Some players are solely known for it while others develop through their development. Either way, it's usually the last tool to develop fully. I mean, we're still waiting for James Loney to hit 20 home runs in a season.
The Dodgers have some interesting power prospects in the minors. There are some guys who have average to slightly above-average power potential (O'Koyea Dickson, Corey Seager, Blake Smith), but this list is reserved for guys who have at least plus (60 or better) raw power.
Best power prospects
- Chigbogu, who draws comparisons to Ryan Howard, was the Dodgers' fourth-round draft pick in 2012 out of a small high school in Missouri. He was ranked as Baseball America's 423rd-best player, yet was the 146th player chosen -- and it's because he has plus raw power. I gave him my "Best power prospect" rating in my Top 50. However, it seems someone else on this list should have received that honor.
There's no doubting Chigbogu's power potential, but, like most power hitters, there's a lot of swing and miss that comes along with it. He hit just three home runs in his professional debut (131 plate appearances), but he was just an 18-year-old for the majority of his season. He's a long way from the majors and it will be interesting to see how quickly that power develops.
- Curletta was the Dodgers' sixth-round pick in 2012 and is hulking right-handed hitter (6'4, 225 at age 18). Curletta checked in as the Dodgers' No. 30 prospect in Baseball America's Prospect Handbook, which was a bit of a surprise. But, like Chigbogu, it's because of Curletta's raw power potential.
His position is yet to be determined (he'll either be a corner outfielder or first baseman), but the youngster has loads of power potential. He's a guy who could benefit greatly from Mark McGwire's tutelage -- if Big Mac is still around in a few years (which he should be).
- I saw Jacobs in person a couple times last season, including during batting practice. He put on a pretty good show, including hitting a couple balls out of the Banner Island Ballpark to left-center field. The air isn't rarefied in Stockton, Calif., so that was an impressive feat. He also hit a home run when I saw him during a game (ended up being the game-winner), but it was an extreme cheapy down the right field line.
Still, Jacobs managed a .493 slugging percentage with the Quakes in 2012 after an even more impressive showing in the Midwest League the year before (12 home runs, .521 slugging percentage). The power potential is there, but that's pretty all Jacobs has going for him.
- Pericht was another player I saw in person and, like Jacobs, he impressed me with his power potential. Pericht cleared the stadium during a game. I was walking down the left field line toward the Quakes' bullpen when I heard the loud crack of the bat. I looked up to see Pericht's ball sailing overhead and clearing the stadium -- not the left field wall -- by about 50 feet. While it's just 300 feet (?!) down the left field line in Banner Island Ballpark, that ball probably traveled a good 420 feet.
Pericht has even more swing and miss than Jacobs, which is alarming. Still, the power potential is there and it's even more at a premium because it comes from behind the plate. He's been a mid-.400 slugging guy for most of his career, but he also hasn't been able to stay completely healthy.
- While Puig has played sparingly since signing his $42 million contract last summer, the hype and physical ability are present. Puig was the talk of Dodger camp on Friday, the first full day of team activities. His batting practice session produced this reaction:
Yasiel Puig wins BP. Crushed the ball and turned some heads. #DodgersJason Parks of Baseball Prospectus gave Puig a "7" in terms of raw power -- and that was from an outside source (not a Dodger source). Ned Colletti said this about Puig in October:
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) February 15, 2013
"'You could be standing with your back to the cage, and when he hits, you’ll know he’s hitting.'"The praise, hype and potential are all there. It's time for Puig to show off that raw plus-plus power potential He'll have every opportunity to do so in 2013.