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.

  • Edwin

    Impact Driver?

  • OlderStyle

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That feels like a particularly nonsensical comment in light of this morning’s discussion. Also, Taveras was signed when he was 16, five years ago. Let’s see where some of the Cubs’ international signings are in five years, eh?

      • JacqueJones

        It does hurt a little knowing that I’d probably rather have Wacha than Almora right now….

        • Norm

          You won’t be saying then when Wacha ends up in the pen because he doesn’t have a breaking ball.

          • CubFan Paul

            “because he doesn’t have a breaking ball….Why do you use absolute terms like”

            because he doesn’t have a breaking ball (yet).

        • SenorGato

          To be fair, as hes a pitcher without great stuff lets see how long that lasts. If I could take a Cardinal pitcher off their hands it would be Rosenthal.

          • JacqueJones

            ya but considering they were drafted in the same round of the same draft, it’s the easiest comparison to make because both players were available

            • SenorGato

              Yeah I got why you made it. Luckily a couple months does not make a career.

              OTOH, not doing anything to anoint Almora here. An offseason of nothing sucked out my excitement for all non-Baez’s in the organization.

              • JacqueJones

                Kris Bryants offseason was pretty exciting too. Ya even though a couple months is only a couple months, if the Cards offered me Wacha for Almora straight up, I would jump on that in less than a heartbeat.

        • Javier Bryant

          I’m sure the Cardinals would rather have Mike Trout instead of Shelby Miller right now too

          • JacqueJones

            ya but even then, Shelby miller is still one of the better young players in the league, Trout just happens to be godlike.

            • ari gold

              Couldn’t Almora eventually be one of the better young players in the league?

              • aaronb

                Hard to project that from a kid in low A ball that had a 3% walk rate though.

                • hansman

                  Well then, thank God he put up a better walk rate at A ball.

                • DarthHater

                  Almora had a 6.25% walk rate at Kane County.

              • JacqueJones

                yes could be, but still just could. Miller and Wacha are already there.

      • Jon

        Also mentioned in that article, Giancarlo Stanton drafted 76th overall.

        The changes to the CBA are not going to change the basic fabric of the MLB draft. Impact, all star players can come from literately every phase in the draft

        • Norm

          I love how you pick out singular examples of lower draft picks that are good.
          What is the % chance that a 76th overall draft pick will be a 3+ WAR player?
          What is the % chance that a top 10 overall draft pick will be a 3+ WAR player?

          • Jon

            I never claimed the odds were not better the higher you drafted.

            • Norm

              Then what are you claiming?

              • Jon

                You don’t need to tank to find impact players.

                • bbmoney

                  Need to? No joke man. Great story. I’ve never read anyone claim that.

                  It’s all about improving your odds.

                • Norm

                  Has anyone argued otherwise?
                  That tanking is the only way to find impact players?

                  • Jon

                    Fastest, maybe, but it also ignores collateral damage to the organization.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      It doesn’t ignore it. It’s been weighed.

                  • Norm

                    “Fastest, maybe, but it also ignores collateral damage to the organization.”

                    This is what baffles me. Don’t you think they’ve thought of this and included it in their cost/benefit analysis of each method of building a winning organization?

                    • Jon

                      What baffles me is that you think I should accept every move they make, every public statement they make, as the Gospel.

                      No I am not smarter than them. Far from it. I’m only comparing this approach to (different)approaches by other FO’s who they may or may not be smarter then

                    • Edwin

                      That’s using circular reasoning, though.

                    • Norm

                      “What baffles me is that you think I should accept every move they make, every public statement they make, as the Gospel.”

                      And this is why these arguments keep happening. No one says this yet you debate as if this is the stance Brett/others take.

                      I don’t think you should think every move is perfect. Far from it.
                      But I think you should consider that they took all those factors into consideration and STILL decided that this was the best route for building a winning organization.

                      Maybe it won’t work.
                      But similar to how teams are most likely to get an impact player by drafting in the Top 10 (not guaranteed to get one, just most likely to), they’ve determined that this route is the most likely way to building a long term winner.

          • Spoda17

            Norm, you beat me to the punch… ditto…

    • 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…

      • SenorGato

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

    • 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?

      • 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.

    • 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/

  • JacqueJones
  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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).

        • 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.

          • 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.

            • 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.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s going to take a fantastic hit rate on prospects in the next few years, and a whole lot of spending post-2014 (or 2015, for those who subscribe to that theory).

      Neither is certain, but neither is impossible, either.

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • Sandberg

        +1 Internet to you, sir.

  • Isaac

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

  • MightyBear

    No Homer Bailey for the Cubs next year.

  • Jon

    6/105. He sold himself short.

  • 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?

    • bbmoney

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

    • hansman

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

      • 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.

        • 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.

  • 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.

  • Jim

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

  • Jrock1

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

    • Jon


      • Chad

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

        • Jon

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

          • 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.

            • 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.

              • 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.

                • roz

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

                • 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.

                • Brocktoon

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

                  • Brocktoon

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

            • 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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