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D-backs Pipeline

Each team's top power-hitting prospect

@JonathanMayo and @JimCallisMLB and @GoldenSombrero
February 20, 2020

The 2019 Major League season will be remembered as the Year of the Home Run after players across baseball combined to hit a record 6,776 homers -- up from 5,585 in 2018 -- and 14 different teams set a new franchise record. National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso

The 2019 Major League season will be remembered as the Year of the Home Run after players across baseball combined to hit a record 6,776 homers -- up from 5,585 in 2018 -- and 14 different teams set a new franchise record.

National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso of the Mets led the way with a Major League-best 53 homers, surpassing Aaron Judge’s rookie record from 2017 (52). Overall, there were seven rookies who finished the season with at least 20 home runs. That select group included some of baseball’s more promising young mashers in Eloy Jiménez (31 HR), Yordan Alvarez (27) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (22), all of whom opened the season on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list.

Who will form the next wave of young sluggers? Below, we identify the top power-hitting prospect in each organization, focusing on usable power (translatable into home run production) as opposed to simply raw power.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Griffin Conine, OF
MLB ETA: 2021
While a 50-game suspension prompted by a positive test for ritalinic acid in the offseason delayed the start of Conine’s first full season until late May, it did not stop the 2018 second-rounder from finishing as the Class A Midwest League leader in home runs (22) and slugging (.576). The son of two-time World Series champion Jeff Conine, Griffin posted those numbers in just 80 games, averaging a homer every 7.2 at-bats, albeit while striking out at a 35.9 percent clip.

Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C (MLB No. 4)
MLB ETA: 2021
The No. 1 pick in last year’s Draft, Rutschman is just getting his pro career started, but people are already gushing about the Oregon State catcher. He has plus tools across the board, but his power from both sides of the plate was already making people stop and watch him hit this spring.

Rays: Moises Gomez, OF
MLB ETA: 2022
Signed for $40,000 out of Venezuela in 2015, Gomez has the look of a future power hitter with his strong frame, explosive right-handed swing and knack for hitting the ball in the air. He was perhaps the Class A Midwest League’s top slugger as a 19-year-old in 2018, ranking among the circuit leaders in XBH (60, first), slugging (.503, second) and home runs (19, fourth), and set the Class A Advanced Charlotte single-season home record (16) in 2019. Gomez also batted just .220 and struck out at a 33.5-percent clip, perpetuating concerns about his hitting ability.

Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec, 3B/1B
MLB ETA: 2020
Dalbec's 59 homers in the past two seasons rank sixth in the Minors and put him in position to claim at least part of Boston's first-base job this spring. The 2016 fourth-round pick out of Arizona also is a quality defender at third base, but he isn't going to dislodge Rafael Devers.

Yankees: Jasson Dominguez, OF (MLB No. 54)
MLB ETA: 2024
One of the most hyped international prospects ever, Dominguez signed for $5.1 million out of the Dominican Republic last July and already has earned comparisons to some of the best athletes in baseball history, including Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout. He's a switch-hitting center fielder with at least plus-plus raw power and 30-30 potential.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Indians: Bobby Bradley, 1B
MLB ETA: 2020
A third-round pick as a Mississippi high schooler in 2014, Bradley broke into pro ball by winning the Rookie-level Arizona League triple crown and has added four more home run titles since. He topped the Triple-A International League with 33 homers in just 107 games last season and notched his first big league blast off Tyler Duffey.

Royals: Seuly Matias, OF
MLB ETA: 2021
Signed for $2.25 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Matias’ massive right-handed power was on full display at Class A Lexington in ’18, when he led the Minors in homers per plate appearance (one every 12.1) and ranked sixth with 31 homers (in just 94 games) at age 19. The 6-foot-3 outfielder was unable to build on that progress last year at Class A Advanced Wilmington after a broken hand sapped Matias’ power and limited him to just 57 contests.

Tigers: Riley Greene, OF (MLB No. 31)
MLB ETA: 2022
One of the top prep hitters in the 2019 Draft, Greene garnered Florida Gatorade Player of the Year honors as a senior at Hagerty High School (Oviedo) before going to the Tigers with the fifth overall pick and signing for $6.18 million. He shows huge left-handed raw power in batting practice, especially to the pull side, and should develop at least above-average game power to go along with plus hitting ability.

Twins: Brent Rooker, OF
MLB ETA: 2020
While where Rooker will play defensively in the big leagues remains a question, no one doubts his ability to hit the ball a long way. He’s compiled an ISO of .267 in his Minor League career. He missed a lot of time with injury in 2019, but still managed to slug .530 in 2019 with 14 homers and 16 doubles in 234 at-bats.

