There’s been some interesting news on the LA Angels free agency front this week, but it’s not exactly what you’d expect.
The LA Angels have reportedly committed to signing International Free Agent Arol Vera, a switch hitting shortstop from Venezuela. They won’t be able to sign Arol Vera until July 2nd, the date the international free agency window opens, but both the organization and Vera have committed to signing on that date.
Despite being only 16, which puts his MLB ETA into the later 2020’s, there is a lot of interest to be had here. Vera is a switch hitting shortstop who stands at 6-2 while still at the age of 16. That’s a lot of physical prowess at an age well before the developmental peak, which easily justifies the Angels’ interest in the young stud.
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Vera has a solid looking swing for his age, his bat cuts smoothly through the zone without too much of a hitch. His swing looks consistent from both sides of the plate, though it does seem like he loads just a bit longer from the right-hand batters box than the left. The leg kick and high-hand loading will likely bring some timing issues and require adjustment, but this is to be expected with players this young.
Defensively, he carries himself well for a 16-year-old who stands at 6-2. His arm strength is promising, especially when ranging towards the right-hand side and away from the 1B bag. Of course there is some agility to be had, but again, this is standard for a physically gifted youth. At that height and age there is some awkwardness in both defensive and offensive motions. But, from where he is now, he’s already ahead of the usual pace.
It will be interesting to see what kind of development Arol Vera will undergo within the Angels organization. There looks to be a well of power ready to be tapped into with Vera, which can push Vera into a high-ability tier of athlete. As of now, there isn’t too much material to evaluate Vera off of, but from what we have available we can see a well-rounded athlete.
There are a few things that the Angels will need to coax from him, offensively he’ll probably need to adjust how/where he loads up with his hands in order to create a quicker path through the zone. However, this is run of the mill when scouting players at such a young age.
I imagine a lot of interest will surround Vera as he comes to the Angels and his talents become more distinct as he develops. From what we can see there is obvious talent and dynamics to Vera, so it’s only a matter of time until we start hearing about the big things ready to come from this physically gifted 16-year-old shortstop.