Welcome to the 17th installment of our Weekly Hot Prospects Report ranking the top minor-league performances from the week of Aug. 7th through 13th:
1. Wilyer Abreu, OF, Red Sox (Triple-A Worcester)
Abreu capped a bonkers week with a 3-homer exclamation on Sunday to finish with an insane 2.125 OPS, 6 dingers and 16 RBIs in 6 games against Buffalo. The 24-year-old came to the Red Sox with Enmanuel Valdez from the Astros for Christian Vazquez at last year’s trade deadline. The 5-foot-10, 215-pounder changed his approach three seasons ago to be more selective and swing for maximum damage, leading to his emergence as a prospect. Abreu has cut his strikeout rate from 26.4% last year to 21.4% this season to go with a strong 15.4% walk rate. He can sometimes become almost too passive, but last week he was more aggressive with just 1 walk with 4 strikeouts. Abreu is up to a .268/.380/.521 triple-slash with 20 homers and 6 steals and he could get a look in Boston down the stretch.
2. Ryan Pepiot, SP, Dodgers (Triple-A Oklahoma City)
Pepiot took a perfect game into the seventh inning at Tacoma, finishing with 11 strikeouts in 6 2/3 scoreless innings and 1 hit allowed. The 25-year-old missed the first half of the season with a strained oblique and has been building up slowly with this being the first time he went over 4 innings. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder reached the majors last season, but struggled to find the zone with an elevated walk rate of 6.7 BB/9. He has cut his Triple-A walk rate from 3.6 BB/9 last year to a career-best 2.0 BB/9 this season. Pepiot is using an improved slider with his plus fastball/changeup combo to post a 10.3 K/9 this season. There is definitely some relief risk if the control problems resurface, but Pepiot has the premium stuff to become a mid-rotation horse.
3. Thomas Saggese, 2B/3B, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield)
Saggese made it 2-for-2 in big weeks since coming over from the Rangers in the Jordan Montgomery deal, posting a 1.206 OPS with 3 homers and 2 steals. The 21-year-old has a 1.070 OPS with 4 homers for Springfield after putting up a .891 OPS with 15 dingers and 8 steals for Double-A Frisco. Saggese is playing second and third base since the trade after also getting time at shortstop in the Texas organization, so we can see him coming up as more of a utility man who could evolve into a starter by his prime.
4. Drew Thorpe, RHP, Yankees (Double-A Somerset)
Thorpe made a sparkling Double-A debut on Friday with 9 strikeouts and no walks in 8 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits against Binghamton. The 22-year-old had seemed ready for a promotion since June, having compiled 147 strikeouts in 117 innings with a 2.81 ERA in High-A.
5. Jakob Marsee, OF, Padres (High-A Fort Wayne)
Marsee stuffed the stat sheet last week by going 13-for-23 (.565) with 1 double, 1 triple, 2 homers, 2 walks and 5 steals. The 22-year-old is up to a .412 OBP with 11 homers and 41 steals on the season and he will be moving back into the next weekly-updated Top 500 Prospects.
6. Zach Cole, OF, Astros (High-A Asheville)
Cole continued his breakout last week, putting up 3 homers, 2 steals and a 1.249 OPS. The 23-year-old has been even better in High-A with a 1.091 OPS, 7 homers and 6 steals in 23 games after posting a .891 OPS with 11 homers and 25 steals in Low-A.
7. Jonathan Aranda, 1B/2B, Rays (Triple-A Durham)
Aranda just keeps chugging along in Durham, putting up a 1.682 OPS with 5 homers and 10 runs scored last week. The 25-year-old is dominating Triple-A for a second straight year, posting a 1.062 OPS with 25 homers, and he’ll be up with Tampa Bay any day now.
8. Pedro Leon, OF, Astros (Triple-A Sugar Land)
Leon powered up last week with 5 homers, a 1.091 SLG and 13 RBIs. The 25-year-old has an .839 OPS with 20 homers and 14 steals on the season.
9. Hunter Goodman, C/1B, Rockies (Triple-A Albuquerque)
Goodman hit the ground running in Triple-A with 4 homers, 13 RBIs and a 1.400 OPS in his first 5 games there. The 23-year-old played 4 games at first base to just 1 at catcher for Albuquerque after posting a .848 OPS with 25 homers in Double-A.
10. Johnathan Rodriguez, OF, Guardians (Triple-A Columbus)
Rodriguez flexed his big-time power with 4 homers, a 1.000 SLG and 12 RBIs last week. The 23-year-old has a 1.098 OPS with 6 homers in 15 games for Columbus after putting up a .876 OPS with 18 homers in Double-A.
11. Mitchell Parker, LHP, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 2-0, 2.45 ERA, 11 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 21 SO, 1.00 WHIP
12. Michael Busch, 2B/3B, Dodgers (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 6-for-21 (.286), 5 R, 4 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 BB, 2 SO, 0 SB, .444 OBP, .857 SLG, 1.301 OPS
13. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 8-for-20 (.400), 10 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 6 BB, 5 SB, 2 SB, .538 OBP, .800 SLG, 1.338 OPS
14. Bryan Ramos, 3B, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham): 9-for-23 (.391), 7 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0 SB, .440 OBP, .913 SLG, 1.353 OPS
15. James Wood, OF, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 7-for-21 (.333), 5 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO, 0 SB, .440 OBP, .857 SLG, 1.297 OPS
16. Dylan Crews, OF, Nationals (Low-A Fredericksburg): 12-for-29 (.414), 2 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 SO, .469 OBP, .793 SLG, 1.262 OPS
17. Junior Caminero, 3B, Rays (Double-A Montgomery): 8-for-21 (.381), 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, .435 OBP, .810 SLG, 1.245 OPS
18. Jase Bowen, 2B, Pirates (High-A Greensboro): 8-for-27 (.296), 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 7 SO, 2 SB, .345 OBP, .667 SLG, 1.012 OPS
19. Yordanny Monegro, RHP, Red Sox (Low-A Salem): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO, 0.80 WHIP
20. Parker Messick, LHP, Guardians (High-A Lake County): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO, 0.80 WHIP