Wilfredo Tovar Scouting Report (2010)
Entering 2010, I had no idea who Mets shortstop Wilfredo Tovar was. When he jumped Wilmer Flores and opened the season in Port St. Lucie, I started asking around. It was reported to me Tovar was an elite defensive shortstop, but was unsure I’d have the opportunity to scout him personally. Midway through the season, Tovar and Flores swapped starting jobs giving me the opportunity to scout him more than a dozen times.
- Listed height/weight of 5-foot-10, 160 pounds is generous; Closer to 5-8, 150 or so
- Thin build; Room to add size and strength as he matures
- Athlete with excellent quickness and reactions, but not a fast player
- Very simple set up in the batter’s box; Little extra movement
- Step during his load can leave him off balance causing him to lunge at breaking pitches
- Quick wrists allow for above average bat speed; Turns on fastballs very well for a player his size
- Struggles a great deal against below average breaking pitches; Needs to learn to take when he drifts onto his front foot
- Flat swing plane; Projects for little power; Slasher with some gap power ability
- Very good feel for contact
- Offensive game would play much higher if he had better straight line speed
- Elite defensive shortstop; Makes circus plays look routine
- Excellent hands with the ability to adjust to bad hops
- Moves extremely well laterally; Able to cover ground to both his left and right with ease
- Plenty of arm strength to stick at SS; Accurate throwing arm
- Lightning quick release on balls deep in the hole
- Slower runner than one would expect; Won’t be a significant base stealing threat
One would be hard pressed to find a better defensive player in the New York Mets system, or any system for that matter. Tovar is a player who makes the game exciting on defense in a way few others I’ve scouted are able. If he were three to four inches taller, his prospect status would be significantly higher both within the organization and on a national level.
Of course the question with Tovar is whether he will hit enough to warrant consideration as a big league starter in the future. At this point, I’m not sure. While he has the wrists to handle quality fastballs, his ability to drive the baseball will always be in question. Currently, Tovar struggles to identify breaking pitches and often swings wildly at them.
If Tovar never develops enough gap power to keep outfielders honest, he’s likely to wind up a player in the Augie Ojeda mold who will shuttle between AAA and the bigs for years filling defensive holes on the infield while the organization always looks for something better. While not a sexy outcome, Ojeda has been able to parlay his skill set into 1200+ big league at bats over nine years. Ask any player in the Sally if they could live with that career and I doubt many would complain.
24 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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