Prospect Scouting & Stats — Hitter Raw Power – Present

Today I continue the Prospect Scouting & Stats series, sticking with hitter power, but moving to raw power grades. We’ll start with raw power in the present (RPP) and then tomorrow will look at raw power in the future. Let’s discuss the 17 hitters that earned an RPP grade of at least 70. As a reminder, the table is sorted by RPP and then FV.

Raw Power – Present Top 17
Name Org Pos Current Level ETA FV Age Top 100 Org Rk Raw Power – Present 2019 HR/FB
Chris Gittens NYY 1B AA 2020 35+ 26.2 52 80 27.7%
Jo Adell LAA LF AAA 2021 65 21 4 0 70 14.3%
Oneil Cruz PIT SS AA 2021 55 21.5 32 2 70 12.9%
Nolan Jones CLE 3B AA 2021 50 21.9 54 0 70 16.5%
Kyle Lewis SEA RF MLB 2020 45 24.7 8 70 11.1%
Alex Jackson ATL C AAA 2020 45 24.1 11 70 30.8%
Bobby Dalbec BOS 3B AAA 2020 45 24.8 4 70 18.0%
Mason Martin PIT 1B A+ 2022 40+ 20.9 16 70 26.3%
Seuly Matias KCR RF A+ 2022 40+ 21.6 12 70 10.0%
Matt Wallner MIN RF A 2022 40+ 22.3 14 70 12.9%
Luken Baker STL 1B 2021 40 23.1 17 70 6.9%
Griffin Conine TOR RF A 2022 40 22.7 15 70 32.8%
Jhailyn Ortiz PHI RF A+ 2021 40 21.4 17 70 14.6%
Anthony Garcia NYY RF R 2023 40 19.6 35 70 11.1%
Albert Feliz BOS LF R 2024 35+ 18 32 70 16.1%
Niko Hulsizer TBR LF A+ 2022 35+ 23.1 43 70 23.3%
Bryce Ball ATL 1B A 2022 35+ 21.5 22 70 24.6%

As you may have suspected, we find a bunch of the same names that appeared on the Game Power – Present and Game Power – Future leaderboards. I’ll be focusing on the new names today.

I’d like to introduce you to Chris Gittens, THE BOARD’s only 80 RPP club member. Gittens is old for a prospect (26) and scored the lowest FV of 35+. He also hasn’t made it out of AA. This shall be interesting. As a first baseman, we know the offensive bar is highest, but Gittens has done his best to clear it. He has posted HR/FB rates above 20% at four different minor league stops, though because he isn’t much of a doubles hitter, his ISO marks have typically been just above .200, rather than significantly above it. He walks at a strong clip (low-to-mid double digits), but also strikes out a lot (high 20% range), but not an alarming rate given his power potential. I’m guessing his low line drive rate suggests that he would post a weak BABIP in the Majors, and combined with his strikeout rate, could result in a batting average near the Mendoza Line. While his walk rate and power could still make him a league average hitter, those are a dime a dozen at first base. Still, would be cool to see him get a shot.

Mason Martin, what a smooth name. Martin is another first baseman, but his power output has been much better than Gittens’. Though he has also posted mid-20% HR/FB rates, his doubles rate has been far more respectable, boosting his ISO marks to around .300 in three of his five minor league stints. He also hits more fly balls than grounders, allowing him to take full advantage of his power. As you may have guessed, he strikes out a lot, having posted a rate of at least 29% at every stop since 2018. The strikeouts are going to be key, because everything else looks good for his future as a masher.

It’s been a roller coaster ride for Royals prospect Seuly Matias, as his wOBA literally declined by about 100 points from 2018 to 2019. In 2018, his HR/FB rate reached the stratosphere at over 30%, while his ISO stood at a magical .320. Then everything came crashing down and his HR/FB rate plummeted to just 10%, while his ISO fell to .159. What happened?! One explanation is that his plate discipline rates are insane. In 2017 and 2018, he rarely walked, and struck out a ton, while posting SwStk% marks over 20%. That’s obviously not a recipe for success and you’d expect that lack of plate discipline to be exploited. It looks like it must have in 2019, as he struck out even more, at an absurd 44.3% of the time, driven by a crazy SwStk% of 27.6%. Somehow he managed to bump his walk rate up into double digits, but it didn’t matter. I doubt his chances of future MLB success, but it’ll certainly be fun to watch the stat line he posts in his next minor league stop.

Matt Wallner just made his debut in 2019 so we have limited performance to analyze. While the HR/FB rate is only okay, the rest of his metrics do match with a power hitter.

For a guy with supposedly 70 RPP, Luken Baker sure hasn’t shown any of that power on the field! He has mustered single digit HR/FB rates, and sub-.150 ISO marks so far. Until that supposed power potential manifests itself on the field, I wouldn’t bother with him.

Griffin Conine?? Don’t tell me the Blue Jays have another former Major Leaguer’s kid in their organization! Oh yes, yes they do. Griffin, the son of Jeff, displayed mammoth home run power in a breakout run at A in 2019, with a 32.8% HR/FB rate. Unfortunately, that came along with an inflated 35.9% strikeout rate and lots of swings and misses. As we often see with these power hitters, only time will tell if Conine could get his strikeout rate down to a palatable level, without having to give up too much power. Sure, tons of strikeouts and massive power works for some (Joey Gallo), but he’s the exception to the rule.

The remainder of the names have either not shown the type of power yet their raw power suggests they are capable of, have struck out way too often, have an FV too low to care about, or a combination of the three.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

newest oldest most voted
Uncle Spike
Uncle Spike

Gittens is a name that intrigues me. Being 26 years old but having never played above AA is concerning; but perhaps there’s some reasons for his slow development. In Eric’s right up, he mentions Gittens was a former two-way player so perhaps that slowed his development a bit. He also mentions he formerly weighed over 300 pounds (currently listed at 250). Sounds like his conditioning was previously more of an issue but now he’s at a more reasonable playing weight given his size. I’m also assuming he’s dealt with his share of injuries. I don’t know his injury history but in his 6 years in the minors, he’s only exceed 290 PA twice. 2018 appeared to be an awful, injury riddled year but 2019 was his strongest yet. He upped his walk rate to 14.9% and posted a high BABIP (.371) and respectable betting average (.281) on his way to a 164 wRC+. Hopefully the Yankees start him at AAA this year (or whenever there is baseball again) and give him a shot to prove 2019 wasn’t a fluke. If he can keep the strikeouts at a reasonable level and maintain the BABIP increase, I think he’s got a decent chance. Granted, he’s destined to be a high strikeout masher but I could see 30+ HRs and a .225-240 AVG.