Porpsect #32: 1B, Juan Yepez
Palm Beach Cardinals
Acquired from the Atlanta Braves for Matt Adams in 2017
The Stats As Of 7/17/2018
THE QUICK WRITE UP
The fourth most polarizing prospect in the organization in Juan Yepez. For the 2017 season, Yepez was the butt of every joke by members of the fan base that wanted to hit the Cardinals front office with an insult. That was especially true after Matt Adams was raking for Atlanta while Yepez was floundering at Peoria. It was rough for Yepez at the beginning of his tenure with the Cardinals. But then Yepez underwent a position change, from third to first, and things really started to click for the then-19-year-old Yepez.
Yepez started the 2018 back with Peoria and the Midwest League couldn't contain him. in 25 games he hit 415/462/596/1.058. That earned him a promotion to Palm Beach. There, Yepez really struggled before needing a DL stint. It looked like Yepez' early season production might have just been a product of his third turn in the Midwest League. However, Yepez has been doing a better job of handling Advanced-A pitching for the Beach Birds since coming off of the DL, even if the stats say that he isn't hitting. His approach against better pitching is what is getting better. The main issue with Yepez is that he doesn't show any of the power that you'd want out of a first baseman and he really doesn't have the potential to play a position that would allow his power to play. Needless to say at this point, developing power is the most important thing to keep an eye on with Yepez moving forward.
WHY TO GET EXCITED
After struggling mightily as a third baseman in both the field and at the dish, Yepez has really found his footing as a first baseman.
Yepez hit 415/462/596/1.058 over the first month of the season with Peoria before earning a promotion to Palm Beach.
Yepez worked tirelessly this off-season to get into better shape, augmenting his workout routine and changed his diet in the process.
Has become a very good first baseman in a short period of time.
Has a high baseball IQ. I've been very pleased with the way that he runs the bases. It's a very underrated aspect of his game.
He doesn't strike out often, although it's been rougher at Palm Beach.
He has a chance to be a very good doubles hitter.
He's a tremendous young man from a good family. While at Peoria, he was tremendous around the Peoria area with community out reach and community service. Great with kids and fans.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
Even with the success at Peoria this year, the stats are inflated because it was the third season in a row that he had spent time at that level.
Hasn't show much in the way of power. Hard to be a first baseman with ten home run power, maxed out.
Doesn't have a position to fall back on that matches his offensive profile.
He's still young for the A+ level, but he isn't taking walks or hitting the ball well at that level. For a player with the history of needing a lot of time at a level, this isn't a good sign.
He doesn't walk enough, in general.
The Florida State League is a pitchers league and that hurts some of the players numbers. But Yepez isn't driving the ball or hitting with authority since coming off of the 7-day DL in early June.
Yikes. This is a tough one, as well. You see, I don't know if I view Yepez as a potential major leaguer. He'd have to try out a position like second base to match his offensive profile right now and I don't think he has the lateral movement for that. The James Loney comp is easy because of the lack of power, but that's all that these two have in common. I think that it's best if we just table the comparison talk with Yepez until next season. His journey and stops have been unique, to say the least. Tough to get a feel.
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Thanks For Reading!!