Prospect Countdown #6 : Roberto Baldoquin

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #6 : Shortstop, Roberto Baldoquin (photo : Jerry Espinoza)

Roberto Baldoquin, Shortstop

HT : 5'11
WT : 199
DOB : May 14, 1994 (21), Cuba
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : N/A
Acquired : Signed as International Free Agent, December 19, 2014
Last Year's Ranking : #4


The Los Angeles Angels haven't spent much when it comes to the foreign market, but they did make a big splash and investment in Cuban infielder, Roberto Baldoquin. Eight million dollars later, the Angels have yet to see any reward from their spendings, as the Cuban defector hasn't been able to see health on his side, or be able to use any of his toolset. The Angels still have high expectations for their biggest international spending in nearly a decade, and the upcoming season will be a large mark to see if his success will carry to a future Major League career.


SCOUTING REPORT:

The first thing that has to be noted for Baldoquin is that he's very new to America and is still learning the culture of both baseball and real life scenarios. When he goes to restaurants, he doesn't know what to order because the items on the menu are new. The English he does speak is still quite foreign and is mostly lingo that is said in the field and in the dugout. As he grows and adapts to the culture a little more, he'll find more comfortability, which will translate to the field.

His toolset is still quite raw. He has a nice, line-drive stroke, that turns into a bit of a wheelhouse swing. His bat does stay through the strike zone throughout most of his swing, and he made adjustments late in the season to utilize his swing to a stronger advantage. He now stands taller in the box, loading with a small leg kick, and takes his stride as the ball comes to the plate. There was a small hitch at the top of his load that was corrected, and took away a bit of the wheelhouse marks, and allowed him to catch up to higher velocities and adjust to off-speed pitches.

Baldoquin is still very aggressive at the plate, and has yet to show any discipline at the professional level. There were signs forward near the end of the past season, where he became more knowledgeable to what pitch would be thrown his way in certain counts. There's still a lot of refining to be done as he matures as a player, and may never be a player who draws even an average load of walks at the plate.

Defensively, Baldoquin took many steps forward early. He worked with former Major League infielder, Denny Hocking, who was his manager throughout the course of his last campaign, and found a way to set his feet properly and take away any errant throws. He has a strong and accurate arm, which should keep him at shortstop, along with good range to each side. He has a quick transfer from glove-to-hand, and his soft hands make him an above-average fielder, even at shortstop.

Baldoquin has a strong frame, and is athletic enough to show signs of being healthy for an entire season. That has not been the case, as a strained lat took him out for nearly a quarter of the season last year, and he's currently battling a minor hamstring tweak. A full season is what's needed for Baldoquin to tap into his full development and become a more polished baseball player.

VIDEO : ieProSports

Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Baldoquin played three years in the Cuban league, and posted very par numbers though out his tenure, hitting .254/.340/.323, with one home run, two doubles and four triples in 85 games.

In his first year as a professional, things got off to a slow start, as he began the year 0-for-17 with nine strikeouts and one walk. Over his first 38 games, he hit just .180 with a .480 OPS, while striking out 44 times in 153 plate appearances, walking six times. Things turned around for the young Cuban over the next 39 games, where he hit .287 with a .635 OPS, scoring 10 times and hitting seven doubles.


EXPECTED FUTURE:

Baldoquin will begin the 2016 season where his professional career starter, High-A Inland Empire. He'll be splitting time at shortstop, with fellow top prospect, David Fletcher. This will give him time off to stay healthy, as well as time at other positions where he can increase his value moving forward. It will likely be another year of finding comfort in his every day life, being close to Anaheim and the Front Office, where they can monitor his progress with ease.

It was expected that Baldoquin would become the shortstop of the future when Erick Aybar became a free agent at the end of the 2017 season. Now, Andrelton Simmons fills that role for the next five years, leaving time for Baldoquin to develop, and likely at a different position. He still has a high floor, and could turn into a utility bench piece, but the Angels still would like to see him be a big part of the future, likely now, at second or third base.



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 Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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