Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet

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 July 29-Aug. 4.

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



Team: Double-A Frisco/San Antonio (Texas)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.60, 2 GS, 15 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 14 Ks.
The Scoop: If the Padres had any doubt they wanted Joe Wieland in the trade that sent Mike Adams to the Rangers, he erased them with a dominating no-hitter against the Padres’ Double-A San Antonio club on July 29. That proved to be Wieland’s parting gift to the Rangers organization, after he was sent along with teammate Robbie Erlin to the Padres for Adams at the trade deadline.

Having been baffled by Wieland twice in the previous two weeks, his new Missions teammates already had a pretty good idea of what he could do, but Wieland reinforced his status as a newfound ace for San Antonio by holding Springfield to three hits and one run in six innings. As usual, Wieland was efficient, with 51 strikes in 73 pitches, and didn’t walk a batter.

2011 Stats
Team: Double-A Hunstville (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 9 Ks.
The Scoop: The hottest pitcher in the minors? It may not be Matt Moore.

As good as Moore’s been, Peralta has allowed only three runs in his last six starts for a 0.66 ERA over that stretch. Peralta is becoming a regular on the Hot Sheet, as it’s hard to drop a guy from the list as long as he keeps posting zero after zero on the scoreboard. Peralta’s best start of that stretch was his last one—a one-hit, seven inning masterpiece. In a system that’s understandably thin after a series of trades, Peralta and Tyler Thornburg are proving that the cupboard isn’t bare.

2011 Stats
Team: Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .455/.520/.864 (10-for-22), 3 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 SB.
The Scoop: At times, scouts have said that while d’Arnaud doesn’t do anything great, he also doesn’t have many weaknesses. That may sound like faint praise, but when you’re talking about a catcher, it’s a pretty good compliment. Still, d’Arnaud may be forcing some re-evaluations of that statement, as he’s putting together a monstrous year offensively. He’s second in the Eastern League in batting, third in slugging percentage and fifth in on-base percentage. And he’s getting hotter as the season goes along—he’s hitting .370/.425/.575 since the all-star break. Add to that solid defense and a respectable 30 percent rate throwing out basestealers, and d’Arnaud is reinforcing his status as one of the game’s best catching prospects.
2011 Stats
Team: Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: .462/.576/.962 (12-for-26), 4 HR, 1 2B, 6 RBIs, 9 R, 7 BB, 6 SO, 0-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Jackson was sidelined by a broken finger in May with Double-A Tennessee. It took a little time, but he has gotten back on track and hit his stride after moving up to Triple-A Iowa in mid-July. The Cubs’ 2009 first-round pick owns a .293/.400/.573 line in 75 Triple-A at-bats after hitting .256/.373/.443 in the Southern League. One thing that never suffered was Jackson’s eye at the plate, and he has drawn 59 walks in 88 games between the two levels. Jackson led off two games with home runs this week, and he had four multi-hit games.
2011 Stats
Team: Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .423/.559/.962 (11-for-26), 9 R, 2 2B , 4 HR, 12 RBIs, 8 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB.
The Scoop: Though Hoes batted .241/.297/.342 in 41 games at high Class A Frederick earlier this season, the Orioles felt confident enough to promote him to Double-A Bowie, and he has rewarded that faith. In 236 at bats with the Baysox, Hoes has posted a .326/.389/.455 line and went on a power binge recently. Hoes’ four homers on the week nearly doubled his season total (nine) and he did it without sacrificing his discipline at the plate.

While it’s been a strong offensive season for Hoes at Bowie, it doesn’t seem that he’ll be providing it from second base moving forward. Since getting to Bowie, he has primarily been an outfielder (49 games), and when he has seen action in the infield, it has been more at the hot corner (seven games) as opposed to second (five games). Hoes’ defensive home was in question coming into this season, and it seems the Orioles aren’t content to let his glove hold back his bat.

