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Javier Betancourt, 2B/SS

Date Seen: 5/5-5/7, 8/5-8/6 (2014)

Where: Fifth Third Ballpark-West Michigan Whitecaps (Comstock Park, Michigan)/Classic Park-Lake County Captains (Eastlake, OH)

Body: Listed 6’0″ 180, which is seemingly a touch off. Looks closer to 5’10” 170 to me, but at 18-19 years old, 6’0″ 180 might be a realistic idea of where he’ll end up. Good frame, good build. Could handle some more weight, especially if he gets taller.

Hit: Balanced stance and set up, no unnecessary movement, quiet lower half pre-swing. Quick hands to and through the zone. Stays inside the ball well. Line drive swing plane, bat stays in the zone through the swing, finishes well, has good plate coverage. Likes to go the other way, but shows ability to use the entire field. Advanced recognition of off speed, good knowledge of the strike zone, but can be aggressive. Solid bat speed, shows good barrel control.

Grade (Projection): 55

Power: Line drive swing plane that is more built for contact than power. Touch above average bat speed, shows ability to backspin the ball. With added strength he should develop more gap power. Swing has some leverage, but again, it’s built more for contact than power. Could see 15-20 doubles and 5-7 HR’s annually at maturity.

Grade (Projection): 35

Run: Average runner at present, consistently timed him in the 4.5 range on digs H-1. Very good instincts on the bases, gets good reads on batted balls. Instincts allow raw speed to play up a bit. Better as he gets going. Should settle in as a below-average runner long term, but instincts should allow him to steal a few bases along the way.

Grade (Projection): 40

Defense: Hands are what stand out in the field. Very soft hands, fields anything he can get to cleanly. Shows a smooth transfer from glove to hand, quick with no wasted movement. Solid range side to side, lacks plus lateral quickness, lacks plus agility, but shows good-enough range at both SS and 2B. Very good around the bag, good footwork and quality understanding of positioning. 2B will be his primary position long term, but could handle SS in a pinch and not kill you.

Grade (Projection): 55 (at 2B), 45 (at SS)

Arm: Above-average arm strength from 2B, fringy from SS. Quick release, accurate, makes all of the throws from both positions, but lacks the “zip” that is requisite for a plus grade. No problem making throws on the pivot when playing 2B.

Grade (Projection): 55 (at 2B), 45 (at SS)

Overall Future Potential: Betancourt is an easy player to like, and Devon Travis isn’t a terrible comp for him, although Betancourt’s ultimate ceiling is higher than Travis. Above average potential hit with above average potential D at 2B (with the ability to play SS and perhaps 3B) is a nice profile, but it’s not a sexy one. There’s no plus tool here, but it’s also important to remember that he’s putting bat to ball consistently and playing solid D in full-season ball at age 19. He’s in line to be in High-A ball before he turns 20. While the ceiling isn’t particularly high, I think his floor is a solid utility guy.

OFP: 55 (Everyday 2B on a 1st division team)

Realistic: 45 (Utility player w/ ability to play 3 defensive positions w/ moderate success and hit some)

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