Tool Time: Top Ten Power Hitting Prospects

Jesus Montero is an elite slugger

The Yankees have collected an impressive group of potential power hitters in the farm system. Not only do they have quite a few high-end power hitters, but they also have a deep crop of developing sluggers. PinstripesPlus.com analyzes the top power prospects in the Yankees' system, ranking potentially the top ten power hitters.

Honorable Mention

David Adams: The Yankees' third-round pick last season has some intriguing power potential, especially if he remains in the middle infield. He already puts a charge into his swings and that's with having his swing reconstructed a few different times over the past few seasons. His power could blossom once he gets comfortable to become a plus power hitter at second base.

Kyle Higashioka: He has but just one home run to his credit in his 18-game career thus far, but while the raw power isn't quite there to project as a plus tool yet, his power has already gotten a lot better in a short period of time. He could be the kind of hitter that will rack up a ton of doubles in the immediate future, but he has the type of body that will get stronger down the road and his short, compact swing allows him to drive the ball consistently.

Garrison Lassiter: Lassiter can really swing the stick and he has a knack for putting good wood on the ball. He does lack some natural loft in his swing right now to be considered one of the better power hitters, but the power is there and like Higashioka, his doubles should start turning into home runs as he physically matures in due time.

Reymond Nunez: Don't let his two home runs last season fool you - Nunez has the potential to be a special slugger. Standing 6-foot-4 and listed a conservative 210 pounds [he has to be every bit of 240], he is a behemoth man-child physically. He has plus power right now to all fields to possibly hold his own with the likes of Montero, but he needs to learn to become a better hitter overall in order to let his natural power take over. He could skyrocket up these rankings once he does that.

Eduardo Nunez: Just 15 home runs in 1,140 career at-bats doesn't even come close to telling the true story of his power potential. Like the other Nunez, Eduardo has been learning to become a better hitter overall and more selective at the plate. He has 20+ home run potential if he can learn to harness his natural power and that can be quite special with his defensive prowess at shortstop.

Jimmy Paredes: The switch-hitting third baseman has one of the highest ceilings in the organization and his plus power potential is a big reason why. He's not nearly as raw hitting-wise as his .267 career average might suggest, but he's just now learning how to be more selective and patient in his approach. The sky's the limit if he can start doing that consistently.

Damon Sublett: He has 25 doubles and ten home runs in his first 110 professional games, and that's while learning to stay back more in his stride. Like Adams, Sublett has some intriguing power potential for a second baseman and he has a lot of room to grow in the upper-body. His swing could be tailor-made for Yankee Stadium once he builds some momentum and gains more experience.

Top Ten Power Hitting Prospects

10) Jose Pirela: Pirela's sub-par performance in what was an injury-plagued Gulf Coast League season last year has allowed him to be one of the best kept secrets in the organization. He has just four career home runs [all in the Dominican Summer League in 2007] but the right-handed hitter really stings the ball. He lacks some natural loft at the current time to be considered a top-notch power hitter, but he compares favorably to former top Yankees prospect Jose Tabata with his line-drive abilities.

9) Corban Joseph: Joseph is a natural hitter who can hit the ball to all fields. He was a bit skinny when he first signed last summer, but he has already put on nearly 15 pounds of muscle since then. He has drawn a few comparisons to Phillies slugging second baseman Chase Utley for his advanced bat. It remains to be seen if he can approach such lofty power numbers down the road, but the potential is at least there to make his developmental ride an interesting one.

SIZE DOESN'T MATTER: Though smaller, Almonte's power is very impressive. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)
8) Abraham Almonte: Standing just 5-foot-11, Almonte certainly doesn't have the appearance of a good power hitter. Often compared to Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes, however, he does offer the same kind of electricity in his swing and he does get good loft as well. He'll never be an elite slugger, but the promise is there to be a very good power hitter someday. Don't judge his power on his size.

7) Austin Jackson: Like Almonte, Jackson will never be considered a big slugger but he should hit for decent power someday. He's an athletically lean hitter who uses his plus bat speed to generate good power to all fields. His true home run power is to the pull-side right now, but he has made good strides improving his opposite field home run power. His progress has been steady power-wise and it is still developing.

6) Carlos Urena: Urena might have the best raw power in the farm system outside of Montero. He is an elite fastball hitter - not many can get their heaters by him - and he is progressing on handling the offspeed pitches. He already has plus power to all fields and he could slug his way to the big leagues after he gets through the offspeed-heavy lower minor league levels first. Don't let the fact he has played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League disguise his immense power potential.

5) Kelvin De Leon: Reported to have power that could possibly come close to that of Montero when he first signed, De Leon didn't disappoint in the power department in his professional debut season last year. He slugged nine home runs for DSL Yankees2 and that has just scratched the surface of his raw power. Like Urena, however, De Leon is a bit raw on the offspeed pitches and that will keep him on a steady developmental track for the time being, but few have his power upside.

MORE COMING: Suttle has more power than his numbers suggest. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)
4) Austin Romine: Outside of Montero, there wasn't a more impressive slugger in Spring Training last year but then he initially struggled in the first-half of his professional debut season. Some began to question whether or not he could hit for power and that's when he ended the season hitting all ten of his home runs in the second-half. Romine, who is a pronounced opposite field hitter, has plus power to all fields and he even cleared a couple of centerfield wall-eyes this past season. His power is legit.

3) Bradley Suttle: A big mantra at the lower levels is that statistics, either good or bad, often don't tell the whole story. Such is the case with Suttle. What some critics might label as excuses are real reasons why he only hit eleven home runs in his professional debut season, factors like having his swing completely overhauled, battling a groin injury, and playing with a hurt shoulder all season. The fact is he smacks the heck out of the ball and his home run totals should soar once he gets completely comfortable. He is more powerful than people realize.

2) Brandon Laird: Laird led the farm system with 23 home runs last season and he did itwhile playing half of his games in one of the more pronounced pitcher's parks at the minor league level. He does have power to all fields, but his pull-power is quite special. His problem [if there is one], however, is that he tends to get a little too home run happy and that has a negative effect on his power. He is a better power hitter when he's thinking about being a better hitter first.

1) Jesus Montero: He hit just 17 home runs in his first taste of the long-season leagues last year and it doesn't come close to doing his true power potential any justice. His ultra-quick bat speed and long arms allows him to have great plate coverage, and he is adept at handling all kinds of pitches. His home runs aren't just long and deep, they leave the park in a hurry. He is an elite slugging prospect in every sense of the term.

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