Scouting Yankees Prospect #41: Anderson Feliz

Feliz has a sky-high ceiling

The Yankees signed Anderson Feliz out of the Dominican Republic for a reported $750,000 as part of their 'July 2nd' signing group in 2008. The switch-hitter has shown some amazing talents both offensively and defensively since that time, and is still considered one of the true high ceiling prospects in the organization despite missing a ton of time in 2012 with an array of injuries.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Anderson Feliz
Position: Second Base
DOB: May 11, 1992
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

He played in just 45 games over two minor league levels in 2012 after pulling his right hamstring, breaking the middle finger on his throwing hand, and then dealing with elbow inflammation later in the year.

"Obviously I don't feel good that everything happened at once because I had some goals to meet this year and the injuries didn't let me get to those goals," Feliz said through the help of a translator.

"I do feel like it was a lost year because I couldn't mature as a player and as a person, my body. I couldn't give it my best."

It was a rather small sample size, amassing just 140 at-bats between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa, but Feliz finished the year hitting .279 with 14 extra-base hits and eleven stolen bases in 45 games played -- not bad considering he was never really healthy at any point during the year.

"Since the beginning of the year I was playing hurt," he admitted. "I wanted to keep playing and stay in the lineup. I tried to battle that but I was just hurt so many times over the season.

"I feel a lot better now. I have a rhythm going on right now. I'm getting stronger and getting all of those injuries in the past. With the rhythm I have going on now I think I'll be ready to go."

Despite his injuries in 2012, Feliz has gotten physically stronger over the years and if there's one positive from his injury-riddled season it was how it forced him to grow up in so many ways, and that's a good sign of things to come down the road.

"I feel like I'm mentally stronger now. I don't think I'm going to be the same player next year that I was [in 2011], I think I'm going to be better," he said.

It remains to be seen just how good Feliz could be down the road and for now everyone seems to be taking a cautiously optimistic approach to what he might develop into once he's fully healthy again.

"One guy that intrigues the heck out of me is this Feliz kid," one National League scout said. "He seems to handle second base pretty well and he's got one of the prettiest swings you'll see from a young switch-hitter. I like his chances [to contribute] if he can stay healthy."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2012 Tampa .239 67 5 0 4 7 5 12 19 .350 .343
2012 Charleston .315 73 6 1 11 12 6 9 23 .398 .466
2011 Charleston .217 438 27 6 39 55 16 52 129 .305 .333
2010 Tampa .280 25 1 1 4 6 2 3 9 .357 .440
2010 GCL Yankees .273 198 9 4 27 33 11 15 44 .324 .439
2009 DSL Yankees2 .254 142 5 1 16 35 7 21 36 .354 .352


Batting and Power. What makes Feliz such a tantalizing young prospect is his ability to have a consistent swing path from both sides of the plate at such a young age, and that has become a recent development over the past year or so. A natural right-handed batter, he has really turned himself into an impact hitter from the left side, one who hits the ball with authority to all fields. His bat speed is truly plus and he gets good torque in his swing, giving him average power overall and above average power potential for a middle infielder. While he is prone to swinging and missing a bit too much, he employs a patient approach at the plate and his pitch recognition is becoming solid, suggesting he could be a good hitter for average down the road.

Base Running and Speed. Feliz is a much faster natural runner than his modest stolen base numbers would suggest and it's because he hasn't become too confident picking his spots and letting loose in the running game. He has the potential be a 30-plus stolen base threat each year once he gets on base more frequently and picks up his aggressiveness.

Defense. The former shortstop has really turned himself into one of the better defensive second baseman around. He has plus arm strength for the position, shows good range laterally, and soft hands. He still has double-play pivot issues from time to time but those should be ironed out as he gains more experience. He has long-term Gold Glove caliber potential.

Projection. Feliz really hasn't come close to scratching the surface of his true talent just yet. A quick-twitch hitter from both side of the plate with an ability to impact the baseball, he has plus speed, plus defensive abilities, and one of the prettiest swings around. A little more strike zone discipline is needed to take his game to the next level but the foundation is in place to be a consistent hitter someday. It remains to be seen if the power will materialize in the same manner, but swing-wise and defensively there are some legitimate Robinson Cano-like similarities -- he just needs to develop the same kind of confidence in his game. A little more swagger mentally could go a very long way.

ETA. 2015. Feliz missed enough time in 2012 that he really could use some more A-ball at-bats in 2013, but the problem is he has some talented second base prospects coming up behind him in the form of Angelo Gumbs and Rob Refsnyder. He should begin the year in high-A Tampa and might be ticketed for a quick promotion to Double-A should be get off to a strong start in the Florida State League.

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