Vasquez was the Tigers top Latin American signing in 2010, inking for a reported $1.1 million signing bonus on the opening day of the signing period.
Vasquez debuted as a 17-year old in the Gulf Coast League in 2011. He more than held his own in his first taste of pro competition, posting a .272/.306/.350 line over 54 games. His line was backed by eight doubles, one triple and two home runs, to go along with seven walks and 34 strikeouts.
Vasquez is a long, lanky young athlete with plenty of room to add strength and fill out his 6-foot-3 frame. He has already begun to add strength since signing and was noticeably bigger this spring than he was during his debut season. He is a solid athlete that is still improving his coordination and control of his limbs.
The natural hitting ability Vasquez shows is what stands out most. He has an exceptionally natural feel for the bat, allowing him to make easy contact with the ball in all parts of the strike zone. In his first spring training experience in 2010, he received several opportunities in Double- and Triple-A games, ripping balls to all fields in game situations.
He projects as an outstanding hitter with the raw potential to post .300-plus batting averages down the line. H emust learn to ready breaking balls better, but that should come with experience.
Vasquez's power requires substantially more projection than his hitting ability. For Vasquez to drive the ball out of the park and fit a corner outfield profile, he must continue to add strength and add loft to his contact-oriented swing. He has the natural bat speed and knack for hard contact to project for a bunch of doubles and possibly above-average home run power well down the line.
Vasquez is an average runner at best, and more often a fringe-average runner once underway. He is still learning the nuances of base running.
Defensively, the Tigers originally believed he may evolve into a classic right fielder with good defense and a strong arm to go with his bat. That believe has evolved slightly and the Tigers have indicated that they will work him more regularly in left field this summer, hoping to settle him into the position long term and allow his bat to carry his path through the minor leagues.
Vasquez is still learning how to read balls off the bat and will frequently get turned around in the outfield. He has the natural athleticism and the work ethic to develop as a defender and should just take repetition for him to develop into at least an average left fielder.
His arm is an average to above-average tool though it doesn't always show as his throwing mechanics are inconsistent.
Vasquez's offensive potential earned him his seven-figure signing bonus. He has a chance to be a.300 hitter with pop that can sit in the middle of a big league lineup. He will take time to develop, but the wait could be worth it if he develops into a plus regular at the big league level.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% R
Vasquez has not experienced any significant injuries since signing with the Tigers in 2010.
The Tigers have assigned Vasquez to Low-A West Michigan to start the 2012 season. It is a veritable certainty that he will spend the entire year in the Midwest League as he begins to hone his hitting ability against more advanced competition.
Vasquez has the type of natural offensive skills that could move him quickly through the system and he could force his way to Double-A Erie before the end of the 2013 season.
Though there is little in the way of industry consensus as to Vasquez's future potential, the natural hitting ability displayed when we have scouted him is not only enticing, but down right exciting and worth following closely as he moves up the ladder.
TigsTown has gone social! You can now follow TigsTown.com and the TigsTown staff on Twitter and Facebook! For all the latest stories and forum updates, follow @ScoutTigers. For the latest from Managing Editor Mark Anderson, follow @TigsTownMark, and you can follow Executive Editor Paul Wezner @TigsTown. You can also find TigsTown on Facebook, just seach for TigsTown.com!