David Adams: He's not a slugger in the truest sense as evidenced by his career-high eight home runs with the Trenton Thunder in 2012. However, don't let the lack of double digit home runs fool you -- he has exceptional gap power right now, the kind that could rack up 40-plus doubles in a given season, and some of those are going to turn into home runs down the road.
Miguel Andujar/Austin Aune/Chris Breen/Jake Cave: The quartet are put together here as a group because none of them have gotten out of of the Gulf Coast League level yet but all four project to be potential run producers someday, thanks in large part to above average power potential or better for their respective positions. They might not make the Top Ten list short-term, but they could force their way up to the rankings in the coming years. Just keep an eye on them.
Saxon Butler: He could wind up being a very good organizational player and might not have much of a future big league career, but anyone with 32 extra-base hits [including 13 home runs] in their first 61 games like Butler did last year deserves to be noted for his power. He'll need to prove last year wasn't a fluke, however, because as a first baseman/designated hitter type there is little margin for error long-term.
Matt Duran: Duran's early season hiccup in the consistency department last year in Staten Island helps disguise a budding power hitting prospect. Still just 19 years old, he has 18 doubles and six home runs in his first 309 professional at-bats, and he has just scratched the surface of his offensive potential. If he can remain a hitter who uses the whole field and not press too much at the plate, he has the chance to break into the Top Ten here someday.
Anderson Feliz: Most pundits still don't realize just how special a hitter Feliz could wind up being someday. The switch-hitter missed most of last season with an array of injuries but he still has one of the prettiest swings [especially from the left side] and he puts a charge into balls. He won't be a top power hitter someday overall but he does have above average power potential for a second baseman and he's still just 20 years old.
Ben Gamel/Rob Refsnyder: These two fall into the same grouping for now but for different reasons. Gamel has shown some impressive power hitting in batting practice but it hasn't translated into game production just yet and Refsnyder, who has impressive power, would be a better power hitting prospect if he were to stick at second base, a position switch that is not yet etched in stone. Both of them, however, should remain on the power radar.
Angelo Gumbs: Like Feliz, Gumbs probably won't ever be confused with a true slugger at any point but he too also has above average power potential for a middle infielder and possesses the potential to pile up extra-base hits. He had 24 extra-base hits in just 67 games with the Charleston RiverDogs last year and the 20-year old still has some untapped power potential too.
Melky Mesa: When it comes to pure power, Mesa is one of the better sluggers in the farm system. In fact his power grades out as big league above average, even for a corner outfielder. And while he once again hit over 20 home runs in 2012 [he hit 20 home runs in Charleston in 2009], he doesn't crack the Top Ten because it remains unclear if he'll have a consistent enough bat overall to allow him to crack a big league starting lineup and make optimal use of his power. Should he be able to do that -- and in fairness to him he has gotten better each year -- he would jump to the top half of the rankings because the power is special.
Luke Murton: It may come as a shock to some that Murton actually led the Yankee farm system in home runs last year after smacking 25 round-trippers for the Double-A Trenton Thunder. He has always had very good power but the fact is the 26-year old doesn't bring much more than that to the table and that limits his long-term big league opportunities with the Yankees. Still, his power does deserve honorable mention.
Ronnier Mustelier: At 28 years old this Cuban defector is a little too old to be considered a true "prospect", but the fact remains that he has yet to crack the big leagues and still retains rookie status, and the guy can flat-out hit. He clubbed a combined 15 home runs [45 extra-base hits overall] in his first full season in the United States last year between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton. Prospect or not, he can really drive the ball.
Reymond Nunez: He'll soon earn the nickname 'The Enigma' because how somebody with plus raw power potential like he possesses can annually only hit single-digit home runs is a true mystery. He has just eleven combined home runs in his first three seasons in the United States and he should be averaging 20-plus home runs each year, his power is that kind of special. The 22-year old is at a career crossroads -- he needs to start producing like he can now.
Kyle Roller: The soon to be 25-year old falls into the Luke Murton category as somebody with above average power potential for a first baseman whose power already plays well in games right now, but who doesn't provide much more beyond the power that would give him more of a big league opportunity someday with the Yankees. He is left-handed, however, and with the short porch in right field he does have some 'sleeper' potential because of his handedness. The power could really play even higher in that regard.
