Arizona Fall League Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (9/30/19)
Welcome back to the first Hot Sheet of the Arizona Fall League, which ranks the 10 hottest prospects from the previous week. This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet considers what players did over the first week and a half of AFL play. The list is curated by Josh Norris.
Remember, this simply recognizes what the hottest prospects in the minors did in the past week—it’s not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.
1. Joey Bart, C, Giants
Why He’s Here: .444/.600/1.000 (8-for-18), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 7 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: Bart is one of the best prospects in the AFL, and one of the best prospects in the sport. He missed about seven weeks with a fractured left hand and is making up time in the AFL. He started his fall campaign strong, with a two-homer game on Opening Night and then a grand slam on Sunday night giving him three long balls in his first six games.
2. Alec Bohm, 3B, Phillies
Why He’s Here: .435/.462/.522 (10-for-23), 2 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO
The Scoop: After starting the year at low Class A Lakewood, Bohm shot through the minor leagues before finally stopping at Double-A Reading with a stop in the Futures Game for good measure. He’s the Phillies’ top prospect and has the look of a potential middle-of-the-order bat whether it’s at either spot on the corner infield. He’s opened the AFL with multiple hits in three of his first six games.
3. Royce Lewis, SS/OF, Twins
Team: Salt River
Why He’s Here: .346/.400/.808 (9-for-26), 8 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 3 BB, 9 SO
The Scoop: The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft had an up-and-down regular season. He still faces long-term questions about whether he’ll hit against advanced pitching, but when he does make contact it’s often loud. That’s been the case so far in the Arizona Fall League, where Lewis’ .808 slugging percentage is third best and his three home runs place him just behind Greg Deichmann for the league lead.
4. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.96, 9.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 14 SO
The Scoop: Last year’s AFL was Whitley’s coming-out party. This year, he’s returned after a tumultuous regular season to try to recapture the form that vaulted him into the upper echelon of pitching prospects. His fastball has reportedly sat in the mid-90s in his first two outings with the Javelinas, and his 14 punchouts are far and away the most in the league.
5. Jarren Duran, OF, Red Sox
Why He’s Here: .421/.476/.579 (8-for-19), 5 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 2 SB
The Scoop: After absolutely blitzing the Carolina League in the first half of his first full season as a pro, Duran moved to Double-A and struggled somewhat against more seasoned pitching. He’s begun his AFL stint by recording two hits apiece in three of his first five games with the Javelinas. He’s got the skill set to be someone who hits at the top of a lineup and sets the table for the big boppers.
6. Vidal Brujan, 2B, Rays
Team: Salt River
Why He’s Here: .324/.361/.676 (11-for-34), 4 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: Brujan has a chance to be one of the AFL’s most exciting players over the course of the six-week season. He makes plenty of contact and uses elite speed to cause havoc on the bases. In the first week and change, that’s exactly what he’s done. He’s one of just two players who have doubled, tripled and homered. There are questions as to whether his speed will play better in the outfield or whether it makes more sense to keep him at second base, but he should cause havoc either way.
7. Luis Garcia, SS, Nationals
Why He’s Here: .406/.441/.563 (13-for-32), 5 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO, 2 SB
The Scoop: After opening as the youngest player in the Double-A Eastern League, Garcia went through some expected struggles. He had his moments, though, and in the early days of the AFL has shown why the Nationals still value him highly. His 18 total bases are tied with Giants slugger Joey Bart for fourth in the league.
8. Nick Neidert, RHP, Marlins
Team: Salt River
Why He’s Here: 2-0, 2.38, 11.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: After an injured knee limited him to just 54 innings in the regular season, Neidert is making up for lost time in the AFL. His 12 strikeouts are second on the circuit behind only Forrest Whitley, and he’s one of just three pitchers with multiple wins. The Marlins’ system has gotten better over the last couple of years, but a strong Arizona Fall League could vault Neidert back into their Top 10.
9. Greg Deichmann, OF, Athletics
Why He’s Here: .357/.441/.821 (10-for-28), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 12 RBIs, 4 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: After a lackluster season with Double-A Midland, the A’s 2017 second-rounder has taken the AFL’s early home run lead. The Louisiana State product popped four homers in his first eight games, including a stretch of three straight games. This, after hitting 11 homers in 80 games in the regular season. Deichmann dealt with a shoulder injury that put him out of action for roughly six weeks.
10. Connor Seabold, RHP, Phillies
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO
The Scoop: Using a mix of pitches that are mostly average across the board, Seabold has flummoxed AFL hitters through his first two starts. He was limited to just 56.1 innings this year because of a strained oblique muscle, but he is now one of just five pitchers in the AFL to run up a whiff total in the double digits.