The penultimate edition of Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet is up, and just like last week, I am sticking with those minor leaguers listed who could be call-ups beginning this weekend. Generally, this means AAA players, but I couldn't resist including a AA pitcher. If you'd like some updates on Rutgers' SS Todd Frazier or 17-year-old Engel Beltre (acquired by Texas in the Eric Gagne trade with the Red Sox), then click through. The Hot Sheet is available without a BA subscription.
3. Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Double-A Jacksonville (Dodgers)
Kershaw skipped high Class A after going 7-5, 2.77 with a 134-50 strikeout-walk ratio in 97 innings at low Class A Great Lakes. And while the seventh overall pick in 2006 went through some predictable growing pains early on in Double-A, he's locked in now.
Last week, the 19-year-old lefty went 1-0, 0.69 with 18 strikeouts in 14 innings.
6. Kevin Slowey, rhp, Triple-A Rochester (Twins)
The International League's ERA leader by nearly a run-and-a-half (1.42, actually), Slowey has rattled off six straight one-earned run outings, and has done it in seven of his last eight. He went 2-1, 1.41 in August, too, so it's not as if he's coasting after a fast start. Let's take a minute to admire his season numbers: 10-4, 1.74 with 103-17 K-BB in 129 2/3 innings.
10. Geovany Soto, c, Triple-A Iowa (Cubs)
It's unclear why Soto is still in Triple-A, where the 24-year-old has proven to be one of the best hitters in the Pacific Coast League and the Cubs have shifted through multiple bodies behind the plate. Soto is hitting .358/.427/.653 on the year, and has hit .417/.465/.771 in August after a .367/.450/.735 July. Although Jason Kendall has hit well beyond any reasonable expectation (.298/.392/.404 in 104 at-bats) since joining the Cubs, Soto is likely the better near- and long-term option for the franchise.
11. Justin Ruggiano, of, Triple-A Durham (Devil Rays)
Along with center fielder Jason Pridie and third baseman Evan Longoria, Ruggiano has been one of the biggest reasons for Durham's surge to the top of the IL's Southern Division standings. Over his last 10 games, the Texas A&M product has hit .429 with three homers, five doubles and 11 RBIs. Ruggiano, 25, has hit a surprising .310/.383/.508 this season with 19 homers and 26 steals. The caveat: 142 whiffs in 118 games.
20. Edinson Volquez, rhp, Triple-A Oklahoma (Rangers)
Whether or not Volquez ever becomes a productive major league pitcher--a much-debated topic at this week's Hot Sheet meeting--one thing is for certain: You better not sleep on his minor league season (even if he does). Volquez, who was sent all the way down to high Class A to revive his career, has been dealing in Triple-A. Volquez has yielded more than one earned run in just one of his eight starts in Oklahoma and is 6-1, 1.41 with 66 strikeouts and 21 walks in 51 innings. Volquez did not give up a run in his last two starts while striking out 16.