Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’1” 170 lbs. DOB: 10/23/95
(AZL-Angels): .271/.311/.422 with 3 HRs and 4 SBs

Just looking at the numbers, you might be wondering why they merit such a high ranking, especially considering how far away he is from the Major Leagues. Look at his age. Last year, he was only 17 playing against the far more polished high school and college prospects and he more than held his own.

The Angels signed Natanael out of the Dominican Republic. The Angels were very pleased to grab such a talented player as they rebooted their international scouting and development. In fact, they were so impressed with his skills that they had him completely skip their Dominican Academy and instead sent him to the AZL-Angels for his first taste of pro-ball.

Loose and easy is how most scouts describe Natanael’s swing. He generates a lot of power and has the potential to continue to add power as he physically matures. In 193 Abs in 2013, he slugged 16 doubles to go with the 3 HRs. Many of those should turn into future dingers. Natanael has a plus arm and has all the makings for a future in RF. His range and speed are average.

Like most young, Latin players, Natanael is an aggressive hitter (43:11 K:BB ratio). As he develops, that should dramatically improve.

Last year, Baseball America ranked Natanael as the 13th best overall prospect in the AZL. At the Spring Training 2014 Fanfest, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto cited Natanael as an example of both the reemerging Angels international development and as a hidden gem in the system.

There is no need to rush Natanael, and he may repeat the AZL this year where he will compete at a more age appropriate level. However, with a strong spring, the Angels may decide to challenge him with a promotion to Orem where he will become part of a new wave of emerging Angels talent.

Love to hear what you think!

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