Welcome to the fourth installment of our Weekly Hot Prospects Report ranking the top minor-league performances from the week of May 1st through 7th:
1. Eury Perez, RHP, Marlins (Double-A Pensacola)
Perez turned in back-to-back gems against Mississippi last week, striking out 11 in 5 innings on Tuesday and finishing up with 9 strikeouts in 6 innings on Sunday, touching 100 mph on his final pitch. The 6-foot-8, 200-pounder allowed just two hits and one run in each game, combining for a 20-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11 innings. The 20-year-old lowered his ERA to 2.32 with a 0.81 WHIP over his first 6 starts. Perez is repeating the level after posting a 4.08 ERA over 75 innings last year, having his season cut short by a strained lat muscle. With excellent command, an elite fastball and three other pitches with a chance to be plus offerings, Perez is the No. 1 pitching prospect in our Top 500 Rankings. The Marlins stand at 17-18, just one game out of the third wild-card spot and tied with the Mets for second in the NL East, so they could opt to push Perez to Miami in the very near future if they want to take a shot at contending for a playoff spot this year. If not, the Marlins could slow-roll Perez through Triple-A and cap his innings at like 110, then give him a shot to make the team out of spring training next year. Either way, he gives Marlins fans plenty to be excited about.
2. Masyn Winn, SS, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)
Winn entered May batting just .224 with a .610 OPS, but the 21-year-old gave those numbers a boost with a big week – a triple-slash of .417/.548/.875. He hit 3 homers on the week, including a two-dinger game on Friday, to go with 3 steals. Winn’s 80-grade arm and elite athleticism make him a more natural fit for shortstop in St. Louis than Tommy Edman, who could be pushed over to second base once Winn is ready. The 54th overall pick in 2020 out of Kingwood High School in Texas, Winn is developing the power that could combine with his base-stealing (54 steals in 152 games since the start of last season) to make a top-notch shortstop in fantasy.
3. Noelvi Marte, SS/3B, Reds (Double-A Chattanooga)
Marte followed up a 2-homer game on Thursday with a walk-off home run on Friday to complete a combo meal. The 21-year-old finished the week with another dinger on Sunday to finish with a triple-slash of .417/.481/.958 to go with 4 homers, 11 RBIs and a steal in 6 games. The 6-foot, 216-pounder has drawn some concern in prospect circles by filling in so much that it seems a foregone conclusion that he will wind up at third base. The bat should still play just fine at a corner, as Marte has an .842 OPS with 5 homers and 6 steals in 26 games this season. If he can maintain some of his base-stealing ability, Marte could be a force in fantasy playing half his games in Great American Ballpark.
4. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Red Sox (High-A Greenville)
The fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft, Mayer had his coming-out party last week by going 16-for-31 (.516) with 3 homers, 6 doubles, 12 RBIs, a steal and a 1.000 slugging percentage. The 20-year-old now has a triple-slash of .337/.414/.582 with 4 homers and 4 steals. The 6-foot-2, 188-pounder is partially repeating the level, having played 25 games for Greenville last year, so he should be making the jump to Double-A soon. Mayer has drawn comps to Corey Seager as a left-handed, power-hitting shortstop without much speed, but he’s 28-for-31 in stolen-base attempts in 140 minor-league games.
5.Justin Dirden, OF, Astros (Triple-A Sugar Land)
Dirden entered the month batting .192 and started last week with an 0-for-5 to drop to .181 before finishing with homers in four straight games. The 25-year-old piled up 10 total bases on Friday with 3 doubles and a dinger. For the week, the 6-foot-3, 209-pounder batted .500 with a 1.711 OPS and 15 RBIs – although take it with a grain of salt as it came in the hitter’s paradise of Albuquerque. It’s been an impressive ascent for Dirden, who went unselected in the five-round 2020 draft out of Southeastern Missouri State, signed as a non-drafted free agent by Houston, then quickly moved up the ladder to reach Triple-A last year. He combined for 24 homers and 12 steals last year between Double- and Triple-A. The Astros have a logjam of young outfielders, so he could wind up trade bait if he doesn’t get a chance to cement a role in Houston soon.
6. Kyren Paris, 2B/SS, Angels (Double-A Rocket City)
Finally healthy, Paris is breaking out in the Southern League, putting up a .902 OPS with 8 homers and 9 steals in 26 games. The 21-year-old picked up steam this past week by smacking 3 homers with 7 walks and 5 steals, posting a .565 OBP and a .938 slugging percentage. Drafted 55th overall in 2019 out of Freedom High School in California, Paris played just 50 games in his first three seasons due to a broken hamate, a broken tibia and the pandemic. The 6-foot, 180-pounder needs to cut down on his 31.4% strikeout rate, but if he does then Paris could find himself in Anaheim by season’s end since the Angels have shown they aren’t afraid to push their top prospects.
7. Joey Cantillo, LHP, Guardians (Double-A Akron)
Cantillo piled up 13 strikeouts in 5 1-hit innings on Wednesday to earn a win over Portland. The 23-year-old is repeating the level after a shoulder injury limited him to just 60 2/3 innings last year for Akron, where he dominated with a 1.93 ERA and 87 strikeouts. This season he’s been even better, posting a minuscule 0.55 ERA with a 25-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 1/3 innings, so he should be headed to Triple-A Columbus in the near future. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder has seen his velocity tick up to sit 92 mph and touch 97 since being taken in the 16th round in 2017 out of Kailua High School in Hawaii. The fastball is now an above-average pitch to go with a plus change, giving the Guardians yet another pitching development success story for their loaded system.
8. Kumar Rocker, RHP, Rangers (High-A Hickory)
Rocker has impressed in his pro debut, compiling a 2.70 ERA over his first five starts, but the 23-year-old had his best outing on Friday when the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder struck out 8 in 6 1-hit innings to beat Jersey Shore. Rocker was plagued by command problems on his fastball in the Arizona Fall League last year, walking 12 in 14 innings. The third overall pick in the 2022 draft appears to have fixed that, walking just 6 while racking up 37 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings for Hickory. It looks like Rocker is ready to join his former Vanderbilt teammate Jack Leiter in Double-A Frisco.
9. David Hamilton, 2B/SS, Red Sox (Triple-A Worcester)
Hamilton hit homers in his first two games of the week, then stole 6 bases in his next three, and finished the week with a .556 OBP and .810 slugging percentage. The 25-year-old infielder has added power (.557 SLG) while cutting his strikeout rate from 22.4% last year to 16.9% this season. Now might be a good time for Boston to give Hamilton a look at shortstop with Enrique Hernandez struggling there. Considering Hamilton has 20 steals already this season after pilfering 70 last year in Double-A, fantasy owners need to take notice of a potential difference-making call-up that could be on the horizon.
10. Ethan Wilson, OF, Phillies (Double-A Reading)
Wilson started out with a game-winning homer in the 11th inning to complete a combo meal on Tuesday and wound up the week batting .480 (12-for-25) with 3 homers, 3 doubles, 11 RBIs and a steal. The 23-year-old outfielder came into this season having disappointed since being drafted 49th overall in 2021 out of South Alabama, batting .215 and .235 in his first two seasons with 11 combined homers. The 6-foot, 210-pounder missed a week in April with a foot injury, but this torrid stretch puts him up to a 1.191 OPS with 5 homers in 14 games. Wilson has plus power and stole 26 bases last year, giving him the ceiling of a 20-20 corner outfielder, so we’ll be moving him back into our next weekly-updated RotoProspects Top 500 Rankings.