Junior Contreras: The 19-year old first baseman from the Dominican Republic wound up being among the league leaders in home runs in the Gulf Coast League in 2005. His 6'5" and 220 pound listing on official sites are very, very conservative. Built more like Cecil Fielder, Contreras has intriguing power potential. How he performs, and in particular where he plays, in 2006 will be a telling sign of his future placement among the Mets' prospects.
Courtney Billingslea: Another slugger from the Gulf Coast League Mets in 2005, Billingslea smacked five home runs in just 116 at-bats in his professional debut a year ago. At 6'6" and an athletic 200 pounds, Billingslea has plus power potential. Because of his height, his swing is often long and loopy. If the Mets' coaching staff can get him to shorten his swing and make more contact, he has the power to rank high on this list in years to come.
Alhaji Turay: Turay, built like an NFL linebacker, has some of the best power in the entire Mets' farm system. Drafted in the second round of the 2001 MLB Draft with the selection after David Wright, Turay hasn't had one full healthy season in the Mets' organization. With five professional seasons under his belt, Turay's development has been halted by injuries and he has lost serious development time. When he's healthy, he's a dangerous power hitter.
Top Ten Power Hitting Prospects
10) Ambiorix Concepcion: Not one of the better contact hitters just yet, when Concepcion does put good wood on the ball, he puts a charge into his hits. The ball jumps off of his bat and he already has exceptional gap power. He hit just 15 home runs in the South Atlantic League in 2005, a disappointing year for the athletic slugger. Once he learns better selectivity at the plate, the home run totals will increase significantly. Concepcion has 30 home run potential.
9) Jamar Hill: Don't let his 15 home runs with the St. Lucie Mets in 2005 fool you - his power is legit! He clubbed 26 home runs for the Capital City Bombers in 2004 and he entered the 2005 season with the lofty goal of 40 home runs. Finding himself swinging for the fences too much last season, Hill's swing became too long. Once he learns to make contact first and drive the ball to right field more, which he did in the second half of last season, the power numbers will come. In a lot of ways, he's like Concepcion.
8) Andrew Wilson: Right now, Andy Wilson is one of the best power hitters in the Mets' system. He hit 28 home runs in the Florida State League last season after hitting 19 home runs with the Capital City Bombers in 2004. However, at 25 years old, there isn't any projection left to his game. He could theoretically project to hit 25 home runs or so at the Major League level someday, but with no designated hitter position in the National League and a lack of a defensive position, his chances of achieving that total with the Mets is rapidly becoming quite limited.
7) Brett Harper: Harper is the classic example of why projecting top power hitters among prospects on numbers alone isn't a smart practice. With power being widely considered the last facet of the game to develop, Harper didn't hit for double digit home run totals until his fourth professional season when he was 23-years old. In fact, 52 of his 58 career home runs have come in the last two seasons. Like Wilson, Harper's opportunities with the Mets at the Major League level appear somewhat constrained with the presence of Carlos Delgado blocking his path.
6) Lastings Milledge: One of the elite contact hitters in the farm system, Milledge does swing a potent bat. While some of his teammates have been overly excited about his power potential, Milledge's power has been somewhat overrated the last couple of seasons. He's a decent power hitter right now and he projects to be a solid power hitter at the Major League level in due time. However, the projections of 30-40 home runs appear to be on the optimistic side. His bat speed is phenomenal and despite standing just 6'0", Milledge projects to hit 25 home runs or so at his peak. While others might have higher ceilings in the power department, he's easily the safest bet to reach his potential of all the names on this list.
5) Nick Evans: A position switch from third base to first base in his first full year of professional baseball forced Evans into the short-season leagues once again in 2005. Often compared to Pat Burrell of the Phillies, Evans has big time power potential. In the equivalency of a full minor league season, Evans has collected 28 doubles and 19 home runs, and he just turned 20 years old in January. Like a young Burrell, Evans will need to limit his strikeouts, make more contact, and learn to drive the ball more to the opposite field. Once he learns to do that, the sky is the limit for the young slugger.
4) Fernando Martinez: When it is all said and done in his minor league career, Martinez could wing up ranking near the top of this list someday. At 6'2" and with a very projectable body, Martinez projects to be a high average hitter with solid to plus power potential. He hasn't even played a game yet at the minor league level and scouts are already excited about his potential. Martinez might not have the power of some of the other names on this list yet, but his advanced approach at the plate is very special for a 17-year old. He projects to hit for enough power to be a starting corner outfielder at the Major League level someday.
3) Mike Carp: Carp proved to be one of the more intriguing power hitting prospects in minor league baseball in 2005, clubbing 19 home runs in just 313 at-bats with the Hagerstown Suns as one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League. Plagued with an injured wrist and a broken hand last season, he was the Suns' Opening Day starter at first base and batted cleanup for them at the age of 18-years old. Some scouts - prior to the signing of Martinez - even called Carp the best left-handed hitting prospect for the Mets since Darryl Strawberry. Once he learns to make more contact, Carp could develop into an elite power hitter.
2) Shawn Bowman: Bowman has an injury plagued and disappointing 2005 campaign with the St. Lucie Mets in 2005. Playing with a hurt back even as early as Spring Training last year, Bowman still managed to hit 17 home runs in the pitching friendly Florida State League before a broken back ended his season early. At 6'2" and 190 pounds, Bowman has a very projectable body who many believe will hit for more power as he fills outs. Considering his home run ratios rival those of David Wright and coveted Yankee slugger Eric Duncan at the same age and minor league levels, Bowman's power potential is quite special.
1) Carlos Gomez: The list of current Major League sluggers among the Latin born players who didn't develop their power game until later in their careers is long and distinguished. Names like Bobby Abreu, Miguel Cabrera, and Alfonso Soriano are just a few names of foreign born players who didn't reach double digit home run totals until the AA level. So the fact that Gomez hit just 8 home runs in 2005 with the Hagerstown Suns doesn't discourage many scouts from predicting that he'll become an elite power hitter down the road.
Tool Time: Top Ten Power Hitters
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