- Full name Alfredo Amezaga
- Born 01/16/1978 in Ciudad Obregon, SON, Mexico
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 165 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School St. Petersburg JC
- Debut 05/24/2002
- Drafted in the 13th round (401st overall) by the Los Angeles Angels in 1999.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Ranked as the organization's No. 6 prospect a year ago, Amezaga didn't have much go his way in 2002. Adam Kennedy and David Eckstein cemented their roles as the Angels' double- play combo, and while Amezaga went 7-for-13 during his brief time in the majors, Anaheim chose the faster Chone Figgins for the 25th spot on its postseason roster. The Angels credit Amezaga with handling the decision well and soaking up valuable experience from the bench throughout the championship run. Some scouts still project him as an everyday player, while others think he profiles better in a utility role. He understands his limitations and plays the little game well. He uses his speed and bat control to make things happen. Amezaga's instincts and ability to play shortstop should give him the slight edge over Figgins in the long run, though he needs more offensive consistency.
Amezaga moved from Mexico to Miami for high school and first caught scouts' attention as a teenager at an inner-city baseball clinic. Brian Specht pushed him to second base in 2000, but last year Amezaga spent the entire season at shortstop. One scout said he saw a 15-year-old Amezaga turn the most amazing double play he's ever seen. He can make acrobatic plays with his quick actions, excellent instincts and first-step anticipation. His arm is average, but there's no longer any doubt that he can play shortstop in the majors. He's 70 runner on the 20-to-80 scouting scale and has good bunting ability. Amezaga makes a lot of things happen, but hitting for power isn't one of them. He usually slaps the ball the other way and occasionally can pull balls into the gap. Some scouts question if his slight build will allow him to hold up over a 162-game season. He doesn't walk enough to fully utilize his speed. The Angels haven't developed an everyday middle infielder since Damion Easley, and they won't have to wait much longer for Amezaga. Their station- to-station lineup could use the energy his speed would provide.
Amezaga was primarily a shortstop before 2000, but the additions of Brian Specht, Tommy Murphy and Wilmy Caceres have all but cemented his future as a second baseman. He's small and probably never will drive the ball, but Amezaga makes the most of what he has offensively. He makes contact, draws walks and doesn't try to hit the ball in the air, all so he can get on base and use his plus speed. He ranked fifth in the minors in stolen bases last season. Amezaga showed a great feel for second base after switching positions. His hands and range are both plus tools, and his average arm is better suited for second. He already has good footwork and instincts, and he has had little difficulty turning the double play. Adam Kennedy is clearly the franchise's second baseman of the present and future, so Amezaga may have to settle for a utility role in the majors when he's ready in a couple of years.
Minor League Top Prospects
Though David Eckstein is the game's most famous overachiever, he may have to fight for his job next spring. Amezaga is a more effective hitter against righthanders, faster and a better defender. He even showed moxie of his own in September, batting .286 while playing through a torn labrum. The PCL's best defensive shortstop, Amezaga covers a lot of ground and has sure hands. He compensates for slightly below-average arm strength (which is still more than Eckstein has) with uncanny accuracy. While he hit .347 in Triple-A, he still has to prove he can handle breaking pitches. The biggest difference in Eckstein's favor is his on-base ability. Amezaga walks roughly as often as Eckstein but isn't hit by nearly as many pitches.
Before the season the Angels thought Amezaga was more of a second baseman, but he proved that wrong and ended the organization's search for a true shortstop prospect in the upper minors. Voted the league's most exciting player at midseason, he used his incredible quickness and aggressive attitude to stir up things all across the diamond. "He was everywhere against us," Moore said. "He made plays on the second base side of the infield, beat out bunts and drove our pitchers and catchers wild when he got on. He's a little guy but he makes a big impact on a game." Amezaga excelled at shortstop, demonstrating a stronger arm than previously seen. He does everything right at the plate, taking walks and avoiding fly balls, and is a major disruption on the bases.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Texas League in 2001
- Rated Best Defensive SS in the Texas League in 2001
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the Texas League in 2001
- Rated Best Baserunner in the Texas League in 2001