by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
At any given time there are some intriguing prospects making waves. The question is going to be if they are for real, or are they more of an aberration whose going to quickly run out of steam. Let’s try to answer that question when it comes to two intriguing speed prospects who are thriving:
Luis Rengifo – Los Angeles Angels – Shortstop
Acquired from Tampa Bay as part of the C.J. Cron trade, Luis Rengifo (21-years old) has reached Double-A and is going to start to garner plenty of attention. Exactly where he fits defensively remains to be seen, and it’s possible he ultimately fills the role of a utility player having experience at 2B, SS, 3B and all three outfield positions. That said, his profile is beginning to look like one that is a top of the order impact bat so finding a defensive home will be inevitable (he’s primarily played SS in ’18).
While the bulk of his time in ’18 has come at High-A, he’s currently hitting .315 with 2 HR, 23 RBI, 42 R and 22 SB. His speed is his carrying tool, but it’s his plate discipline that is going to garner our attention. Entering play on Sunday he owned:
- Strikeout Rate – 10.5%
- Walk Rate – 12.7%
- SwStr% – 6.8%
The switch-hitter also isn’t completely void of power, with 12 HR in ’17 and 20 extra base hits this season (13 doubles and 5 triples). This preseason scouting report from MLB.com adds to that, and has to get you excited about the potential:
“The switch-hitting Rengifo has a short, compact swing from both sides of the plate, with feel for the barrel that enables him to produce consistent contact. He shows some pop from the left side of the plate, albeit mostly to the gaps, but offers little in the way of power as a righty, with very good plate discipline allowing his hit tool to play up. Rengifo’s above-average speed makes him a threat on the basepaths, and he’s improved his basestealing efficiency to maximize that tool.”
Any time you have a speed threat with a strong approach he’s going to catch our attention. Couple that with even just a little power and you have a potential difference maker. Rengifo is going to start garnering more and more attention, especially now that he’s at Double-A, so don’t miss your opportunity to invest now.
Verdict – Hot
Buddy Reed – San Diego Padres – Outfielder
Being an outfielder in the Padres’ system is not easy, considering the talent that they have. That said, spending the year at High-A Reed is doing his best to put himself on the map:
.341 (72-211), 9 HR, 35 RBI, 38 R, 24 SB
Having a player who can provide both speed and power (15 doubles and 3 triples) is a huge commodity, but as is the case with many of San Diego’s outfield prospects his plate discipline is a significant question:
- Strikeouts – 25.6%
- Walks – 5.8%
- SwStr% – 14.2%
Considering the level and already being 23-years old, those numbers are huge concerns. He’s made some strides and is obviously going to garner some attention, but unless he can refine his approach he’s going to ultimately struggle as he continues to advance up the ladder.
Verdict – Not
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs