|No. 5 — Boog Powell, CF |
|Acquired: Trade from Tampa Bay, November 2015 |
Powell, frankly, is Adam Eaton, formerly of the Arizona Diamondbacks and now heading into his third season with the Chicago White Sox. Powell has two inches on Eaton, but makes consistent contact, hits the ball on the ground or produces line drives, works counts and gets on base, is an above-average runner with good overall instincts, a plus glove in center field and terrific feel for the game.
Baseball is back to where it was in the 1980s, where speed, defense and pitching are the name of the game, which makes a player like Powell that much more valuable. There’s no lead physical tool — even average power would have placed him at No. 1 on this list and perhaps in the Top 60-80 prospects in the game — but he does everything else at average or better levels and is close to the big leagues, strongly placing Powell at the top of the list to contribute in the majors at some point in 2016.
Eaton’s main edge over Powell is bat speed and swing plane, producing more pop, but Powell has a leg up on Eaton is one important aspect — contact rates. The 23-year-old has shown the ability to work an at-bat toward contact once he’s behind in the count; it’s not a change in his swing, it’s an altering of his No. 1 goal. Powell could turn into a 3-win player, but has a high floor that comes with virtually no chance he fails to reach the big leagues. That is likely to come in 2016.