Armando Araiza: We have no reason to think he will hit
It was his Bowling Green teammate, Oscar Hernandez, who was selected in the Rule 5 Draft, but prospect-knowledgable Rays fans know that Araiza is actually a better defender than him. This past season with the Hot Rods, Araiza threw out an incredible 58% of opposing basestealers, and he has the defensive skills to continue gunning down runners at an outstanding rate.
However, Araiza’s bat generates exponentially more questions. He hit to just a .214/.292/.316 line in 2014, striking out 101 times against just 31 walks in 385 plate appearances. Even tough he didn’t hit at all, Araiza struck out in 26.2% of his plate appearances and that just can’t happen. Will Araiza ever hit enough for his defense to matter?
Araiza had his moments at the plate in the Mexican Pacific League, hitting .270 with a .432 slugging percentage in his 38 plate appearances. Of course, his OBP was also .270 as he didn’t walk a single time while striking out on 15 occasions. He also has just a .125/.176/.125 line in 17 postseason PA’s, although he did finally draw a walk.
A positive outlook on the situation, though, is that Araiza found himself in a tough spot in the MPL. He played very sparingly for the Yaquis de Obregón and also went up against older competition, yet he wasn’t entirely helpless at the plate. In addition, he was only at Low-A last season so we could not have expected much.
Even so, when will Araiza start showing any ability to hit for a sustained period? He delivered good enough results at Advanced Rookie Princeton in 2013 to be bumped up to Bowling Green–he isn’t a total lost cause–but he has a long way to go as he hopes to prove himself at the plate. His 2014 was about as bad as the Rays possibly could have expected and his Winter Ball stint did little to ameliorate the situation.