Identifying the hottest rookie of the past two weeks was easy this time around. Last Saturday, Tyler Gilbert of the D-backs became just the fourth pitcher to toss a no-hitter in his first big league start, blanking the Padres, 7-0.
Beyond Gilbert, the rest of our Rookie Hot List includes three Reds: second baseman Jonathan India, who’s making a run at the National League Rookie of the Year Award, right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez and catcher Tyler Stephenson. There wasn’t enough room to include a number of relievers doing stellar work, including Marcos Diplan of the Orioles and Alex Vesia and Phil Bickford of the Dodgers.
Our rankings are based on performances from Aug. 4-17. All the players have graduated from our organization Top 30 Prospects lists unless otherwise noted.
1. Tyler Gilbert, LHP, D-backs (unranked on Arizona Top 30)
Plucked from the Dodgers in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft last December, Gilbert got the call to the big leagues on Aug. 3 at age 27. After making three relief appearances without allowing an earned run, he made the most of his first start, giving up just three walks and striking out five while holding the Padres hitless for nine innings on 102 pitches.
2. Frank Schwindel, 1B, Cubs
An 18th-round pick out of St. John’s back in 2013, Schwindel, 29, is finally getting his first shot at regular playing time in the Majors after the Cubs traded Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees. Claimed off waivers from the Athletics in mid-July, he has batted .400/.434/.760 with four homers and 14 RBIs over the past two weeks.
3. Tarik Skubal, LHP, Tigers
One of four preseason Top 100 Prospects on this list — Triston McKenzie, Bobby Dalbec and Tyler Stephenson are the others — Skubal ranked the highest among that group at No. 24. He just recorded the first back-to-back victories of his young big league career, whitewashing the Red Sox for five innings on Aug. 5 and the Orioles for six last Wednesday. He’s quietly having one of the best seasons among American League rookie pitchers, going 8-10 with a 4.10 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 116 1/3 innings.
4. Triston McKenzie, RHP, Indians
Though McKenzie made an immediate impression when he debuted last August, he just turned in three straight quality starts for the first time: three runs allowed in seven innings against the Blue Jays on Aug. 5, two runs in six frames vs. the A’s on Aug. 10 and eight scoreless, one-hit innings with a career-high 11 strikeouts against the Tigers on Sunday. He’s now 2-5 with a 5.12 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 84 1/3 innings.
5. Jonathan India, 2B, Reds
Undoubtedly the top rookie hitter in the NL this year, India keeps on raking, putting up a .286/.344/.625 line with five homers, 14 runs and 11 RBIs in his past 14 games. He drove in a career-high five runs against the Cubs on Monday, and he ranks among the NL leaders in on-base percentage (.393, sixth), walks (55, seventh) and runs (73, ninth). He’s batting .280/.393/.471 with 16 homers in 110 contests.
6. Luis Gil, RHP, Yankees
While riding the shuttle back and forth from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to New York, Gil has helped the Yankees surge up the AL Wild Card standings by not allowing a run in his first three big league starts. He worked in and out of trouble in 4 2/3 innings against the Red Sox on Tuesday, nine days after twirling five scoreless frames against the Mariners, and he has 18 strikeouts vs. just nine hits allowed in 15 2/3 innings.
7. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP, Reds
Gutierrez has surrendered just seven runs in his past five starts, including four runs over 18 1/3 innings while striking out 20 in three outings during the past two weeks. He fanned a career-best seven in 6 1/3 innings against the Cubs on Tuesday, taking a tough 2-1 loss to snap a four-game winning streak. He has an 8-4 record with a 3.87 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 86 innings.
8. Bobby Dalbec, 1B, Red Sox
After enduring the worst month of his big league career in July, Dalbec has been on fire in August, including a .387/.457/.806 stretch with three homers in the past two weeks. He collected 11 RBIs in three games last Wednesday through Saturday, capped by a two-homer contest against the Orioles. He’s hitting .231/.281/.436 with 14 homers in 99 games.
9. Tyler Stephenson, C/1B, Reds
Stephenson not only caught two of Gutierrez’s quality starts, but he also hit .387/.424/.806 with four homers in the past two weeks. He went deep in three consecutive games last week, and he’s batting .291/.376/.452 with nine homers in 98 contests.
10. Connor Joe, LF/1B, Rockies
Like Schwindel, Joe is a 29-year-old getting his first regular playing time in the Majors, and he’s making the most of it. He drove in a career-high four runs against the Marlins on Aug. 7, then victimized them for his first two-homer game the next day. He has batted .318/.380/.659 with five homers and 11 RBI in the past two weeks, boosting his season line to .292/.367/.492 with seven homers in 48 contests.