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: Brian Goodwin, CF
Power: Zach Walters, SS
Eye: Billy Burns, CF
Base Stealer: Billy Burns, CF
K-Ability: Robbie Ray, LHP
Control: A.J. Cole, RHP
Best Hit Tool: Perhaps a little overmatched in Double-A, Brian Goodwin still flashed five-tool potential. Goodwin hit .252/.355/.407 with 19 doubles, 11 triples, and 10 homeruns with a modest strikeout rate.
Best Power: Shortstop Zach Walters had a coming out party in 2013. The former ninth round pick out of the University of San Diego who has typically slugged plenty of doubles throughout his career, hit 66 extra-base knocks with Syracuse, 29 of which were homeruns.
Best Plate Discipline: With an incredible base stealing prowess (see below), Billy Burns has shown an impeccable eye at the plate. Burns has walked in 12.9% of his plate appearances while posting a career 144-to-149 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Best Base Stealer: The most efficient thief in the minor leagues, Billy Burns has been nearly uncatchable during his three-year career. Burns, a 32nd round pick from Mercer University in 2011, has accumulated 125 stolen bases in just 142 attempts (88.0%). And the diminuitive switch-hitting center fielder had a career year, swiping 74 bags in 81 tries (91.4%).
Best Ability to Miss Bats: After an incredibly disappointing season in high Class A in 2012, southpaw Robbie Ray breezed through his second tour with Potomac before making a solid impression in the Eastern League. Ray struck out 160 batters in 142 combined innings.
Best Control: A.J. Cole, the hurler traded from Washington to Oakland and then back to Washington, posted a nearly 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio while averaging just 2.1 free passes every nine innings against much older competition.
Photo of Billy Burns Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon/MiLB.com.