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Pitchers are meant to be ahead of hitters. Sluggers need at-bats to get into the rhythm of the season, and that takes time. Or at least that’s how the popular belief goes.

But some Minor League hitters are proving they don’t need time at all to come flying out of the gate and assert why they are among the top prospects in the game. Here are the hottest-hitting ranked prospects from each organization, including eight of MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 talents. (Note: All stats are through Tuesday’s games.)
There were few hotter hitters on the planet from April 14-25, a span in which Martinez homered seven times over 10 games for Triple-A Buffalo. Half of his hits in that time left the yard. Entering Wednesday, the 22-year-old second baseman is slugging .600 through his first 24 games of 2024 and owns a 139 wRC+. Only Coby Mayo (164) and James Wood (144) have higher marks among qualified Triple-A batters aged 22 or younger.

The Norfolk Tides’ offensive juggernaut may have slowed down a little bit, but they still do have a team OPS of .850. Hat tip to Heston Kjerstad, who raked his way back up to Baltimore about a week ago, but Mayo, still only 22, has put up equally impressive numbers. He had a .330/.400/.652 line with nine homers and 25 RBIs through the end of April. He leads the International League in total bases with 75, a list that’s topped by four Orioles (Kyle Stowers, Kjerstad and Connor Norby).

Rays: Carson Williams, SS (No. 2/MLB No. 18)
Known more for his power and speed on the offensive side, Williams has shown a more well-rounded game to begin 2024, posting a .368/.415/.592 line over 18 games with Double-A Montgomery. Perhaps most notably, his strikeout rate has dropped from 31.4 percent a year ago to a more manageable 26.8 through the season’s first month. His .490 BABIP is unsustainable, but he’s helping push that up by stinging a ton of pullside line drives, another positive indicator in his hitting development.

Red Sox: Johanfran Garcia, C (No. 23)
Signed for $850,000 out of Venezuela in 2022, Garcia ranked in the top 10 in all three slash categories (.302/.408/.497) in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League during his U.S. debut last summer, then posted even better numbers (.354/.446/.583) in Single-A this April. He has 20-homer potential and is improving defensively behind the plate, where he shows solid arm strength.

Yankees: Agustin Ramirez, C (No. 20)
Ramirez spent three years in Rookie ball after signing for $400,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, but he began to break out with 18 homers a year ago and currently leads the Double-A Eastern League and ranks fourth in the Minors with nine in 20 games. He’s batting .247/.370/.610, possesses plus raw power and solid arm strength but needs to clean up his receiving.

Guardians: Alex Mooney, INF (No. 20)
The Guardians liked Mooney’s hitting ability enough to pay him an over-slot $1 million bonus as a seventh-rounder out of Duke last year. After batting just .152 in a brief 17-game pro debut, he’s mashing at High-A this spring with a .319/.373/.623 line and five homers (second in the Midwest League) in 18 contests. He has shuffled all over the infield and profiles best as an offensive second baseman.

Royals: Carter Jensen, C (No. 10)
The 20-year-old catcher’s ability to work a walk defined his success through the first three years of his pro career, and that’s certainly continued in his return to High-A Quad Cities, where he has a 22.0 percent walk rate and .490 OBP through 22 games. But he’s also hitting for average (.338) and power (.506 SLG) while cutting down his K’s to a career-low 19.0 percent. Jensen turned 18 the same month he was drafted in 2021 and catchers can have a long developmental path anyway, so this might be the season when his offensive side clicks into place.

Tigers: Justyn-Henry Malloy, OF/3B (No. 7)
Malloy has exactly two hits in five straight games for Triple-A Toledo, going 10-for-21 (.476) with a homer and five doubles in that span. He’s pushed his average from .222 to .280, slugging from .347 to .462 and OPS from .734 to .881 over that stretch alone. After leading the Minors in walks a year ago, the 24-year-old remains as patient as ever with an 18.8 percent BB rate, and he continues to push for that elusive Major League debut as a corner-outfield option for Detroit.

Twins: Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF (No. 3/MLB No. 39)
Injuries have slowed Rodriguez over the last two years, yet when we first lined up our Top 100 for this year, we got a lot of feedback from evaluators throughout baseball to rank him higher than we initially had him. At age 21 and in Double-A for the first time, he’s showing just what the fuss is all about. Over his first 16 games, Rodriguez has a .294/.507/.686 line with 11 extra-base hits and nine steals. He’s walked more than he’s struck out and leads the Texas League in OBP and OPS.

White Sox: Brooks Baldwin, SS (No. 25)
After the White Sox made him a 12th-round pick out of UNC Wilmington in 2022, Baldwin quickly became an organization favorite with his ability to get the most out of his tools while playing all over the diamond. He’s off to a scorching .425/.483/.575 start and leading the Double-A Southern League in batting (second in the Minors), on-base percentage, OPS (1.058), hits (34) and doubles (nine).

