Top 50 Prospects: #29 - Angel Chavez

Angel Chavez made his major league debut in 2005, but with the signing of Jose Vizcaino, probably won't see much major league time in 2006. His ceiling may not be high, but there's value in him.

Date of Birth: 07/22/1981 Position: SS/2B Height: 6'1" Weight: 195 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 1998
2005 Stats
San Jose - High A .283 .310 .442 .751 120 22 34 2 1 5 19 5 21 4 0
Fresno - AAA .281 .320 .449 .769 334 46 94 17 3 11 64 17 59 5 1
San Francisco - MLB .263 .263 .316 .579 19 1 5 1 0 0 1 0 3 0 0

Listing Angel Chavez amongst Giant prospects isn’t going to excite anyone, but that doesn’t mean he won’t make the majors (as he already has) and can’t make an impact there.

Chavez, 24 years old out of Panama, does not have the most impressive resume. He started 2005 in San Jose, which shouldn’t have been a big surprise. It was his 5th season that he spend time there since being promoted from Low-A Hagerstown back in 2001 as a 20 year old. He was given a shot in 2004 to go to AA Norwich after batting .280/.314/.416 in 2003 at SJ, but after 89 games, he was batting .198 with an OPS under .500 and dealing with injuries, and found himself back in San Jose.

2005 was a better year. Although his hitting wasn’t significantly better than his previous stints in San Jose, he did well enough at the start of the season that after a little over a month, he was promoted all the way to AAA Fresno. He spent most of the summer there, and actually put up small improvements on his numbers rather than suffering with his last attempted promotion above A-Ball. That was enough for him to get his major league debut after the Giants traded Deivi Cruz.

It doesn’t mean the Giants were ready to hand him the job, and his offseason work more or less cost him a chance to be the Giants utility man in 2006. Chavez was actually released by the Mexican League team in Culiacan he was playing on after batting under .200 for most of the winter circuit. The Giants signed Jose Vizcaino to serve as utility man, more or less meaning that Chavez will start the season in Fresno.

That’s not a bad thing. Chavez may not be exciting, but he has a lot of value in his versatility and his a hard worker. More seasoning at AAA in 2006 isn’t going to kill him, and he doesn’t turn 25 until midseason, so he’s hardly too old to break into the bigs.

Chavez’s future looks like he could be the next Ramon Martinez, the former Giants utility man who debuted in 1998 and moved onto the Cubs and then to the Phillies and Tigers in 2005. That’s not a knock on him, as Martinez should be a big leaguer for a long time. Martinez is the better contact hitter, but Chavez shows better power, knocking 16 homers in 119 games between two hitters leagues last year. But it’s the ability to play all over the infield that should keep Chavez employed, and if he doesn’t get another shot in 2006, he should be as ready as he’ll ever be for the bigs by 2007.

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