Scouting Mets' Prospect # 5: Ambiorix Concepcion

The New York Mets signed Ambiorix Concepcion as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Concepcion broke on to the prospect scene in 2004 with the Cyclones while drawing numerous comparisons to Vladmir Guerrero. Ranking #5 among our Top 50 Mets' Prospects, here's a scouting report on Ambiorix Concepcion.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Ambiorix Concepcion
Position: Right Field
DOB: October 15, 1983
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

OK, so the Mets passed on Vladimir Guerrero after the 2003 season, spooked by concerns about the All-Star's bad back.

That came back to bite the organization in a big way when Guerrero had an MVP season for the Anaheim Angels. The Vladimir ship has sailed, of course, but Mets fans can take solace in the fact that the organization currently has not one, but two, power-hitting right fielders who are already drawing comparisons to Guerrero – No. 5 prospect Ambiorix Concepcion and No. 8 prospect Carlos Gomez.

The higher-ranking of the pair, Ambiorix Concepcion, is still two to three years away from stepping into Darryl Strawberry's old digs at Shea Stadium. However, he's well on his way up the ladder, having established himself as probably the greatest player to wear a Brooklyn Cyclones uniform in the club's short existence. Last year, Concepcion very nearly brought the Cyclones' Triple Crown home, batting .305 with eight home runs, 46 RBI (a club record) and 28 stolen bases in just 259 at-bats – numbers that become all the more impressive when you consider that Brooklyn plays in a short-season league.

"He's just like Vladimir Guerrero in one respect," one National League scout said. "He has a good eye at the plate but will swing at just about anything, but still manages to hit a ball he has no business hitting. There's little room for error when pitching to that guy." A non-drafted free agent who signed with the Mets in 2001 out of Victor Garillo Puello High School in Santo Domingo, D.R., Concepcion played his first two professional seasons under the name Roberto Solano.

His debut season with Kingsport in 2002 was a success, as he hit .276 with four homers and 31 RBI in 57 games, but he slumped badly in 2003 due to personal issues and hit just .214. No matter, however, as Concepcion – by now, known by his real name – rebounded last season to imprint his name on the Mets organizational radar in a big way. For those who had been watching the five-tool talent over the last few years, Concepcion's emergence into a top-notch stud at Brooklyn wasn't anything of a surprise.

"When we played together at Kingsport, he's the one guy I thought would play in the big leagues for sure," No. 6 prospect Jamar Hill said. "[He's] somebody with a really high ceiling." "Concepcion can turn it on at any time," adds No. 33 prospect Mike Carp. "I mean, really, he's 21 years old and on the 40-man roster already. You know he's special."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2004

Brooklyn

.305

259

79

8

46

38

28

13

54

.338

.475

2003

Kingsport

.214

168

36

0

19

22

10

9

35

.256

.298

2002

Kingsport

.276

228

63

4

31

25

6

7

51

.302

.421


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Batting and Power. The name of Concepcion's offensive game is his raw power. A very aggressive hitter that will strike out a tad too much at times, Concepcion does not get cheated at the plate and is looking to drive every pitch. He's not looking to take a walk and the opposing pitchers realize that. Once Concepcion learns to work deeper counts and improve his pitch recognition, he'll be a huge offensive force, even more than he was in 2004. He is a big time run producer and will be so for many years.

Base Running and Speed. Not only does Concepcion have raw power, but he has raw speed. He has a long way to go to refine his speed game on the base paths, getting thrown out 11 times in 39 attempts in the NY-Penn League last season. He is one the fastest players in the farm system.

Defense. Concepcion has drawn the Vladmir Guerrero comparison not only for his power and speed, but because he has a fantastic arm in the outfield. It would be a toss up who has the better arm between Carlos Gomez and Ambiorix Concepcion, but the bottom line is he can gun out just about anybody at the plate. He grew up playing centerfield a with his tremendous speed he can cover a lot of ground out in right field. Defensively, Concepcion projects to be an above average right fielder.

