Wednesday, March 25, 2009
See the ball, hit the ball. Sounds easy, right? Well, for these guys it is.
1. Matt Wieters -- How many guys can say they made the top 10 power hitters list and the top 10 contact hitters list? In 2008, Wieters posted a .345 average at A+ ball before posting a AA average of .360. My only concern with those numbers is that they were supported by a BABIP of .383, which might indicate that Wieters will only hit in the .290 to .310 range in the majors in 2009.
2. Ben Revere -- Revere also posted an insane BABIP last year which topped out at .444 in June. He'll have a hard time repeating stats like that at higher levels, but he has fantastic plate discipline and should continue to develop into a very good contact hitter.
3. Brett Wallace -- When the Cards drafted Wallace, his weight and athletic abilities were a big question mark, but Wallace knows how to hit, posting a .327 average in his first 177 plate appearances at A ball. Odd fact for the day: Wallace had a 73% groundball rate at AA in '08, but still managed a BABIP of .385.
4. Max (Maximiliano) Ramirez -- He's no Joe Mauer, but following the trade to Texas, Ramirez has hit .300 or better over his last 929 plate appearances.
5. Angel Salome -- For some reason, a lot of the best minor league hitters are catchers right now. Salome hit .359 at AA last year, including .407 in May and .446 in August.
6. Jason Heyward -- At just 19 years old, Heyward is a very advanced hitter, showing above average plate discipline and a knack for getting on base, and as his power develops, we'll likely see his entire stat line rise. In 2008, his batting average stayed above .300 in every month except for June.
7. Josh Vitters -- According to his high school coach and Dr. Bill Harrison, Vitters has the best vision of any baseball player since Barry Bonds was in his prime. It's too early to say if that will translate into a higher average at the major league level, but Vitters did hit .324 last year at lower A ball, and showed adequate plate discipline. If he can replicate his production at higher levels, Vitters could be comparable to David Wright.
8. Lars Anderson -- As a first baseman, Anderson does not have elite level offensive skills, but he is a patient hitter with a good eye, and he'll fit in very well with the Red Sox. He should hit in the .290-.310 range early in his career, and should be able to maintain a very high on-base percentage.
9. Lonnie Chisenhall -- Chisenhall suffered from an extremely low BABIP (.262 in June and .290 in July) through his first 175 plate appearances in '08, but by August it was up to .349 and in September it shot up to .375. Though just 18 years old at A ball, Chisenhall struck out only 32 times in 305 plate appearances, and finished the year with a .290 average.
10. Yonder Alonso -- I stayed away from including college draft picks from last summer due to very small sample sizes, but Alonso has a history of being a very patient and selective hitter, as well as a propensity for maintaining a high average. He doesn't swing at much, but when he does he usually makes excellent contact.