- Full name Emilio Jose Bonifácio
- Born 04/23/1985 in Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School Loyola
- Debut 09/02/2007
Organization Prospect Rankings
After four so-so pro seasons, Bonifacio moved into the fast lane by batting .321 with 61 steals in high Class A in 2006. He followed up with a good year in Double-A and made his major league debut in September. Bonifacio's speed rates as either a 70 or 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and he plays with energy and passion. He continues to refine his basestealing, picking pitches and counts and getting good breaks, and he has no fear of getting thrown out (though he did get caught 13 times in 54 Double-A attempts). He's an above-average defender at second base, with sure hands, great range and enough arm for shortstop. While Bonifacio draws comparisons to Luis Castillo, he doesn't have Castillo's approach at the plate. Bonifacio's swing isn't conducive to the small-ball game he needs to play, and he still doesn't have a good idea of the strike zone. He also hasn't shown the strength to drive the ball, which could be a problem against quality fastballs at higher levels. Bonifacio is the kind of player managers love to have in the lineup, but if he doesn't improve at the plate he could end up as a utility player. He'll open the season in Triple-A, with Orlando Hudson and Alberto Callaspo ahead of him in the organization's pecking order.
Even with the wealth of position-player prospects in the organization, one Diamondbacks official called Bonifacio the most exciting player of all in the organization. After repeating low Class A in 2005, Bonifacio has made significant progress as a hitter and is now on the fast track. Of course, he's always on the fast track because his speed rates an 80 on the 20- 80 scouting scale. When he makes like Luis Polonia from the left side and lays his bat on the ball as he's bolting from the box, Bonifacio has been timed at 3.6 seconds down the line to first. He has improved his basestealing approach, learning when to go and how to get good jumps rather than just trying to outrun the ball to second. He also has cut down on his swing and improved at working counts and fighting off tough pitches, though he still needs to understand the zone better and cut down on his strikeouts. He has good range and a solid arm on defense, but he needs to get more consistent and improve his footwork. Bonifacio brings so much energy to the park every day that the Diamondbacks are just trying to slow him down. If he continues to improve at the plate, he could be a prototype leadoff hitter. He'll get a good test by jumping to Double-A to start 2007.
Bonifacio reached low Class A as a 19-year-old in 2004, and Arizona felt a return there last year wouldn't put him behind schedule. The move paid off as he made improvements across the board. A small, speedy second baseman in the mold of Luis Castillo, Bonifacio never will hit for power but is a capable hitter who uses all fields. His most significant growth came in understanding his role as an igniter atop a lineup, as he more than doubled his walk total while also cutting down his strikeouts. Once on base, Bonifacio has plus-plus speed and knows how to use it, swiping 95 bases in 122 tries over the past two seasons. His quickness helps him defensively as well. He has good range but needs to improve his reads off the bat, and his footwork is sloppy, particularly around the bag. Bonifacio will spend his third straight year with Alberto Gonzales as his double-play partner, as they'll team up in high Class A this season.
Minor League Top Prospects
After spending the previous two years at low Class A South Bend, Bonifacio continued to improve significantly as he moved up to Lancaster, leading the league with 61 stolen bases (in 75 attempts) and finishing second with 117 runs. He draws comparisons to Twins second baseman Luis Castillo for his game and his body, and though his slugging percentage rose 119 points from a year ago, Bonifacio knows his game is keeping the ball on the ground and using his plus-plus speed. "Whenever he pops a ball up, you can see his body language--he knows that's not him," an American League scout said. "He's a switch-hitter, a slap contact guy, he knows his game and looks very teachable and receptive. There's no doubt in my mind he'll play in the big leagues. He's got all the tools you look for in an All-Star second baseman. He may be the most exciting player I've seen in a while." Bonifacio has been clocked between 3.4 and 3.6 seconds up the line from the left side on a bunt, giving him a chance for a hit on any grounder to the left side. He's always hustling and putting pressure on the defense, and his instincts on the basepaths are outstanding. Bonifacio has the tools to be a plus defender at second base, with soft hands, good quickness and improving range. He still plays out of control at times and tends to rush his throws, but his arm strength is adequate and his exchange is very smooth.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive 2B in the Pacific Coast League in 2008
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Pacific Coast League in 2008
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008
- Rated Best Defensive 2B in the Southern League in 2007
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Southern League in 2007
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007
- Rated Best Baserunner in the California League in 2006