General : : Top Ten
Puerto Rico Showcase - The Top 10 Prospects
Monday, February 07, 2005
Staff Here are the top performers at the recently held Puerto Rico Showcase. This is the highest profile showcase held on the island so far this year. The next big event (Excellence Games) takes place in April. Nearly all of these 10 players have attended Perfect Game events in the past.
1. Ivan De Jesus Jr. - SS - 5'11/180 - S/R - Guaynabo, PR
De Jesus has been the class of this year's Puerto Rico crop for some time, garnering acclaim from most organizations for his instincts and leadership on the field. De Jesus is a switch hitter with gap-to-gap power, who should get stronger with time. His arm is strong, and he covers considerable ground at short. His most compelling trait, though, is his work ethic, a trait he undoubtedly learned from his father, a fifteen year MLB veteran. De Jesus is coming off a bout with food poisoning which caused him to be off the field for close to a week, and to struggle in a two day showcase held this past week on the island. However, he maintains his status as one of the most steady and mature infield prospects in this year's draft class.
2. Gabriel Fargas - RHP - 6'3/210 - R/R - Caguas, PR
Fargas has been an enigma since opening many eyes during the 2004 PG World Wood Bat Championship, where he created quite a buzz with a 88-91 mph fast ball and one of the most projectible physiques at the tournament. However, he has since been marred by wildness, culminating in his performance in this January's PG World Showcase in which he had trouble finding the strike zone, and failed to show an effective second pitch. Fargas showed better control in this week's Puerto Rico showcase, but his velocity was down, registering as low as 85-86, a possible indicator that he has chosen to dial his velocity down in search of better command. He still projects very well.
3. Carlos Rodríguez - C - 6'1/180 - R/R - Vega Baja, PR
Rodríguez was one of the stars at the PG World Showcase, establishing himself as one of the top receivers in this years crop of catchers. Rodríguez has soft hands behind the plate, and registered a World Showcase best 1.87 POP time. In addition, his in-game movements are even more impressive, exhibiting good catch and throw skills. Rodríguez tends to get pull-happy and has a slight uppercut in his swing, but he gets his hands through the zone quickly and is a line-drive machine. Some teams consider his leadership his most valuable trait. Rodríguez has garnered praise for his demeanor behind the plate, and his ability to take control of a game from the backstop. Physically, he has a lean, muscular body, which some scouts compare to that of fellow Puerto Rican and Orioles catcher, Javy López.
4. Héctor Pellot - SS - 5'11/185 - R/R - Caguas, PR
No prospect on the island has improved his draft status in the past month as much as Pellot. Pellot stood out at this week's Puerto Rico showcase, running a 6.6 60 yard dash and having a solid BP. On the second day of the event the right-handed hitting Pellot showcased his power by hitting a double off the right field fence that almost left the yard. At shortstop, Pellot shows outstanding actions and a strong arm. He just needs to be a bit more consistent. Pellot was also outstanding in last month's PG World Showcase in Florida.
5. Steve González - C - 6'0/180 - R/R - Trujillo Alto, PR
Heading into the fall of 2004, some in the scouting community hailed Gonzalez as the island's top draft prospect. An inconsistent fall and winter have since affected his stock, but González possesses top skills behind the plate. While his POP times are usually between the 1.93 and 2.00 range, they are more due to mechanical issues than lack of arm strength or quickness. In fact, at the PG World Showcase, González was probably the most accurate of all the catchers in his throws to second base. This week González showed off his bat during the showcase's BP portion, hitting solid line drives to all fields, and showing some significant power potential. A solid performance in the next couple of months could propel González into the same class as Rodríguez, and into the top rounds of this year's draft.
6. Manuel García - RHP - 6'0/188 - R/R - Toa Baja, PR
The 6'0 García was probably the most impressive of the arms on the island at the showcase, featuring an 88-90 mph fastball, to go along with a solid curve. García mixed his pitches well, and could sneak up on many draft boards because of his perceived high signability. Questions abound, though, as to whether García can maintain his velocity in longer outings. Scouts will be watching.
7. Orvil Avilés - LHP - 6'4/187 - L/L - Manati, PR
The 6'4 Avilés has garnered serious interest from most organizations after his performance in the PG WWBC this past October, in which he pitched five shutout innings, allowing only three hits, against a solid Louisiana All Star squad that featured top prospect Josh Wall. Avilés knows how to pitch, keeping hitter off balance with his curveball and changeup and using both sides of the plate with great consistency, yet his stock has not risen because of his lack of velocity. Avilés fastball sits in the 81-83 mph range, and tops out at 84-85, mostly due to mechanical issues which do not allow him to stay on top of the ball. If he can correct those flaws and increase his velocity, Avilés could be a top 10 round pick. If not, he will probably be a DNF.
8. Francisco Ortiz - RHP - 6'4/205 - R/R - Toa Alto, PR
Ortiz has really improved since the PG WWBC, as his performance in the World Showcase showed. In Ft. Myers, the 6'4 Ortiz maintained an 87-88 mph fastball, which topped out at 89-90. In the long run Ortiz could be the most valuable of all the pitching prospects on the island because of his relative inexperience (the 17 year old Ortiz started playing baseball at age 14) and his physical promise. Ortiz has wide shoulders and strong legs, which should allow him to develop above average velocity. Moreover, Ortiz' secondary pitches are starting to come along, particularly his curveball which he showcased this week in Puerto Rico. A 4.0 student, Ortiz has received considerable interest from Division I schools, although he has yet to commit.
9. Eric Santiago - SS - 6'1/175 - S/R - Arroyo, PR
Tools wise, Santiago is probably one of the most attractive players in the 2005 draft class. He is a 6.5 runner with a very strong arm, who shows considerable raw power. He seems to press at times at the plate, causing him to loop his swing. If he can calm down at the plate, Santiago could be a top draft pick by showing the level swing he displayed during the PG World Showcase BP. He projects very well.
10. Nicolás Oxio - OF - 6'0/193 - R/R - Ponce, PR
Oxio is the island's top power prospect. He is strong and well built, and can hit the ball a ton. He did so this week at the island showcase during BP, slamming two bombs over the fence with a wood bat. Oxio's swing, although quick, can get long at times. His arm is also below average at this point. He projects as a left fielder. His raw strength could be difficult for many teams to pass up.
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