Author Topic: Follow the Prospects: Yasel Antuna, SS/3B  (Read 265 times)

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Offline imref

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Follow the Prospects: Yasel Antuna, SS/3B
« Topic Start: August 28, 2019, 09:39:44 AM »
Yasel Antuna | Rank: 8 (Preseason: 7)
Team: Status: Injured 7-Day   ETA: 2022
Position: SS/3B   Age: 19 DOB: 10/26/1999
Bats: S Throws: R   Height: 6' 0" Weight: 170 lb.
Signed: July 2, 2016 - WSH
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

Antuna impressed scouts with his five-tool potential and overall feel for the game as a Dominican amateur and ranked as MLB Pipeline's No. 17 prospect for the 2016-17 international period. The Nationals landed the then-16-year-old with a $3.9 million bonus, setting a franchise record for an international amateur. Antuna looked every bit worthy of the high price tag during his pro debut, but struggled with a jump up to full-season ball in 2018 at age 18 before requiring season-ending Tommy John surgery in August.

The switch-hitting Antuna stands out for his impact potential at the plate. He does most of his damage from the left side, from where he exhibits preternatural barrel ability and a leveraged swing that produces hard contact. Scouts believe Antuna, who shows present pop to the gaps in games and good raw power in batting practice, could develop average over-the-fence power to go along with solid hitting ability. Antuna's plate discipline as well as his overall approach, however, will need to improve for him to achieve his offensive ceiling. Presently an above-average runner, he is likely to lose a step as he physically matures.

Antuna has the soft hands and body control needed for shortstop, but he's also prone to committing defensive lapses there, especially with regards to his throwing accuracy. Some evaluators believe he'll eventually land at the hot corner on account of his modest defensive actions, but, for now, making a healthy return to the field in 2019 is the top priority.

Signed as an international free agent for a hefty $3.9M signing bonus in 2016, Antuna is one of a handful of Nationals prospects from the team’s revamped Dominican program. He’s listed at 6’0’’ and 170 pounds but looks larger than that, with long limbs and developing upper-body strength.

Antuna’s range and actions profile well at shortstop, but he will have to tighten up aspects of his defense to remain at the position long-term. He will get lethargic with his footwork and throw inaccurately across the dirt, routinely slinging two-seamers from a sidearm slot. He has the physical tools to be a solid defender, and projects as an average big league shortstop if he’s able to make adjustments. He would be above-average defensively at any other infield position if he does ultimately move off short. A switch hitter, Antuna has a quick bat through the zone and shows signs of an approach at the plate, advanced for a teenager. He only started hitting right-handed a few years ago and is understandably stronger offensively from the left side of the plate. The lefty stroke shows raw power to the pullside in BP, even though that power is still a year or two away from translating to game action in full-season ball.

Extremely young for the league, Antuna will play the entire 2018 season at just 18-years-old. The statline reflects a player overwhelmed at times by older competition, especially early in the season, but the Nationals have shown confidence in him by letting him work out the woes at the plate. Whether Antuna’s ceiling is that of an impact player or more of an everyday guy depends on whether he sticks at shortstop. The offensive upside is a .260-.275 hitter with average game power on the left side of the infield.

Had TJ in August of 2018, played 3 games in July for the GCL Nationals so far.  Anyone hear anything further on him?