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Burroughs or Quentin...that is the Question
| August 11, 2008
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Since really starting to pay attention to the prospects back in 1999, one first statements of scouting over statistics that really struck me was ìwait until he hits for power.î The epitome was Sean Burroughs, a little league hero who just could never find his power stroke. Since then, I have heard that statement with a number of minor leaguers whoís stats may not have reflected their potential. Some have developed excellent power (Carlos Quentin) and for most, the verdict is still unclear. But as time goes by, the answers become clearer as to what kind of power hitter a ball player will develop. Now, many of the players I will mention are excellent hitters, and many could be starters on a championship team right now. Others though just have not shown their power yet, and I was just wondering if you all thought they would eventually. None of the players are older than 27, so I realize that there is still a lot of learning and skill building to take place, but the question is how much? Anyway, here are some players that I remember people sayingÖîwait till he learns to drive the ball for some powerî: Joe Mauer is a very very very big kid. You would think for someone his age (25) and his size (6í 5or7î 200+ lbs) that he would have better power numbers. Even the season he won the batting title he still barely nicked a .500 SLG. He is an excellent hitter, but not quite the middle of the order I had expected when I first saw him. Casey Kotchman was the guy I remember voted ìMost Likely to be Sean Burroughs.î It seemed every year he disappointed in the power department, but people kept on calling out his potential. Like Mauer, he has proven to be a very good hitter, but unlike Mauer, it is hard to believe he wonít have job security for not having power at a premium power position. Alexis Rios is a true enigma. He was in the Burroughs category of everyone waiting for the breakoutÖand he did last season, with 24 homeruns. It seems though he has regressed this season, but does anyone who watches him consistently know if there is something wrong with his swing? Is it bad luck or just a bad season in regard to power? Delmon Young has a career slugging percentage of .390 with only 5 homeruns thus far. He is still extremely young though. Before coming to the big leagues, he had seasons of over 20 homers in the minors. Has something happened to his swing or mentality before reaching AAA, where his power disappeared. Again, he is extremely young still (no pun intended). Ryan Sweeney is only 23, but it seems like people have been saying for awhile, wait till he learns to drive the ball. He has never hit more than 13 homeruns in a minor league season, and only has 5 homeruns in 367 career at bats. His .405 minor league slugging percentage is a little discouraging, with nearly a sub .400 slg for most of the 2007 season while repeating AAA. James Loney has always had one of the sweetest swings in baseball. But with such a sweet swing, how far can he go? His minor league record showed he was an excellent doubles hitter, but outside of Vegas, his power was not impressive. He had a good year last year, but the next two years as he enters his prime are make or break for his development. I still would want him on my team because of his swing. Jeremy Hermida is someone who is finally living up to the power potential. He was a guy who people kept saying, wait till he starts hitting with power, and despite really not playing AAA ball, he has 15 homeruns this year and a .449 career slugging. Now letís see if he stays healthy. Lastings Milledge is a great all around athlete, but when I saw him as a Met, there were some obvious holes in his swing. He is only 23, but he has never slugged above .500 above A ball. Another guy who needs to stay healthy, but I wonder where the limit is with him, and if he really will live up to the bill of being a top-20 prospect. Conor Jackson was drafted out of Stanford, and I think we have not seen the limit of his power, but we are pretty close. If he can stay healthy, I could see a 20-25 homerun season, but that is more difficult than it seems. Now 26, his job security may be in jeopardy with the acquisition of Adam Dunn and a possible comeback of Justin Upton. Carlos Quentin and Conor Jackson were interchangeable until this season. After a disappointing 5 homeruns in 226 atbats last year, Quentin has finally found his pop, leading the AL with 32 homeruns. Daric Barton was supposed to be an onbase machine, and when he developed power, he would be a beast. Only 22, it is way too early to give up, but his track record shows nothing really promising in the power department except a decent season in the tough Midwest League and a good showing in his cup of coffee last year. We are still waiting for his breakout season.
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