- Full name Manuel Margot
- Born 09/28/1994 in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 180 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 09/21/2016
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Red Sox signed Margot for $800,000 as a 16-year old international free agent in 2011 and watched him stand out at every level as he ascended their system. He was a consensus Top 100 Prospect when the Padres acquired him and three other well-regarded minor leaguers in exchange for closer Craig Kimbrel after the 2015 season. Margot possesses strong wrists and exceptional feel for the barrel, allowing him to make consistent hard contact. His plus speed helps his bat play up, turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples, and his control of the strike zone was uncanny for a player his age at Triple-A. The sum of all of that profiles Margot as a plus offensive player, even with fringe-average power. The Padres were surprised at Margot's lack of defensive polish when he first arrived, but he dramatically improved his reads and routes throughout 2016, which combined with his raw speed and athleticism, turned him into one of the top defensive outfielders in the upper minors. His above-average arm also took a huge leap forward in 2016, with corrected footwork leading to more strength behind his throws to the point he led the Pacific Coast League with 18 assists. Margot has everything you want in a top-of-the-order center fielder. His superior offensive profile to Travis Jankowski makes Margot the Padres' center fielder of the future, beginning in 2017.
Margot opened 2015 with a stretch of 62 straight at-bats without a strikeout, but between a shoulder injury that required a disabled list stint and a promotion to Double-A Portland, his production leveled off. Still, he played in the Futures Game and earned comparisons with Carlos Beltran from Carlos Febles, Margot's high Class A Salem manager. Margot's strong wrists create plus bat speed, and he can manipulate the bat well enough to post high contact rates that should allow him to hit for average. He also has the strength to occasionally drive the ball out of the park, though his aggressive approach--he chases pitches out of the zone--and emphasis on hitting the ball up the middle and to right-center field mean that his power is primarily to the gaps. Margot combines above-average speed with baserunning smarts in a way that makes him an impact runner, and his ability to glide to the ball in center field grades as plus. Though young, he's close to maxed out physically, limiting his future projection. Margot profiles as an everyday center fielder, if not an impact bat. Though he has moved quickly, he could benefit from a lengthier apprenticeship at Triple-A El Paso as he adjusts to pitchers attacking him with more advanced mixes. He could challenge Travis Jankowski for the center-field job in San Diego in 2016.
When the Red Sox signed Margot out of the Dominican Republic, they saw a player with five-tool potential and the defense to stick in center. After showing an ability to hit for average, get on base and steal bases while playing solid outfield defense in Lowell in 2013, Margot was one of five minor leaguers with at least 10 homers and 40 or more steals. There's electricity in virtually everything Margot does. His strong wrists create plus bat speed, and while aggressive, he has the barrel control to limit his strikeouts. His speed plays both out of the box and as a basestealer. It remains an open question whether he'll have the plate discipline to be a true top-of-the-order hitter, but he has a chance to deliver across-the-board impact with the floor of at least a very good fourth outfielder based on his defense. He's likely close to maxed out physically, so there's not a great deal of power projection, but it wouldn't be a shock if improved knowledge of his swing yielded home run totals in the high teens. Margot will open 2015 at the same level where he offered a tantalizing first glimpse at the end of 2014 in Salem. He has a chance to move up to Double-A by the end of the year if he can show an ability to remain under control and manage his at-bats.
Margot is the preeminent five-tool prospect in the system, with a combination of tools and maturity to allow him to compete against much older competition. He signed for $800,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. The Red Sox discussed the possibility of assigning Margot to low Class A Greenville in 2013, but the 18-year-old instead made his U.S. debut in the short-season New York-Penn League, holding his own with a .270/.346/.351 batting line and 18 steals. While his well above-average bat speed didn't produce loud results in 2013, Margot showed energy and impact on the bases and in the field, with a No. 2 hitter's mix of above-average hitting and and on-base skills. Scouts who like him see a ceiling of perhaps 12-15 homers and 25-plus steals, all while contributing above-average defense in center field. Margot needs to show that he can hit breaking balls and not chase them outside of the zone, but such concerns came as little surprise for the youngest position player in the Penn League. He'll make his full-season debut at Greenville in 2014.
Margot has done nothing but impress the Red Sox since signing for $800,000 in 2011. He tripled, homered and drove in six runs in his first pro game this June and went on to win the organization's Latin American program player of the year award. After that, he was one of the standouts in Boston's instructional league camp. Margot has an advanced approach for his age, works counts and recognizes pitches well. He has a fast bat and wiry strength, with the potential for average power as he gets stronger. He showed promising opposite-field power during instructional league. Margot is an above-average runner who's still raw on the bases, though he did rank third in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League with 33 steals in 68 games. His speed also makes him an asset in center field, where he reads balls well, and he even has a solid arm. Margot will make his U.S. debut in the Gulf Coast League in June.
