César Prieto, 2B, BAL

A young Cuban national player gets signed by the Baltimore Orioles. Was it a good investment?

Video courtesy of Tyler Coyne
  • Born: May 10, 1999
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • 5’9″, 175-lbs
  • Signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 2022 as a free agent from Cuba

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Prieto began the year at High-A and really had a great couple of months there. He could be forgiven the low walk rate as the sign of a good hitter that was just out there swinging, but doing so at a .381 on-base clip, so all good.

The power was particularly impressive for a guy who is only 5’9″, 175. However, it should be noted that his Hard Hit% was only 26.5%, not a good number. He wasn’t hitting it hard very often, though when he did he managed 7 HRs and 9 doubles in 34 games at Aberdeen.

Then he understandably gets promoted to Double-A Bowie, and here we start to see some issues. The strikeout rate is even better, to be sure, at an ungodly 7%, but that’s the only good news so far (it is just 41 plate appearances, after all). The power fell off a cliff, the walks are so low you need a microscope to find them, and his wRC+ says he’s not being a productive batter. Still gets on base:

Look at those 9 Double-A games above. Basically he gets at least one hit in 6 of 9 games. In 3 of 9 games he has a multi-hit game, mostly singles with three doubles scattered here and there. So far, this is the image of a soft-hitting, slappy singles hitter who heads back to the bench 3 out of 4 at bats, most nights.

He ate right-handed batters for breakfast, in High-A, and then lefties ate him for lunch.

So far in Double-A it’s reversed, but hey, it’s 5 plate appearances against lefties, so let’s reserve judgment.

The Scouts

Warnings

The scouts took notice of his High-A production and put him on their boards. But will he adjust to Double-A pitching? It’s too soon to judge, but he needs to show something over this next month or two for the scouts to continue to believe.

He showed some power at Aberdeen, but how much can we expect him to hit with his frame?

Conclusion

Prieto hit the ground running and showed surprising power earlier this year.

Now Double-A pitchers have taken the lead.

It’s up to Prieto now. It would help if he could take more walks, for he won’t be able to just swing at everything in the upper levels, as he is finding out. Hit the ball on the ground against good defenses, and you head back to the bench.

By the end of 2022, we will have a much better view of the real César Prieto.

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