A Cuban defector, listed at 24 but who knows if that’s his real age? Unlike most Cubans, he went through the draft process and was chosen by the Braves in the second round in 2005. For some reason they assigned him to Rookie ball even though he was already allegedly 22 and had been playing baseball for God knows how long, and he demolished the league for eight games then was promoted to Rome. There he hit .313/.358/.470 in 214 PA and established himself as a prospect. The Braves assigned him to Mississippi in 2006.
Mississippi is a hard place to hit, and Escobar had an especially hard time, hitting .264/.358/.346. But he was assigned to the Arizona Fall League anyway, and won the batting title by hitting .407/.463/.558. The AFL is an extremely good hitting environment, but that was encouraging, as was a strong spring training with the big club. Assigned to Richmond, Escobar hit .333/.377/.452 and was called up when Chipper went on the DL.
He hasn’t hit for much power at all yet, ten career minor league homers. As I’ve mentioned a few times, if you don’t have any threat of the home run it’s hard to hit on the major league level, but Escobar has shown some doubles power and might yet emerge as a 10 HR a year guy, which should be enough if he can maintain his good batting averages and walk rates.
From what I can tell, he’s a bit of a tweener, not quite the range you’d like in a shortstop, a good third baseman with a strong arm but without the power desired from the position. Might be best suited for second base but that position should be spoken for through the next several seasons, and Lillibridge should be the heir apparent at shortstop, which should move Escobar into a utility role. He could thrive there and should be a lot better than the other candidates… Middle name is “Aaron”.
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