Position: Second Baseman
Nunez was an unheralded player that flew under the international radar after becoming eligible to sign with professional clubs. After the Tigers brought him into their Dominican academy following the 2007 season, they were able to see exactly what he brought to the table in game situations. The Tigers liked what they saw, and signed him on December 7th.
Nunez debuted as a pro player with the DSL Tigers in 2008, appearing in 49 games as an 18-year old prospect. Over those games, Nunez hit at a .275/.369/.357 clip with 25 walks, nine doubles, and 16 RBI. The performance earned the unheralded rookie the TigsTown DSL Player of the Year Award.
The Tigers opted to bring Nunez stateside quickly, debuting him in the US with the GCL Tigers for the 2009 season. Nunez continued to hit at an impressive clip, adding even more power to his performance this year. For the season, he posted a .308/.353/.531 line in 41 games; including seven doubles, five triples, and five home runs. Yet again, Nunez earned a TigsTown Player of the Year Award, making him two-for-two in that category.
Nunez has forged himself into a prospect worth noticing, coming along both offensively and defensively at a nice clip. Nunez's natural hitting ability stands out among his teammates. He makes contact on a variety of pitches with ease, and he can rope line drives to all fields. He has a short, compact swing that gets to the ball quickly, allowing him to let balls travel deeper in the zone before committing to the swing. His power is still developing, and while he should find the gaps with regularity, he's not going to slug north of .500 very often, like he did in 2009.
Nunez is an above-average to fringe-plus runner, and he gets up to speed quickly and maintains his speed once underway. He is still developing his instincts on the bases, and with additional experience, he could steal 10-15 bases annually.
Defensively, Nunez holds his own, though he must improve his instincts to become an asset in the field. He has the foot speed and athleticism to have good range, and most scouts feel that will come with experience and better positioning. His arm is strong and he has quickly developed a solid ability to turn the double-play.
Nunez is a scrappy player, in the classic mold of a coach's favorite. He leaves it all on the field every time he is out there, and he has a strong desire to be the best and to win every game. His strong work ethic and excellent makeup give him an excellent chance to continue his development into a possible Major League prospect.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% R
Though his career is brief, Nunez has been healthy throughout. He has refined his body over the last two years, and that has helped his stamina and durability.
Nunez is a strong candidate to head to West Michigan to start the 2010 season, and he could be one of the offensive leaders for the ‘Caps this year. Early returns from his fall work in the Dominican Republic were excellent in regards to further development from Nunez. He is quickly becoming an organizational favorite, as well as a player to watch. He has the offensive tools to continue advancing; it just comes down to his ability to develop his instincts and defensive ability. At only 20-years old in 2010, Nunez has plenty of time to develop, so expect him to move about a level per year.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.