MLB Prospects Update: Hottest, Coldest Hitters at Every Minor League Level
When George Springer hit his 30th home run of the year on August 9, he became the first minor leaguer since Grant Desme in 2009 to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season.
Now, with 13 regular-season games remaining on Triple-A Oklahoma City’s schedule, the 23-year-old outfielder has a legitimate chance of joining the exclusive 40-40 club.
Through 124 games this season between Double-A Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City, Springer has posted a video game-like 1.021 OPS with 100 runs scored, 36 home runs, 102 RBI and 39 stolen bases. And with five home runs in his past eight games, he's showing no signs of slowing down heading into the final two weeks of the season. So, can Springer go 40-40? Please share your thoughts and predictions in the comments section.
Here’s a look at the rest of the hottest and coldest hitters at every minor league level.
*As usual, we're only going to look at the hottest hitters from the lower levels.
Eric Jagielo, 3B, New York Yankees
.278/.398/.436, 15 XBH (3 HR), 38/20 K/BB (38 G)
The No. 26 overall pick in the draft got off to a sluggish start in the New York-Penn League while battling a minor injury. However, he’s begun to heat up since the beginning of August and showcasing the raw power that made him a first-rounder (.308/.422/.596, 9 2B, 2 HR, 20/8 K/BB in 15 games this month).
Clint Coulter, C, Milwaukee Brewers
.260/.335/.433, 22 XBH (6 HR), 49/18 K/BB (59 G)
The 2012 first-rounder struggled following an Opening Day assignment to Low-A Wisconsin and also missed some time due to injury. Sent to the rookie-level Arizona League upon his return, the 20-year-old has looked more like his old self, batting .368/.429/.658 with six extra-base hits over his past 10 games.
Christian Arroyo, SS, San Francisco Giants
.319/.383/.494, 40 R, 22 XBH (17 2B), 29/18 K/BB (39 G)
Viewed as an overdraft when the San Francisco Giants popped him in the first round in June, Christian Arroyo has done nothing but hit since turning pro—51 hits (22 XBH) through his first 39 games in the AZL.
Austin Wilson, OF, Seattle Mariners
.227/.304/.366, 15 XBH (4 HR), 36/13 K/BB (47 G)
Since returning from an injury on August 8, Austin Wilson has batted .323 with two doubles, three home runs and eight RBI over the past nine games.
Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians
.314/.362/.545, 21 XBH (5 HR), 26 RBI, 52/11 K/BB (38 G)
The No. 5 overall selection in the 2013 draft, Clint Frazier has been streaky this summer during his professional debut and struck out more than expected. However, the toolsy outfielder has been on fire as is currently riding a six-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .429 with five doubles and two home runs.
Emilio Guerrero, SS, Seattle Mariners
.267/.344/.387, 22 XBH (7 HR), 16 SB, 54/36 K/BB (92 G)
The 21-year-old shortstop was mired in a slump for most of the summer, batting .204 with 11 extra-base hits in 55 games. This month, however, he’s batting .375/.402/.538 with 30 hits, nine extra-base hits and five stolen bases in 20 games.
Charlie Tilson, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
.305/.349/.392, 18 XBH (4 HR), 14 SB, 56/23 K/BB (98 G)
After missing all of 2012 after undergoing shoulder surgery, Charlie Tilson has made up for lost time with a strong showing this year in his full-season debut.
Greg Bird, 1B, New York Yankees
.289/.426/.518, 54 XBH (19 HR), 78 RBI, 122/95 K/BB (118 G)
The 20-year-old left-handed hitter is a three-true-outcome guy with plenty of power. But as a first base-only prospect, he’ll need to improve on his performance this season at every subsequent level.
J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
.340/.436/.451, 52 H, 12 XBH, 13 SB, 26/26 K/BB (42 G)
After tearing up the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, the Philadelphia Phillies recently promoted their 2013 first-rounder to Low-A Lakewood for the remainder of the season. Very impressive and promising prospect.
Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers
.242/.328/.578, 90 H, 58 XBH (32 HR), 13 SB, 159/44 K/BB (100 G)
Limited to only six games in July due to injury,Joey Gallo, who owns arguably the best left-handed power in the minor leagues, has found his groove over the past month (.310/.408/.714, 8 XBH (4 HR), 9 RBI, 17/7 K/BB in 12 August games).
Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
.327/.409/.477, 133 H, 42 XBH (8 HR), 74 RBI, 10 SB (9 CS), 73/51 K/BB (105 G)
Carlos Correa’s an absolute stud. Over his past 50 games: .352/.419/.528, 68 H, 24 XBH (4 HR), 30 RBI, 27/19 K/BB.
Lewis Brinson, OF, Texas Rangers
.234/.318/.428, 38 XBH (20 HR), 20 SB, 178/44 K/BB (111 G)
Yes, the 19-year-old has struck out at a 38.5 percent clip this season, but he’s also the first Hickory player to enjoy a 20-20 season.
Jose Vinicio, SS, Boston Red Sox
.205/.238/.271, 74 H, 18 XBH, 20 SB, 96/12 K/BB (98 G)
Not what the Boston Red Sox envisioned this year when they assigned him to Low-A Greenville for the second straight season.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
.344/.391/.688, 18 XBH (7 HR), 27/9 K/BB (27 G)
The No. 2 overall pick from the 2013 draft has batted .360/.385/.760 with three home runs in seven games following a recent promotion to High-A Daytona.
Dariel Alvarez, SS, Baltimore Orioles
.469/.500/.844, 15 H, 7 XBH (2 HR), K, 2 BB (9 G)
The 24-year-old Cuban defector is quickly hitting his way through the Baltimore Orioles’ system, and he could potentially be ready for the major leagues at some point next season.
Patrick Kivlehan, 3B, Seattle Mariners
.313/.380/.478, 41 XBH (15 HR), 83 RBI, 15 SB, 92/40 K/BB (116 G)
There may not be another prospect having a better month at the plate than Patrick Kivlehan (.449/.513/.812, 31 H, 13 XBH (6 HR), 32 RBI, 14/8 K/BB in 17 games).
Jake Lamb, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
.313/.434/.571, 29 XBH (11 HR), 60/42 K/BB (56 G)
The 22-year-old has been scorching hot since returning from the disabled list in early August (.385/.500/.654, 20 H, 8 XBH, 12/11 K/BB in 14 games).
Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies
.231/.302/.392, 46 XBH (11 HR), 20 SB, 165/40 K/BB (118 G)
Trevor Story is finally showing signs of life at the plate and consistently driving the ball for the first time this season. The 20-year-old is currently enjoying his best month of the season (.328/.391/.603, 19 H, 11 XBH, 4 SB, 21/5 K/BB in 16 games).
Mookie Betts, 2B, Boston Red Sox
.297/.403/.481, 124 H, 47 XBH (13 HR), 35 SB, 56/74 K/BB (115 G)
Arguably the top breakout position prospect in the low minors this season; showcases advanced combination of hit tool and plate discipline. Batting .298/.371/.489 with 14 extra-base hits, 17 stolen bases and a 16/16 K/BB ratio in 39 games since a promotion to High-A Salem.
Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
.330/.415/.525, 98 R, 47 XBH (12 HR), 50 SB, 100/66 K/BB (111 G)
Obligatory Byron Buxton mention. The game’s top prospect is currently riding a 12-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .417 with 20 hits, 10 stolen bases and 11/7 K/BB ratio.
Angelo Gumbs, 2B, New York Yankees
.215/.265/.332, 29 XBH (20 2B), 16 SB, 86/21 K/BB (90 G)
Coming off a breakout full-season debut last season with Low-A Charleston, Angelo Gumbs has taken a big step backward this season. Past 10 games: .079/.146/.132 with nine strikeouts.
Stetson Allie, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates
.280/.386/.498, 52 XBH (21 HR), 153/72 K/BB (119 G)
After posting a 1.021 OPS with 17 home runs with Low-A West Virginia, Stetson Allie has been a mess since arriving in the Florida State League (.710 OPS, 4 HR, 74 K in 53 games).
