Darlyn Mota, Infielder
HT : 6'1
WT : 165
DOB : August 2, 1996 (19) in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
Throws : Right
Bats : Switch
School : N/A
Acquired : Signed by Domingo Garcia/Roman Ocumarez as International Free Agent, December 19, 2012
Last Year's Ranking : Not Ranked
Kicking off this year's Top 100 Angels' Prospects Countdown is a teenage infielder who has yet to see time in the states. Darlyn Mota is one of the hidden treasures in the Los Angeles Angels farm system, but is still far away from reaching his full potential at only 19. With help, Mota could find his way into a leadoff role at an affiliate near you in the coming years.
Mota profiles as a leadoff hitter moving forward. While most international players are known for their aggressive style, Mota has been coached with natural patience to take pitches and find his pitch. This is advanced knowledge for a young player, giving him a slightly better approach than most in his capacity.
Mota's walk rates have dropped, as well as his strikeout rates over the years, which is primarily due to consistent contact and solid swing path through the strike zone. There is limited power, but that should come as his body fills out. Mota also has quick wrists, and can extend his hands while swinging through the zone to pick up more needed contact.
The teenage foreign prospect has good speed, with his initial burst (acceleration) as the key quality to his speed. He must find a new approach in base running, finding a better timing against more advanced pitching to drop his caught stealing rate.
Defensively, Mota is still a work in progress, but is advanced for the mark of his career. He has a strong arm, but it may not hold up at shortstop, which could mean a move to second base. He also needs to learn better foot work while in the field to use his acceleration better, which will help his range.
Scouting Report from Kevin Jimenez - Contributor for Scout.com, and Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com
Mota's debut with the Angels Dominican Summer League affiliate didn't come with much flair, but he did shine in getting on base. He finished 2013 with a .195/.322/.221 slash, with just four doubles in 184 plate appearances. His low batting average came from a slow start, where he hit just .167 in his first 25 games. He did finish out the season batting .224 over his final 21 games, while reaching base in 28 of 88 plate appearances (.322 OBP)
Numbers did increase in 2014 for Mota, but not by a lot, as he finished the season slashing .218/.347/.290. That on-base percentage was a large part of his success however as a 17-year-old with patience. Mota walked in 13.8% of his plate appearances, and cut his strike out rates by five percent from the previous year.
Last season was Mota's break out season, as he not only jumped in nearly all numbers, but was a leader for multiple statistics for the Dominican affiliate. Mota finished the season with a .286/.370/.381 slash with 10 doubles. Mota spent most of his time as a leadoff hitter and saw his walk rate fall, but also his strikeout rate. Mota also had 15 of his 56 games go for multi-hit games, which included six straight in mid August, where he went 15-for-27 with three extra-base hits.
Mota's growth on and off the field would indicate he's ready for a move stateside, where he should play with the Arizona Summer League affiliate for the Angels in 2016. Whether he'll remain at leadoff is to be questioned, as well as to if he'll remain at shortstop.
There is no ceiling or floor with Mota because it's near impossible to judge international players who aren't "top prospects." Mota could possibly fill in to his body and add some power, putting him in a scenario of utility infielder that could bat leadoff in the minors. As for a Major League projection, it's just not there yet.
For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.
Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.