PP Scouting Report: C, Dioner Navarro

Do the Yankees have another Jorge Posada in its midst? Could be. Dioner Navarro hit .299 with three home runs and 28 RBIs in 52 games with the Yankees single-A affiliate in Tampa. After seeing his potential, Navarro was quickly promoted to Trenton (AA) and in 58 games, hit .341 with four home runs and 37 RBIs. But the issue with Navarro seems to be can he duplicate those numbers in 2004.

In 2002, Navarro, an un-drafted rookie signed by the Yankees in 2000, didn't show much in the power department hitting only .238. But from the looks of it, the 19-year-old switch hitter has gotten better with age as he was named Eastern League Player of the Week for the week ending July 27.

And although the Venezuelan native won't likely be called up to the big show until 2005, there is talk in the organization that he could be offered up in a trade to acquire some starting pitching. Then again that could be the Boss venting his frustration over the Yankees losing to the Marlins in six games and two-thirds of their starting rotation probably not coming back.

But Navarro's biggest upside could be his defensive prowess. If there are any doubters, Navarro was nicknamed "Pudgito" (little Pudge) because of his arm and quickness around the plate and at 5-10 and a shade under 200 pounds, he is compact enough to protect the plate and not get run over. But right now, he is viewed as a sleeper, so its critical that he continue his hot hitting in 2004. If he does, the Yankee PR machine will make sure everyone knows about it.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2003

Trenton

.341

208

15

4

37

28

2

18

26

.388

.471

2003

Tampa

.299

197

16

3

28

28

1

17

27

.364

.467

2002

Tampa

.500

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.500

.500

2002

Greensboro

.238

328

12

8

36

41

1

39

61

.326

.360

2001

GCL Yankees

.280

143

10

2

22

27

6

17

23

.345

.406


*Stats as of 9/7/03.

Batting and Power. The switch-hitter possesses good patience and projects to be primarily a gap hitter, but could end up hitting in the 15-20 HR range per season. He has a mechanically sound swing from both sides, but there is room for improvement on the left side. He uses all fields and has the potential to hit for average.

Base Running and Speed. Navarro is quick behind the plate, but doesn't have the speed when it comes to stealing bases like Ivan Rodriguez, whom he has so often been compared to. He is a smart runner who doesn't run his team out of innings.

Defense. His defense is top notch: an excellent blocker with an arm. He threw out thirty-five percent of would-be base stealers in his first two professional seasons while with the Yankees Gulf Coast League team (2001) and between Greensboro and Tampa in 2002. He has all the tools behind the dish to be a Gold Glove caliber player.

Projection. Navarro has impressed a lot of people in and outside of the organization by how fast he's moved through the system, considering his young age. His strong finish in Trenton during 2003 showed that he didn't break down and can withstand a full season. He will most likely begin the 2004 season in Triple-A Columbus and based on his performance, though doubtful, could see some time on the ML level towards the end of season. He certainly will garner a strong look by the Yankees in the spring of 2005.

ETA. 2005/2006.

Catcher Team
Michel Hernandez AAA - Columbus Clippers
Dioner Navarro AA - Trenton Thunder
David Parrish A - Tampa Yankees
Jon-Mark Sprowl A - Battle Creek Yankees
Carlos Rosario A - Staten Island Yankees
Edins De Los Santos R - GCL Yankees


Catching Overview


Outside of Dioner Navarro, the other catching prospects in the Yankees organization are not extremely promising to say the least. There are several good defensive players, but lack the offensive production to amount to serious major league talent.

1. Dioner Navarro - Nicknamed "Pudgito" after Ivan Rodriquez, the 19-year-old backstop has shot through the Yankees system faster than scouts had expected. Huge offensive showing in 2003 while with Trenton has made the switch-hitter a hot topic. Excellent defensive player.

2. Michel Hernandez - As good a defensive player as Navarro is, Michel Hernandez may just be better. An above-average arm and great foot work, Hernandez made just four errors for the Clippers in 2003. Baseball America calls him the organization's best defensive player.

3. David Parrish - Began season with Trenton, but was sent down after hitting just .223 with the Thunder. Struggled in Tampa as well and is not in the Yankees plans.

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