ran much more frequently in June, going 16-for-21, than he had in April or May, likely a response to a monthlong slump as much as anything. Prior to his offensive breakout last week, Gose had gone 7-for-59 (.119) with five walks and 25 strikeouts in June.

2011 Stats

Team: Triple-A Omaha (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He's Here: .435/.696/.480 (10-for-23), 4 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 2 SB.
The Scoop: If you're wondering who may be the next Royals prospect to make the jump to the big leagues, you can make a good case for Giavotella. He hit .398/.431/.610 in June, and his four extra-base hits this week are more than half as many as Royals second baseman Chris Getz has all season. What Giavotella can't provide is the defense Getz plays at second. When he focuses on it, Giavotella has the ability to be an adequate second baseman, though he's unlikely to ever be more than that.

2011 Stats


Reds 1B Neftali Soto was batting just .252 for Double-A Carolina before a 10-game hitting streak that has included five home runs and four multi-hit games, raising his line to .285/.331/.552 for the year. In his seven games of work this week, the 22-year-old Soto hit .393/.469/.929 (11-for-28) with four homers, three doubles and nine RBIs . . . Yankees 2B Angelo Gumbs had the first two home runs of his career on Wednesday. He had a good power showing this week (.348/.464/.696) at short-season Staten Island, with half of his eight hits going for extra bases. The 2010 second-round pick has shown great discipline at the plate this year (nine walks to 11 strikeouts), most notably a three-game stretch from June 23-25 in which he drew six free passes . . . Fresh off a stint on the disabled list with a strained triceps, Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks found himself on the comeback trail with an injury rehab stint with short-season Lowell. In four games in the New York-Penn League, the 22-year-old showed no ill effects, clubbing three home runs and getting a bump back up to Double-A Portland. In his first game back with the Sea Dogs, Middlebrooks went 2-for-3 with a double and two walks, capping off his strong week (.400/.500/1.133). With a stolen base, Middlebrooks has six steals and six attempts this season . . . At 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, Diamondbacks CF Adam Eaton gets overshadowed on a high Class A Visalia club full of premium draft picks like Tyler Skaggs, Bobby Borchering, and Matt Davidson. It doesn't help when you share the name of a current big leaguer. After leading the Rookie-level Pioneer League in hitting (.385) and OBP (.500) in 2010, Eaton is now scorching Cal League arms, hitting at a .338/.461/.500 clip. This past week, he was 9-for-26 and showed surprising pop, with three home runs to go with six RBIs. He also stole five bases, giving him 24 for the year . . . Dustin Ackley was a college teammate of Kyle Seager at North Carolina, and a few years later he's still helping out his buddy. Seager, who starred on North Carolina's 2006 and '07 College World Series teams and was drafted two rounds after current Mariners second baseman Ackley, destroyed Triple-A Pacific Coast League pitching at Tacoma after a promotion from Double-A Jackson this week. He moved up after Ackley was promoted to the majors. In seven games, Seager was 15-for-27 with six extra-base hits and eight RBIs, including a home run. A year after leading the minor leagues with 192 hits for high Class A High Desert, Seager already had 100 hits in 73 games and was batting .337/.404/.498 across two levels . . . Triple-A Charlotte's Knights Stadium tends to inflate home run totals, and RF Dayan Viciedo is no exception. The 22-year-old slugger has hit 23 of his 33 Triple-A homers at home during the past two seasons. But Viciedo has upped his road OPS this season (.929) by nearly 250 points over last year (.686). He batted 11-for-28 (.393) this week while contributing two homers (one home, one away), two doubles, two walks and seven RBIs. The righthanded-hitting Viciedo homered twice against righthanded pitchers this week, taking both Tyson Brummett and Chris Bootcheck deep, though he loves facing lefties. In his three-year minor league career he's batted .301/.360/.546 in 336 plate appearances while facing southpaws . . .   Padres 2B Cory Spangenburg, the organization's top pick in June at No. 10 overall, has hit the ground running at short-season Eugene, batting 13-for-29 (.448) this week with a homer, three doubles and five walks. He leads the Northwest League batting and on-base races at .426 and .582.


