Wednesday, May 4, 2011
MLB Prospect Scouting Report: Adeiny Hechavarria
Adeiny Hechavarria (Toronto Blue Jays SS)
Hechavarria was handed a hefty 4 year, $10 million contract from the Blue Jays which included a $4 million signing bonus that is the largest in team history. Despite struggling to hit in his pro debut at High-A ball last year, the Jays decided to promote him to AA based on his defense. I didn’t get a chance to see him at the Arizona Fall League since Red Sox SS prospect Jose Iglesias started in all the games I attended. I traveled to Reading on Tuesday night to finally get a look at him.
Hechavarria hits lead off for New Hampshire but has no lead off skills. He saw a total of 6 pitches in his first four at-bats last night, all of them strikes. The only pitch he didn’t swing at, that wasn’t a called strike, was a pitch that nearly hit his shin. If it would have been physically possible for him to swing at it while he simultaneously dodged the pitch, I have no doubt he would have. Hechavarria swung at pitches well out of the zone several times, swung at the first pitch in 4 out of his 5 at-bats and failed to hit the ball out of the infield even once. He has no patience, no feel for the strike zone and no power. His body isn’t projectable in any way so I don’t see that power improving.
He’s fast enough that he’ll beat out some infield hits, lay down bunt singles and do some damage on the base paths, but I can’t see a scenario where his offensive output will ever warrant any sort of praise, even from the most liberal-minded analysts
Thankfully for Hechavarria, he’ll only need to hit well enough to bat last in the order to get off the bus and into a major league clubhouse. His skills at short are undeniable, especially his split second reactions. On this night, a ball was hit hard to Hechavarria’s left, which he quickly got in position to field, then took a bad hop a darted up toward his head. He contorted his body in some sort of inhuman position, fielded the ball cleanly and threw out the runner at first. Combine these reactions with his above average speed and he has terrific range. He has soft hands and an above average arm.
My one concern is his arm accuracy. He releases the ball at a weird spot. I can’t really articulate exactly what I saw but I know it didn’t look right and a few balls he threw to first during warmups either sailed on him or landed in the dirt.
Hechavarria’s glove will get him to the majors because he plays a premium defensive position very well. He’s not a future All Star and won’t provide the value you’d expect from someone who signed as big of an amateur contract as he did, but he’ll be a big league shortstop for a decade or so.