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: Tyler Austin, RF
Power: Gregory Bird, 1B
Eye: Gregory Bird, 1B
Base Stealer: Ben Gamel, OF
K-Ability: Dellin Betances, RHP
Control: Jose Campos, RHP
[/pullquote] Best Hit Tool: Admittedly, 2013 was a major disappointment for outfielder Tyler Austin, who was coming off of consecutive seasons in which he batted .322/.400/.559 and .354/.418/.579. Austin hit just .265/.351/.378 this season, but his age – he was just 21 this season – and level of competition (Double-A) are reasons to believe in a strong rebound.
Best Power: In a homer-depressing home ballpark, Gregory Bird slugged 20 dingers to go along with 36 doubles and three triples. Bird, 20, flashed above-average to potentially plus pop.
Best Plate Discipline: Quite simply, Gregory Bird led the minor leagues in free passes this season (107) and walked in nearly 19% of his plate appearances.
Best Base Stealer: It’s not so much about speed when it comes to Ben Gamel but efficiency. The Yankees’ Gamel, the younger brother of Milwaukee infielder Mat, swiped 22 bags and was caught just five times (81.5%) in 112 games this season.
Best Ability to Miss Bats: Dellin Betances’ track record of missing bats is certainly extensive. In 641.1 minor league innings, the New York-born right-hander has punched out 723 hitters, or just shy of 26% of the total batters he’s faced. The question is whether he can find the strike zone with his plus-fastball with any type of consistency.
Best Control: Acquired along with Michael Pineda from Seattle, Jose Campos continued to titillate analysts and scouts alike with his ability to miss bats and find the strike zone, but his ability to stay healthy is still quite questionable. The big right-hander walked just 16 in 87 innings this season (1.7 BB/9).
Photo of Tyler Austin Courtesy of Rudy C. Jones via MiLB.com.