Rangers Prospect #6: Joaquin Arias

Despite a shaky 2006 campaign at the plate, the Rangers believe that Joaquin Arias has outstanding potential both with the bat and in the field. Rangers Insider profiles the 22-year-old prospect.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Joaquin Arias
Position: Shortstop
DOB: September 21, 1984
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 165
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Joaquin Arias was acquired by the Rangers in the famous Alex Rodriguez trade prior to the 2004 season. Just 18-years-old at the time, Arias had recently completed a full season in the Single-A Midwest League. Since, he has worked his way up the organizational ladder with the Rangers, progressing one level per year.

Amid high expectations, Arias performed well in 2004, his first season with the Rangers organization. The shortstop gradually improved throughout the season and hit .300 with 20 doubles, eight triples, and 30 stolen bases.

The shortstop's trend of improvement continued with Double-A Frisco in 2005, as he hit .315 with 23 doubles, eight triples, and 20 steals.

Arias' .268 average, .296 on base percentage, and .361 slugging percentage with Triple-A Oklahoma in 2006 – all lows since joining the Rangers organization – were disappointing. The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was unable to catch fire in the second half of the season. But at 21 years of age, Arias was one of the youngest players in the Pacific Coast League.

Batting and Power: Arias has more power potential than he has shown so far. The shortstop has often shown flashes of gap power with the ability to stretch doubles into triples, but he does not have the strength to put the ball over the fence. Arias' power should develop as his body – which is still wire thin – continues to fill out. He is a good contact hitter and does not strike out very often, but likely does not draw enough walks to hit at the top of the order.

Base Running and Speed: One of the fastest players in the organization, Arias has racked up the triples and steals since joining the Rangers' farm system in 2004. In three seasons, the shortstop has smacked 26 triples to go along with 76 stolen bases.

Defense: Arias is an outstanding defender at shortstop. Though he sometimes struggles with routine plays, he has exceptional range to go along with an outstanding arm. The Rangers are planning on trying Arias in centerfield in 2007, where his speed and arm should play to his benefit.

Projection: If the 22-year-old lives up to his potential, he could be a solid starter at shortstop or centerfield for years to come. But there is still a long way for Arias to go before he can become a regular in the Major Leagues. As of right now, he appears to be headed for a role as an athletic and versatile super-sub.

2007 Outlook: Arias will repeat Triple-A Oklahoma in 2007, where he will most likely split his time between shortstop and centerfield. He should receive another cup of coffee with the Rangers, but that probably will not happen until late in the season.

ETA: 2007.

2002 GCL Yankees (RK) .300 203 7 0 21 29 2 12 16 .338 .394
2003 Battle Creek (A) .266 481 12 3 48 60 12 26 44 .306 .343
2004 Bakersfield (A+) .300 500 20 4 62 77 30 31 53 .344 .396
2005 Frisco (AA) .315 499 23 5 56 65 20 17 46 .335 .423
2006 Oklahoma (AAA) .268 493 14 4 49 56 26 19 64 .296 .361
Texas (MLB) .545 11 1 0 1 4 0 1 0 .583 .636

Future Rangers Top Stories