Luis Rengifo was traded to the LA Angels from the Tampa Bay Rays in the C.J Cron deal last offseason, and since then Rengifo has upgraded his status from fringe prospect to legitimate breakout.
After seeing little success with the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays it seems Rengifo has finally found his comfort zone with the LA Angels at the age of 21. Luis Rengifo is finally coming into himself as a Major League prospect, and at the age of 21 there is a ton of upside for him to continue to tap into. This past season Rengifo spent time in three different level of the Angels system, from Class A Advanced to Double A and Triple A.
Before this year Rengifo hadn’t spent time playing above the Low A Ball level yet Angels GM Billy Eppler saw something that was worth trading Angels Big League 1B C.J Cron for. Rengifo always had all the tools for success, it seems all that was needed was some patience and a proper environment for Rengifo to grow.
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Luis Rengifo (SS/2B)
Acquired by trade March 20th, 2018 (TBR-LAA)
Signed March 6th ,2014 – Naguanagua, Venezuela (SEA)
What makes Rengifo so valuable is his plate approach, he’s able to work the pitcher for a number of pitches while sitting patiently in the box. His advanced discipline is fantastic at the top of the lineup, particularly leadoff, thanks to both his plate approach and speed. His 2018 BB/K split was dead even (75Ks/75BBs) thanks to his superior plate discipline. Rengifo hits switch and performs just as well from either side of the plate, though he does pop the ball better from the left side of the plate. His swing has a distinct quickness going through the plate mostly due to its tight, compact nature, which is dangerous with his approach at the plate. Throughout the 2018 season Rengifo hit .299/.399/.452 while knocking in a valuable 30 doubles.
Speed is his greatest ally next to his plate discipline; speed on both the basepaths and coming out of the box. Rengifo can zoom out of the batters box with a speedy first step and stress fielders on what should be simple plays. Speed is his second greatest tool without a doubt, on the basepaths Rengifo spun some magic by stealing 41 bases through three levels of the Angels system (A+/AA/AAA) while being caught 16 times. In other words, Rengifo is lethal on the basepaths, and on top of that a fatal force at the top of a lineup.
Rengifo is the kind of athlete can hurt a pitchers confidence before the game gets off the ground. He can work a number of pitches before settling on his pitch and set himself to score with an immediate stolen base. He’s the kind of hitter that can work a pitcher for a near 10 pitch AB and then stress him by requiring pick-offs at first. Next thing you know he’s on second and the pitcher has thrown 20 stress pitches (if you include pick-off throws to first).
Defensively there is a great versatility within Rengifo. He spent a lot of time manning the left side of the infield for the Angels in 2018 with 710.0 innings logged at shortstop. Other than that he spent 361.0 innings at second base. His quick reflexes allow for him to enjoy an expanded range at shortstop and with his strong-arm he is capable of making great plays from the hole. There is some refinement in consistency to be desired from his defense, though as it stands he has the tools for defensive excellence.
His defensive versatility, next to hit A+ plate approach, is reminiscent of ex-Angel Maicer Izturis, though Rengifo does have more power in the tank than Izzy. That being said, Luis Rengifo is projected to land as a super utility player thanks to his valuable hitting tools as well as defensive versatility. Though he only played shortstop and second base for the Angels he did spent time all over the outfield as well as third base with the Seattle Mariners .
Rengifo is the kind of athlete that is always giving his manager a reason to put him in the lineup. Whether it’s for his defensive versatility, his hitting tools, or his deadly speed, there is always something begging for Rengifo to see the field. Ultimately Rengifo doesn’t look to stick to one position, not because he can’t but because he fares well all over the field. He likely won’t be seen as a traditional starter, but with his super utility status he’s going to see a very healthy amount of games in a lineup.
In turn, all of these tools gives him some of the best value you can find within the Angels system. Even if he was just a normal bench player he’d still carry great value for a competing club, but as a super utility athlete coming into a fresh-faced organization priding itself on analytics there will be a plethora of opportunities to utilize these talents.
Developmental Needs: Defensive Consistency
Best Tools: Plate Discipline, Approach, Speed (Base-Running, Base-Stealing), Strike-Zone Judgment, Compact Swing, Defensive Versatility, Lineup Versatility
MLB ETA: 2020