Wendell Rijo Scouting Report (2014)
Boston Red Sox prospect Wendell Rijo is one of the youngest players in full season baseball. Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $625,000 in 2011, the 18-year-old Greenville Drive second baseman has held his own against advanced competition. Slashing an impressive .269/.368/.406, his line is an accomplishment in the South Atlantic League – a league known for college pitching. Still years away from Boston, will Dominican second baseman Wendell Rijo be pushing All-Star Dustin Pedroia in a few years?
The 5-foot-11, 170 pound middle infielder is a solidly built 18-year-old. Muscular through the shoulders, Rijo has a tapered frame with the ability to add size in his lower half. Due to his body type, there is a fine line between good and bad weight gain. A solid-average athlete, Rijo is a fringe plus runner. Home-to-first times were in the 4.2 range out of the right handed batters box. Concerns over future weight gains diminishing his top-end speed is a possibility and may negatively affect his range too.
Signed as a shortstop, it’s evident the 18-year-old has range at second but doesn’t present with the hands and throwing arm to have stuck at the position. On a bouncer hit to his right, Rijo flashed a quick first step. However, His attempt to throw out the runner left much to be desired. The second baseman looped an unbalanced throw to first resulting in a short hopper the first baseman failed to scoop. Rijo also struggled reading pop ups. He watched as the right fielder attempted to make multiple plays on tweeners without moving towards the ball.
The right-handed hitting Rijo is the definition of a “hacker”. With a violent swing, aggressive stride and step-in-the-bucket, his hitting mechanics are a mess.The long stride is especially problematic, changing with each pitch and crippling his ability to time pitches. Remarkably, his quick wrists and strong hands allow him to connect when off balanced. In one plate appearance, Rijo smashed a line drive single on a change-up which fooled the teenager. And in an at bat from the Friday night game explained by Mike Newman, Rijo smashed a line drive just to the right of center field which was hit so hard, the center fielder was unable to react before it skipped by him to the fence for a triple.
Scouting the Sally, few players have presented with quicker wrists than Rijo. fewer are able to keep their hands inside the ball at the point of contact like Rijo. Not one player has generated a quicker, more violent hip coil than the second baseman. This equals plus bat speed and strong bat-to-ball skills. Gripping and ripping on every swing has accelerated his strikeout rate, but it’s easier to tame an aggressive swing than ask a player to ramp it up a notch.
Wendell Rijo is a high risk/high reward second base prospect. The Red Sox hitting instructors have their hands full lessening his leg kick and shortening the stride of this future top-100 prospect. Gripping and Ripping on every pitch will be exploited by advanced pitching, Game planning at-bats will limit his fail rates significantly. A fine balance of limiting wildness but not lessening his aggression must be met. With his high leg kick, hip torque, quick wrists and off balance swings, he’s a mixture of the aforementioned Pedroia and Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe. In four or five seasons, Rijo could be leaving a mark in the Majors.
TOOL PRESENT FUTURE Projected Role Starting Second Baseman Hitting Ability 25 55 Power 25 45 Speed 60 50 Fielding Ability 35 45 Arm 40 40
Owning Wendell Rijo
Any second baseman with the offensive upside of Rijo is worth adding to a watch list. In fantasy baseball, defense doesn’t matter and Rijo is an offense first prospect with the ability to really hit. At 18, he’s an extreme risk-versus-reward type, but a roster full of “safe” prospect plays rarely results in a championship team. After a tough May, the second baseman is off to a hot start in June. With a strong finish, Wendell Rijo will earn top-10 rankings by more aggressive sites.
10 Jun 2014 / Chris Blessing / 2
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