2011 Stats
Team: high Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 2 GS, 14 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 14 SO, 3 BB, 19/7 G/F
The Scoop: Rasmussen received credit for a shutout for his seven-inning, two-hit performance against St. Lucie yesterday. The Marlins’ 2010 second-rounder has shown progress in the Florida State League’s second half, upping his strikeout rate to 7.3 per nine innings (first half: 6.2) and reducing his walk rate to 3.2 per nine (first half: 5.3). Rasmussen’s wide repertoire makes him a menace to lefthanded batters, who’ve managed to hit .235/.299/.348 in 132 at-bats this season.
2011 Stats
Team: Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Age: 25
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.50, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: Hyatt may not be blowing hitters away with heat, but he still finds ways to miss bats. Hyatt’s fastball can reach 93 mph, but his keys to success have been his curveball, which looks promising when it’s on, and a sinking changeup that makes him tough on lefthanded hitters, who are batting .193 against him. Hyatt had been plagued by home runs for most of the year, but he has gone four starts without giving up a long ball, his longest stretch of the year. His 12 strikeouts against Harrisburg this week were a season high and moved him into second on the Eastern League leaderboard.
2011 Stats
Team: high Class A Modesto (California)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 3.14, 2 GS, 14 1/3 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 0 HR, 15 SO, 5 BB, 13/6 G/F
The Scoop: The Phillies’ Trevor May (169) and the Rays’ Matt Moore (160) have closed the gap on Cabrera and his minor league-leading 175 strikeouts, but Cabrera seems to be gaining strength as he marches to the completion of his first full season. He has fanned at least six batters (with a high of 11) in each of his eight California League starts, and no Cal League hurler has more than Cabrera’s 65 strikeouts since he made his first start for Modesto on June 26. The lefty with the plus changeup and strong control could be another Latin pitching success story for the Rockies, joining Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, Esmil Rogers and the departed Ubaldo Jimenez. In 21 starts this year, Cabrera has gone 7-2, 3.37 with a 175-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 139 innings.
2011 Stats
Team: Rookie-level Orem (Pioneer)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .379/.438/.931 (11-for-29), 4 HR, 2 2B, 1 3B, 11 RBIs, 8 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 2 HBP
The Scoop: A 21-year-old, righty-hitting first baseman fresh out of college also tore up the Pioneer League in 2009, smashing 18 homers in 74 games. His name? Paul Goldschmidt. Little more than two years (and 83 homers) later, he’s starting for the Diamondbacks. Cron’s debut in the PL bears similarities to Goldschmidt’s, particularly if he keeps up the pace of the past 11 games, when he has hit .340 with seven homers in 50 at-bats. Cron, the 17th overall pick in June, leads the PL with 11 homers and 35 RBIs. To Goldschmidt’s credit, he was drafted seven rounds after Cron, and he played first base for Missoula, whereas Cron has DH’ed exclusively.
2011 Stats
Team: low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Age: 19
Why He’s Here: .304/.385/.826 (7-for-23), 5 R, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 Ks.
The Scoop: Don’t bury Gary Sanchez just yet. A slow start combined with a suspension for poor attitude seemed to take a lot of the shine off of one of game’s best catching prospects early this year. But Sanchez has responded well to the adversity. He homered in three consecutive games this week and has raised his overall numbers to .248/.328/.458. He has also thrown out 30 percent of basestealers, though he still has plenty of work to do on his receiving. Considering he’s one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League, it’s a respectable season.
2011 Stats
Team:  Double-A Carolina (Southern)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: .333/.385/.958 (8-for-24), 7 R, 5 HR, 11 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 Ks.
The Scoop: Neftali Soto’s position has always been a question mark. He was drafted as a shortstop and quickly moved to third base. His strong arm seemed a good fit at the hot corner, but his slow feet didn’t match up nearly as well, so last year the Reds decided to try him at catcher. Understandably Soto was quite raw behind the plate, and it didn’t help that he was in an organization suddenly flush with catching prospects (Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal). So Soto moved again, this time to first base. Whatever position Soto is playing, he has always shown solid power potential, and the chance to focus more on his hitting this year appears to be paying off. Soto has a pair of two-home run games this week, with his final home run of the week (his 24th of the season) earning him a tie with Josh Willingham as the Carolina Mudcats’ single-season home run leader. Now that Paul Goldschmidt and his 30 Southern League home runs are in the big leagues, Soto has an outside chance of the SL home run crown. And as a 22-year-old in Double-A, his .609 slugging percentage deserves notice.
2011 Stats
Team:  Triple-A Durham (International)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 Ks.
The Scoop: Isn’t Triple-A supposed to be tougher than Double-A? You wouldn’t know it by watching Moore. He’s now 2-0, 0.50 in his first three Triple-A starts with a 29-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18 innings. In almost every measure, his numbers at Triple-A are better than they were at Double-A Montgomery.

