Scouting Yankees Prospect #47: Josue Calzado

Calzado's ceiling is as high as anybody's

Signed in March of 2003 out of Santo Domingo as a 17-year old athlete, it took outfielder Josue Calzado three years in the Dominican Summer League to hone his tools into actual baseball production. Possessing some of the best tools in the organization, he is slowly and steadily beginning to harness some of his vast potential.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Josue Calzado
Position: Right Field
DOB: November 6, 1985
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Boasting one of the best outfield arms in all of professional baseball, plus power potential, and already one of the better fastball hitters around, Calzado's biggest adjustment has been learning to lay off breaking balls outside of the strike zone and working the counts in his favor.

"I don't know why, but hitting offspeed has been probably my biggest problem area," Calzado admitted through the help of a translator earlier in the season. "One of the main problems that I am having is that I am not being patient enough with offspeed pitches and I am rushing in to them. I am making contact, but I am falling a little behind or in front of where I would like to hit the ball."

"He gets good reads on pitches, but he has a little trouble hitting offspeed pitches with consistency," Charleston hitting coach Greg Colbrunn concurred earlier in the season. "It's all about timing; we are trying to use his ability to read fastballs and translate it into something that can help him better judge the offspeed pitches."

Swinging at breaking balls in the dirt had been his biggest problem throughout his young career but he started making some key adjustments in that area this past season, especially in the second-half of the season.

Hitting just .250 with three home runs before the South Atlantic League All-Star break, something clicked for Calzado and he chipped in with a .288 average and twice as many home runs and RBI in the second-half.

"He started laying off of the breaking balls that he had been swinging at all year in the dirt," Charleston manager Torre Tyson revealed. "Now he's getting some of those breaking balls up and he's hitting them out of the park, which everyone he hits like that every series gets him a few extra fastballs.

"We all know that he can hit the fastball - anybody's fastball. I think that's been the major change with him, just making the pitchers to make adjustments instead of just swinging at the same ball every time in the dirt.

"You've just got to figure that his recognition is getting better at this point and hopefully he'll keep improving."

Possessing all the other necessary components in his game to get him to the big leagues someday, everybody inside the Yankees' organization believes he could be one of the more exciting prospects if can continue to make strides in his pitch recognition and selectivity.

"He's recognizing the curveball better," said Yankees' Director of Latin American Scouting Carlos Rios. "He didn't have a great year but he was steady, played a lot of games and got a lot of at-bats.

"He showed some things on the field and the power is there, that makes him exciting. I just believe he's a guy that's going to take more time and more at-bats, league after league. As he learns to recognize that breaking ball consistently, he'll advance."

Just turning 22-years old earlier this month, while his critics might not be overly impressed with his performance so far, the Yankees and Calzado realize progress is being made and soon he could start putting it all together.

"I am not feeling pressure anymore," Calzado stated. "I know that as long as I go out there, work hard, and play my game, I will be fine."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2007 Charleston .271 465 26 9 55 60 8 27 91 .311 .394
2006 Charleston .375 40 3 0 6 4 2 2 8 .419 .450
2006 Gulf Coast .250 172 7 3 26 31 10 21 26 .325 .378
2005 DSL Yankees1 .291 182 9 2 31 28 18 26 41 .399 .407
2004 DSL Yankees1 .175 154 6 0 16 26 9 15 38 .289 .240
2003 DSL Yankees2 .223 184 5 1 14 23 9 31 43 .350 .277


Batting and Power. Calzado has made tremendous strides working the count in his favor to get his pitch to hit since coming to the United States and, as a result, he's shown he has the ability to be a pretty good hitter. He is an elite fastball hitter with very good power to all fields and he has also proven to be a pretty good breaking ball hitter when the pitches are in the strike zone. If he can continue to lay off the ones outside of the zone and be more selective, he'll continue to get better pitches to hit. He may never be a .300 hitter over the course of a full season but he has the potential to approach the .280 mark consistently, and with his power, that could mean quite a few home runs.

Base Running and Speed. Calzado's speed is a lot better than his stolen base totals indicate and his aggressiveness at the plate has not translated on to the base paths despite having above average speed. He doesn't have the quickest first step but is extremely fast once he's in motion, making him one of the better first-to-third base runners. A little bit more aggressiveness and confidence on the base paths could make him a 30+ stolen base threat.

Defense. Calzado's freakish arm strength - he can throw a baseball from home plate over the outfield fence with ease - and incredibly accurate throws makes him a perfect fit in right field, but he also has the speed and natural instincts to be a plus defender at any of the three outfield positions.

Projection. With incredible arm strength, plus power potential, above average speed, and great defensive abilities, Calzado's ceiling is as high as any other position prospect the Yankees currently have. If he can show the same type of progress making adjustments at the plate as he did in Charleston this past season, he could become a potential Gold Glove caliber right fielder who could hit anywhere from fifth to seventh in a big league lineup. How he handles the breaking pitches will determine if he'll be a big league starting outfielder with All-Star potential or cap out in Double-A - his projection ranges that much and is that dependent on his ability to handle offspeed pitches.

ETA. 2010. The good news for Calzado is he'll start the 2008 season with the Tampa Yankees where he should start seeing a heavier diet of fastballs. If can show success in the Florida State League, it shouldn't be more than two minor league seasons before he is big league ready.

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