They Have THE POWER – Two Cubs Prospects Among Those with the Best Power Tool

he-man i have the powerA little something to make you smile …

Baseball Prospect is going through the “Top Tools” in the minor leagues, identifying individual prospects with the best specific tools in the minor leaguers. Today’s installment focuses on the best “hit” tool and the best “power” tool.

The good news first: Javier Baez was selected as having the best power tool in all of the minors,* and the praise followed effusively: “Among the prospects in the game with elite raw power, Baez takes the cake because of his ability to translate that power to game situations. Despite being an ultra-aggressive hitter, Baez’s ability to consistently make contact allows him to tap into his raw power and could lead to him dropping 35-40 bombs a year in the majors. Elite raw power is rare, but the ability to bring that type of raw from batting practice into games is even rarer. Of the players considered for this list, Baez is clearly the best bet to actualize his top-of-the-scale raw power, and he could begin doing that as soon as this summer.”

*(But which power tool was it, Brett? The bandsaw? The floor sander? For Baez, I’d go with a crusher.)

Baez came out on top of guys like Miguel Sano, Joey Gallo, Steven Moya, and Oscar Taveras, which is impressive, given that the ability to translate the power to big league game action was a heavy component of the evaluation. Baez has some swing-and-miss tendencies, but, apparently in the eyes of BP and their sources, it won’t prohibit him from actualizing that power in a big league setting. Schwing.

More good news: I omitted a name from the also-ran category for dramatic effect. That name is Kris Bryant, who was also considered for the top power tool position, and he also projects to have great in-game power: “Bryant’s raw power rests a half grade behind the others, but he should bring a significant portion of his raw pop into games, allowing him to hit 30-plus home runs a season.” Good to hear. I imagine that Jorge Soler and Dan Vogelbach would be among the guys considered in the next tier, where a large number of big-time power prospects fall.

Now for the less good news … on that “hit” tool list, Cardinals’ uber-prospect Oscar Taveras takes the top spot, and the write-up will make you cringe: “Blessed with some of the best hands in the game and an innate feel for getting the barrel to the baseball, Taveras projects as an elite hitter who could win multiple batting titles in his career. Unlike many players with violent swings or aggressive approaches in the box, Taveras makes it all work thanks to the combination of tremendous bat speed, exceptional hand-eye coordination, and an unexplainable gift for hitting. Saying Taveras is the best hitter in the minor leagues may actually be selling him a bit short, as he could be one of the best hitters in baseball the second he steps on the field in St. Louis.”

Hooray beer!

The list of also-rans includes Nick Castellanos, Rougned Odor, and Raimel Tapia. I have to wonder how close Albert Almora was to making that list, and is probably considered just down in the next tier (concededly together with probably a large number of prospects).

Check out the BP piece for much more on these tools, including the top tool guys in the big leagues today and in baseball history, as well as a discussion of how the tools are evaluated.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

76 responses to “They Have THE POWER – Two Cubs Prospects Among Those with the Best Power Tool”

  1. Edwin

    Impact Driver?

  2. OlderStyle

    it’s the small things… done with great POWER!

  3. SenorGato

    Baez is a monster. Its great to have him in the system.

    OTOH AVERT YOUR EYES when reading what BP has to say about the top Cardinals prospect. Its cool THO because the Cubs are going about this the one and only right way and Theo has this timed to the second.

  4. Jon

    Michael Wacha, OScar Taveras…See how the Cardinals do it? Impact players like this can only be found at the top of the draft, which is why I support the “Plan” and losing 95+ games season after season after season after season after season.

    1. SenorGato

      Theo is just biding his time. You can bet your hat that he and his guys totally timed this for when the Cardinals collapse. When that happens….watch out baseball world…

      1. SenorGato

        I mean really – who do they have behind Taveras? Wacha is already up so its pretty fozzy.

    2. Norm

      Why do you use absolute terms like ONLY be found at the top of the draft?
      Has anyone argued that Theo’s way is the ONLY way? Or are they/we arguing that it’s the best and fastest way?

      1. Eric

        Exactly. They are tanking because it’s the FASTEST way to get elite prospects and turn a team around and “build from the ground up” and all that stuff they’ve been saying. Like Brett said, wait a few years and you might be surprised. You might see a handful of guys they picked in the comp-5th rounds that pop up on some top 100s or even top 10s.

    3. cubsnivy56

      I’m just curious, are you really a Cubs fan? It doesn’t sound like it. All you do is bitch about………everything. Why don’t you go root for that perfect team somewhere else/

  5. JacqueJones
  6. Kyle

    Unless they get a massive rush of pitching injuries, I don’t see how we catch the Cardinals in the next four or five years. If you combine prospects and young MLBers, they’re lapping the field in talent.

    1. SenorGato

      Eh. I’d be scared but their 2nd year stud 2B is already ~48 years old. Allen Craig, 5th year, is turning 50.

      I respect that organization’s success and all but at some point you just realize they had a nice run and ride it out. I’m not going to lose sleep over the Jon Jays, Allen Craigs, and Lance Lynns of the world, and their roster has a whole lot of those guys.

