Prospect Profile: Ramon Alvarado, OF

Over the years, the Oakland A's have reaped a lot of talent from their Dominican Baseball Academy. Currently, two of the A's top ten prospects – Javier Herrera and Jairo Garcia – are products of that academy. This season, another prospect from the academy debuted on American soil to rave reviews. Ramon Alvarado's explosive bat and strong defensive skills make him a prime candidate to join Herrera and Garcia soon in the ranks of the A's most elite prospects.

Ramon Alvarado, OF, 6'1'', 190

Year

Team

Lg

Age

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

BB

K

XBH

2002

DSL A's

DSL

17

.276

.378

.387

163

45

9

3

1

17

22

13

2003

DSL A's

DSL

18

.242

.314

.326

132

32

5

0

2

11

22

7

2004

DSL A's

DSL

19

.303

.379

.410

195

59

12

3

1

17

27

16

2005

AZ A's

RK

20

.296

.412

.503

169

50

11

3

6

23

36

20



Alvarado, like fellow Venezuelan countryman Javier Herrera, does pretty much everything well. The young corner outfielder hits for average, has a good sense of the strike zone (especially for a 20-year old), has good power to all fields and has above-average speed. Alvarado's debut in the US was a special one, as he went 2-4 with a homer. That strong start propelled him to an outstanding offensive season for the A's Rookie League team, as he led the team in batting average, homeruns, doubles, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, total bases and runs scored. He also played solid defense for the Rookie A's, committing only two errors in the corner outfield positions. A quadriceps injury hampered Alvarado during the last month of the season, dropping his average from .321 to .296, but he otherwise was the team's offensive MVP.

Alvarado made impressive strides in his game in 2005. During his three-year stint with the A's Dominican Summer League team, Alvarado showed a solid ability to get on-base consistently, but didn't show a tremendous amount of power. However, in his American debut, Alvarado improved on that on-base ability and added surprising power both into the gaps and over the fence. He also improved his base-stealing abilities, upping his career-high in stolen bases from four to nine and improving his stolen base percentage from 50% to 69%.

The 20-year old thrived in the clean-up spot in the A's Rookie League team's batting order, hitting .303 with four homers in 142 at-bats. He was also at his best when he was leading off an inning, hitting .340 with three homers. Despite being a right-handed hitter, Alvarado destroyed right-handed pitching by hitting .317 and struggled against left-handed pitching, batting only .250. He did steal bases off lefties at a better clip (5/6 as opposed to 4/7 against righties). Alvarado hit well with runners in scoring position (.291), but struggled with runners in scoring position and two outs (.231), which is not surprising for a young hitter. Alvarado's best month was July, which was the month in which he received the most at-bats and was at his healthiest. In 22 games, Alvarado batted .351 with four of his six homers, 17 runs batted in and six stolen bases.

Outlook

Alvarado is still a very young player with a lot of growing to do with his game. He already has above-average plate patience, although he could stand to cut down on his strike outs. He has a short, powerful swing and is capable of hitting to the opposite field, as well as turning on a pitch. This ability should translate into high batting averages for Alvarado as he progresses in his career. He doesn't have Herrera's pure speed or explosive power, but he is above-average in both of these categories and could turn into a 20-20 player down the road. He has a good throwing arm and covered a lot of ground in left and right-field for the A's Rookie League team. He will likely never be a centerfielder, but he could be an above-average left or right-fielder in the Jermaine Dye-mold.

Alvarado showed enough in the short-season that he will likely get a chance to debut in a full-season league next year, most likely in the Midwest League with the Kane County Cougars. He won't turn 21 until June, so the A's will have no need to rush him through the system. Alvarado joins Herrera, Travis Buck and Richie Robnett as exciting outfield prospects under the age of 23. The A's have had a tough time developing top-flight outfielders over the past ten years, but these four could break that trend for Oakland in the near future.


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