Prospect Profile: Juan Tejeda

The Tigers recently have placed a premium on tools prospects, and Juan Tejeda, the not-so-hard hitting first baseman didn't fit into that mold. So when he received free agency via the 6-year minor league free agent rule, he bolted, electing to sign with the New York Mets. What did the Tigers lose?

Juan Tejeda
Position: First Baseman Height: 6-2 Weight: 195
Born: 1/26/1982 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
Tejeda was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 1998, as a raw 16-year old, and made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League at age 17, posting a respectable .276/.342/.461 line. Tejeda followed up that first summer with what would become a pretty standard line for him, posting a .312/.356/.527 line. As Juan progressed through the Tiger's system, he remained under the radar, but also remained one of the organizations most consistent minor league producers. With a career minor league line of .292/.354/.463 line in his 7 professional seasons, one would think Tejeda was widely regarded as a top prospect. However, that is not the case, as Tejeda is considered a marginal prospect at best. The 2005 season saw more of the same from Juan. After overcoming several nagging injuries through the seasons first two months, Tejeda put together another very good season while repeating the Eastern League. After posting a .231/.315/.357 line through his first 38 games, Tejeda went nuts, finishing the season with a .318/.371/.486 line in his final 84 games.

Scouting Report
Most scouts walk away less than impressed with Tejeda's natural abilities, but his consistent performance continually leaves them scratching their collective heads. It is often felt that Tejeda has a bit of a slow bat, and will struggle to keep up with top-notch fastballs. To this point, fastballs have not proven to be a problem, as Juan continues to knock the ball around the park, driving it to all fields with power. Juan has a rather upright stance and appears un-athletic on the field. Despite his appearance, Tejeda turns on fastballs and adjusts well to breaking balls. His pitch recognition skills have improved in each of his professional seasons, allowing him to be more selective at the plate. While manning first base, Tejeda has worked diligently to improve his defensive skills. Despite his improvement, Juan remains plagued by a poor defensive reputation, and many feel his defensive struggles will keep him from seeing the Major Leagues. Tejeda has limited range, but makes routine plays with ease, and displays adequate footwork and soft hands.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

AA

Erie

470

.291

27

14

82

86

41

.354

.447


Health Record
Despite nagging injuries during the early part of 2005, Tejeda has been consistently healthy throughout his career.

The Future
After suffering through the disappointment of returning to AA-Erie for the 2005 season, Tejeda took advantage of his minor league free agent eligibility to head off to a place where he could feel more appreciated. Having recently signed with the New York Mets, Tejeda could easily slot in as the top first base prospect in the upper reaches of their system. With Craig Brazell struggling in 2005, Tejeda could slot in as the every day first sacker for the Mets AAA affiliate, the Norfolk Tides. After continually being underappreciated in the Tigers' system, Tejeda may have found an organization where he is only an injury to Carlos Delgado away from a big league shot. Look for Tejeda to do what he's always done as a professional; just keep on hitting.


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