Angels: Cole Fontenelle, 3B (No. 30)
Fontenelle bounced around a bit in college, but put up big numbers at Texas Christian last year to land in the seventh round of the 2023 Draft. The Angels are never shy about pushing players very aggressively and Fontenelle seems just fine with the assignment to Double-A to start his first full season. He has an .874 OPS over his first 18 games, with 10 steals to boot. He finished off April by going 6-for-12 with a homer and two doubles over the last three games of the month. He’s sixth in the Southern League with his .408 OBP.

Astros: Joey Loperfido, OF/1B (No. 6)
Loperfido has made continual improvements since the Astros made him a seventh-round pick out of Duke in 2021, refining his left-handed swing and approach while getting stronger and more athletic. The organization’s 2023 Minor League player of the year (.278/.379/.510, 25 homers, 27 steals while advancing from High-A to Triple-A) batted .287/.393/.713 in Triple-A this April while topping the Minors with 13 homers and ranking fourth in slugging. That earned him a callup to Houston, where he delivered a two-run single in his big league debut on Tuesday.

A’s: Jacob Wilson, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 61)
Remember when people were worried about Wilson’s ability to impact the ball at this level? Sure, it’s a small sample, but the 2023 first-rounder has silenced those concerns for now by going to Double-A and raking to the tune of a .409/.429/.667 line with eight doubles and three homers. He still never walks (1 BB in 70 PA) but also doesn’t strike out (12.9 percent K rate) and he leads the Texas League in batting average.

Mariners: Tyler Locklear, 1B (No. 8)
Some of us may have been thinking Locklear could have started the year in Triple-A after reaching Double-A last year and hitting well in the Arizona Fall League. If he keeps this up in Arkansas, he’ll get moved up to Tacoma soon enough. The first baseman has a .990 OPS thus far (.316/.464/.526), walking as much as he strikes out while currently standing second in the Texas League in OBP and sixth in OPS.

Rangers: Abimelec Ortiz, 1B/OF (No. 11)
Ortiz took off after shortening his left-handed stroke and beginning to wear contact lenses during games in 2023, leading the Minors in slugging (.619) while ranking fourth in homers (33) and OPS (.990). The 2021 nondrafted free agent from Florida SouthWestern State JC hasn’t cleared the fences as consistently so far this year, but he’s hitting .260/.333/.455 with two homers in 20 Double-A games and has cut his strikeout rate to 15 percent.

Braves: Nacho Alvarez Jr., SS (No. 6)
There’s not a ton of impact here so far this year, but Alvarez keeps doing what he does well … really well. He’s hit .300 (seventh in the Southern League) with a .402 OBP (also seventh) to kick off the year with Double-A Mississippi. He only has two extra-base hits, but he has a 14.6 percent walk rate and rarely swings and misses, with just a 16 percent miss rate according to Synergy.

Marlins: Mark Coley II, OF (No. 22)
Coley faced a lot of adversity during five years of college at Rhode Island, including missing all of 2022 because of a school credit snafu and half of 2023 after breaking his jaw in a collision at first base. Signed for $50,000 as a 17th-rounder last July, he helped Single-A Jupiter win the Florida State League playoffs in his pro debut and is off to a .339/.461/.694 start this spring with three homers in 16 games between two Class A levels. He has plus raw power and speed and plays a quality center field while displaying solid arm strength.

Mets: Nick Morabito, OF (No. 26)
The 2022 75th overall pick was off to a solid start for Single-A St. Lucie already but has kicked things into gear during a current seven-game hitting streak, going 14-for-24 (.583) with only three strikeouts and five steals. Morabito leads the Florida State League in average (.397), OBP (.518), OPS (1.047) and hits (27) through 20 games, and his plus-plus speed remains a weapon as well with nine thefts in 11 chances.

Nationals: James Wood, OF (No. 2/MLB No. 13)
Wood got off to a vicious start by going 15-for-34 (.441) with eight extra-base hits and nine walks in his first nine games with Triple-A Rochester, and even though it seems like he’s slowed down a touch, he’s still riding an eight-game hitting streak into Wednesday’s action. The 21-year-old is slashing .326/.434/.484 through 24 contests at the Minors’ top level and has flexed speed with eight steals. His 93.9 mph average exit velocity is also second in Triple-A among hitters with at least 50 batted balls.

Phillies: Gabriel Rincones Jr. (No. 10)
After hitting well in the AFL in 2023, the hope was Rinconces would put up some serious numbers while calling hitting-friendly Reading home. He’s done just that, with a .300/.417/.600 line over his first 13 games. He’s third in the Double-A Eastern League with his 1.017 OPS and has enjoyed home cooking for sure, with a 1.222 OPS in five games in Reading.

