Scouting Yankee Prospect #9: Eduardo Nunez

Nunez Has Five-Tool Potential

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in February of 2004 as a 16-year old, Eduardo Nunez turned many heads with his exciting play and potent bat in the Dominican Summer League that same year before establishing himself as one of the elite prospects in the NY-Penn League last summer. Ranking #9 among the Top 50 Yankees' prospects, here's a scouting report on Eduardo Nunez.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Eduardo Nunez
Position: Shortstop
DOB: June 15, 1987
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 160
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

Despite hitting just .215 with the Dominican Summer League Yankees in 2004, Nunez quickly earned the reputation as an electrifying ball player. Displaying excellent gap power, very good speed, a patient approach at the plate, and tremendous defensive ability, the only thing lacking in his game was consistent contact hitting.

Still just 17-years old in his professional debut with the DSL Yankees, New York knew they had a special prospect on their hands and the original plan was to break him in the United States slowly. Ticketed for the Gulf Coast League Yankees in 2005, Nunez got a couple of breaks when Ramiro Pena was needed to fill in at the higher levels and the Yankees drafted C.J. Henry.

"Eduardo Nunez had an outstanding season," Staten Island teammate Jason Stephens told us. "Ramiro Pena was supposed to be our shortstop in Staten Island this past year and he moved all the way up to Trenton because of all the injuries the Yankees had, so Nunez got an opportunity to play with us. He was one of our top guys in everything this past year."

Nunez took advantage of the situation, hitting a team-high .313, leading the club in triples (6), finishing third in RBI (46), and hitting a robust .352 with runners in scoring position as one of the youngest players in the NY-Penn League.

"Nunez has unbelievable potential," Stephens added. "He hits the gaps and for some power. He has speed and his defense is a lot better than people realize. At his age, he just has more weapons than guys three to four years older don't have."

As to be expected from an 18-year old playing against much older competition last season, which also happened to be his first year in the United States, there are still many things Nunez needs to work on. So while he had an unbelievable year, what has the Yankees so excited is just how much room for improvement there is in his game.

"Athletically, yeah, there's no question this guy could play in the big leagues, skill-wise," said Staten Island manager Andy Stankiewicz. "But, he still needs to learn that there's hitting, there's base running and there's defense. Right now, I think his game is mostly centered on his offense."

Perhaps referring to tentative approach on the base paths, attempting just nine stolen bases despite possessing plus speed, and his 28 errors at shortstop, Stankiewicz and the Yankees realize that Nunez has just scratched the surface of his abilities.

"We're trying to get him to be equal at all three aspects of the game," Stankiewicz continued. "Sometimes, he's been able to do that and sometimes he hasn't. But, skill wise, there's no question he can play in the big leagues. We just have to teach him the game."

Playing the game with a spirited passion, Nunez can be found smiling from ear to ear on every play. And while his success in 2005 could have been a big reason why, even Nunez himself realizes he still has work to do.

"I need to work more on my defense and on my base running," Nunez told PinstripesPlus.com through the help of teammate Hector Gonzalez back in September. "I think I've been doing good but I just want to work harder so I can get to the big leagues."

Possessing some of the best raw talent in the entire Yankee farm system, Eduardo Nunez simply needs to gain experience and hone the weaknesses of his game, and he's very eager to do whatever is needed. Still, everybody comes away impressed with just how advanced his game already is, especially for a teenager.

"I mean, the kid is 18-years old," Brett Gardner exclaimed. "I can't even imagine being close to that type of player four years ago. He's a real good player with great range, a strong arm, and he's a switch-hitter with good power. He's got a lot of things to work on, but the sky is the limit for him."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2005 Staten Island .313 281 11 3 46 37 6 20 43 .365 .427

2004

DSL Yankees

.215

191

9

3

20

29

16

27

41

.324

.361



Batting and Power. Eduardo Nunez, who already puts a charge into his swings, has tremendous gap power which should translate into home run power as he gains experience and puts some useful muscle mass on to his wiry frame. He has very good patience and selectivity at the plate despite his lack of experience and he has already made huge strides in his contact hitting ability. A switch-hitter, Nunez doesn't show a clear favoritism batting from either side of the plate and that is yet another plus to his game.

Base Running and Speed. Stealing just six bases and attempting just nine stolen bases overall, Nunez has much more speed than he displayed in 2005. He stole 16 bases in just 57 games with the DSL Yankees in 2004. Nunez has enough raw speed to develop into a perennial 20-30 stolen base threat once he learns the nuances of reading pitchers' moves. He still makes silly base running mistakes but that isn't too surprising for a player of his age.

Defense. With his speed, Nunez has excellent range in the field. He also boasts a very strong arm for a shortstop, strong enough to play third base in emergency situations. Nunez is a much better defensive player than his 28 errors with the Staten Island Yankees would indicate. He piled up error totals getting to balls a lot of shortstops wouldn't be able to reach and would routinely try and showcase his arm by back-handing plays when the plays didn't necessarily call for it. Nunez will quickly learn that "hot-dogging" it in the field won't earn him any points and that will come with more experience.

Projection. Eduardo Nunez projects to be a starting shortstop at the Major League level, period! He has a lot of work to do in refining his game, but there aren't many infield prospects who have his five-tool potential. Keeping the comparison tempered, Nunez projects to be a switch-hitting Latin version of Derek Jeter, a player he models his game after. He probably won't ever develop into the legendary player Jeter has become, but offensively and defensively, the two compare very favorably at similar stages in their careers.

ETA. 2009. Working in his favor is the presence of C.J. Henry at the lower minor league levels. A player of Nunez's age and lack of experience would normally land himself in the South Atlantic League in 2006. However, with Henry needing experience at shortstop as well, Nunez has an excellent chance of breaking Spring Training with the Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League. If he is able to do that, he could be Major League ready as soon as 2009 after just three more full minor league seasons.

PinstripesPlus.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


Tweets