Projection. Concepcion possesses some of the best raw skills in the Mets' system and is one of the more intriguing power-speed combos. The sky is the limit for this young man blessed with 30-30 potential. The one question mark is how will he respond to the pitching at the higher levels. If Concepcion can improve his plate patience and show pitchers he is willing to let them walk him, he'll be giant among men. Even if he struggles with the batting average at the higher levels, Concepcion's plus skills in all the other areas could still make him a very good Major Leaguer down the road.

ETA. 2008. Concepcion does have Vlad-type ability across the board. The skills sets are in place and now Concepcion just needs to prove it to himself and the pundits that he can produce at any level. The problem the Mets are running into is that they have three legitimate right field prospects that all played at low-A ball or lower and have thus created a logjam. Concepcion, who just turned 21 years old in October, is going to have to be challenged and could skip a level up to St. Lucie in 2005.

Outfielders

2004 Team

Victor Diaz

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Prentice Redman

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Jeff Duncan

AA - Binghamton Mets

Angel Pagan AA - Binghamton Mets
Wayne Lydon AA - Binghamton Mets
Ron Acuna AA - Binghamton Mets
Bobby Malek AA - Binghamton Mets
Alhaji Turay A - St. Lucie Mets
Jonathan Slack A - St. Lucie Mets
Joseph Jiannetti A - St. Lucie Mets
Lastings Milledge A - Capital City Bombers
Jamar Hill A - Capital City Bombers
Ryan Harvey A - Capital City Bombers
Rashad Parker A - Capital City Bombers
Caleb Stewart A - Capital City Bombers
Ambiorix Concepcion A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Corey Coles A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Dante Brinkley A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Derran Watts A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Seith Pietsch R - Kingsport Mets
Carlos Gomez R - Kingsport Mets
Joshua Wyrick R - Kingsport Mets
Jesus Gamero R - Kingsport Mets


Comments

Two years ago, the Mets were really devoid of any real threat in the outfield among their prospects. They currently have a handful of legitimate outfield prospects, players that could become full-time starters at the Major League level. While Victor Diaz and Prentice Redman are the closest to the Major Leagues, Lastings Milledge, Jamar Hill, and Ambiorix Concepcion give the Mets a very athletic look in the future. The Mets could have a very, very good outfield down the road.

1) Victor Diaz - AAA-Norfolk Tides - Diaz, making the switch from second base to right field in 2004, looked pretty comfortable in the field and at the plate. There's never been a question about his bat (he has won two minor league battle titles), just his attitude and defense. It will be interesting to see if the Mets make the commitment to Diaz in their outfield after a very good AAA debut in 2004, or use him as a trading piece for an established Major League talent.

2) Prentice Redman - AAA-Norfolk Tides - Redman does a little bit of everything well. He can run, hit, hit for power, and possesses speed. The problem is he doesn't any one of them very well. His future at the Major League level is as a reserve outfielder.

3) Jeff Duncan - AA-Binghamton Mets - Once patrolling centerfield for the Mets, Duncan was demoted all the way down to AA this past season. With Cameron tied up for the next two seasons, and with Milledge right behind him (or ahead of him in many ways), Duncan needs a change of scenery with a new organization.

4) Angel Pagan - AA-Binghamton Mets - Pagan is developing into a very good reserve-type outfielder that can play all three outfield positions and can hit at the top or bottom of the lineup. He make very good contact at the plate, has excellent speed, a good arm, and brings good enthusiasm into the clubhouse.

5) Wayne Lydon - AA -Binghamton Mets - Lydon is all about the speed. With 227 stolen bases the last three seasons, Lydon's a light-hitting defensive player that has a knack for the stolen bases. His ticket to the Majors is as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner.

6) Bobby Malek - AA-Binghamton Mets - There's a reason the Mets made Malek their 4th round selection in the 2002 draft. Malek is a very good defensive player that possesses a rare combination of power and speed. After struggling last season after elbow surgery, Malek regained his college form in 2004, hitting 14 home runs and stealing 15 bases. Malek still has the potential to be a starting outfielder at the Major League level. 2005 could be a breakout year for Malek.