White Sox: Luis Robert, OF (MLB No. 3)
MLB ETA: 2020
Chicago already has invested more than $100 million in Robert before he has played in a big league game: $26 million to sign him in May 2017, $25.2 million in penalty tax for exceeding their international bonus pool and a six-year, $50 million contract with two club options. He well may be worth it, because in 2019 he led the Minors with 314 total bases while becoming its youngest 30-30 player (age 21) in two decades and logging the first 30-30-300 season since Jose Cardenal in 1961.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

Angels: Jo Adell, OF (MLB No. 6)
MLB ETA: 2020

It should surprise no one that Adell got the most votes on our recent Pipeline Poll of executives on the question about who has the most usable power. He has a career .220 ISO and he hasn’t even turned 21 yet. Adell hit 20 homers in 99 games in his first full season then had 37 extra-base hits in 76 games last year before picking up 11 more in the Arizona Fall League.

Astros: Taylor Jones, 1B/OF/3B
MLB ETA: 2020
Primarily a pitcher in his first two years at Gonzaga, Jones didn't become a full-time starter at first base until his senior year. He hit just two homers that spring (albeit with a school-record 27 doubles) before signing for $2,500 as 19th-rounder, but he has done a better job using the leverage in his 6-foot-7 frame as a pro, swatting 40 the past two years in the upper Minors.

A’s: Seth Brown, OF
MLB ETA: 2020
Expectations are low for 19th-round picks out of Lewis-Clark State, yet there was Brown, a 2015 draftee, making it to Oakland in 2019. Before you think his 37-homer, .634 slugging percentage season was a Las Vegas and Pacific Coast League mirage, he also hit 30 homers in Stockton (which isn’t as hitter-friendly as other California League parks). He also slugged a bit more on the road (.641) than at home in Vegas (.628).

Mariners: Julio Rodriguez, OF (MLB No. 18)
MLB ETA: 2022
The scary thing is that Rodriguez is still just a teenager, one who won’t turn 20 until the end of 2020. At age 18, he slugged .540 across two levels of A ball, and that was mostly after having to come back from a hand fracture. We put a 60 grade on his power, and we might be light there. If you told us this guy is going to hit 30+ homers a year in the big leagues, no one would blink.

Rangers: Sam Huff, C (MLB No. 74)
MLB ETA: 2021
Huff is coming off a breakout season in which he ranked second among Minor League catchers with 28 homers and hit a dramatic game-tying blast to win MVP honors at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. He generates the best exit velocities of any Texas prospect since Joey Gallo, thanks to the strength and leverage in his 6-foot-4 frame and a violent right-handed swing.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Bryce Ball, 1B
MLB ETA: 2022
Yes, it’s a small sample size, but it’s hard not to be impressed by this 2019 24th-round pick in terms of the power numbers he put up during his debut. He crushed Appalachian League pitching and then kept on going once he got to full-season Rome, finishing with a .329/.395/.628 line. That included 17 homers and 18 doubles in just 231 at-bats.

Marlins: JJ Bleday, OF (MLB No. 28)
MLB ETA: 2021
Bleday led Vanderbilt to the 2019 College World Series title while topping NCAA Division I with 27 homers and 192 total bases. He was considered more of a pure hitter than a slugger entering last spring, and his complete offensive package led Miami to draft him fourth overall and sign him for a franchise-record $6.67 million.

Mets: Brett Baty, 3B (MLB No. 93)
MLB ETA: 2022

The Mets’ 2019 first-round pick (No. 12 overall) batted .615 with 19 home runs as a Lake Travis (Texas) HS senior and continued to mash in his pro debut, posting an .821 OPS with 25 extra-base hits (7 HR) while climbing three levels. With his bat speed, strength and impactful left-handed swing, he already generates big league-caliber exit velocities and shows legitimate game power to the opposite field.

Nationals: Carter Kieboom, SS/2B (MLB No. 21)
MLB ETA: 2020

The former first-rounder (2016) offered Nationals fans a glimpse of his power when he homered twice in his first three Major League games last season. He also hit 16 homers in the Minors for a second straight year and matched his career-high mark in slugging (.493). Plus bat speed and a balanced right-handed swing give the 22-year-old plus raw power to his pull side that could play from line to line as he gets stronger and refines his approach.

