7. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
Drafted: N/A (International signing from Cuba)
Age: 23 Height: 5'1'' Weight: 180 lbs.
Adeiny Hechavarria is a tremendous defender with soft hands and spectacular range. While there are legitimate concerns about Hechavarria's abilities at the plate, his defense is good enough to provide him with a job in the majors for years to come. He is one of the more exciting players to watch on a young Miami roster and he seems to shine brightest in the spotlight. Adeiny Hechavarria ranks as the seventh best prospect in the Miami farm system heading into the 2013 season.
Toronto signed Adeiny Hechavarria in March of 2010 to a four-year, $10 Million contract. Generally considered one of the top international prospects at the time, Hechavarria reportedly chose to sign with Toronto over the Yankees because he didn't want to be blocked by Derek Jeter. As you might conclude from this information, Adeiny Hechavarria plays the game very confidently. Unfortunately, this can negatively affect his approach at the plate.
Hechavarria has slightly above-average raw speed and great baserunning skills. This combination would lead someone to assume that Hechavarria is capable of stealing twenty or more bases in a given season. Hechavarria will likely top out at maybe fiften stolen bases per season because he doesn't get on-base enough, however. It would be a miracle, but if Hechavarria ever learned to be more patient and draw walks, he could become a critical cog in any major league lineup.
The 2012 MLB average for K% was 19.8 percent. In 137 plate appearances with Toronto last year, Hechavarria posted a K% of 23.4 percent. For some hitters, striking out as much as Hechavarria does would be perfectly acceptable. Without any real power, his lack of plate discipline holds him back from reaching his potential. The strikeout issue could be something that he figures, but it will likely be something the Marlins are just going to have to accept.
Hechavarria played in 102 games at Triple-A Las Vegas last year, followed by 41 games in Toronto. Las Vegas, one of the more extreme hitters environment's in the Lower 48 states, made Hechavarria seem like a Greek god. Hechavarria hit .312/.363/.424 with six home runs and eight stolen bases in 490 plate appearances. However, once he was promoted to the Toronto in August, the real Adeiny Hechavarria was revealed. He impressed Blue Jays fans with his great defense and athleticism, but in 137 plate appearances, Hechavarria hit a mere .254/.280/.365.
Hechavarria plays defense like a praying mantis pouncing on its prey with the grace of a butterfly. His arm isn't particularly impressive, but it is still probably just as good or even better than the average MLB shortstop. He reminds a little of Alexei Ramirez. He makes plays that Ramirez regularly makes in which he tracks a ball down that seems sure to get through the left side of the infield and fires across the diamond to catch the shocked batter. Look for Hechavarria to lead the Marlins in "Web Gems," and dazzling plays this season.
Overall, Adeiny Hechavarria is a decent prospect whose superb defense overshadows his issues at the plate. For a player with no power, he strikes out too much and doesn't draw enough walks. The odds are against him, but if Hechavarria can fix these terrible tendencies, he could be an energetic leadoff hitter in Miami. Miami hasn't had a middle infield prospect as talented as Hechavarria since Hanley Ramirez, and the Marlins aren't going to waste any time in showing off Hechavarria's talent in 2013.