Arias was a member of a stacked Cuban national team, teaming with current top prospects like Luis Robert (White Sox) and Michel Baez (Padres). He debuted in Cuba’s highest professional level as a 16-year-old, defecting a few years later and signing with the Rangers for $800K. Arias was old for the short-season Northwest League last year, but he tore up the level by slashing .366/.451/.491 in 61 games. That production has’t slowed much since moving to the Carolina League, named an all-star at mid-season after a .305/.382/.402 showing in the first half.
Arias has a good arm—certainly enough for the left side of the infield—but he’s probably a step too slow for a Major League shortstop. As such, he’ll really need to hit and produce power to get in a lineup every day at the hot corner. Arias has a quick bat from the right side, though his level swing path is geared more for line drives than loft power right now. Nearly 30-percent of his balls in play were line drives last summer in the Northwest League, so there’s some reason to believe a bit more power will be on the come if he can add lift. The lack of power has been an issue again this year, however, with only one home run in nearly 70 games and an ISO hovering close to .100. Arias projects as a hit-first role player unless he can tap into more offensive impact.