      OTOH I’d give up my left kitten for Taveras and Rosenthal.

      1. JacqueJones

        i wish the cubs had jon jays, allen craigs and Lance Lynns instead of the Ryan sweeneys, nate schierholtzes, and really pretty much any of our pitchers not named Samardzija (and even then its sadly close).

        1. SenorGato

          You’ll get over it. I’d prefer louder talents to any of those. I also don’t see much difference between Jay and Sweeney.

          1. JacqueJones

            Ya the only problem is Jay is their 4th OFer and not going to be seeing nearly as much playing time as Sweeney will. Then add the fact that the Cardinals have a lot of loud talents everywhere else on the field (who are under very good contracts) and yeah, the cardinals have a really good baseball team. It will be a while before our really bad baseball team catches up to them.

            1. SenorGato

              Eh, they have loud talents but after Taveras, the 34 YO Holliday, and (I guess) the 73 year old Carpenter it’s almost totally in their pitching ranks. I could be forgetting someone, but please don’t say that someone is Wong.

              They do have a really good baseball team. I think “a while” is a vague term. As far as baseball is concerned time has been crawling for me since 2011, so “a while” to me could be surprisingly soon for most.

              Note: This does not mean they’ll go from being arguably the best to irrelevant.

    2. JacqueJones

      you just made me sink into despair I think. If the cardinals offered me literally any one of their starting 5 straight up for Samardzija, I would probably take that deal.

  7. CubChymyst

    Man if the Cubs could of gotten Odor as well from the Rangers as some of the rumors suggested the deal would of been even more in the Cubs favor.

    1. JacqueJones

      I don’t think any of those rumors were in the realm of possibility, so i wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it. I’m still waiting for us to draft Rougned Hodor though, dude is a giant.

      1. Sandberg

        +1 Internet to you, sir.

  8. Isaac

    Yes! A crusher! My entire business is selling replacement parts for crushers. Perfect analogy!

  9. MightyBear

    No Homer Bailey for the Cubs next year.

  10. Jon

    6/105. He sold himself short.

  11. Darth Ivy

    When people make these rankings, are they incorporating how far their homers go or something? Because just looking at ISO, Bryant seems to have more power than Baez. Or is it the fact that Baez faced higher level pitching?

    1. bbmoney

      I think it’s scouting more than just looking at stats or numbers.

    2. hansman

      Reports like this will include an element from the scouts which incorporates distance, sound off the bat, etc…

      1. Edwin

        I think the “sound off the bat” thing is kinda bs. It’s the kind of cherry on top thing that scouts like to throw in to make it sound like they have some special knowledge.

        1. hansman

          This is true, I was just throwing it in as part of what the scouts look/hear for.

          We need to get mythbusters to scientifically test if more power equals a different sound off the bat.

  12. waittilthisyear

    he-man is built like a damn horse and you never hear about “unrealistic body expectations” ruining men’s self image the way some women believe barbie do that to young girls. but i digress…ah yes, baseball, of course.

  13. Jim

    He-man AND Red Stripe references. Pulling out all the stops today.

  14. Jrock1

    I love HRs and they are great to watch but we need players that drive in runs and hit when RISP.

    1. Jon

      no

      1. Chad

        Nah, why would we want any of those? sarcasm. confused.

        1. Jon

          Good hitters are good hitters. There is no such thing as hitters that are better w/RISP. We just need better hitters.

          1. Jrock1

            I might be wrong about this but weren’t the Cubs 4th in HRs but 28th in runs scored in 2013. You’re not a good hitter if you can only swing for the fences and not drive in the runners on base.

            1. Patrick W.

              Better hitters get on base more. More guys on base means more runs.

              You’re asking for better hitters. If you get a guy who hits .350 with RISP he almost always a guy who will hit really well regardless of the situation. The rise in avg. with RISP can roughly be attributed to coincidence.

              1. Jrock1

                I’m asking for hitters to .300 and drive in runs not guys who bat .260 with 25HRs. Baez had a monster year and only batted .282. I wonder what his line will be in the majors. He doesn’t make enough contact to bat for average.

                1. roz

                  You do realize that Baez hitting .282 could be more productive than other hitters hitting .300 right?

                2. Patrick W.

                  Wait… how man RBIs do you want from you .300 hitter, and how many HRs do you want from him? You seem to be saying you will accept less home runs for more hits?

                  You do know 25HRs = 25 RBIs (at minimum), right?

                  Also, RBIs that are NOT from home runs are completely dependent on the other hitters getting on base.

                3. Brocktoon

                  A .260 BA would be 5th as a team in the NL last year

                  1. Brocktoon

                    Sorry, tied for 4th. .282 would obviously lead the league by a sizable margin

            2. Patrick W.

              I mean, the implication is that a guy who hits .350 with RISP is trying harder than when there aren’t RISP. I bet you guys who happen to hit .350 with RISP would love it if they could hit .350 all the time. Unless you think they just aren’t trying other times, in which case, do you really want that guy on the hope he happens to come up with a guy on second and not on first?

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