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 80+ innings, and relievers with 40+ innings were considered. For more Top MiLB Tools click here.
Hit Tool: Francisco Lindor, SS
Power: Carlos Moncrief, CF/RF
Eye: Roberto Perez, C
Base Stealer: Francisco Lindor, SS
K-Ability: Danny Salazar, RHP
Control: Ryan Merritt, LHP
Best Hit Tool: The heir apparent to Cleveland’s shortstop position, Francisco Lindor doesn’t have the power potential as many of his minor league counterparts, but hit .303/.380/.407 as a 19-year-old across two levels. Lindor combined strong contact rates and a solid eye at the plate.
Best Power: A bit of late bloomer because he spent the first two years of his career on the mound, Carlos Moncrief has steadily improved in each of four seasons at the plate. Last season, Moncrief hit .284/.354/.470 with 26 doubles, seven triples, and 17 homeruns. He could peak with 20- to 25-homeruns.
Best Plate Discipline: Overlooked because of below-average hit tool and power, Roberto Perez, a career .227/.359/.326 hitter, could conceivably carve out a backup role in the big leagues before his career comes to an end. The Puerto Rican-born Perez has a strong – he’s thrown out 38% of would-be base stealers in his career – and shows a strong willingness to take a walk. His career walk rate is an impressive 15.5%.
Best Base Stealer: An above-average but not an elite runner, Francisco Lindor has swiped 52 bags over the past two seasons and could peak as a 30- to 35-stolen base threat in the big leagues. Whether the big league club would let Lindor run that much is another question.
Best Ability to Miss Bats: Blessed with a plus-plus-fastball, Danny Salazar, a recent Tommy John recipient, struck out an impressive 194 batters in just 151 (11.56 K/9) innings spanning three separate levels (including his time in the big leagues). Among MiLB’ers with at least 90 innings, Salazar’s K-rate, 12.48, was the second highest.
Best Control: A finesse lefty plucked in the 16th round out of McLennan Community College in 2011, Ryan Merritt just continually posted below-average K-rates, but has succeeded by limiting free passes. Merritt, who’s averaged just 6.3 K/9 in his career, issued just 19 free passes in 135.1 innings (1.3 BB/9).
Photo of Carlos Moncrief Courtesy of David Monseur/Akron Aeros via MiLB.com.