By The Baseball Beginnings Guy
March 21, 2012
I’m about to put industry standard nomenclature on Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero that is sure to stick in a thousand scouting reports that end up in club databases around the country. Poor man’s Derek Jeter.
I’ve seen Marrero once or twice a year since his freshman year. I got him on a Friday night at UCLA in March 2012 and, like good players do, he took all the guess work out of what kind of major league player he might be by showing you all you needed to know about him.
Marrero is going to be a major league shortstop for somebody and he’s going to be the rare American kid who survives among all the kids from the Dominican Republic. He’s not as raw tool flashy and athletic as some of those kids, but he possess better-refined skills based off what are really average to one notch above average major league tools.
How do you know this? Let’s look at three plays from the UCLA game.
The first is a double play he completed late in the game, coming from regular position to cover the bag, get upended on a hard slide, land flat on his stomach, and still have enough on that throw to get off a strong, accurate strike. That’s arm strength to finish the double play, requirement number one of any potential ML shortstop.
Play number two: he ranges deep behind the bag to get to a ball most college shortstops don’t reach, fields and transfers in one motion, throws a strike and makes it look easy.
Play number three: His offensive approach is shown in a triple to left-center. There you see the handsy approach, he consistently uses the middle of the field and doesn’t get away from that, which I like – he knows he’s screwed if he tries to live off the poles. Every ball he put in play went gap to gap in this game. The speed is enough – it’s not Dominican speed now, but it’s enough to play and it’s better than many.
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So what do we have here? Gracefully smooth athletic actions at shortstop. Active feet move laterally, possess first step quickness, gets good jumps off good positioning. Soft hands with quick effortless releases flashing above-average arm strength when needed; can make the strong throw from both sides and has arm strength to finish violent double plays. Handsy hitter with level swing plane, straightway and gap to gap. Average major league bat speed with limited power. Average runner at least, flashes slightly better speed when he wants to show it. Nonchalant body language until the ball comes his way. Poor-man’s Jeter.