Rich Pilling/Getty Images
Rafael De Paula, RHP, New York Yankees
After being largely forgotten in a solid Yankees system, Rafael De Paula has been one of the biggest bright spots thus far. The 22-year-old right-hander has struck out 23 batters in his last two starts, covering 12 innings and showing a power arsenal led by a mid-90s fastball.
Because of issues with his signing a few years ago that led to him being ineligible to join a big league team, De Paula is a bit behind the eight ball and old for High-A. But his stuff and results this season have him as one of the fast-rising stars in the minors.
Zach Lee, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Having been on the prospect radar for years, it can be easy to forget about Zach Lee. His numbers and stuff aren't going to knock you over, but he has figured things out with better pitchability and putting his athleticism to good use.
Lee has a 3.11 ERA with 39 strikeouts and 16 walks in 46.1 innings this season. He does give up a few too many hits—45 thus far—but that is because he is always around the strike zone. His ceiling is still that of a good No. 3 starter. Now, he looks closer to reaching it than ever before.
Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics
The A's pushed Russell to High-A at the start of the season after he ripped through three levels in 2012 (even though he only played 55 games after signing). It did seem like a rational move at the time, but he is hitting just .206/.322/.429 so far.
It is encouraging to see he has 22 walks and 15 extra-base hits already. The rest of his game doesn't appear that it has caught up yet. His bat is very good, so it's not a huge concern now, but eventually, the average has to start creeping up.
Slade Heathcott, OF, New York Yankees
Heathcott is one of those Yankees prospects who had a chance to take a huge leap forward this season because his raw skill set was so good, he had performed well in the lower levels of the minors and he was making the jump to Double-A.
Instead, Heathcott has really fallen on his sword out of the gate. He is hitting .221/.283/.328 with 40 strikeouts in 131 at-bats.