Prospect Countdown #18 : Natanael Delgado

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #18 : Outfielder, Natanael Delgado (photo : Travis Berg)

Natanael Delgado, Outfielder

HT : 6'1
WT : 170
DOB : October 23, 1995 (20), Los Cacaos, Dominican Republic
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : N/A
Acquired : Signed by Roman Ocumarez as International Free Agent, September 12, 2012
Last Year's Ranking : #15

Analyst across the board have been poor on the Los Angeles Angels farm system, primarily for their lack of projectable high ceiling talent. It seems those professionals have forgotten all about Natanael Delgado. Sometimes the word "raw" can mean something very different - projectable. Delgado has something nearly every system desires and the Angels get to reap the blessings from; power from the left-side with all kinds of athletic projectability. He has plenty of time on his side at just 20-years of age, and has already seen some very talented opposing players in his young career.


The biggest mark for Delgado is his bat and how it will play out against top tier talent. Though there's a lot of swing-and-miss to his game, he brings a high amount of power potential with him. He has a loose and easy swing, and gains power from his long limbs and quick wrist, creating very good bat speed. He does a good job of extending his frame to swing through the ball - when he makes contact - with a strong finish to his swing.

Despite his eye for contact, Delgado sometimes tries to do too much. Coaches have helped him find a consistent routine in batting practice which has in turn gone to in-game action, and the results are very promising. The trouble comes from when he falls behind and begins to hack away, which can be big trouble for an aggressive hitter when more advanced pitchers and off-speed pitches come his way. The biggest key to success for Delgado is simplifying and staying simple while in the box.

Delgado should improve drastically with more at bats, using all as a learning experience. He has begun to use his lower half better and create stronger timing to square up the ball instead of forcing contact. This all comes with letting the game come to him, which is a challenge for nearly all young players. When this all comes together, you may see his power numbers rise and his strikeout numbers drop. It will also help with discipline as he learns aggression isn't always the way to go.

Delgado was a late bloomer in his physical growth, getting his "man body" later than most. In the 2012 season, just prior to his signing, his body grew and his true power began to show. He has a lean frame, which should allow muscle to fill out the rest of his frame and power should translate. Mixed with his natural athleticism, and already strong thud behind the ball when he makes contact, you could see double digit home run totals in the future, with upside of being a 20+ home run kind of hitter.

Defensively, Delgado is a liability. He's young and doesn't have a load of time in the field, so there's plenty of time and expectation for improvement. He has a very strong arm (throws in the upper 80's), but has hardly any accuracy behind it, which could derail putting him in right field as opposed to left. He doesn't have much instinct in the field, while taking routes or reading the ball off the bat, but it still remains something that should improve with time in the field. One good note though is that he has long legs and uses them to range well, which at the moment means making up for any mistakes.

With his long legs, and good frame, you'd expect Delgado to have plenty of speed. That's actually not the case. He isn't a slow runner, but is nowhere near being fast. His instincts on the base paths have been his carrying point, which are well above-average. However, it's very unlikely you'll see him steal many bases or get anywhere near double digits in a full season. As he grows and adds muscle, it's more likely he could pick up some moves on the base paths, but he'd still just be a big body to move around.

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Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for


After a year of being a DPL Elite Travel Team member and DPL All-Star appearance in 2012, Delgado signed and headed for Tempe. In his debut professional season as a teen, Delgado hit .271/.311/.422 with 16 doubles, three home runs and 33 RBI in 51 games. Delgado picked up a hot stretch early in the season, hitting .351 with a .906 OPS over a 25-game span in July. Delgado was particularly strong against his own kind, holding a 1.007 OPS against southpaws.

There was no sophomore slump for Delgado in his second year of pro ball, as he finished the year batting .301/.333/.464, but saw his power numbers decrease with just 15 extra-base hits. He started strong once again, batting .346 with a .932 OPS in his first 27 games, along with 21 runs scored.

Last season was Delgado's first full season of pro ball, and it was a tale of two separate seasons. When all was said and done, Delgado finished the year with a .241/.276/.355 slash with 19 doubles, six home runs, 46 RBI and a Midwest League All-Star appearance. The All-Star vote was mostly in part of a first half that saw a .287 average and .742 OPS. However, in his final 46 games, Delgado hit just .178 with a .479 OPS.

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The Angels and Delgado have youth on their side, as Delgado will spend all of next season as a 20-year-old who has already seen a full season in Single-A. With that, Delgado will likely return to Burlington while progressing and polish him out a little more before reevaluating mid-season with a potential call up to High-A.

Delgado is a case where the ceiling is high and floor is low - high risk, high reward. However, Delgado has proven to make enough consistent contact to show signs of polish, and at a young age. There's still plenty of time to turn Delgado into a very good professional player, but he's a pretty good distance away. There's no real ETA to the Majors, or expectancy of what he can provide due to his rawness, but the tools are very entertaining to talk about.

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.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.

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