MLB Prospects Update: Hottest, Coldest Hitters at Every Minor League Level
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Assigned to High-A Fort Myers to begin the 2013 season, Miguel Sano took the Florida State League by storm, batting .330/.424/.655 with 16 home runs through 56 games. And as a result of his outstanding performance, the Minnesota Twins promoted their 20-year-old slugger to Double-A New Britain in early June.
Success didn’t come as easily for Sano in the Eastern League. Although his power translated at the more advanced level, he batted only .195 with 29 strikeouts through his first 26 games. Since then, however, the third baseman has seemingly found his groove at the dish. More specifically, Sano has been on an absolute tear over his last six games, batting .429 (9-for-21) with two doubles, four home runs, 10 RBI and 6/5 K/BB.
Here’s an updated look at the rest of the hottest and coldest hitters at every minor league level.
Courtesy of Connor Dowley
D.J. Peterson, 3B, Seattle Mariners
.312/.382/.532, 12 XBH (6 HR), 27 RBI, 18/13 K/BB (29 G)
After getting off to a slow start in late June, Peterson has turned it on over the last three weeks with a .972 OPS, seven extra-base hits and 9/6 K/BB in 18 games.
Avery Romero, 3B, Miami Marlins
.363/.426/.508, 15 XBH, 16/11 K/BB (35 G)
One of the more underrated pure hitters in the 2012 draft class, Romero has been on fire in the New York-Penn League and could finish the year at a full-season level.
Jose Rondon, SS, Los Angeles Angels
.351/.425/.456, 11 XBH, 8 SB, 14/17 K/BB (28 G)
19-year-old shortstop doesn’t offer much pop, but he is an intriguing up-the-middle prospect due to his speed, knack for contact and solid plate discipline.
Justin Williams, OF/SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
.358/.395/.444, 7 2B, 21 RBI, 18/1 K/BB (20 G)
The 17-year-old has enjoyed an impressive professional debut so far and has a very promising left-handed bat. Attribute his ugly 18/1 K/BB to his age.
J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
.368/.427/.441, 4 XBH, 4 SB, 12/7 K/BB (18 G)
The first-rounder is making a strong case for top prospect honors in the Gulf Coast League.
Reese McGuire, C, Pittsburgh Pirates
.407/.470/.542, 14 R, 8 2B, 5/6 K/BB (15 G)
The No. 14 overall pick’s bat has been better than expected during his professional debut. He's showing easy gap power.
Daniel Palka, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
.318/.395/.536, 14 XBH (5 HR), 21/15 K/BB (30 G)
The 21-year-old is raking (as he should) against younger pitching in the Pioneer League. Over the last 10 games, his line looks like this: 1.354 OPS, 17 H, 7 XBH, 5/7 K/BB.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
.091/.083/.182, 2B, 6 K
Bryant was 0-for-5 with five strikeouts (yes, the platinum sombrero) on Tuesday in his debut for Short Season Boise.
Travis Demeritte, SS, Texas Rangers
.245/.383/.383, 18 R, 7 XBH, 35/19 K/BB (25 G)
After posting a 1.084 OPS over his first eight games, the 2013 first-rounder has really cooled off since the beginning of July: .180/.351/.246, 3 XBH, 25/14 K/BB in 17 games.
Nick Williams, OF, Texas Rangers
.313/.354/.601, 40 XBH (15 HR), 6 SB, 74/12 K/BB (70 G)
Like everyone else on the Low-A Hickory roster, Williams has a lot of swing-and-miss to his game. However, the left-handed hitter’s raw power and power frequency have his prospect stock on the rise.
Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
.318/.409/.464, 96 H, 28 XBH (7 HR), 8 SB, 55/42 K/BB (78 G)
Yeah…I regret not ranking the 2012 No. 1 overall pick within my top 10 prospects.
Victor Roache, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
.245/.319/.431, 26 XBH (14 HR), 53 RBI, 89/30 K/BB (80 G)
Roache boasts some of the best right-handed power in the minor leagues. Last 10 games: .349/.391/.814, 10 R, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 16/3 K/BB.
Adam Brett Walker II, OF, Minnesota Twins
.286/.332/.560, 102 H, 49 XBH (22 HR), 88 RBI, 86/23 K/BB (91 G)
What I just said about Roache also applies to ABW2, who has quietly put together a monster full-season debut for Low-A Cedar Rapids. Last 10 games: .391/.383/1.000, 13 R, 12 XBH (8 HR), 19 RBI, 10/0 K/BB.
Seth Mejias-Brean, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
.302/.376/.442, 106 H, 34 XBH (6 HR), 59/38 K/BB (93 G)
The starting third baseman on Arizona’s 2012 College World Series championship team, Mejias-Brean has arguably been the hottest hitter in the minors since the beginning of July: .452/.524/.726, 33 H, 12 XBH (3 HR), 19 RBI, 14/9 K/BB in 19 games.
