Best tools at the Futures Game
July, 6, 2012
By Keith Law | ESPN.com
This Sunday's MLB Futures Game, airing on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET, features a large proportion of the best prospects in the minors right now, including a number of players whose tools or pitches grade out at 70 or even 80 on the 20-80 scale. Here's a look, tool by tool and pitch by pitch, at the best this year's rosters have to offer.
For full breakdown of the U.S. roster, click here. For the international roster, click here.
(Note: You will see me refer to scouting grades throughout this piece. For those unfamiliar, scouts grade tools on a 20-80 scale. It's very rare to see a grade of 80, and 50 is considered league average.)
Best hit tool: Wil Myers, OF (Triple-A Omaha)
Myers, who is hitting .327 across two levels this year, can flat-out hit, and if we weren't all so busy asking how Mike Trout went only 25th in the 2009 draft, we might be asking how Myers ended up in the third round. (Money was one of the reasons, of course.) Now that last year's knee injury is well behind him, his lower half is working more like it used to, allowing him to drive the ball to all fields. He has a simple, natural swing, with great ability to manipulate the bat, and has shown he can hit all kinds of pitching. Honorable mentions go to Oscar Taveras of the St. Louis Cardinals, who has an incredible ability to square up the ball but doesn't have Myers' plate discipline and has a more unorthodox, higher-effort swing. Another to note is Christian Yelich (Miami Marlins).
Best power: Xander Bogaerts, SS (High Class A Salem)
Bogaerts hasn't even filled out yet physically, but for raw power -- particularly easy raw power -- he's as good as it gets in this game, with the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field in addition to plain old pull power. You might not have guessed it from his stat line this year, but Oakland Athletics outfielder Michael Choice also has plus raw power, masked this year by his trouble making contact, as does San Francisco Giants catcher Tommy Joseph, who struggles on defense but can drive anything he squares up.