- Full name Yamaico Navarro
- Born 10/31/1987 in San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 08/20/2010
Organization Prospect Rankings
Navarro was traded twice in 2011, going from the Red Sox to the Royals for Mike Aviles in July, then to the Pirates in exchange for righthander Brooks Pounders and infielder Diego Goris in December. Navarro has the makings of a good offensive middle infielder with outstanding bat speed, some pop, the willingness to work counts and enough quickness to steal an occasional base. However, he's beginning to play his way off shortstop as his range is diminishing. Navarro still has the quick feet to play second base and the arm strength to play third base on a regular basis, though his bat doesn't profile at the hot corner. He has played every position in pro ball except for catcher and pitcher. Boston tired of Navarro's lack of conditioning or consistent effort, and Kansas City didn't wait long to unload him as well. In Pittsburgh, he'll get the opportunity to make the big league team in a super-utility role, but he may be running out of chances if his work ethic doesn't improve. His brother Raul is a shortstop in the Diamondbacks system.
Navarro is one of the best upper-level talents in the system and perhaps its most frustrating prospect as well. After his 2009 season was ruined when he broke the hamate bone in his left hand on Opening Day, he bounced back last year and played his way from Double-A to Boston. Navarro has as much bat speed as any Red Sox farmhand, giving him uncommon power for a middle infielder and the potential for 15-20 homers annually. He showed more plate discipline in 2010 than he had in the past, making consistent hard contact to all fields. Navarro has average speed and enough athleticism to play some shortstop at the big league level, though not as a regular. With his quickness, soft hands and strong arm, he could handle everyday duty at second or third base. At the least, he could be a quality utilityman. Navarro's future depends as much on his dedication as his talent. Though he has grown up some since signing as a 17-year-old, his maturity still remains in question. He doesn't keep his body in peak shape, at times resembling a slightly less rotund Juan Uribe, and doesn't always run hard. Some scouts have clocked him in times befitting a 20 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale. He also can get out of control at the plate and in the field, taking wild swings or trying to make impossible plays. Navarro has played just 16 games at the Triple-A level, so he'll probably begin 2011 in Pawtucket.
Navarro signed for $20,000 and had established himself as the system's top shortstop prospect after hitting .304/.359/.447 and advancing to high Class A as a 20-year-old in 2008, but his encore went awry on Opening Day last season. He broke the hamate bone in his left hand, requiring surgery that knocked him out until mid- June. He hit better than ever when he returned, earning his first promotion to Double-A, but more advanced pitchers shut him down. Navarro has the best bat speed in the system and more pop than most middle infielders. The ball sounds different coming off his bat, and his plus raw power could make him an annual 15-20 homer threat. He usually makes consistent, hard contact to all fields, but he can fall into ruts where he gets out of control at the plate, taking huge hacks and chasing pitches. An average runner, Navarro has ordinary range at shortstop. His soft hands, strong arm and good instincts will allow him to shift to second or third base, and he should have enough bat for either position if he refines his approach. Navarro needs to work harder and deliver more consistent effort, but the tools are there for him to become a big league regular. He'll get another shot at Double-A in 2010, when he could move to second base and form a double-play combo with Jose Iglesias.
Navarro was one of the biggest surprises in the system in 2008. Signed for just $20,000 three years earlier, he jumped to the top of the Red Sox's crowded depth chart at shortstop by hitting for average and power and playing improved defense. Navarro whips the bat quickly through the hitting zone and barrels balls consistently, giving him power to all fields and the potential for 15-20 homers per season. He has solid speed but isn't a big basestealing threat. He has a plus arm and average range at shortstop, and he has seen time at second and third base to help ease Boston's shortstop logjam. Navarro can get out of control at the plate, taking vicious hacks, chasing wild pitches and missing hittable ones. He has a reasonably sound two-strike approach that he should incorporate earlier in counts. At times, he'll let an offensive slump affect his baserunning and defense. After looking like a utilityman in 2007, Navarro now projects as a regular shortstop. Where the Red Sox decide to deploy Argenis Diaz in 2009 will determine whether Navarro opens in Double-A, but he should get there at some point during the season.
Yet another shortstop prospect who emerged for the Red Sox in 2007, Navarro slid over to third base once Oscar Tejeda was promoted to Lowell. Navarro is more offensive-minded than most of the other young shortstops. He squares up fastballs well and already shows some opposite-field power. Navarro takes violent cuts and chases pitches, and Boston would like him to use his two-strike approach (more selectivity, shorter swing) throughout his entire at-bats. He has good speed but doesn't always run hard, and he needs to mature and show more professionalism. Navarro isn't as fluid as some of the other shortstops, but he has the range and arm to make most of the plays. He needs work on balls in the hole. Navarro is slated to play with Tejeda again this year in low Class A, and Tejeda once again will man shortstop.
Minor League Top Prospects
Navarro, who played the entire season at 19 against mostly players with college experience, began the year at shortstop before sliding to third base to accommodate Tejeda. Like Tejeda, Navarro flashed impressive tools across the board. Navarro is an aggressive hitter who swings violently at everything. He's mostly a gap-to-gap hitter with some power, especially to the opposite field. He's a more polished defender than Tejeda and throws well from a three-quarters slot, but like Tejeda he needs to improve on making backhand plays in the hole. He has good speed but doesn't always run balls out, and he sometimes displays a bit too much flash. Still, he usually brings passion and energy to the park. "He was electric. He could be like Edgar Renteria," an scout with a National League club said. "He just put on a show, in bunches, and showed some raw power and some tools."