But Moore’s chances of a third consecutive minor league strikeout crown are very much up in the air. The Rockies’ Edwar Cabrera leads the minors with 175 strikeouts, and Trevor May’s dominating week has helped him leap ahead of Moore with 169 Ks. Moore is still third with 160, and he gets another chance to add to that total this weekend.

2011 Stats
Team: high Class A Clearwater (Florida State)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 2.19, 2 GS, 12.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 18 SO
The Scoop: Clearwater lost one of its aces when Jarred Cosart was sent to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal, but the Threshers can still run a quality arm out there more nights than not, and May is one of them. The big righthander posted his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season Thursday when he fanned 10 Tampa hitters in five innings. May has gotten himself in trouble with walks at times, but he’s been tough to handle when he’s around the zone, holding FSL hitters to a .220 average and ranking second in the minors with 169 strikeouts in 124 innings.
2011 Stats



Maybe we should have seen this coming. When Angels RHP Garrett Richards, one of the team’s breakthrough prospects of 2011, pitches at home at Double-A Arkansas, hitters don’t really have a chance. Richards improved to 8-0, 1.78 at home with one dominating start (eight shutout innings) and one so-so start this week. Richards has had a little tougher time on the road (4-1, 4.57), but it’s hard to argue much with his results wherever he pitches. He hasn’t lost since early May. Richards has managed to tame the worst of his crossfire tendencies while maintaining the mid-90s velocity that gives hitters such a tough time . . . A midseason suspension and a Houston committment helped LHP Mitchell Taylor slip to the seventh round of the 2010 draft. Taylor ended up signing with the Blue Jays for third-round money, and the undersized lefty (6 feet, 150 pounds) is earning the bonus. Taylor, 19, allowed only one hit in two starts this week for Rookie-level Bluefield , throwing 11 scoreless innings. He struck out 16 and walked two. He does it with solid stuff, as he pairs a low 90s fastball with a big-breaking curveball . . . For a player making his U.S. debut this year, Padres CF Alberth Martinez has sure gotten around. Martinez played for low Class A Fort Wayne earlier this season and even four games for Triple-A Tucson, in emergency roster situations. Martinez, 20, was clearly over his head in those stints in full-season ball, but he’s had no such problem in the Arizona Rookie League. Martinez hit .522/.571/1.000 with three home runs this week. He leads the AZL in total bases, extra-base hits, is second in slugging percentage and home runs and is sixth in batting at .373 . . . Wherever Rays C Stephen Vogt goes, he usually hits. Vogt’s .301/.344/.487 numbers at Double-A Montgomery were right in line with his usual minor league production (he’s a .307 career hitter) and earned him a recent promotion to Triple-A Durham. He responded by hitting .429/.425/.762 in his first five games. The versatile Vogt isn’t really good enough defensively to be an everyday catcher, and he’s 26. But his versatility (he plays catcher, left field and first base), reliable lefthanded bat and feel for the game should earn him a spot in the big leagues . . . Like Hot Sheet No. 1 pick Joe Wieland, Pirates RHP Kyle McPherson treats walks as an affront to his character. McPherson walked six while striking out 60 at high Class A Bradenton, and he’s been nearly as stingy for Double-A Altoona. His July 30 start against the Portland Sea Dogs spanned 6.2 innings, his longest since being promoted to Double-A Altoona. McPherson has been remarkably consistent between High-A and Double-A this season, posting ERAs of 2.89 and 2.88 . . . Marlins RF Marcell Ozuna has had an up-and-down season, but he is on a decided upswing. After hitting .198 with two home runs between May and June with low Class A Greensboro, Ozuna hit .308 with seven home runs in July, and his production has continued into August. This week, Ozuna went 12-for-27 with five extra-base hits, including two home runs. Power is Ozuna’s calling card, as he entered the season ranked as top power bat in Florida’s farm system. A year removed from leading the New York-Penn League, Ozuna has 17 for the year . . . Seattle could sure use offensive help, so it may not be long before Mariners 3B Alex Liddi gets a call. Liddi, who could become the first Italian-born position player to play in the major leagues, launched three home runs and drove in five during a 4-for-6 effort with Triple-A Tacoma last night, upping his season total to 24, a career high. Once ranked as high as fourth in the Mariners system, Liddi has taken a back seat to other bats in the system in the last year because he continues to swing and miss too often—he has 137 strikeouts in 107 games this season—but his power remains undeniable.


