PHOENIX—Aramis Ademan has yet to play his first official game in the United States, but in Mesa, Ariz., this March, he's been playing up.
When the Cubs needed a shortstop to play with the Double-A club during spring training, they gave the 18-year-old Dominican a temporary promotion. The Cubs coaching staff had little worry about how he would handle the massive jump.
"He's one of those young kids who for us as instructors, he's fun to watch because you tell him something one time and he picks it up like that," Cubs infield coordinator Jose Flores said. "Getting a chance to work with him from when he first signed, we see improvements way above average for his age. Compared to top prospects we've had in the past like Gleyber (Torres), he's got nothing to envy Glebyer on defensively."
Ademan is bigger and stronger than he was when he signed, but the lefthanded hitter is still further ahead defensively than offensively. Ademan has an average arm and average speed, but his hands, first step and anticipation are all above-average.
"For an 18-year-old, he anticipates very well," Flores said. "He positions himself according to counts and hitters' tendencies, but at the same time he's got great instincts. I'm not going to go as high as Javy Baez instincts, because (Ademan's) 18 and that's as high as you get, but no doubt at times he shows flashes of a kid who will have very good instincts as he approaches his twenties."
At the plate, Ademan's increased strength is becoming apparent, giving him a chance to have some gap power to go with the advanced batting eye he's already shown. Ademan, Baseball America's No. 12 international prospect for the 2015 July 2 signing class, hit .254/.366/.316 with the Cubs' Dominican Summer League team last summer.
"He's legit," Cubs farm director Jaron Madison said. "It's a very mature approach on both sides of the ball. He'll show you that he can be an everyday shortstop. Then he'll go to the plate and really impact the ball and show you he can really swing the bat. He's definitely getting stronger. Filling out. He's still very young, but he's impressed everyone who has seen him so far."
Ademan is likely to remain back in extended spring training–after all, he’s yet to play a game in the Arizona League much less the short-season Northwest League–but if the Cubs need someone to fill in for a Class A club, Ademan’s advanced feel makes him a viable option.
“He's going to be pretty special. He's a pretty special kid,” Flores said.