Breaking Down Top 2018 International Prospects At DPL Showcase
LAKE WORTH, Fla.—More than half of international scouting directors and a large crew of other high-ranking international scouts were in Florida last week for a three-day Dominican Prospect League showcase.
The event featured 2018 prospects and some of the top 2019 players in the DPL, with many of the 2019 prospects outshining the 2018s. These were some of the most notable 2018 players (eligible to sign on July 2, 2018) who were there, with more reports and videos to come on the 2019 standouts.
Juan Guerrero, SS
The first time I saw Guerrero was in the International Prospect League in June, when he went 4-for-6 with a home run and two doubles. In the DPL series, he performed well again, going 2-for-6 with two walks and two hard line drives that were snared by Adael Amador (a 2019 shortstop) at third base. Guerrero, 16, was one of the DPL’s most advanced hitters. During batting practice, Guerrero loads his swing with a deep leg kick. In games, he sometimes ditches the leg kick and goes with a quick heel turn, at times even changing back and forth from pitch to pitch. At 6-foot-1, 160 pounds, Guerrero showed a solid idea of the strike zone and a knack for barreling the ball, keeping his hands short to the ball with hard contact against live pitching. He trains with Policar and is drawing interest from the Rockies.
Frankely Hurtado, SS
Hurtado, 16, was part of the DPL roster than went to Joliet, Illinois in from July 30 through Aug. 3. He’s 5-foot-10, 170 pounds and played excellent defense in Joliet, and though he didn’t get as many opportunities in the field this time, he showed good body control and defensive actions. He’s a smart, instinctive player with a good internal clock, adept at going to his back hand and gets rid of the ball quickly. He’s an above-average runner with a short, simple swing, hitting line drives to all fields during BP. Hurtado showed gap power but doesn’t have the physical upside of the high-profile shortstops in the 2018 class. In games, he went 1-for-4 and drew two walks. He trains at the MB Academy.
Estanli Castillo, OF
Castillo showed more raw power than any other 2018 prospect at the event, although not quite as much as 2019 outfielder Bayron Lora. Castillo, a 16-year-old corner outfielder who trains with Nube, has two loud tools: power and arm strength. Listed at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds (though he looks bulkier), Castillo’s strength and bat speed generate plus raw power. The question scouts have on Castillo is his game hitting ability. His swing isn’t long, but it is a steep path to the ball that’s in and out of the zone quickly and leads to him getting underneath a lot of balls, even in BP. When he squares it up with the right timing, the ball can fly over the fence, but his power comes with swing-and-miss risk. Castillo has some similarities to White Sox outfielder Franklin Reyes, who signed with the White Sox for $1.5 million two years ago.
Miguel Tejada Jr., OF
Yes, that’s the son Miguel Tejada, the former Athletics and Orioles shortstop who won the American League MVP award in 2002 and now trains his son. While the elder Tejada is 5-foot-9, Miguel Tejada Jr. is a corner outfielder listed at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and looks even bigger. Still 15, Tejada Jr. stood out mostly for his size, strength and power potential, with an aggressive swing that’s in and out of the zone quickly. He drove the ball out to his pull side in BP, then went 1-for-4 in games including a lout out on a well-struck fly out to left field. The minor leagues are full of talented prospects who are the sons of former big leaguers, including Fernando Tatis Jr., who has quickly developed into a far better prospect than many international scouts expected. Given the bloodlines, Tejada Jr. is someone teams will likely want to follow up on more.