Tigers Prospect Profile #47: Javier Azcona

Signed in the summer of 2008, Javier Azcona was a priority international signing with solid six-figure bonus. Azcona has continued to show flashes of why he was worth the bonus, but still has plenty more development in front of him.

Javier Azcona
Position:Infielder
Height: 6-1
Weight: 190
Born: 9/28/1991
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Background
Signed for a reported $258,000 on July 2, 2008, the Tigers made clear that Azcona was one of their priority signings that summer.

Debuting in the Dominican Summer League the following year Azcona posted a .249/.350/.398 line with 20 extra-base hits in 63 games. He played the entire summer at just 17-years old and showed well enough to earn a promotion to the United States in 2010.

With the GCL Tigers that year Azcona raised his batting average to a solid .256 but saw his command of the strike zone plummet and result in a meager .296 on-base percentage. He did continue slugging solidly with 16 more extra-base hits and even swiped nine bases in eleven attempts.

Still just a teenager Azcona moved on to the New York-Penn League for the 2011 season and he struggled against much older competition. His final .232/.278/.398 line in 52 games is evidence of that struggle. He did rip eleven doubles, two triples and five home runs in the offensively challenging environment of the NYPL.

In a late season cameo with West Michigan, Azcona poked a double and a home run in three games while driving in five runners.

Scouting Report
Azcona's body still leaves scouts hoping for more from his on-field performance. He is a long limbed, lean athlete that still looks like he needs to grow into his body. He has natural strength and fluid, athletic movements on the field.

Though Azcona can handle shortstop defensively, the game still moves too fast for him, leading to numerous errors and mishandled balls. He has soft hands and a strong arm that are masked by awkward footwork and instincts that are still evolving. Most scouts believe he will outgrow shortstop and may end up at either third base or second base long term; both positions he has played as a professional.

Azcona has quick hands at the plate though his swing mechanics don't always allow him to get the barrel of the bat to the zone on a consistent plane. His pitch recognition is nearly non-existent and it hampers his ability to adjust to the ball while in flight.

When he does get the bat to the zone on the correct plane he has the strength to drive the ball to all fields. He trusts his hands and strength and is willing to work the ball up the middle and the other way. He needs a step forward in his hand-eye coordination or ability to recognize pitches for his offense to take off and realize it's significant potential.

Scouting Azcona requires a lot of abstract projection at this point as his in-game skills remain unrefined and often border on frustrating. He has the potential to be an offensive minded player at a number of positions but that remains a far off dream at this time.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

SS-A

Connecticut

181

.278

11

5

25

60

8

.278

.398

A

West Mich.

9

.222

1

1

5

3

1

.300

.667


Health Record
Azcona has not suffered any significant injuries as a professional.

The Future
In his age-20 season Azcona will most likely slot into the West Michigan lineup on an everyday basis. With Eugenio Suarez likely earning a promotion with him, Azcona will be forced to second base on a regular basis and could see some time at third depending on the placement of Jason King.

Azcona is going to take a long time to develop but the patience required to translate raw athleticism to on-field ability could be worth the time. The potential exists for him to develop into one of the system's better position player prospects.

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