Detroit Tigers minor league tools series: Best Power
Continuing our look at the top tools in the Detroit Tigers farm system.
This is the second of a dozen articles about the best individual player tools in the Detroit Tigers farm system — also known as The 12 Tools of Christmas. You can read about the best hitters in the system here.
Fans who found their Detroit Tigers minor-league coverage at TigsTown will be familiar with this format. We describe what we’re looking for in each tool, then list the five best examples in the Detroit Tigers system, along with a few honorable mentions, and young prospects who may climb the list soon. Let’s begin.
Detroit Tigers Minor League Tools Series: Best Power
A hitter’s power is often split into two categories: raw power and game power. Raw power essentially puts a grade on a player’s ability to hit the ball very hard and very far. Few things in baseball are more awe-inspiring than watching a hitter with 80-grade raw power send balls into low orbit during batting practice.
But batting practice power rarely translates into game power, and many players get branded with the pejorative “five o’clock power” label. Hitting live pitching is obviously much more difficult than blasting soft tosses from a coach, or even full velocity offerings from a machine. So most of our focus here will be on game power, with the occasional mention of raw pop.
We discuss power production in terms of home runs and extra-base hits, but also mention slugging percentage (total bases divided by at-bats) and isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average). Last year the average MLB slugging percentage for non-pitchers was .418, while the average isolated power, or ISO, was .171.
Detroit Tigers Best Power Tools: Future Shock
- Cristian Santana – IF
- Jose De La Cruz – OF
- Adinso Reyes – IF
- Roberto Campos – OF
- Manuel Sequera – IF
Cristian Santana also made this list in our Hit Tool piece, and while he projects as more of a hitter for average than power, it’s hard not to include him here after he posted a .520 slugging percentage, a .251 isolated power, and 9 home runs as a 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League. Since 2006 the only other Tigers 17-year-old to hit at least 9 homers in the DSL was Jose De La Cruz, who hit 11 in 2019.
It was a different story in 2021, though, as De La Cruz was severely overmatched in Low-A, hitting just .127 with one home run through 39 games. He was better after dropping back down to rookie ball, but his plus raw power won’t translate to game power without a dramatic improvement in his approach. Adinso Reyes had the same issues in rookie ball, but he did manage to go deep 7 times in 48 games.
The last two names on the list both came from the 2019 international free agent class. The enigmatic outfielder Roberto Campos got most of the publicity from that group, and it looked justified when he hit a home run on the first professional pitch he saw. It wasn’t always that easy for him, but he flashed plenty of his plus power over 39 games, finishing the season with an impressive .213 ISO and 8 home runs. But it was infielder Manuel Sequera who stole the show, blasting 11 home runs and 12 doubles in just 46 games. He’s another player with a concerning approach, but he was the only 18-year-old in affiliated baseball last year with an isolated power of .260 or better.