Vasquez was the Tigers top Latin American signing in 2010, inking for a reported $1.2 million signing bonus on the opening day of the signing period (July 2nd).
The Tigers quickly worked to bring Vasquez to Lakeland for the Fall Instructional League to get the coaching staff familiar with their new teenage talent. Vasquez looked overmatched at times, but that is not surprising considering he was still just 16-years old.
His first taste of professional caliber baseball was playing in the Liga Parallela in Venezuela. In 39 games over the winter, Vasquez posted a .270/.329/.333 line with only 23 strikeouts while walking 12 times.
Vasquez has an advanced body with some natural strength and room on his long frame to add more as he matures and gets into a professional workout and nutrition program. He is a solid athlete with above-average coordination for his age.
With a bat in his hands, Vasquez has an innate ability to make contact and some early signs of good pitch recognition skills. He learned quickly in the fall league, and rarely chase the same pitch in a second or third at-bat of a game. He could have an average hit tool when all is said and done.
His bat gets to the zone quickly and he keeps his hands in well, allowing him to generate above-average bat speed at his age. That, coupled with the loft in his swing, gives rise to some projection for 20-25 home runs annually when he reaches his peak years.
Vasquez is an average runner now and depending on how his body fills out, he could still go either way, improving his speed or losing a step if he bulks up.
He has the raw tools to be a solid right fielder, but he struggles with his reads off the bat and his routes at this time. He routinely got turned around in the fall league, but reports from Liga Parallela indicated there was improvement over the winter. Most scouts I spoke with had little trouble projecting him as an asset in the outfield. His arm should also play well and could be a plus tool in right.
There is an enormous gap between what Vasquez is and what he could be down the line; a gap so big it is difficult to peg his ceiling with any confidence.
Did not play in 2010.
Vasquez has no amateur injury history and he's been healthy in his short time as a professional.
The Tigers brought Vasquez back to the States for minor league spring training. He is scheduled to stay in Lakeland through spring training and on into extended, before heading back to Venezuela for the start of the VSL around the middle of May.
With his work visa already in place, his performance in the first part of the VSL season will dictate whether he stays there or returns to the US in 2011. If he is performing well, the Tigers have indicated that they will not hesitate to bring him back over for the Gulf Coast League season.
He will play the entire 2011 season at just 17-years old, and shouldn't be expected to see time outside the complex leagues until sometime in 2012 at the earliest. If he shows well throughout this summer, he could be on track for a full-season debut with West Michigan next year. His bat will dictate his progression through the system.
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