Watching my Philadelphia brethren boo Roger Goodell mercilessly during tonight’s NFL draft, it may be a good time to cheer for Boo Vasquez. Boo (his actual first name is Nicholas) has been a dynamic hitter for the Grasshoppers this season.
The under-the-radar Marlins prospect is a 6’4”, 220-pound outfielder and left-handed batter. Vasquez came out of Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, OH where he was ranked by Perfect Game as the fourth best prospect in 2011 from Ohio, and the 268th best prospect in the country that year. Interestingly, he beat out Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber who was ranked 6th in Ohio that year.
Vasquez was drafted in the 38th round as a prep prospect by the Colorado Rockies, but chose to honor his commitment to attend the University of Pittsburgh. There, he started for four years and was an anchor in the Panthers outfield. In 690 at bats he hit 14 home runs and drove in 118 while hitting .299.
Here’s a news story summarizing Boo’s career at Pitt:
Here’s a video of him at the plate:
Vasquez was signed as an undrafted free agent and went on to play his first professional season in 2016 was with the Burlington Royals in the Rookie League, and hit .255 with 2 homers and 29 RBI in 44 games with a .739 OPS.
This year, so far, has been a revelation for Vasquez; through the first 19 games of the season has 4 doubles, and 3 triples with no homers yet, but with 9 RBI. His slash line so far is a remarkable .355/.467/.951. This batting average is good for eighth in the South Atlantic League so far.
He’s hit .318 vs. lefties and .372 vs. righties so far, and judging by his quick and compact swing, he should be able to stay in nicely against lefties and play against all pitchers and make good contact. That said, he has fanned 13 times in 62 at bats, so there is plenty of room for improvement in this regard.
It’s always fun to root for an underdog, and with an undrafted college graduate with smarts and athleticism is an easy choice in my mind. Vasquez has said that when baseball ends, he would be interested in becoming a lawyer. For the Marlins sake, let’s hope law school is a long way off for Boo.