Getting to know your prospects: Claudio Bautista
Name: Claudio Bautista
Current team: Low-A Lake County Captains
Facts & Info: Bautista signed as a minor league free agent out of the Dominican Republic in May of 2011. Last season he ranked 13th in the NY-Penn League in runs scored (36), 16th in hits (68), 13th in doubles (16), 8th in triples (4), and 15th in total bases (104).
The Offense: Bautista is a smaller player but is a very aggressive offensive oriented athletic middle infielder who can swing the bat. He is an aggressive hitter who shows a good feel for the strike zone and has an approach that is conducive to driving the ball gap to gap and using the entire field. He has some deceiving natural power for his size thanks to some good strength, bat speed and quick wrists. He is a fast twitch player that can get the bat head out and do a lot of damage when he squares a baseball up where he can hit a ball out of any part of the ballpark.
The Defense: Bautista is a solid-average defender with an average arm who profiles best at second base as an everyday player because of his limited range. He does have the athleticism and versatility to handle third base and shortstop on an occasional basis, and could even play first base or some outfield if needed.
The Intangibles: Bautista is a tick above average as a runner with the ability to steal a base. He maximizes his ability by playing hard and swinging hard, and plays the game carefree with no fear.
The Focus: Bautista is still refining the mechanics in his swing and developing his approach, so his performance lacks consistency as a result and he is prone to big slumps and short bursts of hot streaks. A lot of it involves getting him to cut down some of his effort, which in turn will help the consistency of his swing, approach, and plate discipline all at the same time.
The Future: Bautista is yet another interesting middle infield prospect for the Indians in the lower levels and should continue to get starting opportunities at second base and third base. His intriguing bat to go along with some athleticism and a lot of versatility in the field where he can play second base, third base and some shortstop creates some value for him and makes him exciting to follow.