Danry Vasquez: Toolsy Tigers Outfielder
I got to see a good portion of the NY-Penn league last summer and there was no prospect on that circuit that I found more intriguing than Connecticut Tigers outfielder Danry Vasquez. Vasquez is a 19 year old kid imported from Venezuela who was put on this earth to hit round balls with a round bat squarely. He raked all summer and led the NY-Penn league in hits. Vasquez was generally regarded as one of the best prospects in that league and I was able to get a number of looks at the toolsy outfielder.
Vasquez possesses a thin, wiry frame (171 lbs.) and very much needs to add weight. He is, of course, quite young and his body could easily add 10-15 pounds through a full season of weight training. Nothing about his frame will stick out, but he is 6-3 and this build and athletic ability should allow him to be a more than competent corner outfielder.
For a teenager playing in a league full of college draftees it was impressive to see Vasquez step into the box with an air of confidence about him. He should . He proved to me that he can hit plus velocity (95 mph), a quality slider (lined back through the box), and change-ups (0-2 80 mph change-up for HR). He has an athletic stance with a slightly closed set up. His timing and weight distribution throughout his swing stood out to me. Vasquez has a good feel for his swing and excellent rhythm. He displayed a quick bat and the barrel takes a short path to the baseball. Not to contradict myself, but his confidence can lead him chasing bad pitches on occasion. Yet he often displayed the ability to work the count and walk when he couldn’t get his pitch to drive. His plate discipline should continue to improve as he matures and gets further at-bats against more advanced pitching. Vasquez is one of those “different sound” guys in batting practice, and doesn’t miss a mistake in the zone. He can hit to all fields with power. He also showed a knack for performing well during big moments. Personally, I felt that every time he bunted he helped out the opposing team, but he wasn’t afraid to lay it down if the third baseman gave him some room.
Vasquez displayed athletic actions in the outfield. I generally observed good reads and routes on the few tough plays he had to make. His arm strength is certainly major-league ready, however he doesn’t always get rid of the ball quickly and his inability to consistently stay on top of the ball does lead to some arm-side tail. While there is definitely polish needed, I feel he can be an above average defensive corner outfielder as he matures. In terms of times to first I got anything from a 4.13 to low 4.3s. While he has solid speed, I do think he’ll probably lose a step as he matures and fills in. It’s not a large concern for me since the added strength is necessary for him to make it to the MLB and speed is not a make or break tool for him. Defensively, he possesses more than enough athleticism, to compensate for any lost top-end speed.
Vasquez should be considered an elite prospect in the Tigers organization. He needs polish at the plate and in the field, but the upside is extremely impressive. I’m a big believer in the hit tool and with added strength he has the potential to be a star player at the highest level. Transforming his body and polishing his offensive game could yield some impressive numbers (.300+, 18+ HR). Left field likely fits his defensive game best. While all of his tools and skills need varying amounts of work, the projection left me drooling. His intangibles should carry him through the minor leagues and his development will determine if he is a star.
- Best Case: A 6-3, 210 lb perennial All-Star. Great offensive numbers and a plus defender.
- Worst Case: Major League bench player with some holes in his offensive game. Not quite enough bat to play everyday in a corner. Can come off the bench, square up a baseball and play the outfield corners.
- Likely: Everyday regular who hits for a high batting average, average power and slots nicely anywhere between 2-5 spot in the order.