Ravel Santana: On pure power potential alone Santana should be a Top Ten prospect here but he falls victim to a very deep collection of power hitters and it remains to be seen if the power will bounce back into the plus realm after his gruesome ankle injury at the end of the 2011 season. He had just three home runs last year after hitting 19 home runs in his previous 361 at-bats the previous two years. Should he make a full return health-wise, however, he immediately goes to the top of the list. For now though it's better to be cautious.
Mason Williams: Known more for his electric speed and defensive abilities as well as his consistent bat, the fact is the leadoff hitter has added power to his game over the past year. He had a career-high eleven home runs last year in a season which ended prematurely because of shoulder surgery [he could have had more home runs]. He'll never be considered a power hitter but he could sneak up on some folks someday and become an annual 20-home run threat when it's all said and done.
Top Ten Power Hitting Prospects
10) Corban Joseph: An 'honorable mention' candidate for years in this ranking because of his innate hitting ability, Joseph's power finally began to materialize last year by hitting a career-high 15 home runs between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton. He has gotten stronger over the years too and the fact is he is just now scratching the surface of his home run power. With the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium, he could wind up being a solid 20-plus home run threat each year.
9) Dante Bichette Jr.: It is rather amazing how many folks are ready to jump ship on a young prospect after failing to live up to expectations in his first taste of the long-season leagues, but that is exactly what has happened with Bichette. Yes he hit just three home runs in Charleston last year but he still has long-term above average power potential. He might not be a 20-home run guy anytime soon but power is always the last tool to develop [see Joseph above] and few baseball people are concerned about his power developing.
|BETTER THAN YOU THINK: Murphy's power production has been quite good thus far and should get better. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
7) Ramon Flores: This soon to be 21-year old Venezuelan native is known more for his consistent bat than his actual power production right now but like Corban Joseph, the power has steadily improved over the years and appears to be on the verge of breaking out. Boasting a Robinson Cano-like swing, Flores actually had more home runs last year than Cano had at a similar point in their minor league careers. He won't ever be a plus home run hitter but the power is starting to creep up into the above average realm.
6) Slade Heathcott: Two shoulder surgeries kept this former first round pick out of action for a while but he's healthy once again and he has gotten back to his impact swinging ways. He collected 35 percent of his hits for extra bases upon his return last year and he really hasn't begun to scratch the surface of his power potential after missing so much development time. This ranking is actually a bit modest for now -- he could rank much higher here as soon as a year from now.
5) Zoilo Almonte: For years Almonte was placed in the honorable mention category but he has worked his way up into becoming one of the more reliable power hitters in the entire farm system. He clubbed a career-high 21 home runs with Double-A Trenton last year and his power, especially from the left side, has developed into a plus tool. His confidence has also skyrocketed over the past year and really that is more than half of the battle. It's time to realize he is a bankable home run threat these days.
|IT'S COMING: Bird seems poised to break out in a big way in 2013. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
3) Greg Bird: He has just two career home runs since his fifth round selection in the 2011 draft and both of them have come in his last ten official games played. However, don't let the lack of numbers fool you, he's a burgeoning slugger. He battled back issues a year ago while catching and has looked like a completely different hitter since being moved to first base. If you want the 2013 version of Austin, look no further than here.
2) Tyler Austin: All this kid does is hit and hit for power. He collected a ridiculous 58 extra-base hits [including 17 home runs] in 2012 over four minor league levels and that is even including time he missed after being hit in the head by a pitch. As confident as they come and with his confidence growing by the day, his power is only going to get better in the coming years. He is the ideal run producer right now and despite his lack of upper minor league level experience he is arguably the closest to being big league ready among the hitting prospects.
1) Gary Sanchez: Tyler Austin could wind up having more home runs and/or extra-base hits on an annual basis but that's because he doesn't play the same physically demanding position like Sanchez does nor does he require the same number of days off. Sanchez though is probably just a shade bit more powerful overall and he has been consistent too, clubbing an average of 17.5 home runs per year over the past two seasons. He is a plus power hitter at a position not known for offensive contributors.