Who are the infield prospects that have the defensive ability to play in the Major Leagues right now…
Tool Time: Top Ten Power Hitters
9) Ambiorix Concepcion: His home run production took a major hit in 2006 as he was working hard on shortening his swing and making more contact. He hit just four home runs last season but he consistently stings the ball and gets good loft on his swings. If he further improves his contact hitting ability and learns to lay off on the outside breaking pitches, he has enough natural power to be a 20-30 home run threat in a starting capacity.
8) Michel Abreu: Abreu is not a typical plus home run hitter at first base. Physically strong, he is more of a plus gap hitter with moderate home run power. But with his ability to make consistent contact at the plate, and with his natural strength, he could easily amass 20+ home runs in any given season. The solid power production is there, but his power impact with the Mets will depend on his playing time as he currently is blocked by Carlos Delgado.
7) Brett Harper: Despite missing the majority of the 2006 season with a torn labrum, Harper and his 36 home runs in 2005 are still awfully impressive. He has more raw power than some of the players ahead of him on this list, but as is the case with Abreu, his seemingly blocked path and limited opportunities with the Mets may prevent him from showcasing that power at Shea Stadium anytime soon.
6) Dustin Martin: Martin is a sleeper candidate in the power department for the Mets. He was clearly the Brooklyn Cyclones' top offensive player in 2006 and the Mets love his plus gap power right now after leading the Cyclones in doubles and triples last season. Even though he clubbed just two home runs in his professional debut, there are many scouts predicting a breakout year for him power-wise in 2007 and some scouts believe he has the chance to develop into a Jason Bay-like power hitter as a late round draft pick once he fully develops.
5) Nick Evans: Evans has almost as much raw power as anybody in the Mets farm system. More of a pull-hitter prior to last season, he made marked improvements in his opposite field power with the Hagerstown Suns in 2006. Evans' problem however is his inconsistent approach at the plate. He is at his best when his swing is short and compact but he has a hard time keeping his swing consistent. It tends to run long on him at times and that makes him an extremely streaky hitter. When he's going right, there are few better power hitters than him, but he needs to show more consistency to take full advantage of his natural power.
4) Shawn Bowman: Bowman's critics simply do not realize how powerful he truly is. He has missed significant portions of the last two seasons after breaking his back in the exact same place but still managed to hit 20 home runs in the notoriously pitching-friendly Florida State League in the equivalency of one year. He is still only 22 years old and possesses more raw power than current Mets third baseman David Wright. If he can put together a full healthy season, people will begin to see the special power production from Bowman.
3) Mike Carp: Like his good friend Nick Evans, Carp made huge strides in improving his power to the opposite field. In fact, the left-handed slugger hit more home runs to left field than to right field with the St. Lucie Mets last season. He hit 17 home runs in the Florida State League in 2006 and most scouts agree his home run production could soar in Double-A and beyond. His powerful stroke makes him the leading candidate to replace Carlos Delgado at first base for the Mets in the next couple of years.
2) Carlos Gomez: Judging his power simply on his combined 15 home runs over the past two seasons would be a monumental mistake. Gomez has as much natural power as anybody in the organization but has yet to show it in his home run production. Part of the problem is an impatient approach he employs in the batter's box, much like Jose Reyes did in his younger days. He skipped the High-A level entirely in 2006 and the Mets believe Gomez will start flashing increasing power real soon after getting acclimated to Double-A a year ago.
1) Fernando Martinez: While Gomez is the better all-around player, Martinez is the best pure hitter in the farm system. He not only is an ideal contact hitter, but scouts are raving about his power potential. He hit ten home runs in just 315 at-bats in an injury plagued professional debut as a 17-year old last season and most scouts agree he could eventually approach the 40 home run plateau at the big league level in his prime. He has also reportedly grown a couple of inches and even though his body is rock-solid, he has plenty of room to add even more strength as he gets older. Fernando is going to a special power for the Mets.
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