Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And McTaggart has the other name

McTaggart reporting the player to be named now is:

IF Jose Vallejo, 22 year-old 2B/SS from the Dominican Republic (actually, he was born in the same city as Tejada - Bani).

He has speed, Baseball Cube grades Vallejo's speed at a 95.

In 84 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City (304 ABs), Vallejo was batting .233/.282/.307 with 73K:22BB. 14 of his 72 hits in Oklahoma City were for extra bases. So in 20 games (83 ABs) at Double-A Frisco, Vallejo put up .289/.318/.349 with 14K:4BB, and four of his 24 hits in Frisco were for extra bases.

Jason Parks at Baseball Time in Arlington had this to say in his Scouting Series (which is incredible):

Vallejo is a very exciting player to watch in person, as his skill set is very visually impressive. He is effortlessly athletic with pure speed that makes him an absolute nightmare on the base paths. He also has lightning-quick reflexes, a smooth glove-to-hand transfer, a strong, accurate arm, and a quiet intensity on the field that exudes leadership without the necessity of words. Unfortunately, Vallejo's grace on the field can't hide some of the holes in his offensive skill set.

Vallejo's offensive ceiling is rather pedestrian. I think he projects to hit in the .250-.269 range at the major league level with max power potential in the 15-19 home run range, although 10-15 seems more likely. Assuming Vallejo even reaches the ceiling of his offensive potential, is that enough to be a major league regular? Is a plus defender at second base (and quite possibly an above-average defensive shortstop) that hits .265/.315/.400 a player you want to see penciled into a line-up card for 162 games? Depends.

His hitting mechanics are relatively sound and his bat control improved during the '08 season, but he struggles to consistently drive the ball. He doesn't have the best approach at the plate and his pitch recognition skills often encourage him to lunge at the ball, causing a breakdown in his hitting mechanics. His ability to get out of the box and down the line in 4.0 seconds will certainly enhance his offensive opportunities, but without an above-average approach and without the ability to make consistent hard contact, Vallejo looks to be more of a slasher that will be forced to rely on his speed over his natural power.

If you value defense at a premium defensive position (as mentioned above, Vallejo will be seeing some action at shortstop during the '09 season; based on his defensive resume at second base, and his natural defensive tools, I think Vallejo would make an above-average shortstop; if Vallejo’s defensive skill can indeed translate across the bag, his overall projection becomes a bit more complicated), Vallejo might just be a player to get really excited about. If you think that defensive value isn't enough to justify a limited offensive projection, Vallejo might just be a player that you find doesn't live up to his OFP grade. Either way, or perhaps somewhere in between, Vallejo has the tools to play a role at the major league level. Whether that makes him a super sub or the next starting shortstop for the Texas Rangers will depend on his ability to develop as a hitter.

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