Height 6-2, Weight 187, B/T: R/R, DOB: 1/9/1992
2010 Redlegs Baseball Prospect Ranking: NA
The Reds signed Junior Arias as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. He joins a collection of young, Latin American prospects with good upside. The Reds have added significant quality and quantity to the system by improving their international scouting efforts.
Unfortunately, like Ismael Guillon, there really isn't much of a track record to analyze, but the scouting reports on him are simply too strong to justify leaving him off the list entirely. So, this write up will, out of necessity, be a bit shorter and shallower.
Arias made his first appearance in American professional baseball in the Arizona Rookie League. He played in 47 games and garnered 195 ABs. In that time, Arias posted a .287/.336/.482/.819 slash line to go along with 10 doubles, 5 triples, 6 homers, and a 58/12 K/BB ratio. He crushed lefties to the tune of .357/.438/.607/1.045, albeit in a limited sample size of 28 ABs. He also held his own against righties, posting a line of .275/.318/.461/.780 in 167 ABs.
He still has a bit of work to do in his situational hitting, as he OPS'd .958 in 97 ABs with the bases empty, .680 in 98 ABs with runners on base, and .514 in 60 ABs with runners in scoring position. Additionally, there are significant questions about his ability to control the zone, but his power potential is intriguing for a middle infield prospect.
There are a few photos of Junior Arias available on FourSeamImages.com that are definitely worth your time. He has loose, long, athletic build that on first impression reminds me a bit of Alfonso Soriano. The length and follow-through of his swing also bear a resemblance to Soriano.
On the defensive side, early scouting reports are mixed. Generally, his athleticism is promising, but there are questions as to whether he'll be able to stick at shortstop. In the Arizona Rookie League, he made 25 errors in a 180 total chances as a shortstop, which was good for a meager .861 fielding percentage. High error totals are not uncommon at the lower levels, so that in and of itself is not damning, but he'll still need to polish his glove work to avoid a move off the position.
The available information on Arias is sparse and the track record is minimal, but the early signs are positive. The biggest question on Arias, as with most of the other Latin American prospects in the system, involves his ability to control the strike zone. For now, his upside is enough to land him at #21 on the list, but he'll need to establish a solid baseline of performance over a larger sample size to remain there for 2012.