Scouting Yanks Prospect #45: Claudio Custodio

The New York Yankees signed shortstop Claudio Custodio out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. He had a breakout season with the Gulf Coast League Yankees in 2011 and then followed it up with a sub-par year by his standards in Staten Island this past season, but he still offers a lot of long-term projection and value.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Claudio Custodio
Position: Shortstop
DOB: October 30, 1990
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 170
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He followed up his 2011 Gulf Coast League season that saw him hit .325 with one home run and 26 stolen bases with a 2012 campaign that saw his average dip down to .253 and his stolen bases decline to thirteen.

It isn't uncommon, however, for Latin American players to initially struggle making the transition to playing night games for the first time in their careers after playing day games their entire lives prior.

"In the beginning I was just getting adjusted to playing at night; I never really played at night," Custodio told PinstripesPlus.com towards the end of the season through the help of a translator. "So I got some glasses and I started feeling more comfortable. And that was pretty much the biggest thing."

Just a .107 hitter through his first eight games with a remarkable 18 strikeouts -- he had all of 40 strikeouts the entire season before -- he batted a more respectable .272 over the course of the remaining season after getting glasses to help him see better at night.

He also struck out just 40 more times during that final 54 game stretch, which was actually significant progress from his breakout season the year before. It wasn't all about the glasses, however.

"I think it was just the different style of pitching," Staten Island hitting coach Ty Hawkins said. "You know from what he was facing in Extended and the GCL last year, there's a lot more fastballs and a lot more offspeed stuff here."

The combination of unable to see well at night and facing more offspeed pitches for the first time had his confidence waning in the beginning, but once he made the adjustments needed he began to take off.

"I think the slow start was a little bit of confidence thing for him," Hawkins added. "Now he is kind of feeling a little bit better about himself; his confidence is up and he's having a lot better at-bats."

That certainly rang true during Instructional League in Tampa this offseason when Custodio was a completely different ball player, crushing a pair of home runs in the six games played there and hitting the ball hard consistently overall.

"He's getting a better look at the ball, so he could see the ball better," Hawkins said. "His swing has been pretty good since he came in. So pretty much the main thing we are working on is timing."

While the offensive game will continue to adjust over the coming years, what has baseball people excited is his defensive game. A plus defensive player in every sense of the word, the fact is he's proving he can not only stick at the shortstop position long-term but play it well.

"For me anything he does offensively is gravy," one National League scout said. "There are so few shortstops in the game who can actually play the position well that if he can just be a guy who hits .250 and steals bases like he can then he's going to be a factor someday."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2012 Staten Island .253 241 10 1 22 33 13 14 58 .297 .349
2011 GCL Yankees .325 157 9 1 19 46 26 22 40 .433 .414
2010 DSL Yankees1 .217 203 9 5 36 46 14 30 38 .328 .365


Batting and Power. Throw Custodio's overall 2012 numbers out -- he's a much better hitter than he showed. A normally patient hitter with solid pitch recognition, Custodio has a knack for putting the ball in play when he's seeing the ball well. He will still get fooled on offspeed pitches like any young player tends to do, but he has shown an ability to make the adjustment and still put good offspeed pitches in play. His swing is advanced but the the area he needs to work on is toning his aggressiveness earlier in counts, staying back a bit longer, and using the whole field more. He has just two home runs over the past two seasons but there's some live power in his swing that suggests more power could come down the road.

Base Running and Speed. Custodio is an excellent base runner, plain and simple. He has above average to borderline plus speed, making him an ideal station to station runner, and he gets great reads on pitchers and is a real force in the running game. He has a 90 percent success rate in stealing bases so far in his career and once he learns to get on base more and bump up his aggressiveness on the base paths, he could be an impact base stealer someday

Defense. Custodio's speed and quick first step gives him fantastic range in the infield and he boasts an above average to plus throwing arm as well, and the combination allows him to make virtually any play. Throw in soft and reliable hands, he's an outstanding defensive player. However, his terrific arm can work against him at times when he tries to make the impossible play when he is better served at holding on to the ball. That's something he will learn as he continues to mature.

Projection. Custodio has all of the basics to project as a potential starting big league shortstop someday; great defensive abilities, impact speed, a consistent swing path, and some impact with the bat. He can also play a great second base and has the kind of speed that could allow him to shift to centerfield if need be, giving him big league bench player potential at minimum. He is a high-energy player too and can be an offensive catalyst when he's going right. The great defense alone gives him a chance at a future big league career but he can also help on the offensive side with speed and some power. Think Ruben Tejada of the Mets with a lot more speed for a good Major League comparison.

