Saturday, July 12, 2014

Random Thoughts: Shortstops galore and a great Friday for the Mets

With the emergence of Eugenio Suarez, it's safe to say that the Tigers will not be in the market for a starting shortstop as the trade deadline nears.  Suarez has put up a strong .274/.355/.442 slash line in 111 plate appearances while paying stellar defense.  The 22-year-old Venezuelan is yet another example of the Tigers' tremendous Latin scouting operations.

Speaking of the Tigers' Latin pipeline, keep an eye on 18-year-old shortstop Willy Adames at Low A West Michigan.  In just his first season stateside, the 6-01, 180 pound Dominican, who is three-and-a-half years younger than the average Midwest Leaguer, has a healthy .810 OPS with 12 (that's right, TWELVE) triples.  Still inconsistent at times on defense, Adames has more than enough of arm and range to stay at the position.

The Yankees' recent signing of ninth rounder Vince Conde, a shortstop from Vanderbilt, paves the way for rising junior Dansby Swanson to shift back to his original position, where his exceptional range should wow scouts.  However, Swanson is more than just a one-trick pony -- since arriving in Nashville he's demonstrated remarkable improvement at the plate and currently profiles as an ideal #2 hitter with enough pop to belt 12-15 home runs annually.  Expect Swanson to be a top 15 pick in next June's draft.

And last but not least, Friday was the best day the Mets have had in a long time.  Although not a shortstop, the signing of first round pick Michael Conforto will finally give the organization an element it sorely lacks: a bona fide left-handed power hitter with excellent pitch recognition skills.  Conforto, a left fielder from PAC-12 power Oregon State, profiles as "rich man's" Geoff Jenkins -- a guy with legit 30-home run power who might also walk 100 times.  Though he'll make his professional debut for the Brooklyn Cyclones in Short Season A-Ball, he's expected to move fast and could be in the majors by Opening Day 2016.

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