Phillies Prospect #25: Welinson Baez

Welinson Baez has long been touted as a strong candidate for a starting job on the Phillies infield at some point in the future. But entering his fifth pro season, the 22 year old needs to show more production to keep those thoughts alive.

After showing progress in 2005, Welinson Baez slipped again in 2006 and is in danger of keeping pace with the player that he was touted to be when he signed with the Phillies. Baez has played some shaky defense and while his offensive numbers jumped nicely in 2005, they were sub-par in 2006 leading the Phillies to wonder just how good Baez can be. Three seasons in a row he started at the Gulf Coast League level and it looks like he'll be starting his second consecutive season at Lakewood in 2007.

Welinson Baez' career stats

'03 GCL 3 17 .246 41 142 20 35 6 1 3 12 37 .319
'04 GCL 4 18 .234 51 171 24 40 7 2 3 21 62 .320
'05 GCL 2 6 .267 15 45 6 12 4 1 1 8 14 .400
'05 Batavia 6 37 .324 45 170 6 12 4 1 2 22 45 .408
'06 Lakewood 6 51 .232 122 427 48 99 34 3 5 41 158 .305
Career 21 129 .252 274 955 132 241 65 8 14 104 316 .333

Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent on August 28, 2002.

Batting and Power: When Baez moved to Batavia in 2005 things just seemed to click and he put up impressive numbers. Last season he put up the worst offensive numbers of his career when he stepped up to Low-A Lakewood, leading the South Atlantic League in striking out with 158 strikeouts. The good news is that he more than doubled his career number of doubles, racking up 34 doubles which was good enough for fifth in the SAL. A full 34% of his hits were doubles and 43% of his hits were for extra bases. Baez is never going to be much of a homerun hitter, which the Phillies expected, but his strikeout numbers are way too high and he needs to drop those to raise his on-base percentage to a respectable level.

Baserunning and Speed: Once he gets on base, Baez isn't a bad runner, but doesn't possess awe inspiring speed. He'll swipe a few bases from time to time, but won't help a team much in that department.

Defense: The Phillies have had Baez at both third base and shortstop and he's not very slick at either. He does work on his defense and he's getting there, but it will likely always be a liability for him. He has just average at best range, especially at short.

Projection: This is a key season for Baez. He only turns 23 in July and has some time to develop, but he has gone very slowly since starting his professional career and the Phillies originally thought that he would be at Double-A Reading by now. Instead, he'll probably be back at Lakewood and might be lucky to hit Clearwater by the end of the season. There is some talent there, but Baez will need to come at least somewhere close to his 2005 numbers if he's going to stay on the charts.


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