Houston Astros: Who is Jonathan Arauz?


Houston Astros: 17-year old shortstop Jonathan Arauz was a late addition to the Ken Giles trade. 

But that doesn’t mean he was a throw in for the Houston Astros. For general manager Jeff Luhnow to change the terms of the trade at a seemingly late stage to include Mark Appel and Harold Arauz instead of Derek Fisher speaks volumes of what the organization thinks about Arauz. In fact, one can argue that the Panama native adds another top prospect to an already deep farm system.

Arauz, no relation to Harold Arauz, who was also involved in the trade with the Phillies, has the type of tool set from a middle infielder that most teams would love to have in their system. Heck, Philadelphia’s front office thought so much of the now 17-year old that they gave him $600,000 to sign with the club back in 2014.

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Though he isn’t the flashiest player, Arauz is known for his above average fielding skills. He also has spent time at second base along with shortstop that only adds to his versatility. However, he figures to be athletic enough to stick at shortstop for the foreseeable future. But the fact that he could play both positions as he advances through the minors only adds to his value.

The Phillies reportedly pictured Arauz being similar to Freddy Galvis with a better bat. In fact, the switch-hitter figures only to improve on his propensity for line drives and also develop more power as he physically matures.

Here’s a clip of Arauz earlier this summer hitting from the left side of the plate and offering a brief preview of his hit tool:

His debut season in 2015 while playing for the Phillies GCL affilate should be considered a success when accounting for Arauz’s age and maturity level. In 173 at-bats, the 17-year old infielder finished with 44 hits with 14 of those going for extra bases. While he clearly will have to work on generating more power (.116 ISO) and developing his hit tool, the pieces are in place for Arauz to ascend past his current 18th top prospect ranking in the Astros farm system.

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Even with Giles considered as the main piece of the recent trade from the Phillies, Arauz is nothing short of an interesting prospect worth keeping an eye on throughout the coming years. And though the Astros seem set at shortstop with Carlos Correa and second base with Jose Altuve for the long term, it never hurts to add depth to the middle infield. After all, who knows what the future may entail.

**Statistics provided by Fangraphs**