Mark LoMoglio

Here's a scouting report on Tampa & Trenton shortstop/second baseman Abiatal Avelino.

The New York Yankees signed shortstop Abiatal Avelino out of the Dominican Republic for $300,000 back in December of 2011. He has proven in relatively quick fashion to have one of the safer big league projections while also boasting a considerably high ceiling as well.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Abiatal Avelino
Position: Shortstop/Second Base
DOB: February 14, 1995
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 185
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Batting and Power. Avelino has nearly all the earmarks of a potential high-average hitter down the road; above average bat speed, very repeatable swing mechanics, advanced pitch recognition, and one of the calmer and more professional demeanors around, the kind that takes what pitchers give him and doesn't press the issue too much most of the time.  Throw in a patient but still very aggressive approach and there is a very tangible hitter-ish quality to him.  The two things working a bit against him is the lack of natural loft in his swing and the approach that errors on the side of aggression can be too aggressive at times [he could make taking more walks a higher priority], and that does take away from his batting average.  Rather than hitting more balls in the air he has a tendency to hit hard grounders instead.  The good news is he puts more balls in play and doesn't strike out too much, and with his speed he can leg out some hits that otherwise would be ground ball outs.  The bad news is, however, that the ground ball tendency doesn't allow his actual average big league power potential to play up in games as much as it could.  His hands are massive though and he has a physical frame that could easily support getting bigger in the coming years, and should he learn to hit a few more balls in the air there is some very realistic double-digit home run potential.  Beyond the home runs though he has the potential to be a consistent high doubles hitter given his solid combination of approach, plate discipline, and mechanics, especially if the plate patience improves.

Base Running and Speed. We said a year ago that Avelino was not nearly as fast as his 2015, 54-stolen base mark would suggest and he stole nearly half that amount [21] last season.  More of an above average runner than a plus one, and really just a tick above average to be quite frank, it is Avelino's aggressive running style that spikes up the stolen base totals each year.  He has a real 'no fear' running style both running station to station and in stealing bases so while that creates a lot of excitement most of the time it does cause him to run his team into mistakes at other times too.  He has a closer-like mentality too, one that allows him to quickly forget about earlier running miscues, put his head down, and charge again.  It gives him high-impact running ability but it comes at a cost too.

Defense. A defensive standout, Avelino has both the physical and mental traits of an elite defender.  The arm strength is plus, certainly strong enough to play third base [a position he has played some], the range is above average, the hands are soft, and more than anything he simply knows where to be pre-pitch and has an innate feel for where to go to make the various plays.  Just like with his hitting, he allows the game to come to him and he plays both middle infield spots with such ease.  He doesn't rush anything, it almost looks as if he isn't trying out there his heart rate is so low.  An above average to borderline plus defensive shortstop, he has shown the same abilities at second base.  He has the arm to play third too and the speed to play the outfield if need be.  He is a defensive asset at a number of spots.

Projection. With speed, defense, defensive versatility, and solid hitting ability, Avelino already has all of the traits needed to potentially fill in as a super-sub at the big league level.  And with all of the aforementioned traits big-time strengths and with virtually no weaknesses in his game, that not only appears to be his big league floor but also his initial entry level spot on to a big league roster too.  However, given his unbelievable mental makeup and almost Derek Jeter-like intangibles, and combining that with some considerable ceiling left to be tapped both hitting-wise and power-wise, Avelino has the kind of game that should only get better in time and the type of energy he brings to the game all the time is the kind manager's like to have on the field as often as possible. There is real big league starting potential at either middle infield spot and an even higher ceiling if things break right, namely more power and if he can begin to translate his plate discipline into a more patient walks-drawing approach, even if it may take a while for that role to materialize.

ETA. 2018. Avelino should pick up where he left off, back in Double-A Trenton initially.  In fact, ability-wise he isn't far off from being big league ready right now so the Yankees can move him up as quickly as they'd like.

2016 Trenton .244 127 11 0 14 15 10 19 1 .307 .331 .638
2016 Tampa .266 357 17 6 34 54 29 63 20 .325 .375 .700
2015 Tampa .252 405 12 4 23 64 32 63 38 .309 .321 .630
2015 Charleston .301 83 8 0 4 16 5 16 16 .341 .398 .738
2014 Charleston .232 220 12 2 12 31 17 44 11 .296 .323 .619
2014 GGL Yankees .355 31 6 0 3 7 2 4 0 .394 .548 .942
2013 Staten Island .243 70 2 0 6 10 4 6 2 .303 .271 .574
2013 GCL Yankees .336 128 7 0 17 35 16 11 26 .422 .469 .891
2012 DSL Yankees .302 222 11 1 25 46 27 34 20 .398 .374 .772

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