Phillies: Jhailyn Ortiz, OF
MLB ETA: 2021
No one has any questions about Ortiz’s raw power; it’s close to top of the scale. The big issue is whether he’ll make enough contact to get to that power consistently enough in games. He did homer 19 times in Clearwater in 2019, no small feat, but his 149/36 K/BB ratio leaves something to be desired. Better pitch recognition will lead to better results and he could put up monster numbers in hitter-friendly Reading this year.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Brewers: Mario Feliciano, C
MLB ETA: 2020
Plagued by injuries early in his career, Feliciano broke out offensively last season to garner MVP honors in the Class A Advanced Carolina League after he led the circuit in home runs (19), RBIs (81), slugging (.477) and total bases (210) at age 20. Owner of the best combination of hitting ability and power in Milwaukee’s system, he projects to have above-average power and already knows how to apply it from the left-center gap to the right-field line during games.

Cardinals: Nolan Gorman, 3B (MLB No. 47)
MLB ETA: 2022
One of the top power-hitting Draft prospects in recent memory, Gorman slugged .570 and led all 2018 draftees with 17 homers in his pro debut. He homered nine times in his first 34 games in 2019 but hit just six more dingers over his final 91 contests, albeit as a 19-year-old in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. He generates massive power from the left side of the plate, combining physical strength and bat speed with a barrel path that's conducive to driving the ball in the air.

Cubs: Brennen Davis, OF (MLB No. 78)
MLB ETA: 2022
A basketball standout as an Arizona high schooler, Davis gave up hoops to focus on baseball and became a second-round pick in 2018. A potential 30-30 center fielder, he batted .305/.381/.525 in the low Class A Midwest League while battling finger injuries last year, and his slugging percentage would have ranked second in the pitcher-friendly circuit if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

Pirates: Mason Martin, 1B
MLB ETA: 2022
Hitting home runs in the summer in Bradenton and the Florida State League is tough, but someone forgot to tell Martin, the Pirates’ 17th-round pick in 2017. He turned 20 during the 2019 season and hit 12 homers in the FSL after getting promoted there to give him 35 for the year (his 23 homers in the South Atlantic League still tied him for the league lead even though he got promoted after 82 games). He also had 32 doubles, meaning there could be more to come.

Reds: Ibandel Isabel, 1B
MLB ETA: 2021

Isabel is another all-or-nothing guy, one who has struck out at least 150 times in each of the last three seasons. When he makes contact, it goes a very long way. Even with all those K’s, he’s averaged 30 homers a year over the past three seasons, including 26 last year when he moved up to Double-A for the first time.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-backs: Kevin Cron, 1B
MLB ETA: 2020
A 14th-round pick in the 2014 Draft, Cron, whose older brother C.J. plays for the Tigers, erupted for a Minor League-best 39 homers last season -- including a franchise-record 38 in just 82 games with Triple-A Reno – and added six more in the big leagues. The hulking right-handed hitter (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) hit four balls with an exit velocity of 110.8 mph or better, including two at 113-plus, in 39 games with the D-backs, and all but one of his home runs traveled 400-plus feet (his longest was 453 feet).

Dodgers: DJ Peters, OF
MLB ETA: 2020
Peters' statistical record of power is impressive: He set a Western Nevada CC school record with 16 homers in 2016, led the Rookie-level Pioneer League in total bases (161) and OPS (1.052) that summer after signing as a fourth-rounder, topped the Class A Advanced California League in extra-base hits (61) and slugging (.514) en route to MVP honors in 2017 and paced the Double-A Texas League in homers (29), extra-base hits (55) and total bases (232) in 2018. He slammed 23 homers between Double-A and Triple-A last year, giving him 92 in 455 pro games.

Giants: Marco Luciano, SS (MLB No. 35)
MLB ETA: 2022

The top-rated middle infielder in the 2018 international class, Luciano signed for $2.6 million out of the Dominican Republic. His electric bat speed may give more raw power than any infielder in the Minors, and he broke into pro ball by hitting .322/.438/.616 with 10 homers in 38 Rookie-level Arizona League games last summer.

Padres: Luis Campusano, C (MLB No. 50)
MLB ETA: 2021
The 2017 second-rounder put himself on the map last season at age 20 as the California League co-MVP, winning the circuit batting title (.325) and finishing second in OPS (.906) and RBIs (81). Campusano also established career highs in home runs (15) and doubles (31), flashing above-average raw power that should improve as he gets stronger and learns how to better leverage his right-handed swing.

Rockies: Sam Hilliard, OF
MLB ETA: 2020
The 6-foot-5 athletic Hilliard has a left-handed swing made for power and he really figured it out last year. Sure, he got some help from playing in Albuquerque, but he still hit 16 of his 35 homers in Triple-A in 2019 on the road. Then he hit seven more in just 77 big league at-bats when he got called up to Colorado, showing that his pop is going to play wherever he is.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.