by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Texas Rangers have been aggressive with shortstop Anderson Tejeda, including promoting him from Rookie Ball to Low-A last year as an 18-year old (he’ll turn 19 on May 1). In 94 AB at the level he opened some eyes by delivering 8 HR and 19 RBI, helping to lead to another aggressive placement to open 2017 (he’s playing at Single-A). Does that mean that he’s a no-brainer breakout prospect? It’s easy to dub him as such, though things aren’t quite that cut and dry.
There are two significant flaws that need to be monitored closely:
It’s easy to chalk up his 33.3% strikeout rate at Low-A to his age and small sample size, but that’s also been a part of his game in Rookie Ball. Regardless of his age, when we see that type of rate at that level there has to be some concern. We generally expect the strikeout rate to rise as a player faces more advanced pitching, which means the number could become a significant negative.
He hadn’t shown that type of power in Rookie Ball and also had 0 doubles and 1 triple at Low-A. It raises a bit of a red flag and makes you wonder if it was just some short sample success.
MLB.com addressed both of the issues recently, when they described him by saying:
“Tejeda has surprising power for someone listed at 5-foot-11, generating easy plus raw pop from the left side of the plate thanks to his quick hands and wiry strength. His whippy stroke has considerable bat speed and he has some natural hitting ability, giving him the chance to hit for a solid average as he matures. To do so, he’ll have to quiet his approach, tighten his strike zone and use the opposite field more often.”
At his age there’s certainly time for him to figure it out and make the adjustments, though you also have to wonder if he would benefit from a less aggressive placement. For a player who needs to work on his approach, facing more and more advanced pitching could make it more difficult for him to do so.
There are also questions as to whether or not he’ll be able to stick at shortstop, though if he proves he can hit that’s not going to be an issue. Teams find a place for bats to play, so his development at the plate will be paramount. He needs to find a way to keep the strikeouts in check, as well as grow his walk rate (5.1% at Low-A) and do so while proving the power he showed last season is for real.
That’s a tall order and it will be interesting to see if he can do it.
Current Grade – C
Upside Grade – B
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings: