White Sox: Prospect Profile, #9 Luis Alexander Basabe

As we continue our tour of the top prospects across the Chicago baseball landscape this afternoon, we take a look at Chicago White Sox #9 prospect, Luis Alexander Basabe.

With Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech headlining the return from the Boston Red Sox for left-hander Chris Sale, it is easy to overlook the other pieces the Chicago White Sox received, but sleeping on Luis Alexander Basabe is a mistake.

Signed along with his twin brother, Luis Alejandro, by the Red Sox in 2012, Basabe advanced steadily in the minor leagues, compiling a .264/.328/.452 slash line over 451 plate appearances across two levels. Of particular note within that slash is that the 20-year-old managed a .452 slugging percentage thanks to 26 doubles and nine triples, indicating his considerable raw strength is beginning to impact his production at the plate.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Basabe is not done developing and should add more strength to go along with already impressive bat speed. He strikeout rate is elevated at 23 percent but he also boasts a 13 percent walk rate and has swiped 73 bags in 93 attempts. There’s a lot to look forward to with this kid.

That said, there are quite a few concerns, especially with his bat.

From the folks over at MLB.com:

“Though he still has a long ways to go at the plate, Basabe is a switch-hitting center fielder with five-tool potential. He’s not physically imposing but already generates impressive power with bat speed and strong forearms and wrists, and he should have more once he adds some muscle. He shows some signs of plate discipline, but needs to improve his pitch recognition so he can make consistent contact and maximize his considerable offensive potential.”

And from the “skeptical” Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs:

“His feel for hitting, especially from the left side, is raw. Basabe has issues with timing, getting his weight forward, tracking, and swing length from the left side, though he showed some improvement in his balance and timing as the season progressed.

He’s more balanced and controlled from the right side and has better bat control, but there’s still excessive noise in the hands that leads to swing and miss. I’ve spoken with scouts who don’t like Basabe at all, but the defensive profile is favorable and, even if he doesn’t hit, it’s easy to envision Basabe as a fourth outfielder or even a low-end regular who hits at the bottom of the lineup. The upside is, realistically, that of an average everyday player if Basabe shows enough progression with the bat in the coming years.”

And as Longenhagen alluded to, we can’t forget that Basabe grades out with a 60 arm and 60 speed on the 20-80 scale. He can cover ground in center (though some scouts think he isn’t there quite yet) and has the arm to keep runners from taking an extra base. Both of those will play well at The Row when he finally arrives.

I expect Basabe to start the season at Single-A Kannapolis before earning a promotion to Double-A Birmingham. Depending on how he performs, a September call-up to the White Sox is not out of the question, though a stint in the Arizona Fall League and a Triple-A assignment to start the 2018 season is the likelier outcome.

I’m really high on this guy. I Think he’s going to end up being quite the return as the third guy in a mega-trade.

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