#43 Daniel Mateo
Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent
From: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic
Daniel Mateo makes the list thanks to being arguably the most consistent hitter on the Idaho Falls roster for 2011. Mateo unlike many other mashers in the Pioneer League isn't a college graduate, instead he was a teenager just a couple of years out of the Dominican.
Now I should mention that Mateo's BABIP came in at a lofty .412. This sounds ridiculously high. But when you find that the league average BABIP was .345 and that Mateo's line drive percentage was higher than league average his BABIP doesn't sound nearly as insane.
Actually there is also the issue that only 11% of Mateo's flyballs left the yard in 2011, which doesn't compare favorably to the league average percentage of just over 14%. Basically when looking at the numbers I would have expected Mateo's batting average to be slightly lower in 2011, with his home run total and slugging percentage to have been just a tick higher.
Mateo has spent the most time as a shortstop, but I see the Royals shifting him to second. I have read reports that his defense is average at short, but if the Royals do move him to the opposite side of the bag, his defense should play up.
Mateo should get an opportunity to be the starting second baseman for Kane County in 2012. If he struggles he could be pulled out of the league and return to Idaho Falls when short season ball picks up. If he hits the ground running and continues to hit, he could shoot up these rankings.
Picture credit Idaho Falls Chukars' team website.