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New Prospect Hot Sheet


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1. Troy Patton, lhp, Astros (Low Class A Lexington)

It's now been over a month since Patton gave up a run, spanning 32 innings over five starts. During that span, he's limited opponents to 10 hits and six walks, while striking out 35. In 12 starts on the season, he's allowed zero earned runs seven times, one earned run three times, and two earned runs twice.

2. Hunter Pence, of, Astros (Low Class A Lexington)

Pence went on the DL last night with a strained quadriceps, and that's the only thing that will slow down the minor league home run leader with 23, who has slugged 16 home runs in his last 32 games.

3. Josh Willingham, c, Marlins (Triple-A Albuquerque)

Seemingly blocked by a mildly effective Paul LoDuca, Willingham has owned the Pacific Coast League, leading the circuit in on-base percentage (.480) and slugging (.758) while amassing 52 runs and 52 RBIs in 54 games.

4. Ryan Howard, 1b, Phillies (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)

Last year's minor league home run leader has raised his average from .291 to .371 by going a remarkable 31-for-65 (.477) during a current 17-game hitting streak that includes 12 multi-hit efforts.

5. Eddy Martinez-Esteve, dh, Giants (High Class A San Jose)

We've used this space to constantly pump the exploits of California League hitters like Billy Butler, Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick, but it's Esteve who sits among the circuit's top five in batting (.365), on-base percentage (.476), slugging (.631), runs (50) and RBIs (55).

6. Justin Orenduff, rhp, Dodgers (High Class A Vero Beach)

While pitching at Virginia Commonwealth last year, Orenduff was overshadowed by Old Dominion's Justin Verlander, and that continued early on this season in the Florida State League. A 2004 supplemental first-round pick of his own, Orenduff has eclipsed Verlander at the league's hottest starter, limiting opponents to just 35 hits over 60 innings while striking out 81.

7. Thomas Diamond, rhp, Rangers (High Class A Bakersfield)

While fellow Ranger prospects John Danks and Edison Volquez have advanced from Bakersfield to Double-A Frisco with mixed results, Diamond continues to roll through the California League with a league-leading 83 strikeouts in 67 innings, including 14 last Thursday over seven shutout innings.

8. Stephen Drew, ss, Diamondbacks (High Class A Lancaster)

If we heard one knock against Drew entering the 2004 draft, it was that scouts had very few opportunities to see Drew hit with wood. That's no longer an issue as Drew, beginning his pro career exactly one year from the day he was drafted, has gone 10-for-24 with a pair of home runs and eight RBIs in six games.

9. Justin Verlander, rhp, Tigers (High Class A Lakeland)

The model of consistency, Verlander has gone at least six innings in each of his last 11 starts, without ever allowing more than two earned runs, and striking out nine or more seven times and walking two or fewer 10 times.


10. Andy LaRoche, 3b, Dodgers (High Class A Vero Beach)

The power pace has slowed, but LaRoche continues to pace the Florida State League in hits (82), runs (54), extra-base hits (36), and slugging (.657). The transfer of uber-prospect Joel Guzman to third base could allow LaRoche to approach (I'm a poet and I didn't know it!) several league records.

11. Joel Zumaya, rhp, Tigers (Double-A Erie)

Zumaya has recorded strikeout totals of 14 and 15 recently, and has limited opposing hitters in the Eastern League to a sub-.200 batting average from both the left and right sides.

12. Rich Hill, lhp, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa)

The minor league leader in strikeouts (119), Hill has had no problem missing bats since a promotion to Triple-A, whiffing 29 in 19 innings while holding opposing batters to a .176 batting average.

13. Conor Jackson, of, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Tucson)

Something very strange happened on Sunday afternoon. Conor Jackson struck out twice. That's the first time this has happened this season, as Jackson is batting .372 in 218 at-bats with more than twice as many walks (39) as strikeouts (16).

14. Giovany Gonzalez, lhp, White Sox (Low Class A Kannapolis)

Gonzalez put together back-to-back outings of one-hit shutout baseball (seven and eight innings) last week, and leads the Sally League with 84 strikeouts despite pitching just 58 innings. On the season, he's faced 52 batters with runners in scoring position; four got hits, 20 struck out.

15. Chris Snelling, of, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma)

Snelling has stayed relatively injury-free so far this year, and the story hasn't changed: When he's healthy, he hits. Still just 23, Snelling is batting .380 for the Rainiers. We suggest packing him in styrofoam on off days.

16. Philip Hughes, rhp, Yankees (Low Class A Charleston)

Look everyone! A Yankees draft pick that's working out! The Yankees' first-round pick last year, the 6-foot-5 righty has gone 7-1, 1.97 in 12 starts with a 72/16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 69 innings.

17. Jimmy Barthmaier, rhp, Astros (Low Class A Lexington)

As if Patton and Pence (The Killer Ps --we're copyrighting that and printing t-shirts as you read this) aren't enough, Barthmaier gives the Legends three Hot Sheet designations by tossing 19 scoreless innings in his last three starts and lowering his season ERA to 1.77.

18. Delmon Young, of, Devil Rays (Double-A Montgomery)

Currently on pace for 30 home runs and 40 stolen bases, we don't care what Lou Piniella says, the future looks bright for the Devil Rays.

19. Scott Moore, 3b, Cubs (High Class A Daytona)

The eighth overall pick by the Tigers in the 2002 draft, Moore was dealt to the Cubs in the Kyle Farnsworth deal after hitting .240/.327/.386 in 265 games in the Detroit system. Something has clicked for him this year at Daytona, as Moore has already hit a career-high 15 home runs while going 27-for-59 (.458) in his last 16 games.

20. Zach Jackson, lhp, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire)

One of two college lefties taken last year by Toronto in the first round, Jackson went 6-0, 0.69 in his last six starts for high Class A Dunedin, and began what could be an equally short Eastern League stint by winning his first two starts and allowing just one run on six hits in 15 innings.


Special Mention Category


Leo Daigle, 1b, White Sox (High Class A Winston-Salem)


A 1997 11th-round pick by the Tigers out of Southwestern (Calif.) JC, Daigle is 25 years old and now an eight year minor-league veteran who frankly probably doesn't belong in the Carolina League. Still, Daigle can't control his assignment and has hit seven home runs in his last five games while on pace for a triple crown at .356-21-67.


In The Team Photo


Brian Bannister, rhp, Mets (Double-A Binghamton)

Fernando Cabrera, rhp, Indians (Triple-A Buffalo)

Alberto Callaspo, 2b, Angels (Double-A Arkansas)

Chip Cannon, 1b, Blue Jays (High Class A Dunedin)

Chris Denorfia, of, Reds (Triple-A Louisville)

Andre Ethier, of, Athletics (Double-A Midland)

Carlos Gonzales, of, Diamondbacks (Low Class A South Bend)

Jeremy Hermida, of, Marlins (Double-A Carolina)

Justin Huber, 1b, Royals (Double-A Wichita)

Casey Janssen, rhp, Blue Jays (High Class A Dunedin)

John Jaso, c, Devil Rays (Low Class A Southwest Michigan)

Russ Martin, c, Dodgers (Double-A Jacksonville)

Miguel Montero, c, Diamondbacks (High Class A Lancaster)

Kendry Morales, 1b/3b/of, Angels (Double-A Arkansas)

Augustin Murillo, c, Diamondbacks (Low Class A South Bend)

Fernando Nieve, rhp, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi)

Jon Papelbon, rhp, Red Sox (Double-A Portland)

Ian Snell, rhp, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis)

Brandon Wood, ss, Angels (High Class A Rancho Cucamonga)

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