• Andrew Brackman, rhp, Yankees. Brackman, a first-round pick in 2007, went 2-5, 6.75 as a starter for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, prompting a move to the bullpen in early June as he struggled with his control. He showed improvement working in relief, but everything came unraveled in a disastrous outing Tuesday in Durham. Brackman faced six hitters and retired only one. He walked three, beaned another, threw a wild pitch and gave up one hit. All five of those runners eventually scored. He threw again Thursday in Norfolk and had better control, walking one and fanning five in two innings, but he also gave up a two-run homer. He stands at 2-6, 7.91 in 60 innings.

• Josh Vitters, 3b, Cubs: Last week was a synopsis of Vitters' struggles at the plate. He put balls in play, striking out twice, but only a lone single dropped in for a hit. His 1-for-3 effort sank Vitters' numbers to .274/.310/.435, still hovering above the Southern League average, but much more is expected of the 2007 third overall pick. Vitters' great hand-eye coordination can cause problems for him, as he makes plenty of contact, but sometimes on pitches that he was better off letting go.

• Andy Oliver, lhp, Tigers. Oliver ran up a 3.31 ERA and 2.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first nine starts for Triple-A Toledo and seemed well on his way to becoming the Tigers' next homegrown starter. Then the 23-year-old got hit hard in two starts for Detroit (6.52 ERA) and hasn't been able to find his footing in the International League after a demotion. Columbus rocked him for nine runs on nine hits on Wednesday, but that's only part of the bigger picture. In five June starts for the Mud Hens, Oliver went 1-3, 8.63 while giving up six homers and averaging two baserunners per inning. His strikeout rate held steady (23 in 24 innings), increasing the odds of a turnaround.

Donavan Tate, cf, Padres. It's somewhat fitting that Tate makes the Not-Hot list on the week of his best game as a pro. But a 5-for-6 day at the plate can't erase yet another setback in a pro career that's been filled with them. Tate's current 50-game drug suspension ensures that he'll enter the 2012 season with fewer than 300 pro at-bats. Between the suspension and a multitude of injuries, Tate has had little chance to refine his raw approach at the plate. Considering he'll be looking to play his first full season in low Class A next year as a 21-year-old, he's got a lot of catching up to do.


It's fair to say that there is nothing 1B Dennis Raben, 23, has left to prove at high Class A High Desert. The 2008 second-round pick out of Miami hit .356/.413/.681 at High Desert last year, but the Mariners' logjam of first baseman meant he returned for a second taste of the dry, hot air of the California League. It's fair to wonder how much of Raben's excellent .330/.387/.599 numbers are a product of High Desert, as he's slugging more than 200 points better at home than on the road. More than anything, Raben needs to get to Double-A, where he can prove that he's not just beating up on less-advanced pitchers.


Cashman Field in Las Vegas has helped Brett Lawrie leap into the dreams of every Blue Jays fan, and it has helped David Cooper turn around a disappointing pro career. And this week it bestowed its restorative powers on LF Jason Lane. Lane's pro career has followed the Bill James' theory of the aging curve almost to the letter. He broke into the big leagues as a 24-year-old, landed an everyday job as a 27-year-old, peaked while he was 27-29 and was out of the majors for good by age 30, just two years after he hit 26 home runs for the Astros. Now 34, Lane's chances of another shot at the big leagues get longer by the day, but weeks like this one—.421/.577/.684—keep the hope alive.


Low Class A Dayton RHP Daniel Renken's delivery isn't pretty, but the same herky-jerkiness that leads to concerns about his command and his long-term future also makes him deceptive. Lansing's hitters found that out this week, as Renken struck out 14 while walking one and allowed two hits in six scoreless innings. Renken now has 106 strikeouts in 84 innings. He does it with an 89-92 mph fastball and a hard breaking ball, but it's the deception that does as much work as the stuff. Renken may end up having to move to the pen, but it's hard to ignore the results.