Prospect Files: Oswaldo Navarro

A name most Mariners fans know little about is that of shortstop Oswaldo Navarro. Only 18-years-old while playing at Low-A Everett in 2003, the youngster made a name for himself with his excellent glovework and caught the eye of AquaSox manager Pedro Grifol in the process.

Position: SS
Born: October 2, 1984
Place: Maracay, Venezuela
Height: 6-0
Weight: 170
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent by Mariners in 2001

Oswaldo Navarro is a prospect that slipped under the radar last season, his first in America, as the starting shortstop on the Low-A Everett AquaSox. The reasoning behind this could stem from several factors.

First of all, Navarro has a tendency to be overshadowed by several of the organization's other, more high-profile shortstop prospects, namely Jose Lopez (AA-San Antonio), Luis Ugueto (AA-San Antonio) and first-round draftees Michael Garciaparra (A-Wisconsin) and Adam Jones (R-Peoria, A-Everett). Secondly, the 19-year-old has put himself on the prospect map not with a hot bat, but with a steady glove that already appears close to major league caliber.

"With his defense, his knowledge of the game and his hand-eye coordination, he brings a good package to the table," Everett manager Pedro Grifol told recently. "He's a guy that could make it to the big leagues just because of his defense, in my opinion."

Navarro batted .261 in the 2002 Venezuelan Summer League before joining the AquaSox in 2003 in the tough Northwest League, a league filled with experienced athletes that played in college. In his first year in Everett, Navarro hit .258 in 233 at bats and showed little pop in the bat with a slugging percentage of .318, but more important was the fact that he showed improvement over the course of the season.

"He's going to hit," said Grifol. "He just needs to experience some more at bats."

The AquaSox manager said that while Navarro struggled with the breaking pitches, not uncommon for players of his age, the young shortstop showed a tremendous ability to handle the fastball and put the ball in play.

"His bat really surprised me," said Grifol. "The biggest thing with him was that when he swung the bat he didn't miss. He doesn't miss fastballs very often. He is going to be a run scorer."

When on base, Navarro makes up for a lack of excellent speed with good instincts and an ability to understand when to attempt to steal. This, like all the areas of his game, will improve as he moves through the Mariners' system.

Grifol couldn't have been more impressed with what he saw out of Navarro in 2003.

"He came to play ever day," said the AquaSox manager "I'm looking for him to do some good things in this organization."

Tools: Grading Scale

Stick: 40+ Only 18-years-old this past season, Navarro improved as the season went on, consistently making contact. Due to his ability to hit the fastball and put the ball in play, he projects as a No. 2 or No. 9 batter in the lineup.

Glove: 70 Defensively, Navarro is at a level few others showed in the Northwest League in 2003. While playing the toughest position on the diamond on fields that weren't the caliber of the ones you see in the big leagues, he had 14 errors but looked like a man among boys with his range, throwing accuracy and smooth nature in the field. If he makes it to the big leagues some day, it will be largely due to his steady glove-work in the field.

Wheels: 60 Navarro projects as a guy that will steal 10-15 bases at the major league level, having swiped 16 in 19 attempts with the AquaSox in 2003, his first professional season in America.

MLB ETA: 2007

Seattle Clubhouse Top Stories