2013 Cubs Prospects in Review: Yasiel Balaguert

Yasiel Balaguert was signed 12/30/2011 for the tidy sum of $400,000. Born and raised in Cuba, Ben Badler had this to say about him:

Balaguert, who turns 19 on Jan. 9, has modest tools, a strong, thick-bodied frame (6 feet, 190 pounds) that he will have to keep in check and shows occasional average power with a quick bat and good extension. Several scouts have said he'll have to continue to make adjustments to get to his power in games because of a long, uppercut swing from the right side and an aggressive, pull-oriented approach that leaves him susceptible to secondary stuff.

In 2012, he really struggled. I don't read into that too much; it's an adjustment both to American professional baseball and to being away from Cuba. Still, it was a .220/.258/.303 line, which is quite ugly. 

Performance

Balaguert started 2013 in Boise and did pretty well, honestly. He had a .261/.331/.433 line, good for a .764 OPS from RF. That's a wOBA of .361 and a wRC+ of 123; the mark is 10th best in the Northwest League among qualified batters. Consider next that everyone above him was at least 2 years older, and you can see how impressive his young season was.

That's not to say Yasiel didn't show some warts. His walk rate is an acceptable 9.7%, but his strikeout rate was huge (26.0%). That's not sustainable as he progresses through levels, and if Badler's book on Balaguert is correct, polished secondary offerings might bury him before he can climb too high. However, his ISO of .172 at A- is also encouraging; as he fills out (he's 6'2", 215 per FanGraphs), he could get even more power. 

Scouting

The scouting report on Balaguert is very…scarce. Baseball Prospectus has no articles on him. Baseball America hasn't spoken about him since he signed, except passing references to his $400,000 bonus. The video I can find on him is a 24 second batting session that is of such poor video quality as to be not worth watching. It's not really worth dissecting it. 

Outlook

Balaguert should spend most, if not all, of next year in Kane County. He'll man a corner outfield spot, and I'll look to see if he can cut down on his strikeouts. If he can do that, he'll have a good chance to prove the requisite power to play a corner position.

2013 Cubs Prospect Reviews

Quantcast