Tigers Scouting Report #27: Javier Betancourt

After being signed in 2011 but not taking the field until 2012, Javier Betancourt gave Tigers fans a glimpse into why he was a high priority signing, hitting .333 in his Stateside debut last year. What does Betancourt project to be long-term?

Javier Betancourt

Vitals

Position: Shortstop/Second Baseman
Date of Birth: 5/8/1995 (2014 Opening Day Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 5-10/173
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2011
Ranking History: #163 (2012), #51 (2013), #27 (2014)

Background: A high priority signing for the Tigers in 2011, Betancourt comes from a baseball family and posted a .333/.391/.455 line during an injury-shortened professional debut in 2012. The Tigers pushed him to the GCL in 2013 and he responded with another .333 average in 50 games.

Performance:

2013 Stats - Hitting
TEAMABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSBAOBPSLG
GCL 177285992222121453.333.379.441


Scouting Report

Body: Small body; doesn't even look like listed height/weight; thin frame; solid athlete; needs to add strength; works hard on conditioning/strength; some growth potential; will always have classic small MIF body.

Hit: Strong hit projection; very good bat-to-ball skills; intelligent hitter; thinks right in step with pitchers; knows strike zone; recognizes spin; sprays the ball; contact is not loud but has enough punch to get to the gaps; added strength will make hit tool more impactful; singles/doubles hitter right now; potential high average and high OBP hitter; contact is easy; looks natural in the box; calm and composed during at-bats; has a plan; potential plus hit with continued development. Grade – Present 4/Future 6

Power: Lacks strength; doesn't really drive the ball; limited physical projection hampers power projection; contact will be solid with line-drive trajectory; gap potential; power will be below-average overall with more doubles than anything else; needs to square velocity better and drive it. Grade – 2+/4

Speed: Average down the line; gets out of the box well; not a base stealing threat on raw speed; could steal 10-12 bases with instincts and aggressiveness; can read pitchers pretty well; very good at taking extra bases; angles on turns around bases are very advanced for his age; should sustain average run long term. Grade – 5/5

Defense: Doesn't have range or arm for left side; profile well at keystone; should be above-average defender long term; hands are excellent; gets to most balls but range will only be average at 2B; arm is average; high-end instincts in the field; still learning nuances but has excellent projection. Grade – 4+/5+

Arm: Arm doesn't stand up on left side; fringy arm for SS or 3B; arm can play well at 2B; average arm for position; quick release; accurate; good footwork on throws; enough arm for pivot. Grade – 5/5

Other: Solid across the board; no carrying tool; exceptional feel for the game and instincts; gets it on the field; plays hard; plays smart; baseball bloodlines; nephew of Edgardo Alfonso; instincts help tools play up slightly across the board; not an impact talent but has an MLB future.

Final Word

Summary: Hit tool can play to plus level down the line; potential high average/high OBP player; body and power don't project; average run; average glove; likely slide to 2B; average arm; exceptional instincts for game; feel to hit; feel for glove; knows his role and role of those around him; hard-nosed player; will continue improving through developmental path; tools play up with game feel.

Risk: High risk; Great feel; baseball bloodlines; strong work ethic; complex league resume only.

Projection: Still very young and could spend another year in NYPL to advance game; at least four years of development remaining; instincts/feel will always carry the load; tools come up to fringe level; instincts/feel can push him to average level; potential solid everyday player; hit-tool led 2B.

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