Zoilo Almonte: The 21-year old switch-hitter has hit 25 home runs combined over the past two seasons. Some of his shots have been towering home runs, especially from the left side, and he is really only now starting to scratch the surface of his power potential. He has a bit more left in the tank so it wouldn't be too surprising for him to approach the 20-home run plateau once he gets out of A-ball.
Anderson Feliz: His overall power isn't up there with some of the other names on this list, but he has really good power for a middle infielder and the other aspects of his game project him to be a potential impact bat at the big league level. He might not be among the system's home run leaders at the minor league level over the next few years, but he does have the kind of power at second base to be one of the better useful power prospects long-term.
Slade Heathcott: The big-time speedster gets overlooked power-wise, thanks in large part to hitting just two home runs in his debut season last year. Don't be fooled though, he has some thunder in his swing. It might take some time for that power to materialize, however, as he learns to become a better hitter overall, but long-term he projects to have average big league power and that will put him in special company as both a centerfielder and a leadoff type.
Kyle Higashioka: He has eight total home runs over the past two years in what equates to one full season [537 at-bats]. He ran into a bit of bad luck last season, however, hitting in the pitching-friendly park in Charleston where he could have had another five or six home runs had the wind not played such a contributing factor. He has a lot more power than folks realize and he projects to be a safe bet to hit double-digit home runs at the catcher's position sometime soon.
Fu-Lin Kuo: The Taiwan native hit just four home runs in his professional debut season last year, but he hit quite a few more behind the scenes between Spring Training and Extended Spring Training. He could stand to get a little bit stronger, but his loose swing and quick hands project him to have pretty good power down the road. He might not crack the Top Ten for some time, but he'll be one to watch closely in the coming years.
J.R. Murphy: Physically he is not an imposing figure in the batter's box at all and that helps him sneak up on some folks in the power department. He hit seven home runs last year in what was essentially his professional debut season, playing in a pronounced pitcher's park, and doing so while learning to play catcher for the first time - quite the tri-fecta for a teenager. Don't be surprised if he's a double-digit home run guy short-term and hits for more power than that long-term.
Reymond Nunez: Smashing 15 home runs in his first 587 professional at-bats barely scratches the surface of Nunez's actual power potential. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, he is very strong and he has a lightning-quick bat. He just needs to learn to be a more consistent hitter, however, to make better use of his natural plus power. Should he do that eventually, he has the power to rank extremely high on this list someday.
Kyle Roller: Despite hitting just five home runs for the Staten Island Yankees in his debut season last year, Roller actually has some very good raw power. Built like an NFL linebacker, his power isn't of the plus variety at a power-hitting position like first base and that keeps him on the outside looking in when it comes to the Top Ten right now. He bears watching, however, and could someday fit into a Juan Miranda type offensively.
Ravel Santana: With a mind-boggling 15 home runs in his first 366 professional at-bats, Santana is oh-so close to finding permanent residence high in the Top Ten of these rankings in the very near future. The fact that he also plays centerfield, a position not exactly overflowing with power hitters, only makes him that much more special. He has the goods to be a stud in the power department down the road.
Jorge Vazquez: With 31 home runs in only 559 at-bats at the minor league level in the United States, on power alone Vazquez is one of the elite power hitters in the Yankee farm system right now. He will be 29 years old later this month, however, and that makes him a bit too old to be considered a true prospect. Throw in a limited bench role with the Yankees short-term, his potential power impact in Pinstripes is also a bit too limited to crack the Top Ten at the current time. He can mash though if given the opportunity.
Top Ten Power Hitting Prospects
10) Kelvin De Leon: With 41 doubles and 22 home runs in his first 188 professional games, there is no question about De Leon's power right now nor his future power potential long-term. While his power ranks among the best in the system right now, however, he still has to become a better overall hitter [he just just .236 last year] for that plus power potential to be truly realized and productive. If he can do that, he has the power to skyrocket to the top of the charts here.
9) Wilmer Romero: Just signed this past fall and even though he has yet to make his official minor league debut, Romero's power potential is already among the best in the farm system. With power akin to Montero's, he hit a ridiculous six home runs [including two in one game] in just three weeks during Dominican Instructs this offseason. Like De Leon, however, he reportedly has some work to do refining the bat and handling offspeed pitches better to make optimal use of that special power.
|DEVELOPING POWER: It's just a matter of time before Adams' doubles start turning into home runs. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
7) David Adams: The fact that Adams has just ten home runs over his last season and a half helps disguises just how much power he truly has. The fact is he has 55 doubles over that stretch and a lot of those were hit off of the outfield fence. A little more seasoning in the cages and continued work in the weight room could allow him to be a very productive power hitter at second base down the road.
6) Austin Romine: In just about any other farm system Romine would be regarded as a better power hitter than he is right now, but the combination of Montero and Sanchez, two special power hitting catchers, allows Romine's power to fly under the radar. The fact is he has hit double-digit home runs in each of his first three professional seasons and that's pretty rare for a catching prospect in nearly every other organization. He does have more power in his tank too and it wouldn't be surprising for him to reach the 20-home run plateau pretty soon.
5) Melky Mesa: On a pure power scale, Mesa had always been a better power hitter than his lower-level numbers had shown but he had to learn to become a better overall hitter to make better use of that power. A more advanced version of Kelvin De Leon and Wilmer Romero in a lot of ways, the fact that he can hit breaking pitches over the wall now has allowed his true power potential to begin to blossom. Showing that same ability at the higher minor league levels would allow him to move up higher on this list.
|MORE COMING: Suttle has more power than his numbers suggest. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
3) Brandon Laird: With two minor league seasons of at least 23 home runs under his belt [he hit 25 last year], Laird's inclusion near the top of the list is pretty elementary. There's never really been a question about his power though, but where he fits defensively long-term with a team like the Yankees. There are no openings at third or first base and now he'll be trying to showcase that power at a corner outfield position going forward.
2) Gary Sanchez: He hit a combined eight home runs in just 173 at-bats as a 17-year old in his professional debut season last year and did so while playing solid defense behind the plate, showing no signs that the defensive demands of the position had any impact on his power. His short and powerful compact swing, and ability to handle offspeed pitches, also suggests that his power is only going to continue to get better as he matures. He is a special power hitter at a position not known for housing those types of hitters.
1) Jesus Montero: While it's true that Montero's immense power is very unique at the catcher's position, the fact is it would be extremely special no matter where he played defensively. He finally broke the 20-home run plateau in 2010 and the scary part is the 21-year old has really only now begun to tap his true power potential. He will be putting together some special home run totals during his big league career, plain and simple.