|THIS YEAR’S CROP|
|*****||One for the books|
|***||Solid, not spectacular|
|**||Not up to par|
|*||Nothing to see here|
While Puerto Rico produced 28 players in the draft a year ago, Dodgers second-rounder Ivan DeJesus Jr. was the only one taken in the top five rounds. Twenty-three of the players taken last year were second-day selections, and the crop overall was considered below-average by Puerto Rico’s standards. A recent trend with scouting in Puerto Rico seems to be lots of players turned in by scouts, and clubs selecting a slew of them as late-round draft-and-follow picks. A similar scenario should unfold this year, but overall the talent is down from last year.
1. Helder Velazquez, ss, Puerto Rican Baseball Academy, Aguas Buenas
2. Hector Correa, rhp, Lorenzo Coballes HS, Hatillo
3. Jamie Ortiz, 1b, San Alfonso College HS, Guayama
Three To Mention
Puerto Rico’s best prospect is the thin, lanky Helder Velazquez, who has true actions at shortstop and fast-twitch muscles. His glove is well ahead of his bat at this stage of his career, though he projects to hit for average and develop into an above-average defensive infielder. His hands are soft and he has a plus arm. Velazquez has little strength, and struggles to drive balls with authority. He has some looseness in his swing and tries to use the entire field.
Righthander Hector Correa could be drafted before Velazquez based on a better present package. He also needs to improve his strength and stamina. Correa’s arm works well, generating a fastball in the 91-93 mph range, and he projects to throw harder as he matures. His secondary stuff has a long ways to go. His loopy curveball is a below-average offering, and he’ll likely scrap it in favor of a slider.
Jamie Ortiz has drawn comparisons to Franklin Stubbs for his lefthanded swing. He has a pull approach and shows little feel for hitting, rarely attempting to hit the ball up the middle or to the opposite field. He has a good frame, which lends some projection, and the potential to hit for average to slightly above-average power. He’s a well-below-average runner.