Courtney Hawkins, OF, Chicago White Sox
.188/.257/.421, 38 XBH (19 HR), 145/26 K/BB (92 G)
Strikeout rate: 38.5 percent; walk rate: 6.9 percent; HR/contact: 9.6 percent. That basically sums up Courtney Hawkins’ 2013 season.
Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
.280/.344/.565, 58 XBH (31 HR), 95 RBI, 19 SB, 132/38 K/BB (118 G)
After a rough first two weeks with Double-A Tennessee, Javier Baez has been one of the hottest hitters in the minor leagues. Past 10 games: .378/.452/.784, 6 2B, 3 HR, 2 SB, 10/5 K/BB.
Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
.279/.379/.490, 55 XBH (19 HR), 29 SB, 104/63 K/BB (113 G)
Coming off a dismal month of July and slow start in August, the 21-year-old outfielder has seemingly found his stroke over the past 10 games (.333/.455/.694, 4 HR, 6/8 K/BB).
Tyler Naquin, OF, Cleveland Indians
.282/.348/.431, 134 H, 45 XBH (10 HR), 15 SB, 119/43 K/BB (115 G)
Since his recent promotion to Double-A Akron: .357/.400/.536 and three extra-base hits in seven games.
Christian Bethancourt, C, Atlanta Braves
.289/.318/.463, 32 XBH (12 HR), 11 SB, 51/15 K/BB (81 G)
The catcher with the 80-grade arm’s bat has emerged in a big way during the second half of the season. Past 26 games: .339/.367/.580, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 4 SB, 9/5 K/BB.
Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
.285/.350/.461, 36 XBH (14 HR), 7 SB, 41/34 K/BB (99 G)
The No. 36 overall pick in the 2012 draft has put together a solid season and moved up the ladder quickly as a result. He’s also enjoying his most productive month since reaching Double-A (.328/.426/.500, 19 hits, 6 XBH, 7/9 K/BB in 16 games). And be sure to checkout this ridiculous web gem he made the other night.
Zack Cox, 3B, Miami Marlins
.270/.358/.371, 19 XBH, 65/39 K/BB (79 G)
A first-round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2010 draft, Zack Cox was viewed as one of the safer bets in his class. However, the 24-year-old’s never come close to matching the promise he showed during his full-season debut in 2011. It probably doesn’t help that he’s batted .231/.309/.312 in 375 plate appearances as a professional.
Brandon Jacobs, OF, Chicago White Sox
.242/.314/.410, 44 XBH (13 HR), 10 SB, 129/39 K/BB (117 G)
Things haven’t gotten easier for the 22-year-old outfielder since joining the White Sox; batting .129/.159/.129 with 12 strikeouts over his past 10 games.
George Springer, OF, Houston Astros
.302/.410/.611, 100 R, 65 XBH (36 HR), 102 RBI, 39 SB, 151/75 K/BB (124 G)
Springer became the first minor leaguer to post a 30-30 season since Grant Desme in 2009, and now he has a realistic chance of joining the highly exclusive 40-40 club. Including Wednesday’s game, the 23-year-old will have 13 games to collect four home runs and one stolen base.
Nick Castellanos, OF, Detroit Tigers
.275/.346/.441, 60 XBH (15 HR), 89/53 K/BB (124 G)
After a dismal month of July in which he posted a .557 OPS with 21 strikeouts in 27 games, the 21-year-old’s bat has begun to heat up at the right time with a pair of home runs over his past five games.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
.224/.352/.410, 27 XBH (11 HR), 103/55 K/BB (80 G)
Jonathan Singleton made quick work of the Low- and Double-A levels following his return from a 50-game suspension, but he has struggled mightily since reaching Triple-A in early June (.688 OPS, 6 HR, 82/42 K/BB in 63 games).
Hunter Morris, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers
.231/.294/.437, 45 XBH (22 HR), 108/38 K/BB (121 G)
After contending to break camp as the team’s everyday first baseman, Hunter Morris has been a huge disappointment this season at Triple-A. And considering he’s posted a .593 OPS this month, I doubt the Milwaukee Brewers even give him a look in September.
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