Raw Power Is Sure To Come a Runnin’ To You
Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Joey Gallo, and Miguel Sano are the obvious names, as their 80-grade power has already been shown in the MLB. And while true top-of-the-scale power is a rarity, impact power is the most significant single tool when it comes to dynasty evaluation. Finding power bats early is a strategy that can benefit the overall value of your minor league system and either result in a lot of dingers for your team, or give you high-value chips to move to other teams. Here are a few names to research for your upcoming draft that I believe will see spikes in value going forward.
Josh Naylor, 1B, Miami Marlins
I’ve actually been lucky enough to meet the scout who found and signed Naylor, the Marlins’ first-round pick from 2015, and his power was described as “potentially the best in the franchise”. Considering the certain power hitter that currently resides in Miami, this is high praise for Naylor. Reports also have indicated that Naylor has a knack for making contact, because he has a swing that is quick to the strike zone, but long once in it.
Courtesy of Baseball Factory on YouTube
His lack of a position right now may be a blessing in disguise. While the voices that sang about positional scarcity have quieted at the major league level, first base prospects earn considerably less love than anyone else in dynasty baseball. This could drive a player with a top-10 skill set for 2016 dynasty prospect drafts, out of the first round all together. That drop would make him a value pick in upcoming drafts.
Jomar Reyes, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
Reyes is a monstrosity in the batters box. He’s listed at 6’3” and 220 pounds, but reports indicate that he’s grown another 2-3 inches, and put on at least another 20 pounds. Factor in that he’s 18 years old, just finished a successful season at Low-A (119 wRC+), and his potential becomes more apparent. Tucker Blair at 2080baseball.com com recently gave Reyes a 70 future grade on his power. As is evident in the video below, he has some lift in his swing, which allows him to tap into his already above-average raw power, and his ability to display power to all fields is very promising.
Courtesy of Tucker Blair on YouTube
Presently, the big question on Reyes is about how they move him along in 2016. Last year he was hit on the wrist, and also took a ground ball off the face. The wrist took him out of games for over a month, and the ball off the face is sadly indicative of the below to well-below average grades his glove presently gets. The unlikely dream is that he learns to stop balls without his face and can use his cannon of an arm more often. This would allow him to stay at third, but his bat seems capable of any position. I’m a big believer in Reyes and hope they both keep him at the hot corner for now, and advance him to High-A despite only playing 84 games in Low-A. If that happens, he’ll turn 19 and be entering High-A as one of the youngest players in the league. This would be a great test for him, and would be very helpful for his dynasty owners when evaluating his future.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., OF, Toronto Blue Jays
The potential Hall of Famer’s son doesn’t share the same build as his father, but looks like he has his power. At the age of 16, he has already received plus to plus-plus grades for his raw power. Whether he learns to use it, is another question entirely, but the natural ability is really the only thing owners can hope for at this age. He’s a huge project for fantasy owners, who want to invest this far into the future, but videos of him have already started popping up, and they are very impressive.
Courtesy of Matt Hall Baseball on YouTube
In the above video, you can see Guerrero’s power on full display, as he lines balls out over and over again with ease. Last year, he was signed but was still too young to play in the official Dominican league, so 2016 will be his first chance at getting true pro experience. It would take a very deep league to consider such a long-term investment, but 16-year-olds with such high raw power grades are few and far between, and deserve such consideration.
J.D. Davis, 3B, Houston Astros
Davis put on a big power display in 2015 at High-A, but his strikeout rate continued to grow. He’s the most likely guy to be owned in your league, but if he isn’t, he should be on your radar. The questions around his hit tool will knock his price down, but the Lunhow era Astros have fared well with middling hit tools. Davis has never hit below .279 during any of the stops during his minor league career, and his recent .370 OBP in high-A tells me he is trending in the right direction.
Courtesy of Eric Longenhagen on Youtube
Davis is the closest to the majors of anyone on this list, and is also the one I believe that has the lowest ceiling, but if you are looking for a quicker fix, Davis is fine fantasy spackle. He’s also a decent fielder, so him staying at the hot corner is reasonable.
These four hitters are all a long ways from being MLB ready, but have the power to drastically increase their value in the upcoming season, and they can be acquired at all different points of 2016 dynasty drafts. As spring comes along, keep an eye out to see if either Davis or Reyes can get at bats in Florida, as they could be both entertaining, and informative.
Lastly, if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below or on twitter @jackcecil1.