With the minor league season officially wrapped up, it’s time to look back at the each organization’s top tools. Note: only everyday players with 250+ plate appearances, starting pitchers with 100+ innings, and relievers with 40+ innings were considered. For more Top MiLB Tools click here.
Hit Tool: Chris Owings, SS
Power: Matt Davidson, 3B
Eye: Jacob Lamb, 3B
Runner: Ender Inciarte, CF
K-Ability: Archie Bradley, RHP
Control: Brandon Sinnery, RHP
[/pullquote]Best Hit Tool: During his age-21 season, Chris Owings, owner of a career .291/.320/.442 minor league line, batted .330/.359/482 against much older competition this season. His paltry walk rates – he’s walked in just 3.5% of his career plate appearances – will ultimately limit his ceiling, but he has the potential to be a .300 hitter in the big leagues with above-average pop.
Best Power: Matt Davidson slugged 61 extra-base hits between the minor and major leagues this season. And all the doubles 22-year-old third baseman has slugged over the past three season, 105, should develop into 30+ homerun power down the line.
Best Plate Discipline: A sixth-rounder out of the University of Washington in 2012, Jake Lamb posted one of the better walk rates in the minors this season (17.0%), though he was limited to just 304 plate appearances due to an injury he suffered in 2012. He’s walked in 74 of his 619 (12.0%) in his professional career and could be one of the system’s biggest risers in 2014.
Best Base Stealer: A solid fourth or fifth outfield option in the coming years, Ender Inciarte swiped 43 bags in 51 attempts (84.3%) in Class AA this season. Much of his future value is tied to his legs and outfield versatility, but he could snag 35+ bags in the big leagues.
Best Ability to Miss Bats: The organization’s top prospect, Archie Bradley struck out 26.1% of the batters he faced this season, an above-average total made even more impressive considering his age, 20, and level of competition (Class AA). The big right-hander and former seventh overall pick has averaged nearly 10 punch outs per nine innings in his career.
Best Control: A nice scouting find and signed out of the Independent Leagues, Brandon Sinnery split time between South Bend and Visalia this season. The former University of Michigan alum averaged just 1.7 BB/9 and issued free passes to just 4.6% of the hitters he faced this season.
Photo of Jake Lamb Courtesy of Ken Weisenberger/MiLB.com.