Author Topic: Follow the Prospects: Rafael Bautista, CF  (Read 6638 times)

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Offline BrandonK

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2016 Prospect Rankings


18. Rafael Bautista, OF, VIDEO, High-A

Bautista is a tremendous athlete who is just starting to tap into the baseball applications of his tools. With plus-plus speed and excellent bat speed, it’s easy to dream on how good he could be if the game skills reflect his raw athletic talent. He doesn’t have a great approach at the plate, and his swing is athletic yet very much geared toward putting ground balls in play instead of driving gaps. With plus potential defense in center, his floor is pretty high as a situational bench player. He needs to make adjustments with the bat to profile as more than that.

He’s been aggressively pushed to Double-A to start the 2016 season, which may limit how much he’s going to change his approach at the plate. I’m not counting on big changes, so the future likely holds a fourth- or fifth-outfield role for Bautista.

Hit: 40/45/45+ Power: 25/30/35 Run: 65/70/75 Field: 55/55/60 Throw: 50/50/50
Overall: 35/40/50

#16 Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 30 | Run: 70 | Arm: 50 | Field: 60 | Overall: 45

Bautista made name for himself during his 2013 stateside debut in the Rookie Gulf Coast League, where he showed a promising blend of hitting ability and speed. He moved up to Class A Hagerstown the following year and emerged as a South Atlantic League All-Star while finishing second in the Minors with 69 stolen bases. Bautista suffered a broken finger during the first week of the 2015 season that cost him much of the first half, but finished on a high note at Class A Advanced Potomac and then continued to make strides while playing in the Dominican Winter League.

Bautista's double-plus speed is easily his top tool and gives him impact potential on both sides of the ball. He's always a threat to run when on base, a notion supported by his 168 steals over parts of four Minor League seasons, and he's long showed the ability to bunt for a hit. Defensively, he gets good reads off the bat and covers a ton of ground in center field.

Bautista's combination of plus speed and defense gives him a solid floor as a fourth or fifth big league outfielder, though he may very well surpass that projection given his progress in recent years. With a more refined approach and better on-base skills, Bautista has the potential to hit atop the order.