One of the fun things about spring training is when an unknown wins a job. Today that very scenario unfolded in Florida, as Alejandro De Aza -- not exactly a primo prospect -- was named the Marlinsí starting center fielder.
De Aza should give your Roto squad some steals, but donít kill your FAAB budget to get this guy if youíre in a yearly league. I have two main concerns:
1. Ability to get on base.
In the long run, De Aza might be OK in this area. He showed a decent batting eye in Single-A in 2005 (87/58 K/BB), and his .370 OBP was strong as well. Best of all, he was only 21 when he did that -- Iíll take that patience and OBP from a 21-year-old anytime.
But Iím not sure De Aza is ready for prime time as far as OBP and plate discipline go. Last year at Double-A, he had just a 46/21 K/BB (in 230 at-bats) and .346 OBP. If thatís all he could muster in Double-A, how will he be any better in the bigs?
Letís say for a second that De Azaís plate patience will be just as good in the majors as it was at Double-A. If we slot him for 460 at-bats, heíd strike out close to 100 times while walking just 40. Not good for a hitter whose game is speed, not power.
De Aza has just 230 Double-A at-bats, and as documented above, he didnít exactly master that level. He could probably use a little more time down there, as well as at Triple-A. The Marlins have had success promoting from Double-A before, but De Azaís skill set doesnít suggest heís ready for the move.
It wouldnít surprise me to see Eric Reed called up sooner rather than later. De Aza has plenty of potential, but there are going to be serious growing pains here.