Wadye Ynfante (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The center fielder has finally reached the US, but will have plenty of competition ahead in his age 20 season.

The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect countdown for 2017 continues with the second selection, a center fielder from the Dominican Republic. Details for TCN members.

http://www.scout.com/player/189891-wadye-ynfante?s=321

2016 rank Pos. DOB Signed Round
BOR CF 08 15 97 2014 IFA

Selected 2016 stats

Tm AVG BABIP AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO SB wOBA OBP SLG OPS
DSL 0.331 0.413 181 51 60 15 1 27 29 40 9 0.435 0.429 0.453 0.882
GCL 0.059 0.077 17 1 1 0 0 0 1 4 0 0.094 0.111 0.059 0.170
Tot 0.308   198 52 61 15 1 27 30 44 9   0.404 0.419 0.823

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (53): During the community vote, Wadye Ynfante finished as the 53rd highest rated player, a slight improvement from his ranking of 55 in the community’s 2016 rankings. CariocaCardinal put him on the table first, ranking him at #40.

Despite lots of chatter about Ynfante in the last few years, his extended stay in the Dominican Summer League kept the board discussion relatively quiet this year. Poster 14NyquisT mentioned that he was surprised that Ynfante wasn’t called up earlier, but that his unproductive stint in the GCL to conclude the season should provide some needed experience. Last year, UncleDenny stated that in conversations he had visiting the GCL back then, that Ynfante was the best prospect the Cardinals had in the DSL. - Jeremy Byrd

 

Derek Shore (50): After playing his last three seasons at the Cardinals academy in the Dominican Republic, Ynfante finally made his official stateside debut late in 2016. That came after he spent the past two seasons tearing up the Dominican Summer League, logging an average of .320 (126-for-393) with 40 extra-base hits and 61 driven in over 98 games.

Ynfante, 19, who was TCN's 2015 DSL Cardinals Player of the Year, opened the year getting quality exposure at the Cardinals extended spring training camp before heading back to his homeland for the regular season. The center fielder evidently made enough of an impression to receive a rare, but long-awaited in-season promotion to the Gulf Coast League on August 23.

14 days later, Ynfante, who had started all three games of the finals against the Phillies, helped the Cardinals lowest U.S. affiliate to its first ever GCL championship sparking the offense via a RBI single.

Ynfante showcased as a shortstop before he signed, but split time between the keystone and left in his first DSL season. The Santiago, Dominican Republic native has a wiry frame with some physical projection left in a 6-foot-0, 160-pound physique and has since transitioned to center field due to his speed. He is said to play a solid defensive CF and will flash power. Scouts like his right-handed bat, especially as he cut down on his strikeouts and showed more patience this past summer.

The $125,000 signee from 2014 has received ample time to assimilate to the U.S. I would not be surprised if he reached Johnson City by the end of 2017 as his free agent clock is ticking entering his age-20 season.

 

Brian Walton (47): To put it mildly, a lot has changed in the last year in the Cardinals international program and at the center field position in the system. However, very little changed in Ynfante’s development. As a result, the 19-year old is losing ground to his competition.

Ynfante had considerable momentum in 2015, as he was not only TCN’s DSL Cardinals Player of the Year, he was a Dominican Summer League All-Star. He earned neither honor in 2016.

The center fielder did score an invitation to extended spring training in Jupiter this spring, but was returned to the DSL. Unlike some others, it was not for a month so he could use that game action as a springboard into the Gulf Coast League, but it turned out to be for almost the entire summer. When he did reach the GCL, he struggled out of the gate, with just a single and a walk in 18 plate appearances.

Ynfante’s extended stay in the DSL this year may have been designed to keep him in the lineup every day. After all, in June, the Cardinals signed first-rounder Dylan Carlson, who roamed in center for the GCL Cards, with fifth-rounder Walker Robbins also playing regularly in the outfield.

In addition, the Cardinals recruited two very high profile Cubans this summer at the same position. 21-year-old Randy Arozarena will likely be far ahead in full-season ball, and 17-year-old Jonatan Machado may pass Ynfante as soon as 2017. The two center fielders signed for a total bonus of over $3.5 million.

And let’s not forget another top center fielder already in the system, Nick Plummer. The Cardinals’ first-rounder in 2015 should be back from an injury-ruined 2016 with Johnson City his likely first stop. Then, there is Magneuris Sierra also at the position, still in Class-A.

Ynfante definitely has supporters in the organization, but it appears that is not universal and perhaps has eroded a bit.

Following the 2015 campaign, he was invited to the organization’s fall instructional league camp, but was passed over this year. Among the center fielders there were Arozarena, Machado, Sierra, Carlson and another 2016 draftee, Vince Jackson. Plummer was on the rehab list, as well.

It is clear than Ynfante has formidable competition in center field at most every level of the system. His 2017 will be crucial to either make his statement or fall off the prospect radar.

TCN Scouting Grade: 3.5, Risk: Extreme (click here to review scales)

 

Our 2017 top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 50 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of them are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation, so join today and don’t miss out!

 

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