Giavotella tops this week's Hot List

Every Monday, Royals Corner publishes our Hot List, ranking the ten hottest prospects in the Royals' minor league system. This week, Blue Rocks second baseman Johnny Giavotella tops the Hot List for the first time after hitting .357 on the week. After a slow start this season, last year's second rounder is hitting a solid .305 in July. Who else made the Hot List this week? Look inside to find out.

Editor's Note: Due to travel, last week's Hot List was published exclusively on the Royals Corner Message Board.

1. Johnny Giavotella
Giavotella got off to a rough start this season, hitting below .230 through the first two months. The 22-year-old second baseman, however, began to heat up in June, and so far in July, he's hitting .305/.406/.356. Last week, Giavotella hit .357 (10-for-28) with a triple, three runs scored, four RBIs, and four stolen bases. Though he's hitting just .247, his on-base percentage stands at a solid .367 thanks to 54 walks, which rank second in the Carolina League.

2. David Lough
The Royals decided to test Lough a bit with a midseason promotion to Double-A, and his response through 14 games has been very encouraging. So far, Lough is hitting .352 with two doubles, a triple, and three home runs, and he's also swiped four bases without being caught. Last week, Lough hit .381 (8-for-21) with five runs scored, a triple, two homers, and three RBIs.

3. Geoff Baldwin
Baldwin had a big week for the Arizona Royals, hitting safely in all five games in which he played while going 8-for-18 (.444). The young first baseman, who was drafted this year in the 10th round out of Grand Junction High School (CO), hit two doubles and a pair of home runs while scoring five runs and driving in four. Equally encouraging, Baldwin only struck out twice while drawing three walks after striking out 25 times in his first 15 games. On the season, he's hitting .269/.364/.478 with three home runs and nine RBIs.

4. Nick Van Stratten
Van Stratten had a relatively short week, thanks to a promotion to the Wilmington Blue Rocks over the weekend. He has yet to suit up for the Blue Rocks, but he did go 6-for-14 (.429) for the Bees last week with three doubles and five RBIs. The 24-year-old outfielder finished his 2009 campaign in Burlington with a line of .318/.393/.447 and 20 doubles, five triples, one home run, and 15 stolen stolen bases for the bees.

5. Danny Duffy
Duffy returns to the Hot List after an excellent start on Saturday, in which he tossed a seven-inning complete game against the Frederick Keys. The young southpaw won his seventh game of the season by holding the Keys to just one unearned run on two hits and no walks while striking out seven. On the season, Duffy is now 7-3 with a 3.40 ERA, and in 90 innings pitched thus far, he's struck out 87 batters while allowing just 83 hits and 29 walks. The Carolina League is hitting just .243 against him this year.

6. Juan Abreu
Abreu made just one one-inning outing during the week, but it – along with the news of his promotion to Double-A – was enough to get him back on the Hot List. The fireballer notched his 12th save of the season on Thursday, picking up two more strikeouts in a scoreless ninth. He leaves Wilmington with stellar numbers – 3-2, 1.69 ERA, and 28 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched. He surrendered just eight hits during his time with the Blue Rocks, with the Carolina League hitting just .114 against him.

7. Alex Caldera
It's no secret that Alex Caldera has had, for the most part, a miserable 2009 season. However, the 23-year-old right-hander may finally be turning things around, after two straight excellent starts last week. Caldera went 1-0 last week, surrendering just one earned run on nine hits and three walks (along with five strikeouts) in 12.0 innings pitched (0.75 ERA). On the season, he's still just 3-7 with a 5.78 ERA, but he has struck out 76 batters in 90.1 innings pitched.

8. Luis Del Rosario
Del Rosario has easily been the B-Royals' most productive hitter through the first month of the Appy League season, and he continued his tear last week. The 19-year-old Dominican outfielder hit .368 on the week (7-for-19) with a triple, two runs scored, two RBIs, and two stolen bases. On the season, Del Rosario is hitting .361/.392/.474 with two doubles, three triples, one home run, 12 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases.

9. Brandon Sisk
Sisk returns to the Hot List after two more dominant appearances in relief for the Blue Rocks. The 24-year-old southpaw celebrated a birthday last week, and he struck out an impressive eight batters in just 4.2 innings of scoreless relief while surrendering just one hit and one walk. For the most part, Sisk has been unhittable this season, holding Carolina League batters to a .154 batting average. In 41.1 innings thus far, Sisk (2-2, 2.40 ERA, eight saves) has struck out 54 hitters while allowing just 21 hits and 11 walks.

10. Jason Godin
Godin makes his first appearance on the Hot List this season after making a rare spot start for the Blue Rocks. Wilmington has struggled to get the 24-year-old Old Dominion product regular innings, but on Thursday evening, Godin got the start against Myrtle Beach and threw six very strong innings. He allowed just one unearned run on four hits and no walks while striking out six batters and picking up his second victory of the year. On the season, Godin (2-0, 1.93 ERA) has struck out 26 batters in 32.2 innings while surrendering 30 hits and 11 walks.

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