2005 GCL Nationals Position Prospect Review

CapitolDugout.com looks at the peripherals stats of the Gulf Coast League Nationals' hitters to project development and even give an early forecast where they might be playing in 2006. We'll examine the guys who played a majority of the season with the GCL Nationals, those who had a minimum of 85 at-bats with the team and did not collect more than 75 at-bats with any other team.

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Jean Alvarez - SS

Signed as an International free agent back in February of 2004, Alvarez spent the 2004 season with the Dominican Summer League Expos before making his debut on U.S. soil with the Gulf Coast League Nationals this past season. He hit just .157 with the DSL Expos but posted a remarkable .345 on-base percentage on the strength of 47 walks in just 213 plate appearances.

Don't let the .183 batting average fool you. Alvarez has an advanced batting eye at the plate, especially for an 18-year old in his first year of professional baseball. At 6'2" and an athletic 185 pounds, Alvarez also has a nice power stroke. That's not a misprint below. 58.8% of his hits with the GCL Nationals went for extra bases, which is way above the normal 30% for most prospects. His combination of patience at the plate and power to the gaps will serve him well as he matures. He has an outside chance of breaking Spring Training with the Savannah Sand Gnats next season.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.183

.315

.333

.125

.139

58.8

93



Jonathan Castro - 2B

Castro is another product of the Expos Dominican Summer League team. Signed as a free agent back in June of 2003, Castro spent two seasons with the DSL Expos before making his debut in the United States with the GCL Nationals this past season. Like Alvarez, Castro displayed a good eye at the plate. He hit .282 with 23 stolen bases for the DSL Expos in 2004, drawing 18 walks in 55 games.

Castro also showed a good combination of power and patience at the plate with the GCL Nationals this past season, and while his .269 batting average seemed monumentally better than that of Jean Alvarez, Castro was 21 years old playing in rookie ball. The good news for Castro is that there isn't much blocking his chances of breaking Spring Training with the Savannah Sand Gnats next season, barring injury or a position change by another player.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.269

.338

.360

.159

.079

30.0

186



Ryan Delaughter - OF

Drafted in the 5th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of Billy Ryan High School in Denton, Texas, Delaughter was a high school teammate of Yankees' outfield prospect Austin Jackson. DeLaughter was both a pitcher and an outfielder in high school, while also playing football as well.

Delaughter is an intriguing power prospect and nothing he did with the GCL Nationals in his professional debut this past season tells otherwise. He was productive with runners in scoring position, a good sign for a young slugger. If there's one concerning stat from his peripherals, it would be his walk ratio. He's going to have to learn to draw a few more walks and force the pitchers to give him the pitches he's looking for as he continues to develop. His .046 walk ratio was below the league average. Still, Delaughter should be in the Savannah starting outfield once the 2006 season rolls around.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.248

.304

.432

.294

.046

32.3

125



Johan Figuereo - 3B

Signed as an International free agent out of the Dominican Republic, the 19-year old Figuereo did not play a professional baseball game until making his debut with the GCL Nationals on June 24th of this past season. It was an inauspicious debut for Figuereo however. He put up solid, albeit pedestrian numbers while playing a power position like third base. He's going to have to show more power and production with runners in scoring position down the road to stay at his current position. Figuereo has a tough road ahead of him too with the likes of Leonard Davis ahead of him at the third base depth chart. Chances are Figuereo will get some more seasoning in Extended Spring Training before breaking camp with the Vermont Expos in 2006.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.259

.321

.345

.235

.070

24.4

174



Francisco Guzman - OF

Guzman is yet another product of the Dominican Summer League Expos. Signed as a free agent back in 2003, Guzman hit a combined .286 with 6 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 108 games in the Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut with the GCL Nationals this past season.

He is very much like Vladmir Guerrero of the Angels in that he's a guy that will swing at everything, but make good contact. While he does have good power, he was a little old for the Gulf Coast League this past season at 21 years old. It will be interesting to see if his dreadful walk ratios will hurt him as he continues to climb the minor league ladder. Even with the likes of Dee Brown and Francisco Plasencia seemingly ticketed for Savannah next season, the Nationals will find it hard not to challenge Guzman in the South Atlantic League as well in 2006.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

A

Vermont

.469

.485

.719

.600

.000

26.7

32

R

Gulf Coast

.344

.393

.519

.279

.031

24.5

154



Melvin Mancebo - OF

Signed as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic back in 2003, Mancebo found himself back in the Gulf Coast League this past season despite solid numbers a year ago. He hit .291 with 4 home runs while playing catcher for the GCL Expos in 2004 and even hit a home run in his only game with the Savannah Sand Gnats.

Mancebo, like Guzman, is not one of the more patient hitters. He's a true hacker with good power to all fields. The speculation is he was moved from behind the plate to the outfield to help preserve his bat. And like Guzman, Mancebo was a little old for the Gulf Coast League this past season. He turned 22 years old in September and he'll need to fight for playing time in the outfield with others ahead of him on the depth chart. Mancebo has a shot as a reserve outfielder with Savannah out of Spring Training next season, but the smarter money says he'll get a chance to showcase his skills with the Vermont Expos once the short-season leagues open up.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.273

.304

.443

.222

.033

37.5

88



Jonathan Martinez - SS

Signed by the Nationals out of the Dominican Republic, Martinez made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Nationals this past season. Martinez is an extremely patient hitter with little or no power at the middle infield position. At 20 years old this past season, Martinez showed he can be very selective at the plate, boasting a team-high .173 walk ratio with 26 walks and just 22 strikeouts. However, his lack of power could be a hindrance for him as he progresses through the farm system. He'll be fighting with Jean Alvarez and Jose Contreras for playing time with Savannah next season, meaning he could be on the outside looking in.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.194

.331

.234

.156

.173

16.7

124



Cristian Ogando - OF

Ogando played more than half the Gulf Coast League season as an 18-year outfielder for the Nationals. The good news was he was one of the more productive players on the team with runners in scoring position, hitting .308 in those situations this past season. And while he displayed a good walk ratio, his lack of power while playing outfield is a little concerning. A 25% extra-base hit ratio is considered average at the rookie level. But 10%, especially from an outfielder, is quite disappointing. He does have youth on his side but he most likely didn't do enough to warrant serious consideration for breaking Spring Training in a long-season league next season. Ogando will most likely receive some more coaching in Extended Spring Training before getting his feet wet against older competition with the Vermont Expos.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.294

.360

.331

.308

.081

10.0

136



Timothy Pahuta - 1B

Selected in the 18th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of Seton Hall University, Pahuta's peripheral numbers were very good, although expected from a player of his age and experience in rookie ball. His walk ratio and extra-base hit percentages were above average, especially for a middle infielder. He was one of the more productive players with runners in scoring position for the GCL Nationals too and he'll most likely battle John Howell from Vermont for playing time with Savannah next season. Pahuta is going to have to make more contact however, especially playing a run producing position like first base. As a late round draft pick, he's going to have to produce at the higher levels to open some eyes in the organization.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.233

.325

.376

.293

.113

35.5

133



Brian Peacock - C

Drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 39th round of the 2004 MLB Draft, Peacock made his professional debut with the GCL Nationals this past season. He had decent power numbers for a catcher, but his overall performance wasn't enough to distinguish himself as the outright starting catcher for Savannah next season. Peacock should be in the mix however, and at 21 years old, will need to start posting some numbers in a hurry.

Level

Team

AVG.

OBP%

SLG%

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.219

.296

.294

.209

.070

25.7

160



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