While everybody loves to look at offensive numbers, there is still a place in baseball for guys who may not give you much offense, but certainly flash leather in the field. Malquin Canelo is one of those guys who shows the potential to have the defensive part of the game locked up. Offensively, he shows spurts of promise, but is likely to stay basically a big glove, small hit type of player.
Defensively, Canelo can still use a little bit of work, as evidenced by his .948 fielding percentage at Clearwater last season in 124 games. For perspective, the league leader, Daytona's Blake Trahan, had a .974 mark also in 124 games. Canelo continues to work on his defense and has every indication of getting it right and becoming an above average defensive shortstop, so the glove isn't much of a concern. To go with his fielding, Canelo has a good, strong arm, which is good enough to handle anywhere on the infield, should the Phillies decide to move him, which doesn't appear to be in their plans right now.
Now for the offense.
In 2015, it looked like Canelo may have put things together at the plate. He had a nice, comfy line of 8-47-.281/.331/.396 between Lakewood and Clearwater. The power numbers were at least as high as anybody really expected, the average was nice and even though he struck out 92 times and walked just 37, there were signs that the offense might be locking in. He did get on base enough to score 72 runs in 126 games, so hope abounded.
Move ahead one season, and Canelo slid back to what is his average type season, hitting .246 - he's a career .247 hitter - with four home runs. Ironically, he drove in 49 runs on the year, a tad higher than the previous season, showing some skills at situational hitting.
Nobody expects power from Canelo, who is basically a slap-hitter, who looks to get the ball into the gaps. If he hits in the neighborhood of five to eight home runs per season, the Phillies would be happy. What they don't want is for him to become a guy who looks to generate too much power and winds up paying for it by dropping his average and striking out even more than he has, whiffing at a rate of 19% throughout his minor league career.
For a right-handed hitter, Canelo likes to use all parts of the ballpark, although his power goes exclusively to left field on balls that he can pull. Otherwise, Canelo looks to take the ball back through the middle or even go the other way, which is a good approach for Canelo's style of play.
The bottom line is that Canelo is on the right track and brings the needed skills to the table. He's still just 22 and playing in leagues where the average player is a little older than him, so he's naturally going to be a bit more of a project. The defense will be there, the arm is strong and he's not exactly Roman Quinn fast, but he's got slightly plus speed, but doesn't get to use it enough if he's not on base enough. It all centers around the offense and if Canelo can push that average up by even just 10 or 12 points, he'll be a much more attractive prospect.
|Minors (5 seasons)||430||1701||1537||193||379||71||12||14||142||54||114||332||.247||.302||.336|