Oct. 14, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics outfielder Boog Powell plays for the Mesa Solar Sox during an Arizona Fall League game against the Scottsdale Scorpions at Salt River Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Boog Powell: That approach truly is advanced
Powell is about the exact opposite of Goetzman as an outfield prospect. He does have some tools, specifically the defensive chops to stay in centerfield and good speed, but between his lack of power and inability to steal bases successfully, there is reason to doubt that he has the abilities to be an impact player in the major leagues.
Luckily for Powell, his excellent plate approach gives him a chance to make the most out of his talent and exceed expectations. However, his 53-61 strikeout to walk ratio in 2014 could only take him so far–it came primarily at Low-A, and his season was halted from July 7th to August 29th after a 50-game suspension for an amphetamine.
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Powell had much to prove in the Arizona Fall League as he hoped to show that his plate discipline could continue against more advanced pitching. He proceeded to deliver as good of a performance as anyone could have hoped, hitting to a .300/.402/.429 line with 12 walks against 11 strikeouts in 82 plate appearances. He still hit for little power and went just 3 for 7 in stolen bases, but he hung in there and delivered strong results.
Powell is currently listed on the Charlotte Stone Crabs’ roster, and that would make sense given that he made just 69 plate appearances at High-A. Powell just turned 22 and will be a touch below the average age in the Florida State League next year. However, given the Rays’ current outfield picture at High-A and Double-A, there is an opportunity for Powell to move up before long.
The Stone Crabs need to find playing time for Goetzman, Andrew Toles, Justin Williams, and Powell. That is certainly doable using the DH slot, but why should the Rays deal with that arrangement for long when they only have two surefire prospects in the Double-A Montgomery outfield?
Joining Johnny Field and converted outfielder Tyler Goeddel will be one of Kes Carter, Josh Sale, and Willie Argo on any given night. One of the remaining two or an infielder like Leonardo Reginatto will also need to see time at designated hitter. The Rays can certainly do better than that, and there is playing available for a prospect like Powell in that mix.
If Boog Powell can continue his strong approach at High-A for a couple of months to begin 2014, expect him to head straight to Double-A and receive a further chance to prove himself as a prospect. He still has plenty of questions hanging over him, but between the 2014 regular season and the Arizona Fall League, he deserves a chance to answer them.