OK, OK. Now… before we get absurdly wrapped up in the coaching staff- and management-driven mania over the impending supernova of a burst forward that Adeiny Hechavarria is supposedly about to take at the plate (too late?), let’s maybe take a step or two back and enter the world of the not-so-glowing praise, as Kevin Goldstein does today for Baseball Prospectus and ESPN.com (Insider Only).

Heading up the “not-so-good” portion of his piece on the Florida Prospect Pulse, Goldstein writes of Hechavarria:

As slick-fielding, weak-hitting shortstops who defected from Cuba and signed big-money major league deals with American League East teams, [Red Sox prospect Jose] Iglesias and Hechavarria have been the victims of constant comparisons. While Hechavarria finished with a 25-game flourish at Triple-A Las Vegas last year, one National League scout says he’s still not seeing much progress at the plate.

“First off, he can really play shortstop, but I just don’t think he’s going to hit,” the scout said. “He’s fine on fastballs, but he really struggles with anything off-speed, and I have not seen any progress in that area.”

OK, so it’s not quite Goldstein who is crushing dreams. And it’s not really all that bad. But it does give the love-fest a little bit of pause. Especially when remembering that Alex Anthopoulos said yesterday, as I noted, that “I always try to temper that enthusiasm with– it’s Spring Training, and the fact that he’s getting challenged with fastballs, and not as much off-speed.”

So, was his spring success a mirage? Does the same go for his cameo in the unfriendly-to-breaking-balls environment of the PCL?

Well that’s a fucking downer. I liked it way better when we were irrationally building him up!

Comments (26)

  1. sometimes I have to take the prospect gurus with a huge grain of salt, they hate being wrong..all of them saying Lawrie was a butcher with the glove right up to the bitter end comes to mind, we’ll see how he does this year, the narrative has obviously been written.

    • Little bit different when talking about a glove, as it can be somewhat subjective (a lot of defensive metrics have Yunel as not all that good, for example)

      But just look at the guys hitting stats…..or lack thereof. He can’t hit for shit at ANY level of pro ball, and then the SECOND he goes to Vegas he’s a .950 guy? Come on. If you buy that, I’ve got some ocean front property in Alberta I wanna sell ya.

      I heard that the reason Vegas is so easy to hit at is that the air is so thin, there’s no friction….so breaking balls can’t “grab” the air, which is how they move in thiicker air. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but from my rudimentary understanding of physics, it makes sense. And it would also explain why a guy who can mash heaters and not hit breaking balls would do very well there.

      So we have a gold glove SS who can’t hit either above OR below AAA. What do you do? YOu keep him at AAA, let him hit .800+, and try to keep a straightface when you trade him for a valuable player.

      • His babip in New Hampshire was fairly low too, especially for a guy whom I’m assuming doesn’t hit fly balls often. He’s somewhere in between his AA and AAA numbers, and no one will really know where he sits until we see a full season of him in AAA to give that .471 babip time to deflate.

        • Erm, no. Peripheral stats are good and all, but when a guy puts up 1.5 full seasons (at A/A+ and AA) without getting his OPS above .622, he’s not a good hitter.

          The guy wasn’t unlucky for 1.5 years.

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  2. I said months ago that I’d be shocked if he ever plays as a Jay…….AA will let him put up stupid, meaningless Vegas stats, then trade him by the deadline. He’ll have a ton of value.

    Which makes AA’s absurdly high praise make much more sense. He’s trying not to crush trade value.

    • Just like David Cooper has a tonne of value putting up crazy stats in Vegas?

      • I don’t see how that refutes Rob’s point, which I think is a valid one.
        As I said in the other thread it feels to me like this is something a smart front office would do when they are trying to unload a player (a bit o’ marketing to hype up his value).
        Yes some other teams will see through it and won’t get fooled into buying a faulty product, but it can’t HURT to try… Same goes for letting the lpayer put of some nice Las Vegas enhanced numbers.

        David Cooper’s value hasn’t been HURT by doing the same, and I think if the org wanted to trade him they probably could. They jsut don’t want to because of the terrible lack of depth at the 1B position in the organiztion.

