2013 Cubs Prospects In Review: Tyler Alamo

Tyler Alamo came to the Cubs organization as the 24th round pick in this year's amateur draft. A strong, big-bodied catcher out of a Cypress, California high school, Alamo was ranked as the 348th best prospect in the draft according to the BA 500, and was expected to be a tough sign, or at least an overslot pick. Alamo apparently was more ready for professional baseball than most thought, however, as he signed on July 7th for only the $100,000 slot bonus, providing no hit to the Cubs' bonus pool. He has spent the season in the AZL, refining his skills as a catcher and providing one of the most emo Twitter accounts I've ever seen. He caused a minor Twitter angst-storm when he tweeted (now deleted) about how baseball wasn't even fun anymore and how much he missed home. He remained in Arizona, however, and seems in better spirits now, having hopefully adjusted a bit to the life of a professional baseball player.

Performance

Alamo appeared in just 11 AZL games, offering a disappointing performance in just about every way you can in such limited time. For starters, he collected only 3 hits, 0 XBHs, and 15 Ks in 30 PAs, posting a .111/.167/.111 line. He also allowed 7 stolen bases and had a CS% of 0. I don't know AZL league averages for gunning runners down, but zero seems low.

Not much else to say here. The bad news is the numbers all suck. The good news is that 11 games is a meaningless sample. Chalk it up as an adjustment period and see if he can improve on them next season.

Scouting

There's actually decent video on Alamo, which is nice. Here's a nice showcase clip on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvora4vAFqU">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvora4vAFqU<

I'm not a scout, and I offer my thoughts with the caveat that I'm just sort of starting to develop an eye for this sort of thing. That said, the swing looks long to me. In game action his bat looks a little quicker to the ball than it does in the BP portion, where it looks to me like he's opening up too quick and trying to crush everything.  The game action also shows him using a double-tap stride, which is unusual. He does do a good job of staying balanced, but there's a lot of motion in his trigger. Defensively, all that stand's out for me is that he's kind of a stabby receiver.

Baseball America lines up with most of this assessment (phew). This came from BA's report filed on March 5th, when he, at the time, was ranked as the 48th best high school prospect:

Alamo stands out for his tightly-wound, 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame. He looks like a hitter at the plate, but has some moving parts to his swing that could be toned down. He uses an aggressive stride, collapses his backside at times and has a tendency to stride toward third base, opening his hips early. There is some length to his swing at times, but he has obvious strength potential and an intriguing bat for a catcher. Behind the plate, he shows good agility for his size, along with strong hands and above average arm strength.

They followed up with the scouting report included in the BA 500, where he apparently lost an inch of height and five pounds:

Alamo's durable 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame has plenty of strength, but scouts use words like "rigid" and "stiff" to describe him behind the plate and in the batter's box. His receiving skills have a long way to go to become passable. He has slightly above-average arm strength, but his footwork affects his accuracy, and he takes too long to unload the ball. He is an upright hitter whose grooved swing features an arm bar. He swings and misses too often, and scouts consider him a guess hitter. He does flash promising raw power.

The raw tools are there for a productive, useful player, but he's got a long way to go to realize them. And as much as I joke about his twitter account, the fact that two months into his professional baseball career he was publicly wondering if he even liked baseball anymore raises some fairly serious makeup questions.

Outlook

Alamo will almost certainly start 2014 back in short-season ball, and will have to show some serious want to get much further beyond that. The raw power he displays should earn him a decent number of chances, but the hit tool will have to improve to get to it, as will the receiving skills. He doesn't have the natural baseball instincts that would allow him to coast without a ton of hard work and passion for what he's doing, so if he doesn't really commit to improving his game, I could see him washing out surprisingly quick.

All in all, I wouldn't expect Alamo to have a major-league future. His carrying tool is power, with not much else to support it, and his natural swing is quirky enough where I'm not sure how far he could refine it. If he can improve defensively and become an acceptable catcher, and the hit tool becomes passable, he could have a ceiling as a competent backup on a major-league team somewhere, but I have a hard time imagining him becoming much more.

2013 Cubs Prospect Reviews

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