After taking a look at writers here at the rankings a few of the PTP Crew put up last week for Kansas City Royals prospects it gave me the idea of comparing the two guys that I am fortunate to see on a regular basis.
Cheslor Cuthbert was an international signing Bonus baby in 2009 signing out of the Corn Islands for $1.35 million dollars. Cheslor had a fantastic 2011 season in Kane County leading scouts to believe he could be a plus hitter while also developing plus power. Defensively he showed the arm for third and Â most believed he would have enough range to man the hot corner. Overall despite a tough finish to the ’11 season he received very high praise and came into the 2012 season as the 84th overall and 5th best prospect in the Royals system by Baseball America. Cheslor was also ranked 83rd overall and 4th in the Royals system by Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.
Orlando Calixte like Cheslor was signed in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic . Calixte had â€œidentity issuesâ€ which did not allow him to play affiliated baseball until 2010. Calixte had shown excellent bat speed, a strong-arm with average running speed. Â The one aspect of Orlando’s game that was a bit off was his plate approach which needed plenty of refinement to unleash his solid tools at the plate.
Prior to the All Star break 2012
Cheslor Cuthbert started the season at Class Hi A Wilmington. Wilmington plays in the daunting Carolina League where pitchers usually feast and hitters struggle. The problem is that is exactly what happened to Kansas Cityâ€™s prized 19-year-old Corn Islander. Cuthbert batted .226/.297/.308 with only 3 HRâ€™s before the all-star break. In the field he showed minimal range, but always relied on his cannon of an arm which grades out as a 60. Mentally Cuthbert struggled with the fact that he wasnâ€™t dominating anymore. A member of the Royals front office who covers the international players said, â€œHeâ€™s a player struggling with the fact that heâ€™s not the best right now.â€ He had to be benched because of his lack of #want while running outÂ ground balls. Another red flag was that he would take his bad at bats out into the field and his effort getting to balls at third base was questionable at best.
Orlando Calixte started off 2012 playing in the Midwest League for the Kane County Cougars at the age of 20. Calixte plays short stop, and really likes to hit. He batted .241/.303/.465 with 10 HRâ€™s. Calixte struck out 44 times in 228 ABs(19.2%) and only stole 2 bases while being thrown out 5 times.
Post All Star Break 2012
Cheslor Cuthbert has batted .246/.294/.330 while popping 4 HR. Recently the organization has made someÂ changes with Cuthbertâ€™s swing. He has gotten rid of the leg kick and has quieted his load substantially. This has increased the amount of balls that he is able to square up. I have also noticed that Cuthbert is being much more aggressive early in the count. In the field he has improved his angles on balls and is getting to as much as he can at third base.
Orlando Calixte has batted .279/.323/.397 with 2 HR. In 204 ABs Calixte has struck out 51 times(25%). Calixte is a free swinger; he enjoys swinging at all types of pitches as hard as he possibly can. I enjoy that about him because I believe with proper coaching and development that part of his game will improve. Calixteâ€™s bat speed is of the Major League variety. In the field he has the arm to stay on the left side of the diamond, but his range may not be enough to stick at short stop.
Mental part of the game
Cheslor Cuthbert is a prospect who got a lot of money at a young age. He had success at the lower minors, and came to Wilmington and fell on his face. Does that mean he was reading his press clippings before the year? I have heard that he came into the 2012 season in incredible shape, and looked amazing in Spring Training. However, that did not transfer to the regular season for Cuthbert. Cheslor approaches the game with a â€œcarefreeâ€ mentality. I could see this rubbing people the wrong way because he may be doing what he feels is the best, but people might think his #want is lacking.
Orlando Calixte is also a prospect who got a lot of money at a young age. During his International Free Agency period it was unknown who Orlando Calixte even was. His identity possibly Paul Carlixte or Orlando Caxito which is never something any team wants to have to deal with. As a player Calixte has been known to shut it down awful early while running out ground balls. Calixte wonâ€™t ever be confused with a dirtbag type player, and any time he can show a little flash he doesnâ€™t shy away from doing so.
Cheslor Cuthbert is a prospect who has been interesting since stepping foot in Wilmington. He came into the year with super high praise from most of the prospect community. The Carolina League as a whole isnâ€™t conducive to 19 year hitting prospects. The problem for me is that Cheslorâ€™s approach hasnâ€™t been bad. He is able to understand breaking balls, and has only struck out 71 times in 459 plate appearances (15.4%). Cheslor has walked 35 times in 459 plate appearances (7.6%). Cuthbert has an isolated power of .083 this season which is not what you want out of your 3rd base prospect. The problem for me is what do you dream on? Scouts that I have spoken with currently grade his power at a 40 with some saying he could squeak out a 45 grade on best case scenario. Cuthbertâ€™s hit tool has improved with the new line drive/solid contact approach and grades around a 55. Defensively Cuthbert will have enough range to be fine at 3rd, and will have a plus arm. Those numbers make me think that Cuthbert will make the big leagues but he wonâ€™t ever be a factor. An offensive comp I have gotten on Cuthbert is a slow Martin Prado.
Orlando Calixte is a short stop prospect and has been bold since he stepped foot on the grounds in the Carolina League. Whether he is joking around with his teammates during batting practice or flashing the smile after making a nice play in the field anything Calixte does it is bold. Itâ€™s also no secret that Iâ€™ve been the one driving the Calixte bandwagon. He gives me a violent swing with great bat speed, and a horrible approach. Calixte is not advanced in recognizing pitches, but has improved since starting at Wilmington. â€œHe impacts the ball, and great bat speedâ€ I was told by a NL scout. â€œA player like Calixte, you can see flashes of greatnessâ€ the same scout told me. He will always have some swing and miss in his game but the power could come. He could be a guy in his peak season bats .250 but hits 25-30 HR. At 20 heâ€™s still very wiry, and has not yet developed his â€œman musclesâ€. I question his ability to stick at short stop, which automatically makes me think heâ€™s a 3B or RF. Heâ€™s not going to be a force on the basepathâ€™s where heâ€™s a 50 runner now, and will only regress with added size. Calixte is a prospect who you can dream on a little bit. He can refine his pitch selection which will improve his average/ on-base percentage, and he can add strength which will give him a little bit more punch at the plate. If things all went correctly he could be a real difference maker in a big league lineup.
In conclusion, it comes down to what you like in a prospect. Do you want a guy who will most likely be a major league playerÂ but never a 1st division regular? Or, Do you want a guy who might never refine his pitch selection but boy if he does he could easily be a force in a lineup? Iâ€™ll take the guy with the higher ceiling 7 days a week and twice on Sundays. Thatâ€™s my argument for Orlando Calixte if youâ€™d like to debate, comment, post a thread on the forum or send a line to me on twitter @ZachmortPTP .