Carranza was one of the Tigers high priority signings during the 2009 international signing period. He received a mid-six figure bonus from the club to sign out of Panama as a 16-year old.
The Tigers sent him to the Venezuelan Summer League to make his debut, and he performed solidly for the bulk of the season. In 36 games in the VSL, Carranza posted a .252/.293/.391 line that included four doubles and four home runs. The one spot of caution in his VSL line was only seven walks in 39 games, against 43 strikeouts.
The Tigers sent Carranza to the DSL around mid-summer, for two reasons: 1) to get him additional playing time since the DSL season runs longer into the summer than the VSL, and 2) to test him against stiffer competition.
His transition to the DSL was a rough one as Carranza hit a meager .108 with 24 strikeouts in 21 games. He collected only eight total bases in that span and failed to drive in a runner.
The bottom line for Carranza is that he is extremely raw. He is one of the organization's best raw athletes, but he has to translate that to baseball ability to really take off.
The Tigers moved him off shortstop almost immediately upon signing, both to get him at-bats and also as recognition that his body may profile better in right field as he continues maturing. He has above-average to plus speed in the outfield and while he has to improve his jumps and routes, he shows some ability as a defender. He has plus arm strength, but he has inconsistent throwing mechanics and must refine them to regularly make quality throws.
Carranza is naturally strong and he generates outstanding bat speed with his swing. He gets the bat to the hitting zone quickly and it stays in the zone for a long time. Though having his bat in the zone for a long time should allow him to make late decisions on balls and still drive them to all fields, he lacks the pitch recognition to make sound decisions on which pitches to swing at.
His bat speed can generate plus power to all fields, though his swing-and-miss tendencies can limit that power showing in game situations. It will require a lot of work and development for him to significant improve his contact rates and become the offensive player he is capable of becoming.
There is an enormous gap between the raw athlete Carranza is now, and the impact power outfielder that his tools indicate his ceiling could be.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% R
Carranza hasn't had any significant injuries in his brief career, and he has good work habits and athleticism that should allow him to avoid some nagging injuries.
The Tigers have a difficult decision with Carranza heading into 2011. He could clearly benefit from the instruction he would receive from the Tigers development staff in Lakeland, but he is also unlikely to be ready for the challenge of playing in the Gulf Coast League.
The club will have to weigh whether to start Carranza in the DSL this year or bring him stateside for extended spring training. There is a chance they could bring him to the States for part of extended spring, and then send him back to the DSL when that season begins.
Regardless of what the organization decides this spring, Carranza is probably looking at spending the next two seasons in one of the club's rookie leagues before he is ready for a more substantial challenge.
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