Gregory Bird, 1B, New York Yankees
.289/.411/.518, 43 XBH (15 HR), 94/66 K/BB (90 G)
The 20-year-old has developed the reputation as a three-true-outcome hitter in his full-season debut for Low-A Charlseton. Last four games: 10-for-17, 9 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 4/3 K/BB.
Gioskar Amaya, 2B, Chicago Cubs
.281/.356/.425, 31 XBH (5 HR), 11 SB, 80/32 K/BB (85 G)
After posting an .877 OPS with 26 extra-base hits and 15 stolen bases last year as a 19-year-old with Short Season Boise, Amaya’s aggressive approach has been exploited this season in the Midwest League. The good news is that he’s in the midst of his best month so far: .400/.500/.615, 26 H, 8 XBH, 9/10 K/BB in 18 games.
Rio Ruiz, 3B, Houston Astros
.236/.325/.359, 23 XBH (6 HR), 8 SB, 64/40 K/BB (78 G)
The 18-year-old hasn’t shined at the dish this season like teammate Carlos Correa, but he has shown decent pop with an advanced feel for the strike zone.
Dante Bichette, 3B, New York Yankees
.207/.282/.313, 21 XBH (8 HR), 93/33 K/BB (52 G)
So, um, what happened to the player who posted a .951 OPS with 41/30 K/BB in 52 Gulf Coast League games in 2011?
Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets
.263/.369/.351, 15 XBH, 4 SB, 92/37 K/BB (69 G)
Never been a big fan of the 20-year-old’s swing or bat speed; decent on-base skills despite a soaring strikeout rate; really struggles against same-side pitching.
Dorssys Paulino, SS, Cleveland Indians
.240/.290/.350, 26 XBH (4 HR), 8 SB, 63/21 K/BB (85 G)
The 18-year-old was a borderline top-100 player entering the year after posting a .938 OPS with 32 extra-base hits in 2012 during his professional debut.
Courtesy of BPProspectTeam
Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
.318/.399/.516, 82 R, 40 XBH (10 HR), 36 SB, 81/51 K/BB (91 G)
Baseball’s No. 1 overall prospect had cooled off over the last week before a breakout performance on Tuesday: 2-for-4, 3 R, 3B, HR, SB.
Mason Williams, OF, New York Yankees
.282/.350/.390, 26 XBH (20 2B), 11 SB, 46/33 K/BB (80 G)
After turning the corner in June with an .805 OPS, Williams has been absolutely raking over his last 10 games: .408/.431/.571, 20 H, 7 XBH.
Brent Keys, OF, Miami Marlins
.342/.418/.387, 40 R, 10 XBH, 10 SB, 16/34 K/BB (67 G)
The 23-year-old center fielder has improved his prospect stock this season with a strong performance in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League.
Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals
.273/.341/.430, 39 XBH (7 HR), 62 RBI, 32 SB, 93/33 K/BB (94 G)
The 6'4", 205-pound outfielder has fared much better this season in his second tour of the Carolina League.
Richie Shaffer, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
.260/.320/.407, 33 XBH (8 HR), 5 SB, 77/28 K/BB (90 G)
The 2012 first-rounder is enjoying the best month of his career: .309/.391/.506, 25 H, 7 2B, 3 HR, 15/10 K/BB in 20 games.
Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies
.207/.283/.353, 33 XBH (8 HR), 15 SB, 135/33 K/BB (94 G)
I honestly don’t have the words to describe my level of frustration with Story. That being said, I can only imagine how he’s feeling.
Courtney Hawkins, OF, Chicago White Sox
.193/.266/.473, 30 XBH (18 HR), 116/21 K/BB (66 G)
To say that he’s been rushed is a gross understatement. He has a 42.8 percent strikeout rate in 271 plate appearances.
Christian Bethancourt, C, Atlanta Braves
.272/.301/.439, 22 XBH (8 HR), 43/11 K/BB (59 G)
Regarded as one of the better defensive catchers in the minor leagues, Bethancourt’s bat has finally come alive this season while repeating Double-A. Last 10 games: .368/.378/.789, 4 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI.
Garin Cecchini, 3B, Boston Red Sox
.343/.452/.523, 112 H, 40 XBH (7 HR), 18 SB, 59/60 K/BB (93 G)
The polished left-handed hitter hasn’t slowed down a since mid-season promotion to Double-A: .327/.415/.478, 37 H, 12 XBH, 25/17 K/BB in 30 games.
Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
.294/.390/.621, 51 XBH (26 HR), 99/49 K/BB (93 G)
The 20-year-old slugger overcame a rough start at Double-A and has been punishing the baseball over his last six games: 9-for-21, 2 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 6/5 K/BB.
Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
.324/.364/.576, 51 XBH (21 HR), 47/23 K/BB (93 G)
Franco has thrived in the Eastern League following a mid-June promotion: .379/.400/.578, 11 XBH (5 HR), 19 RBI, 8/3 K/BB in 28 games.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
.315/.393/.419, 11 H, 28 XBH (20 2B), 25 SB, 39/45 K/BB (92 G)
Promoted to Double-A Akron following his appearance in the All-Star Futures Games, Lindor has been red-hot in his first nine games at the more advanced level: .414/.575/.517, 7 R, 12 H, 5 SB, 0 K, 10 BB.
Brian Fletcher, OF, Kansas City Royals
.309/.351/.516, 18 XBH (10 HR), 6 SB, 36/13 K/BB (48 G)
The 24-year-old outfielder has logged only 48 games this season due to injury, but has he turned in a solid overall performance in the Texas League. Last 10 games: .359/.405/.744, 3 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 7/3 K/BB.
James Ramsey, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
.280/.394/.493, 32 XBH (14 HR), 7 SB, 81/55 K/BB (83 G)
The 2012 first-rounder has understandably struggled since an early-season promotion to Double-A Springfield, but he has seemingly put things together over his last 10 games: .342/.457/.737, 13 H, 3 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 8/8 K/BB.
Slade Heathcott, OF, New York Yankees
.264/.323/.403, 30 XBH (6 HR), 11 SB, 93/29 K/BB (88 G)
The hard-nosed outfielder has shown flashes of brilliance at Double-A Trenton, but he has been overmatched at the level for a majority of the season. However, he’s recently picked up the pace at the dish, with seven extra-base hits in his last 10 games.
Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
.294/.361/.436, 96 H, 29 XBH (8 HR), 29 SB, 51/32 K/BB (87 G)
After a hot start at Double-A following a mid-season promotion, the 21-year-old outfielder is currently mired in his worst slump of the year. Last 10 games: .179/.342/.214, 2 2B, 3/8 K/BB.
Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
.283/.378/.492, 36 XBH (14 HR), 27 SB, 82/46 K/BB (89 G)
Since his eye-opening showing in the All-Star Futures Game on July 14: 1-for-17, 8/4 K/BB in six games.
Cory Spangenberg, 2B, San Diego Padres
.278/.346/.389, 103 H, 26 XBH (7 3B), 29 SB, 80/36 K/BB (94 G)
The No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 draft has not recorded an extra-base hit in his last 13 games (dating back to July 7).
Matt Davidson, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
.295/.366/.512, 44 XBH (16 HR), 106/39 K/BB (95 G)
After capturing MVP honors of the All-Star Futures Game and winning the Pacific Coast League Home Run Derby in a span of three days, Davidson has been mashing since his return to Triple-A Reno: 7-for-19, 6 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6/7 K/BB in five games.
Cody Asche, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
.292/.350/.463, 111 H, 37 XBH (12 HR), 11 SB, 90/33 K/BB (98 G)
After a sluggish start at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the 23-year-old has rebounded in a big way over the last two months. Since the beginning of July, he’s batting .329/.382/.514 with 23 hits, four home runs, 13 RBI and 11/6 K/BB in 18 games.
Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds
.251/.310/.344, 90 H, 21 XBH (5 HR), 58 SB, 78/31 K/BB (88 G)
It’s been a disappointing year for baseball's fastest player, though he has looked more like his 2012 self during his current five-game hitting streak: 8-for-20, 4 R, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 6 SB, 5/3 K/BB.
Zach Walters, IF, Washington Nationals
.250/.278/.520, 49 XBH (22 HR), 91/11 K/BB (94 G)
The 23-year-old switch-hitter will likely never amount to anything more than reserve due to his poor approach and plate discipline, but he does offer above-average power from the left side. Last five games: 7-for-15, 6 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 5/0 K/BB.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
.224/.338/.415, 18 XBH (8 HR), 72/33 K/BB (53 G)
After brief stops in the Midwest and Texas Leagues, Singleton has struggled to find his groove over 36 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City, batting .202/.308/.315 with three home runs and 51 strikeouts.
Carlos Sanchez, 2B, Chicago White Sox
.238/.297/.294, 19 XBH, 15 SB, 65/27 K/BB (92 G)
While I expected Sanchez to come down to earth this season in the International League, I didn’t think he’d fall off this hard. Last 10 games: .195/.233/.268, 3 2B, 10/2 K/BB.
Hunter Morris, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers
.233/.308/.466, 39 XBH (19 HR), 79/35 K/BB (95 G)
A .750 OPS in June followed by a .643 OPS in July isn’t helping the 24-year-old’s chances of receiving a September call-up.