Friday, March 7, 2014

Prospect Countdown: #11 Orlando Calixte

11. Orlando Calixte Short Stop

Age: 22
Position: SS
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 160
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Signed by the Kansas City Royals as a non-drafted free agent in 2010                 From: Santo Domingo, DR

2013 Rank: 10

2012 Rank: 26

2011 Rank: 36

Landon Adams (12): Let's start with what I said regarding Orlando Calixte in last year's prospect countdown:
"I'm not necessarily saying that Calixte's 2012 success was a fluke, but on the surface it appears his line was driven by good fortune. Calixte has the upside and tools to be a very dangerous hitter, so either way let's hope that the good fortune can parlay itself into a confidence builder for Calixte to build on moving forward. Calixte could open the year in either Wilmington or Northwest Arkansas. I wouldn't be shocked if he took off in 2013 and found himself on the edge of the game's top 100 prospects heading into 2014. "
It does appear that his strong 2012 performance could have been luck driven. I still maintain that the raw tools are there for Calixte to develop into a dangerous hitter. As for the final part of my assessment, well as you can see things haven't panned out that way for the Dominican short stop.

I still like Calixte as a prospect and I was glad to see the Royals moving him around the diamond in the second half of the 2013 season. Calixte has a strong arm and excellent range and he should continue to see time at short, second, and third this season. I'd even prefer to see his versatility taken a step farther and allow him to log some time in the outfield.

Calixte mashed left handed pitching in 2013. Given that and his defensive abilities I think there is a pretty safe bet that he can carve out at least some sort of career as a utility man with good pop from the bench. On the other hand, I still like the upside and for the second year in a row I'm going to predict a big year for him in Northwest Arkansas. With age on his side, there's still a shot that he could shoot up some prospect rankings before he eventually hits Kansas City.

Paden Bennett (10): Calixte as a 21 year old shortstop spent most of 2013 with Northwest Arkansas.  Calixte struggled with his transition to AA Northwest Arkansas and compiled a line of .250/.312/.370 with 8 homers.  However he did post his second highest line drive % of his career (14.2%).  Calixte is a toolsy shortstop with solid power but hits the ball on the ground too much.  Calixte has a career GB% of 49.1 which is pretty high.  I look for Calixte to adjust to AA pitching this season and show some promise with the bat.

Joe Cox (16):  Calixte spent his entire age 21 season playing predominately short stop for Northwest Arkansas.  Coming off an impressive offensive showing in 2012, moving up a level did prove to be a tough transition for Calixte at the plate, but not without showing some promise.  Calixte is widely considered to be able to stick at shortstop and spent nearly the entire season playing the position.  Offensively, his numbers did decrease across the board, but considering his age/ level and the change in talent he was facing, it would be wrong to call Calixte 2013 disappointing. 

In 536 PA, Calixte had an OPS of .680 which included 8 home runs and 14 stolen bases (though he was caught 11 times).  He still showed a propensity to strike out (131 K’s), nor does he walk much (42 BB’s).  I would venture to guess that Calixte will try his hand in AA for a second season, and it would be nice to see an improvement in the power department, something that he has flashed as having above average potential.  There doesn’t seem to be a question of Calixte being able to handle short, but I would not be surprised if he saw time at other positions to increase his flexibility, as he projects as a major league utility player. 

Dan Ware (10):  Calixte, now 22 years old, took a step in the wrong direction on our Prospect Countdown, due to a dismal 2013 season at the plate.  For the Naturals, he hit .250/.312/.368 with 8 HR, nearly half the amount he compiled last season.  Orlando has always been a groundball hitter (career GB% is 49.1), but an issue with that is his line drive rates.  Although he did raise it slightly from last year, 12.2% to 14.2%, he was still below Texas League average.  Along with his meager LD%, his BABIP tendency kept its course from last season, as it was .325, a much higher value than the TL average.  Apparently, his good luck followed him from Wilmington.

On a positive note, Calixte's glove improved tremendously at shortstop.  In 2012, he committed 46 errors between his stints with Kane County and Wilmington.  Last season, his total of 18 was less than his overall with Wilmington (21).  I would say that's an improvement.  With good range, superb hands, and an above average arm, he has the makeup to be a solid SS, but with his athleticism, can make a switch to another position if it were needed.  I suspect Calixte will start the 2014 season with the Naturals for a second season.  He has average power for his position, but needs to work on being patient at the plate and driving the ball into the gaps.

Nicholas Ian Allen (--): It is difficult for me to get a read on Orlando Calixte. Of course, he is yet another very talented Royals infielder. He is very slim, but has played in 130+ games for the second consecutive season. Also, it is well known he can turn around a fastball with sneaky power. After looking through the numbers, here are some observations from Calixte's 2013 season:

  • Calixte had extreme splits, having pounded lefties to the tune of .324/.383/.533 in 105 ABs while struggling against right handers .230/.293/.322. He drove in more than one-third of his runs against left-handed pitchers.
  • He both started the season poorly and ended poorly hitting under .200 in April, August and in the Arizona Fall League while slugging under .300 in April and August and .309 in the AFL.
  • Shows his aggression through a .326/.389/.500 line leading off an inning and .303/.342/.422 in the first inning of games (he hit 2nd in the lineup in all but 3 ABs)
  • He struggled mightily in RBI situations - .208/.300/.305 with runners on base and .210/.306/.295 with RISP. The numbers were slightly worse with two outs in those situations.
In all, Calixte gets lost for me between Colon knocking on the door of the big leagues and Raul A. Mondesi providing such intriguing youth and upside in the levels below. Even Humberto Arteaga gets me more excited. Turning just 22 years old this season and likely to spend a chunk of the year in Triple-A, Calixte still seems extremely raw to have played as much professional baseball as he has. If I were to have ranked Calixte, he would likely fall somewhere in the mid-20s. I could be dead wrong, and while he certainly has a lot of potential, there just seems to be so much work to be done for him to reach the Major Leagues, much less contribute. 
Total Points: 76

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