It’s the third installation of our Hot Prospect series and this list is every bit as robust as the last two. Two of the biggest names in the minor leagues, Ronald Acuna and Gleyber Torres skipped over our list and went straight to the major leagues. In fact, Acuna hit his first home run yesterday. BTW, I wonder how much of his slow start in Triple-A was born out of boredom. The kid can flat out play.
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Brendan Rodgers (COL, SS) – The top prospect in the Rockies organization finally started hitting this past week, highlighted by a 5 for 5 evening on Sunday. After his promotion to Double-A, things have gotten tougher for Rodgers and his aggressive approach is being exposed. Where he might have gotten away with only walking six times in 51 games in Lancaster, that won’t work going forward.
Austin Riley (ATL, 3B) – I’ve never been the biggest fan of Austin Riley, as the bat speed is not elite. However, he continues to prove me wrong and 2018 is no exception. In 20 games to start the season, he’s posted a 1.129 OPS with four home runs.
Keibert Ruiz (LAD, C) – 19-year-old catchers are not usually in Double-A. However, Ruiz solid defensive skills along with his plus hit-tool, have given the Dodgers the green light to push him hard. He’s responding this year by getting off to a solid start this season including going 4 for 6 last weekend. With Yasmani Grandal scheduled for free agency next winter, Ruiz could see the big leagues as a 20-year-old catcher. A remarkable feat.
Willy Adames (TB, SS) – If you like doing the Super-2 math game, get out your spreadsheet and start figuring out the hour in which Willy Adames will be in Tampa. I’m going to simply say by the end of June. He’s gotten off to a strong start, slashing .356/.452/.356 in 17 games in Triple-A. The upside is massive with 20/20 within reach once he gets full-time at-bats at the big league level.
Garrett Hampson (COL, 2B) – Speed is in short supply in the major leagues. How do 12 stolen bases in 19 games sound? Well, that’s what Garrett Hampson has done so far this season. While he hasn’t left the yard yet, he’s hitting .314 with .407 OBP. The profile should translate to a top-of-the-order bat in the major leagues in a couple of years.
Conner Wong (LAD, C) – Through 14 games this year, Conner Wong has posted a 1.276 OPS with eight homes. While Keiburt Ruiz is the more famous catcher moving through the Dodgers minor leagues, Wong is also a solid prospect. He has good bat speed and is already showing nice power and is athletic enough to steal a few bases and to develop into a serviceable defender.
Ranger Suarez (PHI, LHP) – I first saw Ranger Suarez when he was posting gaudy numbers at Lakewood but he wasn’t lighting up my radar gun. I didn’t think much about him as guys who can’t hit 90 just don’t excite me. However, he’s now throwing harder with similar control and all of sudden, he’s a prospect and a very good prospect at that. While his 4.12 ERA is not impressive his 19K/3BB in 24 innings is.
Tony Santillan (CIN, RHP) – I use to own Tony Santillian on each of my five Dynasty Leagues. But, lack of results and a lack of a change-up and fancier bobble-heads leaves me Santillian-less. Clearly, a missed opportunity as his 0.40 ERA in 22 innings with a 24K/5BB strikeout-to-walk ratio indicates he might be starting to pull it all together.
Fernando Romero (MIN, RHP) – The Twins like their pitchers to marinate for a while before promoting them to the major leagues (see Jose Berrios), but Fernando Romero might be ready. He pitched extremely well last year in 24 starts in Double-A and has gotten out of the blocks equally well in Triple-A. In 16.1 innings, he’s posted a 1.65 ERA with a 17K/7BB strikeout-to-walk ratio. That said, if you expect him to be up in the second half, history would tell you to check your expectation.
Jorge Alcala (HOU, RHP) – Jorge Alcala is a new name for many prospect watchers, but Alcala has an electric arm with the ability to hit triple-digits. He doesn’t always throw strikes and that might move him to the bullpen, but if you are a fan of Jordan Hicks, you might want to check out Jorge Alcala.
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