Minor League Top Prospects
The key piece of the trade with the Red Sox for closer Craig Kimbrel last offseason, Margot had a strong season in 2016 despite suiting up as one of the youngest players in the PCL. He ranked first in the league with 12 triples, second with 98 runs, third with 157 hits and fifth with 30 stolen bases. He also played in the Futures Game. A great athlete, Margot has game-changing ability as a defender in center field, where his range and instincts grade as plus. Offensively, he has elite bat control and a strong feel for the strike zone, which can translate into a top-of-the-order skill set. He doesn't project to have elite power, but his ability to avoid strikeouts and drive the gaps from line to line mean he won't have the bat knocked out of his hands. On the bases, Margot is a plus runner who has worked to refine his skills and is improving his jumps and reads. He has the potential to steal 40-50 bases a season as a big league regular.
After Margot started hot at high Class A Salem, the Red Sox aggressively pushed the 20-year-old to the much more advanced EL, where he understandably found things a bit more challenging. He closed his time in Portland strong, ending the year on a six-game hitting streak that included a cycle and also home runs on consecutive days. Evaluators who saw Margot this year saw a player with the potential for five tools, including power enough for double-digit longballs. Before he reaches that ceiling, however, he'll need to tone down his aggression at the plate. He almost never strikes out, but rarely walks, either. In the outfield, Margot uses his plus speed to track down just about anything hit his way, making it easy to project him to stick in center field. The same aggression he showed at the plate also manifested on the bases, where opposing scouts and managers noted he had a tendency to run into outs on occasion. In all, Margot showed plenty of promise at both stops this year, giving Boston fans reason to believe he's a keeper.
After a late-season promotion to Salem in 2014, Margot set a goal for 2015 in his return to the Carolina League: he wanted to reduce his strikeout rate. The result? He was the last pro player to whiff this season, the first time coming on April 29. Even so, evaluators saw a bit of aggression to be toned down in Margot's approach, though it's a blip on an otherwise enticing package. He's a true center fielder who uses plus speed to create easy range to both sides and has an above-average arm to boot. At the plate, Margot draws comparisons with current Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts because of the way his bat stays in the hitting zone for an extended time. He doesn't have Betts' power, but scouts project 10-12 homers for Margot as he learns to pick the pitches to drive. Promoted to Double-A Portland at the halfway point, Margot has a chance for five average-or-better tools, depending on how you view his power.
When the season began, the Red Sox batted Margot sixth to keep pressure off their 19-year-old center fielder. But as he kept getting better and better, he moved up the lineup to hit leadoff. He responded by hitting .446/.492/.696 in the first half of August, forcing a late-season promotion to high Class A Salem. Evaluators said that Margot's defense in center may be better than his already impressive bat. He gets a great read off the bat, then uses above-average speed to help run down balls that appear to be headed for the gaps. A leadoff hitter now, Margot could eventually mature into a middle-of-the-lineup bat. But his on-base skills fit quite well at the top of the lineup and his basestealing ability (39 steals in 52 attempts) is an added bonus.
After signing for $800,000 in July 2011, Margot had a strong debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2012, then skipped a level and held his own in the NY-P this year. The youngest player in the league, Margot needs to add strength but flashes five-tool potential. Despite his thin frame, Margot generates good bat speed from the right side and could grow into average power down the road. He?s a gap-to-gap hitter presently, adept at shooting fastballs to right-center field or pulling hanging sliders to left-center. Like many young hitters, he?s prone to chasing breaking balls out of the zone at times, but he has a feel for the barrel and could become an average or better hitter. Margot is at least a plus runner, and he is aggressive on the basepaths. While he?s still learning the nuances of basestealing, he is very comfortable in center field, where he projects as a plus defender. Evaluations of his arm range from fringy to plus. If his bat develops as he matures, Margot has a chance to be a solid everyday center fielder in the big leagues.
Top 100 Rankings
Background: The Red Sox signed Margot for $800,000 as a 16-year old international free agent in 2011 and watched him stand out at every level as he ascended their system. He was a Top 100 Prospect when the Padres acquired him and three other players for closer Craig Kimbrel after the 2015 season. Scouting Report: Margot possesses strong wrists and exceptional feel for the barrel, allowing him to make consistent hard contact. His plus speed helps his bat play up, turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples, and his control of the strike zone was uncanny for a player his age at Triple-A. The sum of all of that profiles Margot as a plus offensive player, even with fringe-average power. Margot dramatically improved his reads and routes throughout 2016, which combined with his superb raw speed and athleticism, turned him into one of the top defensive outfielders in the upper minors. His above-average arm also took a huge leap forward in 2016, with corrected footwork leading to more strength behind his throws to the point he led the Pacific Coast League with 18 assists.
The Future: Margot has everything you want in a top-of-the-order center fielder and will begin to fill that role with the Padres in 2017.