Kyle Drabek, rhp, Blue Jays. The Bill of Rights ought to protect Pacific Coast League pitchers from such cruel and unusual punishment as Drabek has endured recently. Two of the 23-year-old’s last five starts have come at home in Las Vegas, while the other three were made in Tucson, Colorado Springs and Reno. The results: 27 innings, 6.33 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and 14-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Drabek deserves credit for going six innings in each of his last four starts, and for keeping the ball in the yard—he’s given up six homers in nine PCL starts, all in unforgiving environments. But his last two starts resulted in 10 runs on 20 hits in 12 innings, making his fast start as a Blue Jays rookie (2-0, 3.30 through his first five starts) seem like a distant memory.

D.J. Lemahieu, 3b/2b, Cubs. Lemahieu struggled during a short callup to the majors, batting .216/.216/.243 in 37 at-bats as an injury fill-in for Darwin Barney. He had been doing well since going down to Triple-A Iowa at the end of June, but the 23-year-old was perfectly imperfect this week, posting a .000/.000/.000 line after going 0-for-19 with four strikeouts. Just for good measure, he did reach base on a fielder’s choice in last Saturday’s game but was promptly thrown out trying to steal second.

Tom Stuifbergen, RHP, Twins. The 6-foot-3 righthander from the Netherlands has been roughed up in his last two starts. His strong run at the start of the season, when he was 3-0 with a sub-1.00 ERA after five starts, is a distant memory now as he allowed 20 hits and 13 earned runs in his last two starts. Despite improving his velocity from last season, Stuifbergen, 22, is 4-8, 4.45 this year in 20 appearances. His last win came four starts ago at Dunedin and it was his only win in the month of July.

Aaron Hicks, cf, Twins. Hicks has always been a streaky hitter, but normally he starts slow and finishes strong. His .337 average in June seemed to indicate that he was following his normal career path, but this year the bottom has fallen out for Hicks as the summer heat sets in. Hicks is 16 for his last 106 (.151) with seven extra-base hits over that stretch. He’s seen his average drop by 40 points and his 11 steals in 17 attempts is also disappointing for a center fielder with plus speed.


Robert Morey, rhp, Marlins: It’s hard to know what to think of Morey. The Marlins fifth-round pick in 2010 out of Virginia, he’s repeating low Class A Greensboro at age 22, and it hasn’t gone well. A polished college product with solid makeup and solid stuff (a 90-93 mph fastball with a usable slider, curveball and changeup) is supposed to do better than 6-7, 5.66. But just when it seemed time to start lowering expectations, he goes out and throws 16 scoreless innings in a week, including a shutout while walking one and striking out 16. Morey has proven too hittable this year (.303 average against), and his lack of projection will keep scouts from getting too excited, but this week is a sign he’s finishing a bad year on a good note.


Ponce de Leon spent years searching for the Fountain of Youth all over Florida. Hitters searching for the Fountain of Power just need to get assigned to Triple-A Reno. Ryan Langerhans is the latest former big leaguer (joining Wily Mo Pena and Sean Burroughs) to be rejuvenated by the hitter-happy tendencies of Aces Ballpark. The 31-year-old Langerhans spent parts of nine seasons in the majors, but his lack of the power teams expect out of a corner outfielder kept him from ever getting a full-time job. Langerhans was traded to Reno this week for cash considerations. He’s already hit four home runs in his first week as an Ace, including two at his new home park.


Pay little attention to Johnny Hellweg’s 4.28 ERA, and don’t dismiss him because of his 52 walks in 69 innings. All of that was to be expected with the massive (6-foot-9) righthander. The Angels knew that Hellweg’s development would require lots of patience, plenty of work and even a little bit of luck. But the hard work appears to be paying off. Hellweg has one of the best arms in the system and he can run his fastball up to 98-99 mph, which is even more frightening for hitters because of his height and long arms. He’ll never have plus command, but since the all-star break he has toned down his walk rate to one every two innings or so and the results are dramatic. He’s 1-2, 2.39 since the break (after going 2-3, 6.54 in the first half). And in his last three starts he’s allowed one run in 15 innings while striking out 21 and walking eight. Hellweg’s long-term role is still likely the bullpen, but like Matt Lindstrom and other slow-developing pitchers who can touch 100, there’s reason to be patient.

About Josh Fitzgerald

Enjoying life and Baseball. Playing For Team Usa San Diego,Australia 2012. Represent USA

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