15. Adael Amador (172 points, 13 ballots)
It’s now been a year and a half since Adael Amador signed with the Rockies, but he still hasn’t made it into an official game. Amador was the highest-rated signing for the Rockies in the July 2 period in 2019, representing the 12th-highest ranked player by MLB Pipeline. The now 17-year-old shortstop (born in 2003!) signed with Colorado for $1.5 million, giving him the equivalent of an early second round draft bonus.
Because Amador has yet to make his professional debut, I’m leaning heavily on scouting reports to piece together what type of prospect he is. Right now what I’ve ascertained is that he is an athletic switch hitter (though his only plus tool might be his arm) with a 6’0”, 160-pound frame. He has a fluid swing and the ability to stick at shortstop as he matures.
Here’s some video on Amador from 2017 (when he was 14) courtesy of Baseball America:
FanGraphs ranked Amador 11th in the system in their pre-2020 list with a 40+ FV tag:
Amador has already gotten stronger and twitchier than he appeared to be on the amateur circuit, and he flashed some in-game power in last summer’s Tricky League. For a switch-hitter this young, Amador already has fairly advanced feel to hit in games, even if the swings aren’t always pretty. He’s medium-framed and likely to grow into some more power, but probably not a ton. He’s graceful and athletic enough that we also consider him likely to stay on the middle infield, though we’re not sure if it’ll be at second base or shortstop. There’s everyday ceiling here, but of course, teenagers are quite volatile.
Baseball America ranked Amador 11th as well going into 2020:
Amador is an advanced hitter for his age with a simple, compact swing from both sides of the plate. He stays balanced and recognizes pitches well, with the plate discipline and bat control to make frequent contact. Amador has a two-strike approach, but early in the count he looks to do damage, with his power ticking up to be able to drive the ball over the fence and the strength projection to get to at least average power. Amador has a chance to stay at shortstop, though some scouts think he will move off the position, and he’s likely to split time between shortstop and second base in 2020. An average runner, Amador has good defensive instincts, reading the ball off the bat well with a quick exchange to an average arm.
A tooled up middle infielder, Amador is already standing out as a precocious offensive player. A switch-hitter, the teenager is developing an approach more mature than many his age. He has excellent bat speed, with good rhythm and timing, with all signs pointing to him having the potential to be an above-average hitter with some power. As he’s grown and gained strength, he’s been running better and shows good instincts on the basepaths.
Those instincts carry over to his work on the dirt as well. He has excellent actions and more than enough arm to play shortstop long-term. Given that he might still grow and add strength, when coupled with his advanced feel for the game already, there’s a lot of upside to dream on as Amador begins his pro career.
The low grade there is the 40 power, but everything else is 50 or 55.
To paraphrase Fran Fraschilla, Amador is at least two years away from being two years away, with the longest gestation period of any prospect on this edition of the PuRPs list. That doesn’t mean he should be ignored altogether, as Amador represents a potential regular that could be part of multiple Colorado contending teams down the line.
I’ll be eagerly following Amador’s belated DSL debut in 2021 to see how my 11th ranked player (I put a 40+ FV grade on him) compares to the other 2019 July 2 players (and the players recently signed in the January class this year) from around baseball. It’s possible the Rockies bring him stateside to play for their new Arizona complex league team if all goes well.