Background & Info – 2020 status: Arias was one of the more significant expenditures in the San Diego Padres $78 million international spending spree in 2016. The young Venezuelan received a $1.9 million signing bonus to join the Father’s organization. He didn’t disappoint either, impressing defensively. Arias has a solid athletic frame with a well-proportioned build with strong arms and legs. He looks like he could handle more weight (5-10 lbs) as he matures and continues to add strength to his frame. The young middle infielder looks the part of a plus athlete.
Hit: He stands even at the plate; he leans back and taps his toe as he induces his swing. Recent video indicates he’s opened up his stance initially. His bat has the potential to improve to average, but fringe-average (45) is the more likely projectable outcome. Right now, it’s a below-average bat because of his swing and miss tendencies. While an average outcome doesn’t seem likely because of his aggressiveness at the plate, Arias has continued to refine his hitting abilities and still has youth on his side. He’s worked with VR technology to help recognize breaking pitches, with some encouraging results reported. Grade: 40
Power: Arias has above-average raw power. It’s more pull power, but Arias does display the ability to drive the ball the other way. His natural strength, bat speed, and aggressive nature at the plate give him above-average pop. Arias displays enough power potential to handle third base if he outgrows shortstop or doesn’t displace one of the other many shortstop options already in the organization. Grade: 55
Approach: Arias can be overly aggressive on pitches, lengthening his swing and chasing pitches out of the zone. He’s struggled to recognize movement on breaking pitches in the past. As noted above, he has focused his attention on improving. His aggressive nature will minimize his ability to work counts deep and draw walks. Grade: 45
Arm: The young middle infielder has one of the strongest arms in the system. He possesses the arm strength to play short, third, and right field. He shows the ability to adjust and make strong, accurate throws from deep the hole, close to third, on the move, and in the grass. He could legitimately receive double plus grades because of his strength and accuracy. Grade: 60
Fielding: Arias projects as an above-average to plus defender because of his range and a strong arm. He possesses the speed to stay and shortstop but could lose a step as he matures. With his feel and range for the position, he could arguably be the most talented defensive shortstop in the system. Arias can make all the plays: dramatic and routine. Grade: 55
Speed: He posts home to first times in the 4.2-4.3 range giving him above-average speed. Unfortunately, his aggressive nature hurts his results. However, the pieces are there to be a successful base stealer in the future, but it won’t be prolific numbers. Grade: 55
Instincts: Laced with athleticism and tools, Arias’s aggressive nature can hurt him at the plate and on the bases. That said, it’s this aggressiveness that will create opportunities for him to take extra bases and make trouble for the opposition. Grade: 45
His willingness to continue to improve shows his work ethic and drive to improve as a player. The Padres had him use VR to try to improve his pitch recognition and make better swing decisions, which shows open mindedness and hard work to improve. Arias has above-average raw power potential, a strong arm, speed, and a quality glove. There are enough pieces that he provides a high ceiling and floor.
Arias’s bat will be the key to his future. He can play multiple spots thanks to his impressive defensive toolset. 2021 will bring an opportunity to the young shortstop to make a name for himself in a system deep in middle infield talent. A shift to third base could be a possible avenue to playing time. The right-handed-hitting Arias should have a bright future on the left side of the infield.
Future/Roles: Arias has the potential to develop into an All-Star caliber shortstop because of his defensive value and offensive upside. His floor is a versatile utilityman with some power from the bench. His most likely outcome is an everyday player with a fringe-average batting line and enough power potential and defense to keep him on the field.
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