Scouting Prospect #50: Wilkins De La Rossa

Wilkins De La Rossa was one of the bigger surprises to fans in the 2005 minor league season. However, he wasn't actually that much of a surprise to the Yankee organization, as he is highly regarded for his strong arm, bat speed and offensive potential. For all these reasons and more, he is our Yankee prospect #50.

Vital Statistics
Name: Wilkins De La Rossa
Position: Outfield
DOB: February 21, 1985
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 156
Bats:: Left
Throws: Left

Outside the Yankee organization, the anticipation of Wilkins De La Rossa's first professional season wasn't exactly as significant as that of his fellow GCL Yankees' outfielders, Jose Tabata and Austin Jackson; however, that doesn't make his tool set any less impressive. In fact, by some, his overall potential may be nearly as high as the two prospects previously mentioned. Being two years older than both, though, he has more to prove at this point.

In his first professional season with the Gulf Coast Yankees, De La Rossa was the quiet star. Why? Well, one wouldn't expect much of a prospect who hit only .216 over three seasons in the Dominican Summer League. But, with some added instruction in the 2005 extended spring training program in Tampa, De La Rossa really put together his previously unpolished set of tools. In fact, by the time the Gulf Coast Yankees played their opening game, he was their number three hitter in the lineup.

As a whole, "Wilky" showed several flashes of exactly what he has the potential to be in 2005. But, at the same time, he still portrayed himself as a still highly unpolished commodity with a lot more upside to offer. For the season, the lefty swinging outfielder hit .270 with 30 RBI, 12 doubles and 7 stolen bases. He did not leave the yard once in his first season on United States soil, but his natural swing promises to add more pop as he adds more muscle on his 156 pound frame.

In his time in the Gulf Coast League, De La Rossa was a key ingredient for a championship winning team. With his tremendous play in the outfield and clutch hitting, he obviously earned himself a hefty promotion in 2006. Not to mention, he opened a lot of eyes as well.

"In the outfield, there's a kid named Wilkins De La Rossa," the Dominican native's teammate, Michael Dunn told "He's got some pop. He played center field when I first got there and then when Austin Jackson there, he [De La Rossa] moved over to right. De La Rossa's just got an arm."















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Batting and Power. As of now, De La Rossa obviously has some excellent offensive tools to offer. He's thin, wiry and projectable with a very fundamentally sound stroke. He's quick and short to the ball, but simply needs to learn more about pitch recognition and looking for his pitch. In that regard, he resembles a younger version of Melky Cabrera. To put it simply, he needs to look for a pitch in his zone and drive it, although he is good at putting the ball in play. He already gets excellent extension and has extremely fast hands. And, don't be fooled by the shutout in the home run column. "Wilky" has a level, quick swing. but is just yet to develop the lift and strength. As we've already established, his power will grow as his wiry frame grows.

Base running and Speed. Typically a center fielder, De La Rossa has some excellent wheels. However, as he fills out, he will lose some of that speed and become more of a prototypical right fielder, but still with slightly above average speed. At the moment, he doesn't appear comfortable with stealing bases, being that he is more of an accelerator than a quick starter. It may be something he'll have to work on extensively, but it isn't his speed that is holding him back. It is all in his comfort level, technique and jump.

Defense. Before getting any further into this, let it be known that Wilkins De La Rossa possesses a cannon for an arm. With accuracy and tremendous carry to all his throws, he was a menace to base runners in the Gulf Coast League. Not to mention, he may have been the most polished defensive outfielder on the team. The lefty throwing outfielder projects very well as a right fielder, and profiles as an Alexis Rios type of defender.

Projection. It is far too early to clearly project the future of De La Rossa. However, we can get a pretty decent idea by looking at his performance and his impressive tools. At this point, it doesn't appear that he has the look of a .300 hitter, but perhaps a .280-.290 hitter. The power will come and it looks as if he could produce 20+ home runs annually. One thing is for sure though, his defense will be there.

ETA. 2010. Let's put it this way, he's a long way off. His ability is still very raw and it is unlikely that he'll soar through the system. And, if he does, it will come as a surprise. For now, he appears to be in the mix as a starting outfielder for the Charleston RiverDogs to open the 2006 season.

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