"We are excited to get an outfield prospect of Danry’s caliber. He adds to an already formidable group of prospects at the A ball level," said Luhnow.
Once again, Houston has added another young, controllable piece for a veteran that didn't fit into the future of this team. When Houston flipped Jose Veras to Detroit, the Astros got the Tigers' No. 4 prospect in return in 19-year old outfielder Danry Vasquez.
How about a quick new prospect profile on the young outfielder?
Vasquez is a 19-year old outfielder signed out of Venezuela for $1.2 million in July 2010. He has made steady progress through the Tigers system and played in Low A West Michigan this year.
He's hitting .281/.333/.390 in 96 games and 420 plate appearances there with five home runs and nine steals. He also has 16 doubles and five triples, making the most of his average speed. Also impressive for a player his age is his strikeout rate, which sits at 13.3 percent this season. His walk rate isn't great, has shown steady improvement each season.
Defense is an evolving art for Vasquez. Most scouting reports seem to think he's got the tools to be okay out there, but he struggles with his routes to fly balls at times and has been error-prone. John Sickels also thinks his arm limits him to left field, putting a lot of pressure on his bat.
Vasquez was Detroit's fourth-best prospect according to MLB.com and third-best according to Bless You Boys. He's young and will likely head to Quad Cities to play with Teoscar Hernandez, Carlos Correa and Rio Ruiz.
The defensive questions are real and may hinder his progress in a system that is suddenly chock full of outfielders. He's also relying heavily on his batting average on balls in play to prop up his batting average this year, which could see a decline as he moves up in competition levels. Basically, his floor is as a guy who might stall out in Double-A, but he could also turn into a serviceable bench outfielder.
The player Vasquez reminds me of most is Hunter Pence. He's got tools across the board, but none of them stand out. He's got a good chance to hit for a high average, but probably will top out as a 20-home run hitter with a ton of doubles. He'll play good defense in the outfield, but not Gold Glove-caliber. In short, he's got the potential to be an above-average major leaguer, but won't wow you in any one area.
If we're making comparisons, though, doesn't Vasquez sound like a younger version of Robbie Grossman, without the plate discipline?
He has a compact swing, above-average bat speed, and can hit the ball to all fields. He hasn't shown much home run power to this point, but more may come as he matures physically. Although he doesn't draw a huge number of walks, he has a decent eye and doesn't chase many pitches outside the zone.
Danry is one of the few Tigers prospects with the potential to be a "role 6" player. By that, I mean an above average major leaguer. His slender frame and sweet swing makes it easy for me to project some power when his body fills out, and he has already shown signs of hitting for average. Like I said before, his fielding needs work, but he's got some athletic ability, and consistent reps in left field will only help that cause. At his absolute ceiling, I could see Vasquez hitting around .280 with somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 bombs and 35+ doubles. He's an incredibly long way away from doing that at the major league level, but has got the tools to get there.
One American League scout said Vasquez has "double power" and could blossom into a top-of-the-lineup player in the majors, but will have to work on his instincts in the outfield. The scout also said he liked Vasquez's hitting approach - he makes strong contact in hitter's counts and has the ability to put the ball in play with two strikes.
Vasquez already possesses the ability to spray line drives with authority from foul pole to foul pole. Although his power is currently more of the line drive variety, his strong frame and already above-average bat speed forecast over the fence power in the near future. While its difficult to project numbers, scouts see Vasquez as a good candidate to hit 25 home runs annually. I'm a bit higher than most on his hit tool but I see him being an above-average hitter down the road.