Tigers Prospect Profile #39: Eugenio Suarez

Eugenio Suarez fits the bill as being the classic Venezuelan shortstop as a slick-field shortstop. Suarez was named the VSL Tigers' 2010 Player of the Year, sparking a move stateside in 2011 where he put his skills on display, including posting strong numbers at the plate. Can he keep that up as he moves up the ladder?

Eugenio Suarez
Position:Shortstop
Height: 5-11
Weight: 165
Born: 7/18/1991
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

Background
Suarez was signed to a modest bonus late in the 2008 international signing period, inking his first pro contract in October of that year. He made his professional debut in 2009 in the Venezuelan Summer League where he posted a .262/.350/.360 line in 57 games.

He returned to the VSL in 2010 season and expanded his defensive responsibilities to include center field and left field. Suarez bat improved dramatically as he posted a .311/.389/.396 line in 61 games, and the Tigers named him their VSL Player of the Year.

Brought stateside for spring training last year, Suarez stayed behind in extended spring training before starting the summer in the Gulf Coast League. After hitting .341 with seven doubles and two home runs in 12 games for the GCL Tigers, Suarez was promoted to Connecticut.

While in the New York-Penn League Suarez posted a .250/.323/426 line as one of just eleven teenagers in the league.

Scouting Report
Suarez fills the bill as a "classic Venezuelan shortstop" with outstanding instincts, good range to both sides and very good hands. He makes routine plays look routine and he is capable of pulling off the spectacular play at times. Though he needs some polish and experience to refine his defensive tools, he has a chance to be at least a plus defender at the big league level, including an above-average arm.

Suarez is an average runner with good instincts on the bases. He may be able to steal 10-12 bases a year down the line.

Like many of the Tigers' Latin American prospects, Suarez has an aggressive offensive approach. He swings early and often in counts and lacks the pitch recognition to sit back and wait for a pitch he can drive.

He does have some natural contact ability but he too frequently makes weak contact because of his aggressive approach. When he squares the ball on the bat he has surprising strength in his skinny frame and he can drive it to both gaps with ease. When he's going well, Suarez wears out the middle of the field with line drives.

Suarez lacks physical projection and most scouts wonder if he's going to continue to drive the ball against better pitchers. He struggled with plus fastballs in the NYPL and without any significant gains in strength that could be a problem long term.

Suarez's long term projection is almost completely tied to his defensive attributes. His glove will continue to carry him up the minor league ladder and any offense he provides will be a bonus. Given his experience moving around the diamond and his plus makeup, scouts project him as a super utility type down the line.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

R

GCL Tigers

44

.341

7

2

9

4

3

.408

.636

SS-A

Connecticut

204

.250

11

5

24

43

18

.323

.426


Health Record
Suarez has been healthy throughout his career.

The Future
All signs point to Suarez starting the 2012 season with West Michigan where he will likely play multiple positions throughout the year. There is a chance he could start the year in extended spring training if the Tigers hold Dixon Machado back in West Michigan to start the year, but I'm being told that is unlikely.

For Suarez to significantly improve his prospect stock he will need time to develop his offensive skills against better pitchers; something that will likely require him to move a level at a time. That type of movement keeps him off the big league radar until at least 2015 and even then he may just be surfacing as an emergency option.

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