Now that the minor league season is a few weeks underway, now is a good time to check in down on the farm and see who’s off to hot starts at each level. Hot starts aren’t indicative of how a full season will turn out to be sure, but it can mean a lot for a prospect moving up to a new level and progressing toward making a major league roster. Clearly for the guys in Triple-A, a hot start can get them to the majors sooner than anticipated, especially with all of the injuries that are happening this year, so keeping track of hot starts is important for fantasy players of all stripes because getting a jump on the next good call-up, even if you’re in a redraft league, is an important part of winning.

Triple-A Hitters

Jesús Sánchez, OF MIA - Sanchez was a key piece gotten at the trade deadline in 2019. He has a smooth left-handed swing and plays mainly right field with at least average speed. The hot start has been an encouraging sign from Sanchez though as the offense has been decreasing with each step up in competition as the more advanced pitchers have taken advantage of his lack of plate discipline and a propensity to hit the ball on the ground which belies his plus-raw-power and above-average hit tools. He is slashing .477/.511/1.045 with six homers, 18 RBI, 11 runs and a 1.556 OPS in 11 games and 44 at-bats for Jacksonville. If he can keep the good start going, though not to that extent, the Marlins could give him another shot in the majors perhaps in mid-June or so to see if he can reach his .280 25-homer upside in the bigs.

Vidal Bruján , 2B TB - Brujan has been a name on the tip of seemingly everyone’s tongue this season and for good reason. He’s slashing .314/.417/.627 with five homers, 13 runs, 12 RBI, and three steals in 13 games for Durham all while playing most of his games in the outfield rather than his natural position of second base. We shouldn’t overlook Wander Franco either who is also on the Durham squad and is also off to a hot start but Brujan is outperforming in everything but batting average. Brujan has a great set of plus to double-plus tools with the only one that’s only average is the power tool. He should be up within a month with the versatility he’s been working on at Triple-A.

Triple-A Pitchers

Alek Manoah, RHP TOR - We’ve talked Manoah previously in prospect reports and podcasts this year as he continues to bloom for the Blue Jays. He’s posted a 17:2 K:BB in 12 innings over two starts for Buffalo (playing in Trenton) and has allowed just three hits total. His four-pitch mix is good enough to make him a number-two starter with mid-to-upper-90s fastballs, an above-average slider with hard break, and a changeup that is a threat in almost any count now. The big-framed righty should be durable enough to eat innings and with his route to pro ball, there is less wear on his arm as well. The Blue Jays need pitching and it’s entirely possible that Manoah is up to the majors before we see Nate Pearson back up with Toronto.

Corbin Martin , RHP ARI - Martin was a key part of the return for Zack Greinke and now we’re seeing him in the majors for the first time. The righty has a four-pitch mix with a mid-90s fastball that has nice run to it and then adds two breaking pitches in a slider and curveball that are both above-average with the slider being closer to plus along with the fastball and rounds it out with a changeup. In two starts at Reno he posted a 14:6 K:BB ratio and a 1.86 ERA before getting the call to start in the bigs on the 17th. He should stick in the rotation at this point as Arizona needs all the help they can get in the pitching department at this point.

Double-A Hitters

Michael Busch, 2B LAD - Busch was taken in the 2019 draft as the most polished college hitter in the draft by most accounts and he’s made quick work of the minors as he’s already up to Double-A. The lefty-hitting second baseman has a smooth, quick, stroke and a patient approach at the plate that’s generated a .280/.410/.640 slash line with five homers, 13 runs, and 10 RBI in 13 games at Tulsa. The speed and defense are a tad below-average but the defense is improving as he gets consistent reps at the keystone. He may shift to either left field or first base later on but they’ll give him plenty of run at second base. Busch draws comps to Max Muncy with a higher average.

Elehuris Montero, 1B COL - Montero was a piece in the return for Nolan Arenado and if it’s the pressure of living up who he was traded for that has him starting hot, well it’s working. He’s hitting .283/.393/.543 with three homers, 15 RBI, eight runs, and nine walks in 13 games for Hartford. He’s been playing first base as well instead of third base as he was previously playing for St. Louis. Montero has major power in his swing and frame but his approach needs some adjustments as there’s still too much swing-and-miss in his game that limits the power. There’s no doubt the power can be a big factor at Coors Field but if he can’t cut down on strikeouts, the average won’t ever be even an average tool.

Double-A Pitchers

Roansy Contreras, RHP PIT - The Yankees may wind up regretting this one down the road as he was a key piece in the Jameson Taillon trade. The 21-year-old righty sits 94-95 with the fastball and touches 97 with major riding action to it and his mid-80s changeup with heavy sink plays well off of it as his best secondary pitch. The curveball is average right now but the ability to add and subtract speed changes its shape well. So far through 17.2 innings at Altoona, he’s posted a 28:3 K:BB ratio while allowing just seven hits. Contreras will need to fully develop the curveball as well as dial in his control to reach his full potential but the upside is there to be a mid-rotation starter to be sure.

Hunter Greene, RHP CIN - A name that has seemingly been around for forever at this point, Greene was drafted in 2017 as the second overall pick by the Reds and they've patiently developed the young fireballer into the frontline starter prospect he is now at Double-A Chattanooga who's been striking everyone out and then some. In one of the starts this year he also set a record, for any level of pro baseball, for pitches clocked at over 100 mph. He's struck out 25 hitters already this year in 16 innings compared to three walks and has just a .69 WHIP. The fastball gets all of the attention, but he also has a slider, cutter, and changeup that are all at least above-average pitches and give different speed and movements for the hitters to try and decipher. If he continues to stay healthy and learn to use his stuff and not just try and overpower hitters with the fastball, he’ll turn into the frontline starter the Reds were hoping for when they took him in 2017.