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2017 Viva El Birdos Cardinals Top Prospects: #21 Randy Arozarena

This Cuban player has a lot of upside

Los Angeles Dodgers v Toronto Blue Jays
Carl Crawford is a pretty nice comp for Arozarena
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: the red baron has once again written up a very large number of prospects, done a great job on them, and combined them in just a few posts. You can read those posts, including a dozen reports on players who just missed the list by going here. This post contains a write-up of just a single prospect in a perhaps easier to digest form.-CE

#21: Randy Arozarena, OF/2B/INF

5’11”, 175 lbs; R/R; 28 February 1995

Relevant Stats: Played in Mexico, got 20 at-bats.

So, what’s so great about this guy?

The Cardinals made a splash on the international market this year, going well over their bonus allotment and signing a ton of promising players. Among that big group of players was a trio of Cuban signees, all of whom have now been covered for this list. Johan Oviedo, the huge righthander with the upper 90s fastball, appeared in the just-missed section. Jonathan Machado showed up a few spots ago. And now we have Arozarena, the oldest of the three and most advanced player, whose stock I’m expecting to take the biggest jump in the next eight to twelve months.

Arozarena is an absolute bundle of athleticism, compact and explosive. He might be a 70 runner, right in competition with Machado for raw speed. He’s quick as well as fast, making him a constant threat on the basepaths, and a dynamic defender in the field. He put up very solid offensive numbers in Cuba, based on that speed and a swing that generates a decent amount of pop, as well as a surprisingly well-developed idea of the strike zone for a player so young. Until we see him against competition here in the states, though, it’s all a lot of conjecture as to how his game is going to translate.

The question of what his offense is going to look like, though, doesn’t change the dynamism of his game. He’s played all over the infield in the past, as well as in center field, and it would seem to be center where he’s projected to fit long term. The jumps and straight-line speed speak to a player capable of plus defense there, and simply allowing his legs to carry him should make for an easier transition than worrying about infield footwork and the like.

I had a tough time locating Arozarena on this list. I love the athleticism so much I wanted to put him higher, but the track record is so thin (to the point of being nearly non-existent), that I could barely justify to myself putting him higher than any of the other players I’ve covered here today. He is one of the players I’m most looking forward to seeing against real competition in 2017, so we can get a better feel for how far along he is in terms of development. (Which isn’t to say the Mexican League competition is terrible; we just don’t have a great feel for where that league fits most of the time.) Once he gets into pro ball here, we’ll have a much better idea what the bat looks like, and how far off he might be from the big leagues. (I do think he makes it to the big leagues in some capacity, though.)

Player Comp: With plus-plus speed in center field and a dynamic offensive game, Arozarena feels a little like a Carl Crawford starter kit. Also like Crawford, he lacks the arm for right field, so if he has to move off center, left is the most likely destination. Unlike Crawford, though, Arozarena throws with his right, so he could potentially move back into the dirt at second, or possibly become a super utility player, should center field not work out for him.

via Baseball America: