Friday, March 21, 2014

Prospect Countdown: #6 Jorge Bonifacio

6. Jorge Bonifacio Outfielder

Age: 20
Position: OF
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 192
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Signed as non-drafted FA in 2009
From: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

2013 Rank: 5

2012 Rank: 15

2011 Rank: 45

Landon Adams (6): Jorge Bonifacio continues to chug through the Royals minor league system, posting solid, but not eye popping results. For his career he has hit .289/.355/.443 over 1362 plate appearances. Bonifacio possesses a swing that projects for solid average, he runs okay, and his arm is good enough to play in right. The one tool that could turn Bonifacio from a solid regular to an all-star is his power potential. 

Royals fans have heard a lot about the power potential of Jorge Bonifacio. In fact, just a year ago on the Up and In podcast a scout's opinion was relayed that Bonifacio had the most power potential in the entire Midwest League (at the time Miguel Sano was also playing on the circuit). We've yet to see the power translate into high slugging percentages or balls into the seats, but the reports are still there. One thing that I'm extremely looking forward to seeing in 2014, is Bonifacio showing off his power in game at Arvest Ballpark.

Another thing that I will be watching in regards to Jorge Bonifacio are his platoon splits. Last season alone, Bonifacio hit .266/.348/.384 against right handed pitchers, but mashed against lefties to the tune of .424/.472/.606. For his career, Bonifacio has hit the opposite side better than same side pitching, but never to this extreme. Hopefully, Bonifacio can continue to mash left handers and pick up his game just a little against right handed pitching. 

Long term, Bonifacio appears to be the Royals solution in right field. He also seems to be a pretty safe bet as a prospect. With Nori Aoki in Kansas City on a one year deal, right field will be up for grabs to start 2015. My guess is Bonifacio splits 2014 between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha. Next year Jarrod Dyson and Justin Maxwell will platoon in right for the first month and a half of the season, before Bonifacio comes up and claims what is his. The Royals will then control Bonifacio through 2021. 

Paden Bennett (5): Last season I had this to say regarding Bonifacio "
(Bonifacio) is the guy that can ease the pain of trading Wil Myers.  He has that ability.  I don't believe his potential is as high as Wil Myers, but I do think Bonifacio has the ability to become a very good middle of the order hitter in the majors." A year later I still believe this is the case. In 2014, I hope to see some of Bonifacio's power that we've heard about translate into actual home runs in Northwest Arkansas.

Joe Cox (6):  Jorge Bonifacio comes in at number six this season after having a productive 2013 season.  Bonifacio, 21, reached AA last year and had no difficulty at being a productive hitter at each of the three levels he played at last season.  Between the three levels he played, he managed a triple slash line of .298/.372/.429 over 374 PA.  

While known for his power potential, Bonifacio only hit 4 home runs last season.  He did show an ability to control the plate, with a walk rate of 10% while keeping his strikeouts under 20%.  Bonifacio has the skill set both offensively and defensively to play right field at the major league level.  Bonifacio should start his 2014 in AA but could be pushed up aggressively if he continues to show the ability to hit at that level; though he will be young compared to the rest of the league.  

Bonifacio has a very exciting set of skills to work with, and I have hopes that we will continue to see growth in the power department.  He reminds me a little of a higher profile prospect in Jorge Soler, but Bonifacio is actually a year younger and Soler has yet to reach AA.  Both profile as power hitting right handed bats without too many holes in their game.  Bonifacio is on a trajectory to reach the majors sometime in 2015 and could become a big mover on national prospect rankings next year. 

Dan Ware (3):  Bonifacio, the younger brother of former Royal Emilio Bonifacio, turns 21 in June and still remains the OF prospect that can bring power to a future lineup in Kansas City.  In the meantime, Jorge will likely be the starting RF for NW Arkansas to begin the 2014 season.  In his first go-around with the Naturals last year, Jorge fared well in 105 plate appearances, hitting .301/.371/.441.

Although Jorge didn't produce appealing power numbers last year, he predominately played in a pitcher-friendly Carolina League and had a short stint in Double-A, so I'll give him that.  He's 20 years young with time to mature, the power will come.  His ability to hit in the gaps has impressed scouts the most, with his quick and strong hands.  While he's already at 200 pounds at age 20, he'll likely fill out a little more as he gains a couple years, but still pans out to be a sufficient RF with a strong arm.

Nicholas Ian Allen (--): With Jorge Bonifacio, the Royals have another exciting prospect that has shown talent and production at a very young age. While the system is not ranked as high by some of the experts as it was a few years ago, it is as deep as ever.

The word that comes to mind most when I look at Bonifacio is "solid." There is really no one thing that jumps out in his skill set overall, he just a good solid player all-around. He hits the ball hard, keeps it in play, and gets on base - all terrific signs for an advanced hitter.

While I do not have much to add about the soon to be 21-year old as a player, the thing that intrigues me most about Bonifacio is wondering how the Royals will handle him. It will not be long before he is pushing for playing time in the Kansas City outfield, but with the club set to contend for a playoff spot this season and the youngster probably a year away from the big leagues, he could be very tempting to trade come July. 

I feel the long-term decision could come down to Bonifacio versus Billy Butler, and which provides the best bat two or three years down the road. If the brass truly sees Bonifacio as a cornerstone of the franchise, they will obviously keep him. On the other hand, if he could bring a piece makes the club feel better about making the playoffs in 2014 or possibly making a run at the World Series, it is an option that must be considered.

Total Points: 104

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