Of all the Rangers position player prospects, none may have a higher ceiling than Jairo Beras. When imagining the prototypical power-hitting right fielder a clear outline comes to mind. A tall, muscular dude who isn’t the strongest fielder but usually has a cannon for an arm usually fits the description.
At 6’6” Beras checks the tall dude, 54 extra base hits checks off the power hitting, and his arm? When he gets to Frisco he will show that bad boy off. Beras was signed as an international free agent in March of 2012 for $4.5 million. At the time of the signing, there were a few questions about his age.
The commissioner’s office concluded that Beras had lied about his age and suspended him one year but upheld the contract with the Rangers. When he signed, scouts knew how raw Beras was as a baseball player but he was also among the best available International prospects. Learning how to read fly balls in the outfield and how to adjust against off-speed pitches have taken time, for example.
Last year, Beras took great strides towards turning raw athleticism into actual baseball skills. Instead of coming to the plate hacking at any fastball, the young Dominican came into at bats with a plan, adjusting with the count like good hitters do.
Because of these smarter at bats, Beras was able to work more friendly counts and therefore see more of those fastballs he loves to hit. In his first three seasons Beras hit 18 homers. Last year Beras blasted 22 long balls, and a career best 28 doubles.
Defensively, his routes to fly balls improved allowing Beras to better utilize his surprisingly speedy legs. With continued improvement in the nitty gritty details of outfield play, he should be at least an average defensive corner outfielder. Some thought originally when he signed that Beras might play center field. This dream is all but dead, but his offensive potential more than justifies his position as a corner outfielder.
After a full year in High A without major setback, Beras likely will start the 2017 season as Frisco’s right fielder. The jump from High A to AA might be the most difficult for prospects, so don’t hold out too much hope that he will see Round Rock any time this year.
For a player with as much talent as Beras, there's been an expectation for a big breakout season each year but the young outfielder has yet to put it all together. With a chance to play in the upper levels, this could be a make or break season for the bonus baby.
Look for continued growth of his plate approach as one of the most important factors in how Beras is progressing. He needs to feel confident in his gameplan in each at bat in AA because those pitchers are much better than any extended competition he has faced before.
Jairo Beras likely won’t see Arlington until late in the 2018 season if he can figure it all out. Though he still has a lot of work to do, there’s more than enough talent to dream on even for those without dreams. If Jairo bears down he’s got the talent to strip baseballs bare in the big leagues for years to come.
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Copyright 2016 WFAA