From Eisenberg’s article Scouting Cardinals Prospect Niko Vasquez:
Vasquez is coordinated and fairly agile with a strong arm at the shortstop position, but questions about his overall foot speed lead some to doubt his ability to stay at the position. He hasn’t appeared to have had many problems thus far in his young career, however.
Should Vasquez stay at shortstop, his bat could have borderline All-Star value.
A few things catch my eye in this small passage from the article.
One, I’ve not heard a lot of talk about Nico not being able to stick at shortstop. That doesn’t mean Erik over at Future Redbirds or someone else hasn’t written it, I just haven’t seen it. Eisenberg notes that he hasn’t had problems to date, but obviously, he’s only made it as far as Quad Cities. It is important to note, however, that he did have two errors in only eleven games with the River Bandits. It would seem to fit with the Cardinals’ organizational philosophy that they might leave the slick-fielding, but so far light hitting Pete Kozma to play short, while moving Vasquez to second base. That of course assumes the two players stay on the same career path, moving in tandem.
Two, Eisenberg notes that Vasquez could have All-Star caliber value if he sticks at short. Of course, that’s music to any Cardinal fan’s ears. We’ve long suffered through the Adam Kennedy’s and Cesar Izturis’ of the world. I, for one, would love to see a middle infielder capable of .280-20-90. Been longing for that since Edgar Renteria left town.
Alex sums things up:
Vasquez has a great deal of upside, with the potential to be a top-7 or so player at the shortstop or second base position. If shifted over to third base, Vasquez’s value drops, but the potential to be an above average player is still there.
However, much is still unknown about Vasquez. You’ll likely see him pop up in the 5 – 12 range on most Cardinal prospect lists because of his “newness” factor. Should he prove himself at higher levels next year, as it is expected he will, Vasquez could be in for a major rise on the prospect lists around the country.
I think this summation mirrors my thoughts exactly. I think Vasquez has a great upside, one I’m looking forward to following in the coming seasons. However, I agree that there is much to learn about Nico as well. I’ll be curious to see how he responds to a full season in A-ball next year. I have to believe he will at least start in Quad Cities again, and I would expect to see him there a full season, but the Cardinals have taken on a very aggressive approach to promotion in their system, so who knows.
Thanks to Alex Eisenberg for the quick note, please check out his work, it’s great stuff.