5 Prospects with the Best Chance of Slugging 50 Home Runs in MLB
As so many people often do, it’s easy to fall in love with a prospect who showcases elite power early in his minor league career. Most of the time, such raw power is bundled with a long swing and severe swing-and-miss tendency that ultimately results in a career as a Quadruple-A slugger. Rarely does a prospect’s raw power and power frequency translate at the major league level—unless you're Giancarlo Stanton, that is.
However, without focusing on a prospect’s overall projection, I wanted to offer my take on the top sluggers housed in the minor leagues. Even though a majority of the players on this list are still at least a year away from making an impact in the big leagues, their raw power is undeniable and will inevitably be a calling card over the course of their respective careers.
5. Matt Davidson, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Even though Matt Davidson emphasized the implementation of a more mature approach this past season, as well as deviation from his pull-oriented tendency, the 21-year-old still managed to blast 23 home runs for Double-A Mobile.
With a strong top hand and impressive overall strength, the right-handed hitter has excellent bat speed with power to all fields. As he continues to cut down on the strikeouts and becomes more comfortable against advanced pitching, I fully expect Davidson’s power numbers to increase in upcoming seasons.
4. Dan Vogelbach, 1B/DH, Chicago Cubs
Say what you want about Dan Vogelbach’s 6’0", 250-pound body, but the truth is that the 19-year-old can flat-out mash. Even though he’ll forever be viewed as a first-base-only prospect, the left-handed hitter may still reach the major leagues despite said restriction.
Not only does Vogelbach possess plus, arguably plus-plus, raw power to all fields, he also has a compact, effortless swing from the left side with the potential for an above-average hit tool.
This past season, he posted a 1.051 OPS with 41 extra-base hits (17 home runs) in 61 games between the Cubs’ rookie-level Arizona League and Class-A Short Season affiliates. While the underwhelming quality of pitching surely catered to his robust production, I’m a firm believer that Vogelbach’s bat is for real.
3. George Springer, OF, Houston Astros
One of the more athletic and toolsy prospects in the game, George Springer has the potential to be an impact player at the major-league level with improved plate discipline and contact rate.
The 6’3”, 200-pound outfielder takes forceful hacks at the plate, which, when combined with his plus raw power, makes him one of the more promising power-hitting prospects housed in the minor leagues. He possesses plus bat speed with the ability to jump the yard to all fields, although the bulk of his pop is from the left-field line to center field.
After watching his rounds of batting practice at the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game, there’s no doubt in my mind that Springer has the power to place near the league lead in home runs once he reaches the big leagues.
2. Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City Royals
After a, injury-plagued 2011 season at Double-A, in which he amassed only eight home runs in 99 games, Wil Myers was an entirely different player this past season. He emerged as arguably the top offensive prospect in the game.
Playing in 134 games between Double and Triple-A, the 21-year-old outfielder posted a .932 OPS with 37 home runs—the second-highest total among all minor leaguers.
Exploding from a slightly open, upright batting stance, the right-handed hitter possesses plus bat speed and raw power, as his ability to keep the bat head in the zone allows him to drive the ball to all fields. While there’s some swing-and-miss to his game and he can become pull-happy at times, there’s little doubt that his power will translate in the major leagues.
1. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
After blasting 20 homes runs in 66 games last season in the rookie-level Appalachian League, there were serious concerns about whether or not 19-year-old Miguel Sano’s 80-grade power would translate in the cold-weather Midwest League in 2012.
Although his strikeout total doubled in his full-season debut (144 K), Sano paced the league with 28 home runs in 129 games while showcasing effortless plus raw power to all fields.
Over the last couple months, there's been an increasing number of Giancarlo Stanton comparisons based upon their ridiculous power, high strikeout total and potential to hit for a better-than-expected batting average. And while I’m not typically an advocate of such outlandish comparisons, I can’t disagree with this one.