Name: Angel Aguilar
DOB: June 13, 1995
Batting and Power. When healthy, confident, and going right, Aguilar is a patient but aggressive hitter who uses all fields, stays short in his swing, and has a real knack for barreling the baseball. However, he had shown some glimpses of trying to muscle up and clobber the baseball in an effort to maximize his average to slightly above average big league power potential in the past, and that reared it's ugly head in 2015 a bit too consistently; he did that a lot more often in a failed attempt to make up for lost time after missing the first month of the season with a nagging back injury. He just never got back to his simplistic plan at the plate of taking whatever pitchers gave him and his confidence suffered. Still just 20 years old, the hope is he can chalk it up to a learning lesson and get back to his hitting ways because he has the plus bat speed and advanced approach to be a good hitter for average if he sticks to his plan.
Base Running and Speed. Not a burner by any means, Aguilar is more of an average runner speed-wise whose running game plays a level higher due to his natural advanced feel for the game and overall instincts. He was and still is more of an adept station to station runner who excelled taking the extra base than a true base stealer, but as he proved even in a down season this year he can still have an impact there too, swiping 14 bases. That's where his running threat should reside in the coming years, tallying more of a lower double-digit stolen base seasons and perhaps maxing out with the occasional 20-bag plateau.
Defense. While the speed is rather average Aguilar is actually a very good defender at shortstop. Very much in Derek Jeter-like fashion he uses his high baseball intellect to position himself correctly, gets good reads off of the bat, and has an advanced internal game clock; he just knows how and when to make the smart play. Throw in plus arm strength too, he can make nearly every play necessary and it also allows him to slide over to third when the need arises. Also quite athletic too, he can even play an above average second base tools-wise. He doesn't have a whole lot of experience at second and third so he does need to learn the nuances of those positions going forward, but he has the foundation in place ceiling-wise to be an above average defender at all three positions down the road.
Projection. Aguilar entered the 2015 season with perhaps one of the cloudiest projections in the Yankee farm system and not much has changed a full season later in that regard. With above average offensive potential for a middle infielder but not really the top-shelf speed or defense associated with the position and projecting more average at a corner infield spot offensively, a lot still has to play out as to how he exactly fits in the long-term plans of the Yankees. He has the kind of defensive versatility and off the charts mental makeup that project him best as an eventual big league reserve infielder someday. However, still just 20 years old and will be for nearly half of the 2016 season too, he isn't exactly done growing yet either so there is still a considerable ceiling left to be tapped as well. There's big league starting potential at more than a couple of positions, especially at second base where he has the chance to develop into a potentially special two-way player. He just needs to stay healthy, get his confidence up, and continue to get his reps.
ETA. N/A. Aguilar's estimated big league arrival still remains one of the bigger calculation challenges because of his versatility; will he get full-time reps at one main position as he ascends the minor leagues or will he become more of a super-utility guy in the short-term? With so many quality shortstop prospects at the lower levels the smarter bet is on the latter. He seems poised to repeat the low-A level in 2016 but a breakout offensive season could put him back on the higher-end prospect map and clear up his projection more.