      • Little bit different. Cooper’s not a potential gold glove defender at a premium position.

        All Hech needs to do to be a valuable, starting SS in the majors is prove he can be at least a remotely decent MLB hitter. If GM’s could look into their crystal ball and see that Hech would absolutely give them a .700 OPS every year, there are teams that would place a lot of value on that.

        Everybody knows Vegas stats are inflated…..if he puts up an .850 OPS, nobody is going to think he’ll hit even close to that in the majors….they just want to se that he’s GOOD ENOUGH to not hurt the tea, because they value his glove so much. And there are probably a lot of people who will say “sure he’s a crappy hitter….but, come on, an .850 OPS? Vegas can’t be THAT much of a bonus….that will proabbly translate to .750 at least in MLB” and because of his glove, that’s a valuable player.

        In other words, nobody is looking at Hech to make himself valuable with his bat. They jsut want to see that he can hit the abre minimum. Cooper NEEDS to impress people with his bat alone to have any value…..and so it’s much harder for him to build value in Vegas then somebody like Hech.

        • Unfortunately, the Jays do not have a monopoly on being aware of what the PCL does to stats.

          I’m pretty sure the idea of building up trade value in baseball is mostly bunk.

      • At the time Brett Wallace looked better and heading into 2010 was a top prospect…but right now he looks pretty David Cooper-ish.

        AA called Brett Wallace the 1B of the future, Zack Stewart was “comparable” to Kyle Drabek when Drabek was considered a top prospect & Nestor Molina was praised more than the three AA arms (Hutchison, McGuire & Jenkins) he kept.

        The circumstantial evidence suggests this COULD be AA’s motive. On the other hand, we have no proof this is true either.

        • Fully agree.
          Every situation is different. It just wouldn’t surprise me at all if Hech was being marketed for a deal.

  3. In conclusion, Vegas is just an absolutely horrible AAA location, where we can’t get a good read on our hitters because they’re putting up absurd numbers, and where we’re too afraid to send our pitcher because we (quite rightly) realize the putting up 6+ ERA’s in AAA is not the best thing for any young pitchers confidence.

  4. are Jays building him up to flip him?

  5. Was wondering when someone was gonna call Blair out for writing that the Jays were pretty much ready to push Yunel out the door. Before we get to blowing the kid(again) let’s see him hit something first.

  6. «He’s fine on fastballs, but he really struggles with anything off-speed, and I have not seen any progress in that area»

    All Hech needs is a little voodoo magic from JoBu:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85i5CpyBv-Q

  7. So ONE scout (from the other league no less) saw Hechavarria at some point (when? how many times?) thinks he won’t become a hitter. Big deal. For all we know this scout saw him once or twice last year and caught a game this spring. Not something to get all worked up about.

    • It does sound like a scouting report from last year.

      Farrell and others have commented that Hech has filled out and is stronger with more bat speed this year compared to last year. And he seems to have a better idea what to do in the batters box.

      Seeing Hech spend time in AAA should give the Jays a good idea where he stands with his hitting approach.

      It will be fun to watch AAA boxscores this year. There will be daily Gose, d’Arnaud, Sierra, Snider, Hechevarria and Drabek reports.

      • Did anyone else read that piece last summer on Hech’s hitting at AAA after Chad Mottola got him to loosen his grip? Previous to that he had a death grip on the bat and couldnt hit sh*t. The guy went out and tore the place up afterwards. It’s just as likely that Mottola’s changes helped his average as it was the promo to AAA. Also keep in mind that that Farrell thinks he’s bulking up as he matures.

  8. Havent read Blair’s piece yet, but I’d put money on the Jays trading KJ before they trade Escobar. Hell, they’ve got Hech, the guy who would NEVER play anywhere else but SS taking reps at 2B, and KJ was the one who pissed off AA by stating he wouldn’t play outfield. Plus KJ only signed after he was an FA and there were no takers, thereby ruining AA’s 2 draft picks.

  9. As for the “building up” of prospects ala Jays Management and Molina, you could probably make a case for those that are equally as built up and not traded. It’s not good business to dump on a prospect, period.

  10. He’ll be a great defensive SS with upside of capable with the bat. That’s a good thing.

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