Tigers Scouting Report #48: Elys Escobar

Escobar was a 2013 bonus baby

The Tigers made a couple of big signings this past July 2nd, the first day to sign newly eligible international free agents, one of them being young catcher Elys Escobar. Find out why the Tigers were willing to invest heavily in the young Venezuelan.

Elys Escobar

Vitals

Position: Catcher
Date of Birth: 9/21/1996 (2014 Opening Day Age: 17)
Height/Weight: 6-2/190
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2013
Ranking History: #48 (2014)

Background: July 2nd signing out of Venezuela in 2013, Escobar signed for a reported $350,000 signing bonus. Escobar has no official professional experience, having only played in the Liga Paralela in Venezuela this off-season.

Performance:

2013 Elys Escobar Stats - Hitting
TEAMABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSBAOBPSLG
Liga Paralela 271510020500.185.214.222


Scouting Report

Body: Good present size/strength; well-built kid; looks the part of a catcher; long, thin legs with room for strength/mass as he matures; broad shoulders and long arm suggest room for growth as well; excellent physicality with plenty of projection remaining; should have very strong, durable frame.

Hit: Very raw; noisy swing mechanics; lacks consistency; lots of pre-pitch movement that the club is trying to quiet; load takes too long; leg kick complicates things even more; bat speed is above-average with room for continued improvement; longer swing mechanics that negate some of his bat speed; no approach or pitch recognition at this stage; lots of development required; no feel to hit at this time; serious project at the plate; may never have refined hitting ability or approach. Grade – Present 2/Future 4

Power: Power can stand out among his peers; strength and leverage in swing allows for impressive batting practice displays; can drive the ball to the pull side; good extension on balls out over the plate; can drive mistakes; gets power hungry at times and needs to let power come naturally; has strength/bat speed for natural raw power to translate if he lets it; classic power hitter finish; fringe-average raw with lots of projection; game utility will remain open question as hit tool develops. Grade – 4/5+

Speed: Poor runner; reports of home-to-first times in excess of 4.5 seconds; gets out of the box fine but doesn't have any initial burst or speed underway; non-factor in the running game; no speed projection given physical projection. Grade – 2/2

Defense: Very impressive regardless of age; shows advanced feel for receiving; good strength in lower arm and wrists allows him to hold the ball firm; handles breaking pitches well; good technique all around; moves well for his size; shows aptitude for blocking a variety of pitch types; good technique on blocks; gets down quickly and keeps the ball in front of him; inconsistent footwork but shows ability; pop between 1.90-2.01 with times toward the lower end of that range more consistently since signing; potential difference maker behind the plate. Grade – 3/6

Arm: Excellent arm strength; really stands out; easy plus arm at present with potential for a little more as footwork gains consistency; shows good accuracy already; arm could be a weapon in controlling running game. Grade – 6/6+

Other: Significant unknown; limited game action in a professional setting; shows quality work ethic and enjoys the game.

Final Word

Summary: Raw talent; has tools; glove and arm can carry the profile to the backup level as he matures; has power in the bat and projection for even more strength/power at physical maturity; hit tool has serious questions; very impressive physically with potential to be a beast; will require long developmental path.

Risk: Extreme risk; serious questions about hit tool; multiple grade jumps required for hit, power and defense.

Projection: Perfect world projection as a glove-first everyday catcher with pop; more likely backup projection with hit tool coming up short.

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