"Dale Murphy Rates The Power Hitters"

By George Castle, Sport

As one of the top power hitters of his day, Dale Murphy knows all about the tools a slugger must possess.

Combining long-ball prowess with the ability to hit .300, Murphy won two MVP awards and a couple of home run titles while playing for the Atlanta Braves in the 1980s. He had three consecutive seasons of 36 homers, followed those up with a 37-homer campaign, and then peaked at 44 in 1987. Murphy finished his career with the Phillies and Rockies.

He was asked to rate the top 10 power hitters in baseball for all-around hitting ability and discipline. It wasn't an easy task, especially at the top of the list.

"It's almost a tossup," he says of Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas. " They have discipline and power combined. They can beat you with an RBI single or a 400-foot home run."

Murphy's ratings:

1. Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants: "Here's a guy who doesn't care who's pitching, a right-hander or a left-hander. He's dangerous."

2. Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Mariners: "He's second probably just because of experience. In just a couple more years, he'll be right up there. He's dangerous to be able to handle any kind of pitcher at such a young age."

3. Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox: "I love Frank. I wish I could have been that selective [of pitches] when I was hitting. To have Thomas' kind of power [and not] chase bad pitches is a tremendous assett. He's so tall with a longer swing, yet he still has great discipline.

4. Jeff Bagwell, Houston Astros: "His power numbers are simply amazing playing in the Astrodome. Here's a guy who has worked so hard for what he's been able to achieve. If he played in another city, he would have been able to put up even better numbers."

5. Fred McGriff, Atlanta Braves: "He can hit any pitch out of the ballpark and has been very consistent with his home run numbers. He stands way off the plate. You think you can throw the ball outside, but he loves it out there and can handle that pitch."

6. David Justice, Atlanta Braves: "He probably has the best swing, along with Griffey. I love to watch Justice hit. I think Dave's numbers will continue to climb with experience."

7. Jose Canseco, Boston Red Sox: "No one can hit the ball farther. But with a long swing such as Canseco's, you can be pitched to. Sometimes when you need a single, a shorter swing serves you better."

8. Cecil Fielder, Detroit Tigers: "Here's a man who understands why he's playing the game when he's out there, what he can do with the bat. Cecil's fun to watch. In RBI situations, he doesn't let too much pass."

9. Matt Williams, San Francisco Giants: "Nobody can get into a hot streak like he can. In a two-week stretch, he can just put up some incredible numbers."

10. Juan Gonzalez, Texas Rangers: "With more experience, he'll be more selective and become just as dangerous as the top three or four. He hits the ball a lot like Canseco."

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