2014 Breakout Candidate: Abiatal Avelino

abiatal avelinoThe Basics:

Name: Abiatal Avelino
Position: SS
Handedness: Bats and throws right handed
Age: 18
Signed: 2012 for $300,000 out of the Dominican Republic
Size: 5-foot-11, 186-pounds
Best Tool: Defense, contact
BBDP Rank: 12

Abiatal Avelino is a great example of a top notch signing for the Yankees at a minimal cost. To spend $300,000 on a player of Avelino’s caliber is highway robbery. It has been a developing trend for the past 2-3 years that the Yankees have done an excellent job with international scouting and have been fortunate enough to sign some high quality players for low bonuses. This has given the lower minors an infusion of talent that is about one year away from bolstering this system.

Abiatal started his Yankee career in the DSL in 2012. As a 17 year old he hit .302/.398/.374/.772 with 20 SB in 57 games. He had 11 doubles, a triple and a homerun in that stretch. He developed a reputation as a slick defender and Baseball America took notice. He was ranked as one of the top 20 DSL players in 2012.

Here is a quote from their write-up at that time; “His actions are clean, his hands and feet work well and he has good body control. He’s an instinctive fielder who turns double plays well, has a good internal clock and a plus arm with solid-average speed.”

They also noted that he has a line drive swing which is short and compact, and he is able to barrel the baseball well. He is noted to have good patience at the plate and a game centered around getting on base.

These observations turned out to be quite accurate, as his appearance stateside confirmed most of the scouting report. In his first stateside season he hit .303/.381/.399/.780 with 28 SB and 4 CS in 51 games. He played 34 games in the GCL and 17 in Staten Island, his first experience playing under the lights. He hit nine doubles and five triples. He spent 2013 proving that the scouting reports were accurate.

Tools:

Avelino’s biggest strength is his defense. He is smooth, has good hands, and excellent arm strength. He has plus range and quickness as well. Defensively there is little question that he can not only stick, but will excel at shortstop. This is a key in the major leagues.

Offensively Avelino’s game is already quite polished. He has good patience at the plate, and excellent instincts to go with solid speed on the base paths. He is a very good contact hitter and sprays line drives throughout the field. He has the potential to continue to hit for a high average going forward.

The one aspect of his game which has yet to develop is power. This will not be a necessary tool for him to make it to the majors but if he is able to develop it he could take the leap from prospect star to prospect superstar. His small frame would indicate that he may never hit for power, but his swing is good enough that as he develops and matures he could hit for average power.

Ceiling/Floor:

Avelino has an immense ceiling. He has star potential with his skill set and ability to implement it in games. He could be an all-star shortstop if all goes well who steals 40 bases and hits for a .300+ average every year.

His floor is already a backup shortstop used as a defensive replacement late in games.

The likelihood that he will hit his ceiling is above average, as he has an excellent work ethic and drive to succeed to go along with superior tools.

2014 Outlook:

Avelino should start this season in Charleston. Given that it is his first season in a full season league, the Yankees tend to move slow. He’ll likely stay in Charleston for his first year and look to move two levels at a time after that.

He could be in the major leagues as soon as 2016 if he is as good as advertised.

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13 Responses to 2014 Breakout Candidate: Abiatal Avelino

  1. SkinnyMikeAxisa says:

    Corky, PLEASE don't get us too excited about this kid ;)…he seems to have all positive things going for him.
    Any negatives to be concerned about ?

    With Jeter retiring after '14 and most certainly after '15, and Ryan signed for two years, Avelino can be our SS for the next 10-15 years !…Oooo, I got goose bumps.

    I just hope we don't trade him…

    • gcorcoran says:

      I know. I refuse to get my hopes up about a guy until they at least have success at a full season league. You need not look further than Ravel Santana for why its problematic to hitch your wagon to a horse this early in the game.

      Of course I hope he fulfills his potential but my philosophy is to look at the quantity of high ceiling prospects they have at this level rather than the quality of a couple of individual prospects. This is why I look at Avelino, Katoh, Severino, Dallas Martinez, Tyler Wade, Luis Torrens, Clarkin, Judge, Jagielo and Miguel Andujar and a few others as a group and I really think the Yankees have something here.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Not sure that Ravel is a cautionary tale for prospect hugging too early. He had a career altering injury that could have happened at any point in his career. Similar sort of thing can happen to an MLB veteran like, say, Grady Sizemore. I don't think it had much of anything to do with the level he was at when it happened.

        • Greg Corcoran says:

          I don’t think he’s a cautionary tail. I think he is a reminder why it is problematic to get too attached to a prospect, especially at such a young age. A multitude of things can happen, including injury, flopping, off the field issues, lack of hustle, deciding suddenly that you don’t want to play baseball anymore… etc. Like I said, get excited about the entire crop, not just one promising tomato plant ;)

        • Injuries are a big part of the reason why prospect hugging too early isn't good. Ravel is a perfect cautionary tale because he had so much talent, but talent is worthless if it gets hurt and doesn't materialize.

    • gcorcoran says:

      Sorry, I missed the question first time through. Some negatives include that he doesn't appear to have the leadership that you would hope for, and he is more of a lead by example kind of player. That's okay by me. Also he doesn't have much in the way of power yet. His speed is not elite but he really maximizes the speed he has by being an excellent baserunner. He's not perfect, no one is. He's got the tools to be a superstar shortstop though if he is able to capitalize on the tools he does have.

    • gcorcoran says:

      Sorry, I missed the question first time through. Some negatives include that he doesn't appear to have the leadership that you would hope for, and he is more of a lead by example kind of player. He does have an excellent work ethic too. That's okay by me. Also he doesn't have much in the way of power yet. His speed is not elite but he really maximizes the speed he has by being an excellent baserunner. He's not perfect, no one is. He's got the tools to be a superstar shortstop though if he is able to capitalize on the tools he does have.

      • SkinnyMikeAxisa says:

        Hmmm…the lead by example leadership…excellent work ethic…not much in the way of power…speed not elite but is an excellent baserunner…got tools to be possibly be a superstar.

        Did you realize you just described a young Derek Jeter…Food for thought.

        • gcorcoran says:

          He's actually a far better defensive shortstop than Jeter was at the same stage. To be fair to Derek though I'd be pretty shocked if Avelino could ever come near what Jeter could do with the bat.

  2. Carl says:

    Oh, I've got a great idea. Why don't we trade him and a bunch of other young prospects for one or two really old superstars who used to put up great numbers a few years ago. Hey, maybe that might work! DUH!!!!!

  3. roy says:

    Carl, that really has not been the Yankees standard operating procedure since George Steinbrenner gave up the reins. What are your examples in the last ten years where the Yankees have been bitten by the strategy that you describe?