Monday, March 23, 2009

TPC 2009 Top 10 Power Hitters

Everyone loves a power hitter, even if the dude can hardly make it around the bases without stopping to catch his breath. If he hits the cover off the ball, and does it enough to make Sports Center several times a week, the fans won't care if he strikes out every other time up, or even if he spends most of the game on the bench eating hot dogs and scratching himself.

So, if you had to rank the top power hitters in the minors right now, who would you go with? Here's my top 10.

  1. Michael Stanton -- A .318 IsoP as an 18 year old? Are you serious? Nobody has done that since....well, since as far back as accurate minor league records have been kept (I might be wrong about that one, but I've looked through almost every player I can think of and still haven't found an 18 year old with that kind of IsoP at A ball). Is Stanton the real deal or Russell Branyan reincarnate? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
  2. Matt LaPorta -- LaPorta led the Southern League in IsoP last year (.288), and he'll probably develop a bit more power over the next several years. Not the most polished hitter, but a solid 30 plus home runs per year slugger with an upside of 45.
  3. Matt Wieters -- He can catch, he can throw, hit for average, and hit for power. Is there anything Wieters can't do? I like to think of Wieters as an "easy" .300 plus average guy, with 30 plus home runs year in and year out. At catcher, that's sick.
  4. Chris Carter -- His numbers might have been a bit inflated in the California League, but it really doesn't matter where Carter plays. He's got 40 plus home run power, and plenty of pop to hit in any stadium. Reminds me of another Oakland outfielder that used to play back in the 1970's.
  5. Kila Ka'aihue -- I'm really confused by Ka'aihue. First of all, he has a brother named Kala, and I always got the 2 mixed up. Second, for a guy with so much power and such great plate discipline, Kila has had a really hard time making it through the minors. He cranked it up last year (38 home runs in 529 plate appearances with 1.080 OPS between AA, AAA, and the majors), but who knows how well he'd do in a full major league season. I'd like to think he could be another Ryan Howard late-bloomer type, but the Royals have absolutely no room for him. I'd love to see him get traded to a team with a more hitter friendly park.
  6. Michael Burgess -- Lots of power. Maybe too much power. I don't know how long it will take for Burgess' plate discipline to catch up. My guess is at least another 3 or 4 years.
  7. Taylor Teagarden -- I've been thinking lately that Teagarden could fizzle out and never quite reach his full potential, but as long as he's in Texas, I like his odds of turning into a solid power hitting catcher.
  8. Brandon Allen -- I mentioned earlier that Matt LaPorta led the Southern League in Isop in 2008, but Brandon Allen unofficially led the Southern League with an IsoP of .339 over 173 plate appearances. Prior to 2008, Allen's highest IsoP was .196 in 2007, so who knows what he'll do this year.
  9. Josh Reddick -- I'm not sure if anyone else views Reddick as a power hitter, but when your IsoP is higher than your batting average and BABIP (.222/.214/.221 at AA in '08), you can't be considered much else. Of course, it was a small sample size, and I fully expect both Reddick's average and BABIP to go back to around .300, so it's really just a trivial point. Reddick has a lot in common with Ryan Braun, and I think he's capable of 30 plus home runs in a couple of years in Boston.
  10. Mike Moustakas -- Moustakas has a lot of offensive talent, and he's not just a power hitter. He ended the '08 season on a tear, and I expect him to put up some impressive stats in 2009.
Players that just missed making the list:
  • Jason Heyward
  • Freddie Freeman
  • Travis Snider
  • Brandon Laird
  • Colby Rasmus

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