Chris Breen: When it comes to a pure power grade this 12th round pick in 2012 has the juice to crack the Top Ten in the organization, he has that much power potential. He clubbed five home runs in the Gulf Coast League last year and collected 42 percent of his hits for extra-bases. However, he hit just .214 and the approach still needs a lot of work going forward to tap his great power potential more, and then there are long-term defensive question marks that could cloud his eventual big league ascension as well.
Drew Bridges: He has but just one home run to his credit and all of three extra-base hits under his belt in his short career thus far, but last year's 20th round pick out high school enters the professional ranks with physical similarities to Bird, including some real plus power potential. Like Breen there are some defensive question marks that need to be answered and he still has a lot to refine with the bat, but the natural strength is there to someday be considered one of the better power hitters in the farm system.
Dante Bichette Jr.: The 2011 first round pick has had his fair share of issues since his selection, including an inconsistent bat and approach. However, those issues shouldn't detract from the real above average power potential he still possesses. He just needs to find that consistent stroke to make optimal use of that power and whether or not he can make that adjustment is a wait and see proposition for the time being.
Jake Cave: The 2011 sixth round pick has power as evidenced by his 37 doubles in pitching-friendly Charleston last season. He did, however, hit just two home runs all season. Should he begin to turn some of those doubles into home runs he could find his way into the Top Ten power hitters because there is some untapped power in his left-handed swing.
Kendall Coleman: Last year's 11th round pick out of high school certainly has the size [6-foot-4, 220 pounds] and subsequent above average power potential to someday find permanent residence in the Top Ten here. In fact there have been some Dominic Brown comparisons thrown around. However, he still has to prove he can swing the kind of consistent bat needed for the power potential to play in games.
Matt Duran: It might be easy to forget about this former fourth round pick back in 2011 considering he played all of six official games last year while dealing with a stress reaction in his foot and later a stress reaction to his elbow. He still has long-term above average power potential, especially if he keeps up his whole field approach when he returns again, so don't lose sight of him being a potential factor down the road.
Ramon Flores: The Venezuelan native has as pure a swing as there is from the left side, unbelievable bat control, an ultra-patient approach at the plate, and plus plate discipline. Not overly physical, however, his power grades out as average. Still, the consistent bat could allow the power to play up one level when it's all said and done. It may take some time for the power to materialize better but it very well may happen.
Angelo Gumbs: This former second round pick has tools galore, including plus bat speed and long-term above average power potential. However, he is coming off of a disastrous season that saw him hit just .213 between A-ball levels last season with only four home runs. He's too talented not to bounce back in the short-term and the ceiling is vast enough long-term that he warrants keeping on the radar.
Gosuke Katoh: It is ironic that Katoh, who was widely maligned by pre-draft critics for his supposed lack of power, would wind up hitting six home runs in his debut season and with a robust .522 slugging percentage. He won't ever be a big home run hitter given his slight size. However, with his ability to consistently barrel the baseball he could a power grinder, somebody who just collects a fair amount of home runs over the course of the season simply because he puts the ball in play so much.
Ericson Leonora: This Venezuelan native actually led the Gulf Coast League in home runs in 2013 before dealing with an array of injuries last season. He still managed to slug nearly .500 in limited duty in low-A Charleston last season and he has a real quick-twitch bat, and burgeoning above average power potential. He won't have a long leash going forward but the power is special enough that folks should keep an eye on his progress in the short-term.
Nathan Mikolas: The good news is the 2012 third round pick has above average, nearly borderline plus power potential from the pull side. The bad news is that pull-side tendency could get him into trouble down the road if he doesn't learn to use the whole field more. He has shown in spurts to be a better overall hitter and if that comes to fruition then his power could play up a level in games. He bears tracking for the foreseeable future.
Reymond Nunez: Like Breen, when it comes to a raw power grade Nunez would automatically rank in the Top Ten among the power hitters. In fact, he would probably be a top five or so candidate. Unlike Breen, however, Nunez's approach has been and continues to be a bit more advanced as he has a pronounced center to opposite field propensity. He's just now learning to pull the ball more and the home run production is starting to increase, clubbing a career-high 15 last season. The problem is the 23-year old has a bit of a short leash going forward and has others to fight for first base playing time.