ETA. 2016. Where Custodio begins the 2013 season will depend on where Cito Culver lands. If Culver repeats Charleston there's a chance Custodio could be held back in Extended Spring Training and then move up to Charleston once Culver gets promoted to Tampa.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Claudio Custodio
\r\nPosition: Shortstop
\r\nDOB: October 30, 1990
\r\nHeight: 5'11\"
\r\nWeight: 170
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nHe followed up his 2011 Gulf Coast League season that saw him hit .325 with one home run and 26 stolen bases with a 2012 campaign that saw his average dip down to .253 and his stolen bases decline to thirteen.
\r\n
\r\nIt isn't uncommon, however, for Latin American players to initially struggle making the transition to playing night games for the first time in their careers after playing day games their entire lives prior.
\r\n
\r\n\"In the beginning I was just getting adjusted to playing at night; I never really played at night,\" Custodio told PinstripesPlus.com towards the end of the season through the help of a translator. \"So I got some glasses and I started feeling more comfortable. And that was pretty much the biggest thing.\"
\r\n
\r\nJust a .107 hitter through his first eight games with a remarkable 18 strikeouts -- he had all of 40 strikeouts the entire season before -- he batted a more respectable .272 over the course of the remaining season after getting glasses to help him see better at night.
\r\n
\r\nHe also struck out just 40 more times during that final 54 game stretch, which was actually significant progress from his breakout season the year before. It wasn't all about the glasses, however.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it was just the different style of pitching,\" Staten Island hitting coach Ty Hawkins said. \"You know from what he was facing in Extended and the GCL last year, there's a lot more fastballs and a lot more offspeed stuff here.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe combination of unable to see well at night and facing more offspeed pitches for the first time had his confidence waning in the beginning, but once he made the adjustments needed he began to take off.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the slow start was a little bit of confidence thing for him,\" Hawkins added. \"Now he is kind of feeling a little bit better about himself; his confidence is up and he's having a lot better at-bats.\"
\r\n
\r\nThat certainly rang true during Instructional League in Tampa this offseason when Custodio was a completely different ball player, crushing a pair of home runs in the six games played there and hitting the ball hard consistently overall.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's getting a better look at the ball, so he could see the ball better,\" Hawkins said. \"His swing has been pretty good since he came in. So pretty much the main thing we are working on is timing.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile the offensive game will continue to adjust over the coming years, what has baseball people excited is his defensive game. A plus defensive player in every sense of the word, the fact is he's proving he can not only stick at the shortstop position long-term but play it well.
\r\n
\r\n\"For me anything he does offensively is gravy,\" one National League scout said. \"There are so few shortstops in the game who can actually play the position well that if he can just be a guy who hits .250 and steals bases like he can then he's going to be a factor someday.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

Team

\r\n

AVG

\r\n

AB

\r\n

2B

\r\n

HR

\r\n

RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

SB

\r\n

BB

\r\n

SO

\r\n

OBP

\r\n

SLG

\r\n 2012\r\n Staten Island\r\n .253\r\n 241\r\n 10\r\n 1\r\n 22\r\n 33\r\n 13\r\n 14\r\n 58\r\n .297\r\n .349
\r\n 2011\r\n GCL Yankees\r\n .325\r\n 157\r\n 9\r\n 1\r\n 19\r\n 46\r\n 26\r\n 22\r\n 40\r\n .433\r\n .414
\r\n 2010\r\n DSL Yankees1\r\n .217\r\n 203\r\n 9\r\n 5\r\n 36\r\n 46\r\n 14\r\n 30\r\n 38\r\n .328\r\n .365

\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. Throw Custodio's overall 2012 numbers out -- he's a much better hitter than he showed. A normally patient hitter with solid pitch recognition, Custodio has a knack for putting the ball in play when he's seeing the ball well. He will still get fooled on offspeed pitches like any young player tends to do, but he has shown an ability to make the adjustment and still put good offspeed pitches in play. His swing is advanced but the the area he needs to work on is toning his aggressiveness earlier in counts, staying back a bit longer, and using the whole field more. He has just two home runs over the past two seasons but there's some live power in his swing that suggests more power could come down the road.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Custodio is an excellent base runner, plain and simple. He has above average to borderline plus speed, making him an ideal station to station runner, and he gets great reads on pitchers and is a real force in the running game. He has a 90 percent success rate in stealing bases so far in his career and once he learns to get on base more and bump up his aggressiveness on the base paths, he could be an impact base stealer someday
\r\n
\r\nDefense. Custodio's speed and quick first step gives him fantastic range in the infield and he boasts an above average to plus throwing arm as well, and the combination allows him to make virtually any play. Throw in soft and reliable hands, he's an outstanding defensive player. However, his terrific arm can work against him at times when he tries to make the impossible play when he is better served at holding on to the ball. That's something he will learn as he continues to mature.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Custodio has all of the basics to project as a potential starting big league shortstop someday; great defensive abilities, impact speed, a consistent swing path, and some impact with the bat. He can also play a great second base and has the kind of speed that could allow him to shift to centerfield if need be, giving him big league bench player potential at minimum. He is a high-energy player too and can be an offensive catalyst when he's going right. The great defense alone gives him a chance at a future big league career but he can also help on the offensive side with speed and some power. Think Ruben Tejada of the Mets with a lot more speed for a good Major League comparison.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2016. Where Custodio begins the 2013 season will depend on where Cito Culver lands. If Culver repeats Charleston there's a chance Custodio could be held back in Extended Spring Training and then move up to Charleston once Culver gets promoted to Tampa.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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