In this piece, we blend performance analysis with scouting reports to determine the top 10 power-speed prospects in the minors.
Because these players are still-developing prospects, we won’t fixate completely on output such as home-run totals or stolen-base success rate. Instead, we prioritize indicators, such as extra-base hits (XBH), stole-base attempts (SBA) and players’ tools in an attempt to forecast possible 20-20 performers down the road. Statistics include games through June 30.
Keep in mind, however, that 20-20 players are rare these days. Despite the fact that 64 batters hit 20 or more homers in 2015, and 30 players stole at least 20 bags, few combine the two attributes. In fact, fewer players went 20-20 in 2015—Ryan Braun, Paul Goldschmidt, Manny Machado and A.J. Pollock were the only four—than in any season since the strike-shortened 1994 campaign, when the trio of Dante Bichette, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa went 20-20.
1. Yoan Moncada, 2b, Red Sox
Age: 21. Bats: B. XBH: 35. SBA: 45. Team: Double-A Portland.
While the most dynamic power-speed threat in the minors has hit just five home runs this season, he has the bat speed and physicality to reach double digits if he can learn to loft the ball. Even if he tops out near 10 homers, Moncada should collect plenty of extra bases on balls hit to the gap, not to mention basestealing advances. After all, he is zeroing in on 90 steals through 150 career games in the U.S. minors.
2. Bradley Zimmer, of, Indians
Age: 23. Bats: L. XBH: 34. SBA: 39. Team: Double-A Akron.
While not a true slugger at the plate or burner on the bases, Zimmer has added loft to his swing in pro ball and aggressiveness to his keen baserunning instincts, resulting in manifest power (12 homers) and speed (27 steals) at Double-A. The caveat: Zimmer’s average hovers near .240, while his strikeout rate creeps toward 30 percent, suggesting he must achieve better hit-versus-power balance.
3. David Dahl, of, Rockies
Age: 22. Bats: L. XBH: 36. SBA: 21. Team: Double-A Hartford.
Dahl has maximized his above-average power (13 homers) and speed (16 steals) in the Eastern League, despite playing for a Hartford team that has no home park this season. He has upped his walk rate considerably, and as he sees more pitches, his strikeout rate has risen to 24 percent. The tradeoff has been worth it so far.
4. Derek Fisher, of, Astros
Age: 22. Bats: L. XBH: 27. SBA: 24. Team: Double-A Corpus Christi.
A supplemental first-round pick from Virginia in 2014, Fisher cracked 22 home runs at the Class A level in 2015, but his Double-A power outburst (13 homers) tends to back up glowing amateur reports that referenced supreme athleticism and fluid swing mechanics. His speed and improving center-field defense don’t completely mitigate a strikeout rate of 27 percent, but they help.
5. Adam Engel, of, White Sox
Age: 24. Bats: R. XBH: 27. SBA: 36. Team: Double-A Birmingham.
Already 24, Engel hit just .170 early this season in his first Double-A trial, but after receiving a two-week reprieve at high Class A Winston-Salem, he returned to Birmingham and produced typical results, hitting .261/.344/.403 with 11 steals through 32 games. Even if he tops out at 10 home runs, Engel will take extra bases with his elite-level speed and draw enough walks to rack up steals. Credit him for improving his contact rate each season.
6. Jorge Mateo, ss/2b, Yankees
Age: 21. Bats: R. XBH: 21. SBA: 37. Team: high Class A Tampa.
Though the 2015 minor league stolen-base king is best known for his 80 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale, Mateo shows over-the-fence power in batting practice and has hit five homers this season, a year after going deep just twice.
7. Manuel Margot, of, Padres
Age: 21. Bats: R. XBH: 24. SBA: 30. Team: Triple-A El Paso.
Margot hit 12 home runs in 2014, but he hasn’t found the seats often since leaving low Class A Greenville, and his .125 isolated slugging percentage at El Paso this season is about 20 points lower than the Pacific Coast League average. He might find more power by using the pull field more often or by working deeper counts to get his pitch. Worth keeping in mind: Margot and Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia are the youngest position regulars in the PCL.
8. Trea Turner, ss, Nationals
Age: 23. Bats: R. XBH: 30. SBA: 24. Team: Triple-A Syracuse.
Washington middle infielders Daniel Murphy and Danny Espinosa have produced offensively this season, compelling the Nationals to try Turner in center field at Syracuse. While he can turn on the ball for power at times, giving him double-digit home run potential, his best attribute is elite speed that will produce plenty of doubles, triples and stolen bases. Turner succeeded in 22 of his first 24 steal attempts this season.
9. Dustin Fowler, of, Yankees
Age: 21. Bats: L. XBH: 28. SBA: 25. Team: Double-A Trenton.
An 18th-round pick out of high school in 2013, Fowler broke out at Class A last season and has made incremental improvements at Double-A this season. He accelerates quickly on the bases and should grow into at least average power as he matures, especially as he learns to exercise more patience at the plate.
10. Scott Kingery, 2b, Phillies
Age: 22. Bats: R. XBH: 29. SBA: 25. Team: high Class A Clearwater.
The 2015 second-rounder improved his draft stock dramatically when he shifted from center field to second base as an Arizona junior, and he has rapidly developed his skills in pro ball. Kingery has produced above-average power in the Florida State League, while showing double-plus speed and the baserunning smarts to steal 21 bags in 25 tries.
Five To Watch
• Michael Gettys, of, Padres. The Georgia prep center fielder’s off-the-charts speed and above-average power are beginning to play this season, thanks to improved strikeout and walk rates. The 2014 second-rounder advanced to high Class A Lake Elsinore in June. XBH: 24. SBA: 39.
• Teoscar Hernandez, of, Astros. The 23-year-old Dominican shares center field with Derek Fisher at Double-A Corpus Christi, where he also spent last season. Hernandez averaged 19 homers and 33 steals in 2014-15, but he’s making more contact this season while hitting .300. XBH: 27. SBA: 40.
• Tito Polo, of, Pirates. A 5-foot-9 center fielder who signed out of Colombia in 2012, Polo hit just .236 at low Class A West Virginia in 2015, but he broke out this season while repeating the level. He hit .302 with 12 homers and 20 steals to earn a promotion to high Class A Bradenton. XBH: 29. SBA: 34.
• Jacob Hannemann, of, Cubs. The Brigham Young product missed development time with a Mormon mission and also a background in football, so he’s already 25. However, the lefthanded-hitting center fielder has tightened his strike zone and upped his power production at Double-A Tennessee. XBH: 27. SBA: 34.
• Eliezer Alvarez, 2b, Cardinals. The 21-year-old Dominican spent four years in short-season ball, so he appeared quite ready for low Class A Peoria this season. Alvarez hit .323/.401/.464 with 19 doubles and 18 steals in the first half of the Midwest League season. XBH: 29. SBA: 27.