Kyle Roller: The soon to be 26-year old is a left-handed version of Nunez in that he has very good power and it's starting to play up better in games [he clubbed 17 last season] but he has work to do towards becoming a viable long-term first base option for the Yankees and he is running out of time to become one. Still, the power is certainly there.
Matt Snyder: Last year was supposed to be a coming out party for this former 10th round pick in 2012 as he gained nearly 40 pounds of muscle last offseason but yet another array of injuries -- a broken wrist and later a torn hamstring this time -- kept him off of the field. He can flat out hit and the increased strength could produce some special power numbers but he needs to prove it on the field and that requires staying healthy for an extended period of time, something he hasn't been able to do thus far.
Top Ten Power Hitting Prospects
10) Corban Joseph: He hit just six home runs last season for Triple-A Scranton but that was just in 47 games as his ailing shoulder finally required season-ending surgery. He had belted a career-high 15 home runs between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton the year prior, and like Flores and Katoh the consistent bat could make him a legit power grinder, one who won't be a huge power threat but somebody who could easily approach 20-plus home runs in a given season.
9) J.R. Murphy: A.k.a John Ryan, this former second round pick in 2009 gets overlooked by many simply because he doesn't have plus power potential. However, swinging as consistent a bat as there is and having some of the best plate discipline in the entire organization, he falls into the Joseph-Flores-Katoh category as somebody who could be a solid home run compiler because of just how much he barrels the baseball. He clubbed a career-high 12 home runs last season and it's not far-fetched to believe he could be a perennial 20-home run guy in the not so distant future.
|IT'S COMING: Andujar is going to hit for legit power soon. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
7) Miguel Andujar: He hit all of four official home runs last season and yet this Dominican native has some of the best long-term power potential in the Yankee farm system. The recently turned 19-year old continues to get bigger and stronger, he already possesses plus bat speed, and he has present power to all fields that only projects to get better in each passing year. He is oh-so-close to breaking out and could one day wind up leading these rankings.
6) Eric Jagielo: Last year's first round pick could also be on the precipice of breaking out in a huge way given his plus bat speed, his ability to barrel the baseball, and his uncanny ability to make in-game adjustments. The power potential is plus but there is one more adjustment needed to be made towards tapping it -- a pronounced center to opposite field hitter, should he ever learn to pull the ball more in the right situations he could begin to see some impressive home run totals.
5) Aaron Judge: Another one of last year's first round picks by the Yankees, this former Fresno State University product has the raw power potential to headline these rankings right now given the fact he stands 6-foot-7 and is built like an NFL defensive end. However, he still has to prove the swing can be consistent enough for the power to play well in games on a constant level. He's an ultra-high ceiling power hitter that is only now getting ready to learn how to optimize it.
|GET HEALTHY: Austin just needs to get his wrist 100 percent healthy again. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
3) Gary Sanchez: This Dominican native has been the most consistent power hitter for the Yankees over the past three seasons, averaging nearly 17 home runs per year in the long-season leagues and he just turned 21 years old this offseason, meaning he hasn't come remotely close to reaching his prime. There is still a lot of untapped power potential in his bat and once he learns to handle the physical demands of catching better by taking his conditioning more seriously he could begin to take off.
2) Peter O'Brien: On a pure power scale this former University of Miami product is arguably head and shoulders above everybody else. He collected a ridiculous 66 extra-base hits in his first full season last year, including a farm system leading 22 home runs. Still, there is a little too much swing and miss to his game to truly optimize his rare plus-plus power potential but the hope is as he sees more strikes the higher he climbs the more the power will begin to flourish further.
1) Greg Bird: We mentioned a year ago that folks should disregard his then two career home runs, that he was clearly a much better power hitter than that, and he wound up hitting 20 home runs and collecting 36 doubles in pitching-friendly Charleston last season. Inexplicably, despite his power prowess last season, he has been getting some Mark Grace and Nick Johnson-like comparisons this offseason and those absolutely disguise his true power potential. He is a special hitter, plain and simple, one whose above average power is only going to play a level higher given his ability to be a consistent offensive force.