Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Prospect Countdown: #23 Humberto Arteaga

23. Humberto Arteaga Short Stop

Age: 19
Height: 6'1" 
Weight: 160
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent on 8/10/10 for $1.1 million

2013 Rank: 27

2012 Rank: 33

2011 Rank: 37

Landon Adams (23): A slick fielder, Arteaga didn't get off to the best start as a teenager in full season baseball. There is a pretty good chance that with my ranking I have put too much stock into that 61 game stretch, but at this point I'm still waiting to see him really hit. However, in his final 69 games of the season (all of which came in the Pioneer League), Arteaga might have just given me an appetizer of things to come. 

I don't want to get too much into Arteaga, because I love what Nick says about him later in this post and I don't want to detract from that. I will say that I expect Arteaga to return to Lexington to begin 2014, and I expect him to continue the momentum he built up in the Pioneer League a season ago. 

- @Landon_Adams

Paden Bennett (24): Last season Arteaga showed his hitting potential in Idaho Falls (.280/.333/.393), which earned him a promotion to Lexington.  However he hit a wall in Lexington and his numbers reflected that: .188/.214/.225 in 240 at bats.  Arteaga is known for his defensive skills so I don't expect him to be a great hitter but the potential is there to be a plus hitter as shown by his solid Pioneer League showing.  Arteaga has his work cut out for him though with all of the SS prospects in the Royals system.  He will have to really show something to move ahead of Mondesi, Calixte, Lopez, Torres.

- @PadenBennett22

Joe Cox (19): Thought of as a plus defensive short stop, Humberto Arteaga split his age 19 season between Lexington and Idaho Falls.  In the Pioneer League Arteaga made all but five of his starts at shortstop and compiled 346 PA’s.  In those appearances, Arteaga walked at twice the rate of the years prior (7.5%) while maintaining a decent strikeout rate (15.0%).  His wOBA was a good but not great .329, but showed little power and was inefficient on the base baths, executing a steal on only 11 of his 18 attempts.  

Unfortunately, that is just half of the story, as his 251 PA’s in A ball went very badly. In Lexington he continued his trend of not walking (2.4 BB%) and showed absolutely no power with a .038 ISO.  His .188/.214/.225 line made it pretty clear that the slick fielding short stop was not ready for a higher level of pitching, but time is on his side as he turns just 20 in January of 2014.  Any SS prospect that can stick at the position defensively is a nice thing to have in the organization, but he clearly has much work to be down on the offensive side of the game. 

- Twitterless Joe

Dan Ware (28): Humberto, at the youthful age of 19, showcased a solid season for Idaho Falls in 2013, but Lexington and South Atlantic League got the better of him.  In 300 AB's for I.F., a line of .280/.333/.393 with 3 HR and 58 RBI along with 20 extra base hits, easily earned him a promotion to Lexington.  Unfortunately, his line dipped at least 100 points in each aspect, as he only collected 13 RBI and 7 XBH.  

Although he won't impress with power or speed, he's well known for his defensive prowess.  The arm strength is not there just yet, but with his soft hands and plus range, he has the makeup to be a solid shortstop.  The problem for Arteaga is that Kansas City has a plethora of SS in the system including Mondesi, Calixte, Lopez, and Torres.  Humberto will need to improve at the plate in order to move up, at least the age is on his side for the time being.

- @Daniel_L_Ware

Nicholas Ian Allen (--)I am excited about Humberto Arteaga. Had I joined Royal Revival prior to the ranking stage for this list,  he would have been in serious contention for a spot in my top ten. I was lucky to see Arteaga in Helena and Idaho Falls in 2013, and I was not the only person he impressed. Sources raved about his defense and one even called him the best overall player in the Pioneer League. 

At just 19 years old, Arteaga put in a full season of work in 2013. He played 136 games, including playoffs. Though his offensive numbers were poor in Lexington, they improved greatly with a move down to Idaho Falls. In fact, his numbers improved as the season wore on - which is a very good sign for someone so young. Also keep in mind, 19 is still very young in the Pioneer League, so the move down should not be seen as a red flag.

The Venezuelan certainly struggled offensively through 61 games with Lexington. .188/.214/.225 will not excite anyone. What should be noted is he was given the opportunity to play nearly every day for more than two months in the South Atlantic League at age 19. Usually, if someone is slated to move down once short-season begins, they will platoon at best in April and May. The Royals wanted Arteaga on the field.

After the move to Idaho Falls, Arteaga improved mightily. While spending his time mainly in the two hole or the sixth spot in Lexington, Arteaga hit leadoff every game he played in IF. Though his numbers in the first inning and leading off an inning were his worst, his walk rate improved greatly from 2012. He can and will bunt, and has some speed - which can be seen by his five triples in IF. However, his stolen base rate is not great (11-for-22 on the year, including 0-for-4 in Lexington). He did damage for the Chukars with runners on base, hitting .337/.342/.480 with RISP, and pounded lefties .404/.446/.577.  

Arteaga’s defensive reputation certainly precedes him. He was listed as the best defensive infielder in the Royals organization in 2011, 2012 and 2013 by Baseball America. His glove should take him to the big leagues. How long he stays, and in what capacity will depend on his production at the plate. He may eventually end up as a utility man, but the potential is there to become an everyday shortstop.

- @NicholasIAllen

Total Points: 30

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