Name: Yefri Carvajal
Position: Outfielder (undergoing possible conversion to right-handed reliever)
2010 Level(s): Lake Elsinore (High-A), San Antonio (AA)
Perhaps no player in the system was more difficult to rank than Yefri Carvajal.
Once considered one of the best hitters in the system, Carvajal never really got it going outside of the AZL, typically hitting an empty .260 or so. This year, he slumped even worse, batting .194/.224/.296 across two levels, although he did at least hit .233/.255/.344 after the break in Lake Elsinore.
Still just 21 and young for the mid-to-upper minors, Carvajal certainly didn’t figure to rate highly on my list, but given his age and upside, I figured he deserved a spot somewhere.
Then, the news broke that Carvajal, now on the disabled list, is being given tentative pitching instruction.
So, we’ve got three things to consider: his upside, his poor production, and this potential pitching conversion. Before the conversion news came out, I had Carvajal ranked 69th, but with the conversion, I’m dropping him to this slot.
And hey, maybe the conversion works. Reports are that Carvajal throws hard but is all over the place, which is pretty much what one would expect. He’s just 5’11”, so I doubt he’s going to get much plane on his pitches, meaning he could potentially have a homer problem down the line.
There’s always the possibility that the conversion doesn’t stick and Carvajal resumes his outfield career. He at least has always made respectable contact despite being young for his levels, and he has some power potential and decent speed, so the tools to be a good player are there, which is why he’d have ranked 69th had he stayed in the outfield.
Anyway, he’s a giant question mark in the outfield or on the mound: all potential and no current production. At 21, he is younger than most guys who convert in pro ball, so he at least has the advantage of starting his pitching career earlier than most failed hitters, allowing him to face competition closer to his own age.