Welcome to the 16th installment of our Weekly Hot Prospects Report ranking the top minor-league performances from the week of July 31 through Aug. 6:
1. Ceddanne Rafaela, OF, Red Sox (Triple-A Worcester)
Rafaela started August with homers in his first 5 games and added a 3-hit effort on Sunday, putting up a 1.490 OPS with 5 homers, 9 RBIs and a stolen base. The 22-year-old has been a powerhouse in Triple-A with 11 homers and a .688 SLG in 31 games for Worcester after hitting 6 dingers with a .441 SLG in 60 games for Double-A Portland. Rafaela even managed 4 walks last week after drawing just 3 free passes in his first 25 games in Triple-A. Fantasy owners will want to know which Rafaela to expect when he reaches Boston – the one who had 30 steals with 6 homers in Double-A or the one who has 11 dingers with 3 steals in Triple-A. Rafaela could give Boston a boost defensively in center field right now with Jarren Duran usually up the middle, but barring injury, he likely won’t get the call until rosters expand in September. By next spring, Rafaela will be competing for a significant role in Boston’s outfield and would offer an exciting blend of power and speed.
2. Luken Baker, 1B, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)
Baker went on a massive power binge last week with 6 homers and a 1.208 SLG to take the minor league lead with 31 taters. The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder put up 12 RBIs, 9 runs and a 1.691 OPS for the week. The 26-year-old is batting .337 with a 1.163 OPS and 89 RBIs in 80 games for Memphis. At first glance, it may seem Baker is blocked at first base in St. Louis by Paul Goldschmidt, but Goldy has just one year left on his contract and is a subpar defender. The problem with having a Baker-Goldy 1B/DH combo is that the Cardinals already have a bunch of defensively-challenged types in Jordan Walker, Nolan Gorman, Alec Burleson and Tyler O’Neill. St. Louis has some work to do in the off-season to alleviate the logjam of DH-types, but one way or another, Baker should be able to see if his massive power translates to the majors in the coming years.
3. Xavier Edwards, 2B/OF, Marlins (Triple-A Jacksonville)
Edwards terrorized Memphis pitching all week by going 18-for-26 (.692) with 2 homers, 5 walks and an incredible .742 OBP. The 23-year-old leads all qualified hitters in the minors with a .373 average, looking to match what Luis Arraez is doing with a MLB-leading .375 average for Miami. Edwards is even showing some power this season, having matched his career total of 6 homers coming into the year in 337 games. Edwards has slowed down on the base paths of late, with just one of his 29 steals coming in the last 2 weeks.
4. Gavin Stone, SP, Dodgers (Triple-A Oklahoma City)
Stone tossed 6 hitless innings with 10 strikeouts on Friday against Round Rock. Since getting sent down after a 2-inning stint for the Dodgers on July 4th, the 24-year-old has a 2.67 ERA with 31 Ks in 27 innings to lower his Triple-A ERA from 6.71 to 5.36.
5. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF, Twins (High-A Cedar Rapids)
Rodriguez put up 3 homers and 2 steals last week to go with 5 walks and just 3 strikeouts. The 20-year-old is up to 14 homers and 15 steals while he got his season strikeout rate down to 29.3% and upped his walk rate to 20.5%.
6. Zach Dezenzo, OF, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi)
Dezenzo helped ease the organization’s loss of outfield prospects Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford in the Justin Verlander trade by putting up 3 homers and 3 steals with a 1.217 OPS last week. The 23-year-old has a .823 OPS with 6 homers and 12 steals in 35 games for Corpus Christi after posting a 1.102 OPS with 4 HR and 6 SB in 31 games for High-A Asheville.
7. Joey Loperfido, 2B/OF, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi)
Loperfido nearly matched Dezenzo with 3 homers and 2 steals with a 1.172 OPS last week. The 24-year-old has a .960 OPS with 19 homers and 20 steals for Corpus Christi while moving around on defense between first base, second base and the outfield.
8. Rece Hinds, OF, Reds (Double-A Chattanooga)
Hinds did most of his damage for the week in a Saturday doubleheader, going 5-for-9 with 2 homers, a steal and 7 RBIs to finish the 6-game series against Tennessee with a 1.405 OPS and 3 dingers. On the heals of a 8-homer June, the 22-year-old has stayed hot after missing two weeks with a hamstring strain to start July, belting 5 homers in 15 games since returning.
9. Jasson Dominguez, OF, Yankees (Double-A Somerset)
The Martian put up 4 steals with a homer and a .483 OBP last week as he continues to warm with the weather, having raised his batting average from .197 entering July to .238. The 20-year-old has a .747 OPS with 13 homers and 33 steals on the season and could get a look at Triple-A before by the end of August.
10. Joe Boyle, SP, Athletics (Double-A Midland)
Doyle made a strong first impression in his Oakland organization debut on Friday after coming over from the Reds in a deadline-deal for reliever Sam Moll, hurling 6 scoreless innings with 8 Ks and 2 walks at Frisco. The 6-foot-7, 240-pounder is showing signs of turning around his control problems with 17 Ks against just 4 walks in his last 11 innings after issuing 73 free passes over his first 79 innings. With 130 strikeouts in 90 innings, Boyle will be moving back into the next weekly-updated Top 500 Prospects.
11. Wyatt Langford, OF, Rangers (High-A Hickory): 6-for-16 (.375), 5 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBIs, 5 BB, 5 SO, 2 SB, .524 OBP, .688 SLG, 1.212 OPS
12. Kenedy Corona, OF, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 7-for-26 (.269), 6 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 6 BB, 7 SO, 3 SB, .406 OBP, .692 SLG, 1.098 OPS
13. Randy Vasquez, SP, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 11 SO, 0.67 WHIP
14. Robert Gasser, SP, Brewers (Triple-A Nashville): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 SO, 0.83 WHIP
15. Jordan Lawlar, SS, Diamondbacks (Double-A Amarillo): 8-for-23 (.348), 9 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1 SB, .400 OBP, .652 SLG, 1.052 OPS
16. Chayce McDermott, SP, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO, 0.50 WHIP
17. Harry Ford, C, Mariners (High-A Everett): 7-for-17 (.412), 6 R, 3 2B, 1 3b, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB, .583 OBP, .882 SLG, 1.465 OPS
18. Thomas Harrington, SP, Pirates (High-A Greensboro): 1-0, 2.53 ERA, 10.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 15 SO, 0.94 WHIP
19. Lonnie White Jr., OF, Pirates (Low-A Bradenton): 7-for-23 (.304), 8 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 BB, 1 SO, 1 SB, .407 OBP, .913 SLG, 1.320 OPS
20. Bubba Chandler, SP, Pirates (High-A Greensboro): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO, 0.57 WHIP