The centerpiece of the Rangers’ 2015 J2 free agent class, Taveras signed for a $2.1 million bonus. As much noise as the industry makes about the variability of seven-figure international signees, Taveras has done nothing to make his bonus look like an overpay. He’s a freak athlete with developing baseball instincts, able to play a quality center field while showing a high-ceiling power/speed toolset from a switch-hitting profile.
He’s listed at 6’1’’ and 170 pounds, but at just 19 years old, he’s still growing into his body and he’s both taller and more physical than his listing. He flashed more raw power in BP than I have seen in previous looks, especially from the right side—though the game contact is more polished from the left side of the plate, where he shows a more fundamental swing. The power potential I saw on top of the speed and athlete tools were exciting, and it’s impressive he is holding his own in High-A at the same age as most college freshman. Taveras has excellent range in centerfield with long, effortless strides across the outfield grass. On a freezing cold night where everyone was stiff, he cold picked up a single to center and delivered a whistling rope to the third baseman to hold a runner at second; it is a no-doubt plus field and throw defensive profile.
Taveras’ bat is still a few years away from Arlington, but the physicality, athleticism, and well-rounded tool set gives him impact potential on both sides of the ball. Even if the hit and power tools finish more 50-grade than 60, his speed and elite defensive upside still project to add significant value. With more bat than that—especially in the power category—Taveras could be yet another homegrown Rangers hitter on his way to stardom.