Name: Carlos Vidal
DOB: November 29, 1995
Batting and Power. Vidal was an under the radar signing and has been an underrated prospect since that time mostly because his power potential was deemed average at best, and yet he just completed a remarkable nine-home run season for short-season Pulaski. That kind of power production belies his actual physicality as he stands just 5-foot-11 and is merely wiry strong. He is able to swing such a potent bat, however, because of his uncanny ability to barrel the baseball with a great deal of consistency. Throw in plus plate discipline, patience, and pitch recognition, and one of the better swings among younger players, and he is an advanced hitter. All of it spells a high-average hitter and that enables him to run into a few more pitches than most hitters still struggling to make contact. Despite his power output in 2015, he still grades out as an average at best power hitter long-term.
Base Running and Speed. Vidal is not an elite runner by an means but just like with his hitting he is quite scrappy. He grades out as borderline above average speed-wise and still has some nuances to learn stealing bases but he uses his agility and athleticism to make quite an impression in the running game. A very good station to station runner, he has 30-plus stolen base potential on an annual basis but there will also be some running snafus along the way until he learns to read pitchers' moves better.
Defense. Vidal's scrappiness plays extremely well defensively in the field. While his lack of elite speed does have him pale in comparison to some centerfielders few can match his all-out hustle style of play. He simply wills himself to make any play necessary. That is more than enough to make him one of the better defensive centerfielders at the lowe
r minor league levels right now but combined with his rather average arm strength he projects best long-term as an above average defensive left fielder. Think of a step slower version of Brett Gardner defensively; that kind of effort on every play.
Projection. With above average plate patience and pitch recognition, a real knack for hitting, average at best power potential, solid defensive abilities and second-to-none scrappy effort, the similarities to Brett Gardner are somewhat uncanny, even physically. Like Gardner, Vidal has the floor of a big league reserve outfielder at minimum but one who also possesses viable long-term big league starting potential too, one who could continuously get knocked for his perceived lack of ceiling due to his shorter frame and fly under the radar as a result as he climbs the minor league ladder. The only glaring difference between the two is their respective natural running speed but yet in the end even that aspect of their games could be a wash given Gardner's gun-shy tendencies on the base paths and Vidal's more aggressive approach. Think of a hybrid version of Angel Pagan and Brett Gardner for a good Major League comparison, two current big leaguers who were never considered top prospects let alone even projectable big league starting outfielders when they were in the minor leagues but ones who became consistent big league regulars despite their pre-conceived ceilings by the pundits.
ETA. 2018. Vidal is ready for the long-season leagues in 2016 and should open up in low-A Charleston as a mainstay in the RiverDogs' lineup. At some point in the not so distant future he should begin to move a bit more rapidly up the minor league ladder as there are no real weaknesses in this recently turned 20-year-old's game.