7) Ronald Acuna - AA - Binghamton Mets - A very good contact hitter and excellent defensive player, Acuna's lack of power is his downfall as a prospect. He has just 5 HRs in his last 1,441 minor league at-bats. He's a 4th or 5th outfielder at the Major League level.

8) Joseph Jiannetti - A-St. Lucie Mets - Originally drafted as a 3B, the Mets moved him to 2B back in 2002 and then moved him to the outfield in 2004. Jiannetti is a nice hitter with decent pop. He's got the potential to be a reserve outfielder or as a possible utility player.

9) Jonathan Slack - A-St. Lucie Mets - Slack is a good defensive centerfielder much in the same mold as Lydon. Good defensively, decent hitter, great speed, and not much power. He's got the look of a possible reserve outfielder.

10) Alhaji Turay - A - St. Lucie Mets - The talent is there. A good defensive player, Turay has big time power potential and excellent speed. He has 30-30 potential and is easily one of the Mets' best run producing prospects....WHEN HEALTHY! Turay has to put together a full, healthy season before he becomes an elite prospect, but he does have that kind of talent.

11) Jamar Hill - A - Capital City Bombers - Hill, with 26 HRs & 20 SBs in 2004, had a breakout season this past year and showing the promise he displayed in Kingsport back in 2002. If he can duplicate the same success at St. Lucie in 2005, Hill could make that leap into one of the better outfield prospects in all of baseball.

12) Lastings Milledge - A- Capital City Bombers - Already considered the Mets' top prospect after the Mets trade Scott Kazmir, Milledge had a very good first year of long-season baseball. Milledge does it all: power, speed, defense, hitting, etc. He strikes out a bit too much, but could learn more selectivity as he matures. Easily the top outfield prospect for the Mets!

13) Ryan Harvey - A - Capital City Bombers - Harvey certainly gets overlooked by many despite being a very solid outfielder. Harvey, the Bombers' lone All-Star in '04, does a little bit of everything. Currently, he has the look of a reserve outfielder at the Major League level but he could be a late bloomer much in the same manner Jason Bay was. He's one to keep an eye on.

14) Rashad Parker - A - Capital City Bombers - Parker's a defensive and speed replacement at the minor league level. There's no reason to expect anything else.

15) Caleb Stewart - A - Capital City Bombers - Stewart is a big kid that moves very well. He has a very good batting eye and decent power. He could develop into a Major League starting outfielder down the road.

16) Ambiorix Concepcion - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - The player formerly known as Roberto Solano, Concepcion is a five-tool talent that has the raw ability to be an elite outfield prospect for the Mets. Voted by Baseball America as the top prospect in the NY-Penn League this year, Concepcion reminds scouts of Vladmir Guerrero at the same point in development.

17) Corey Coles - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Coles had a tremendous start to the 2004 season for Brooklyn and then had a disasterous finish. At 23, he's going to have to have some success at higher levels before we get too excited about him.

18) Dante Brinkley - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Brinkley is a nice player that can do a little bit of everything. He has the look of a future reserve outfielder.

19) Derran Watts - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Has more speed than Brinkley, a better arm, and is better defensively. But has a long way to go to become legit outfield prospect.

20) Carlos Gomez - R - Kingsport Mets - Gomez was a wide-eyed 18-year old kid playing rookie ball this past season, but has the raw talent to be a special prospect. He's got a cannon for an arm, good batting eye, and developing power. He could be atop this list next year along with Lastings Milledge and Jamar Hill as the Mets' best outfield prospects.

21) Seth Pietsch - R - Kingsport Mets - A little old for the Appy League, Pietsch is a strong kid with good power and speed. He needs to show some success at the higher levels.

22) Joshua Wyrick - R - Kingsport Mets - Wyrick, an 11th round pick in the 2004 draft, had a decent professional debut. He's a speedster with great range.

23) Jesus Gamero - R - Kingsport Mets - Has an excellent batting eye and developing power.

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