At MLB Pipeline, we like to start the new year by selecting prospects who are in a position to take hold of the upcoming season.
Here are eight Latino prospects who could raise their bonuses in 2022:
José Tena, INF, Guardians
Tena won the Arizona Fall League batting title (.387), despite the fact that he was one of the youngest players (20 years) on that development circuit. In this way, the Dominican gained more momentum after hitting .281 / .331 / .467 with 16 homers and 10 stolen bases in 107 games in his full-season debut in Class-A Alta. Signed for $ 400,000 in 2017, Tena has a nice left-handed swing, stands out for his ability to hit the ground, and both his speed and arm strength are solid.
Cristian Santana, SS, Tigers
The Tigres signed Santana for $ 2.95 million in January of last year and sent him to the Dominican Summer League, where he found immediate success. The shortstop hit .269 / .421 / .520 with nine homers and 12 stolen bases in 54 games on the circuit. Normally, we don’t pay much attention to rookie level stats, but it’s notable that the Quisqueyano went into overdrive as such. The 18-year-old shortstop generates enough speed with his bat and his approach is advanced enough to make the transition to the United States. Santana could be a more important piece of the Tigers’ estate when 2022 ends.
José Rodríguez, SS, White Sox
Although many of the White Sox’s best young prospects had tough seasons in 2021, Rodriguez was an exception, hitting .301 / .338 / .469 with 14 homers and 30 stolen bases in 111 games and making the jump to the Class. -A Low to Double-A. Signed for $ 50,000 in the Dominican Republic in 2018, he has a chance to establish himself as a shortstop.
Robert Puasón, SS, Athletics
Signed for US $ 5.1 million in July 2019, the Dominican was considered the second best international prospect in his group (behind his compatriot Jasson Domínguez) and his arrival at the Atlético’s farm generated a lot of excitement. The shortstop was one of the youngest prospects at the Oakland alternate venue in 2020 and made his professional debut last year with Class-A Baja Stockton at age 18. Now 19, he will begin 2022 with the experience he gained in his first full minor league season and another winter in the Athletics strength program, where he looks to add more muscle. The switch hitter has a fluid swing from both sides of the plate, but he’s also solid on defense and is expected to stay on short field long-term.
Alex Ramírez, OF, Mets
New York executives have been talking nice about Ramírez’s potential since they signed the Dominican for US $ 2.05 million in July 2019. In 2022, the young man could move to the next level. The Mets challenged the 18-year-old outfielder in Class-A Baja St. Lucie in his first taste of professional baseball this past summer, and the Dominican hit .258 / .326 / .384 with five home runs and 16 scams in 76 games. Those numbers might not appeal to him, but it’s notable that he was one of just three 18-year-olds with 300 or more plate appearances in an entire season. It will now be a longer summer for Ramirez, who already has above-average speed and could show more power as he continues to mature.
Jefferson Quero, C, Mets
Quero signed for just $ 200,000 in July 2019, but it hasn’t taken him long to become an outstanding receiver in the Milwaukee system. The Venezuelan is already known as an above-average defender thanks to his prominent arm. He’s already shown a good bat too, with .309 / .434 / .500, 10 strikeouts and 12 walks in 23 games in the Arizona Complex League. Sustaining that kind of offensive production at 19 may be all it takes to become a luxury prospect. (Note: Quero had surgery for a dislocated shoulder in September, but is expected to return to action without problems this spring.)
Jose Ramos, OF, Dodgers
Signed for $ 30,000 in 2018, the Panamanian hit .329 / .396 / .576 with 11 home runs in 62 games between the rookie level and Class-A Low in his American debut this summer. He has above-average innate power, understands the strike zone, has a strong arm, and has the instincts to stay in center field, even if his speed is average.
Victor Acosta, SS, Parents
The organization that has Fernando Tatis Jr. at short stops at the Major League level and has CJ Abrams and Jackson Merrill in the waiting circle could soon have another luxury prospect at shortstop. San Diego signed Acosta for $ 1.8 million in January of last year and the Dominican was quick to show his promise, hitting .285 / .431 / .484 in 240 plate appearances in the Dominican Summer League. Acosta also has above-average speed that allowed him to add 26 stolen bases. The switch hitter appears to be in a position to unleash once he has more experience in the United States, something that is expected to happen before he turns 18 in June.