Brewers: Mike Boeve, 3B/2B (No. 14)
It was clear the 2023 second-rounder needed a new challenge after going 21-for-38 (.553) with 13 walks and only five strikeouts in 13 games for High-A Wisconsin to begin his first full season. So the Brewers promoted him quickly to Double-A Biloxi, and he hasn’t stopped hitting there either with a .323/.432/.613 line in eight games. Boeve’s .449 average leads all qualified Minor Leaguers – his next closest competition is hitting .409 – and his .556 OBP ranks second in that group as well.

Cardinals: César Prieto, INF (No. 18)
Acquired from the Orioles in last year’s Jack Flaherty Deadline deal, Prieto has long had a reputation as an aggressive hitter, and that’s continued in 2024; he has only one walk in 97 plate appearances for Triple-A Memphis. But he’s making tons of contact too, leading to a .326 average through 24 games. He’s also added some lift (his average launch angle is 11.8 degrees, up from 5.5 at Triple-A in 2023), and that’s helped him tap into his power better with four homers in April.

Cubs: Moises Ballesteros, C/1B (No. 7)
The Cubs’ 2023 Minor League player of the year (.285/.374/.449 with 14 homers while reaching Double-A at age 19), Ballesteros is building a case to win the award again. He’s batting .292/.414/.521 with three homers in 15 games as the second-youngest regular in the Double-A Southern League. Signed for $1.2 million out of Venezuela in 2021, he earns some Alejandro Kirk comparisons for his hitting ability and soft hands.

Pirates: Omar Alfonzo, C (No. 29)
The Pirates get a lot of deserved buzz about their pitching prospects and how they’ve performed overall so far this year. The position player crop has been a little slower to get going. The son of former big league backstop Eliézer Alfonzo, Omar has been solid in his first full year of full-season ball. He’s continued to show very solid on-base skills (.386 OBP) and while the counting stats may not jump out, he’s hitting the ball very hard, maxing out at 112 mph with 15 balls hit 100 mph or harder in the Florida State League, according to Statcast.

Reds: Cam Collier, 3B (No. 7)
Perhaps Collier served notice of what was to come when he homered in the Reds’ first Spring Breakout game in March. Remember, the Reds’ first-rounder in 2022 had reclassified for that Draft, so even though this is his second full season, he’s still only 19 years old. That makes his .933 OPS (.298/.326/.607) with High-A Dayton, not to mention the fact that he leads the Midwest League with his seven homers and his 25 RBIs and is fourth in SLG, that much more impressive.

D-backs: Deyvison De Los Santos, 1B/3B (No. 14)
De Los Santos was one of the most high-profile picks in last offseason’s Rule 5 Draft, but he couldn’t stick with the Guardians as a 20-year-old with no Triple-A experience. He’s back with Double-A Amarillo to begin 2024 and crushing the ball as expected with a .376/.430/.682 line over 21 games. He leads Double-A with 32 hits and 58 total bases and ranks second with seven homers, four of which have come away from hitter-friendly HODGETOWN.

Dodgers: Andy Pages, OF (No. 3/MLB No. 93)
Since signing for $300,000 in October 2017, Pages has led his leagues in extra-base hits during each of his three healthy full seasons. Pages tore the labrum in his left shoulder during his Triple-A debut last May, requiring season-ending surgery, but raked at that level in April with a .371/.452/.694 line and five homers in 15 games. The Dodgers called him up two weeks ago and he has posted an .847 OPS with two homers in his first 13 big league contests, impressing with his well above-average raw power and arm strength.

Giants: Cole Foster, SS/2B (No. 26)
Foster’s ability to do a little bit of everything as a switch-hitting middle infielder got him drafted in the third round out of Auburn last July. He struggled on both sides of the ball during his pro debut but has looked much steadier this spring, slashing .307/.376/.453 in Single-A.

Padres: Nathan Martorella, 1B/OF (No. 13)
It’s been tough sledding for many Padres hitting prospects in the Minors to begin the season, but so far, Martorella is at least holding his own with Double-A San Antonio. The 2022 fifth-rounder has a .293/.388/.439 line through 22 games and is one of only eight hitters in Double-A with a strikeout rate below 17 percent (16.3) and a walk rate above 14 (14.3), an indication that he’s controlling the zone well at the Minors’ second-highest level.

Rockies: Jordan Beck, OF (No. 4/MLB No. 73)
Beck was hitting so well with Triple-A Albuquerque, he was the obvious choice to bring up when Nolan Jones got hurt. Before he went 2-for-4 in his big league debut on Tuesday, the outfielder had a .314/.408/.590 line in the Minors with five homers. He was sixth in the PCL with his .999 OPS and was routinely hitting the ball very hard, with elite-level exit velocities.

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