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SoxProspects News

February 28, 2011 at 7:44 AM

2011 Prospect Previews: Jose Vinicio and Kendrick Perkins

Today's installment of the series takes an in-depth look at two of the younger, higher ceiling prospects within the lower ranks of the Red Sox system looking to continue honing their skills in 2011.

Jose Vinicio
Position: Shortstop
2010 Team: Gulf Coast Red Sox
2011 Projected Team: Gulf Coast Red Sox/Lowell Spinners
Opening Day Age: 17

Strengths: An energetic and enthusiastic player, Vinicio flashes outstanding defensive tools and shows the makings of a future above-average defender in the middle infield. Possessing excellent instincts and innate anticipation, he covers tremendous ground to either side, while getting good reads initially off the bat to put himself in the proper position to make plays. Featuring soft hands, Vinicio fronts balls well at an early age and has good reactions to adjust to the ball’s path when making plays. He shows a solid-average arm when throwing across the diamond, with the potential to gain more arm strength as he continues to physically mature. A switch hitter, Vinicio displays a quick and compact stroke when attacking pitches. He brings the head of the bat fluidly through the strike zone with solid batspeed and can generate some gap power presently. Despite being well ahead of the curve in terms of age, he’s shown a level of comfort against older competition and has adjusted well against higher velocity fastballs, able to turn many of them around. With continued instruction and practice, Vinicio can hone his base stealing skills as he rises up the ranks allowing him to use his plus speed to his advantage once reaching base.

Development Needs: Much of Vinicio’s future offensive projection lies in how much he fills out down the line. With a smaller frame, it doesn’t look like there is potential for huge physical gains, but some added strength is necessary to improve his ability to drive pitches into gaps with authority. He most likely profiles for below-average power down the line, with his game centered on high contact rates. Still very raw with his approach and selectivity, Vinicio’s near-term development should focus on improving his discipline and working to bring a more concentrated plan to the plate. Right now, he tends to swing at most offerings close to the plate and expands his strike zone too much, causing him to chase off-speed pitches or make weak contact on fastballs in tough locations. The type of strides he starts to make offensively over the course of the next few seasons will be a good clue as to whether he is going to be able to project as an everyday player once reaching the upper minors. A natural in the field, Vinicio is still learning how to slow the game down defensively and not needlessly rush on plays he has plenty of time to make. As is common with young players, he can get himself off-balance and try to do too much, which leads to wild throws or errors on routine plays.

2011 Outlook: After making his debut in the United States last season in the Gulf Coast League, and showing that he can hold his own against the older competition, Vinicio will push for an assignment with the Lowell Spinners once their season gets underway. Due to infield numbers and the need for him to play every day, there is a chance he stays back in Florida in the Gulf Coast League, but this will sort itself out as the season gets going. Regardless of where he is placed, Vinicio will look to continue to hone his offensive game and work on developing a more consistent approach at the plate. Signs of this starting to improve will show with a rise in the amount of walks he draws and more instances of consistent contact in at-bats. Although gains in the physical area are a few years away, Vinicio should pile up some extra-base hits due to his plus speed and ability to hit fastballs into the gaps. Just starting out his career and raw in various aspects of the game, slow and steady progress is what to look for out of him during these early development stages. 2011 is another season of instruction and continued learning to put those practices into game action. An exciting talent, by season’s end Vinicio should show that he is trending towards the full-season ranks and ready to take the next step, in the process giving followers a glimpse of what he can potentially become in future seasons.

Kendrick Perkins
Position: Outfield
2010 Team: Gulf Coast Red Sox
2011 Projected Team: Gulf Coast Red Sox
Opening Day Age: 19

Strengths: Perkins was selected in the 6th Round of the 2010 Draft and is another of the two-sport athletes that the Red Sox organization has targeted in recent years. He brings an offensive package that has the chance to center around plus power as he develops his offensive game. Unleashing his swing from the left side of the plate, he already generates good lift and extension as he brings the bat to the point of contact, capable of driving the ball a long way with backspin when he squares pitches up. Well filled-out and physically developed, Perkins has the potential to show solid power numbers in his early career as he begins to learn the strike zone and develop his approach. A good athlete, he’s fluid and smooth with his actions, showing around solid-average speed once he gets going and a plus arm out in the outfield. Projecting as a corner outfielder, he has the type of arm that can play up nicely in right field if he can make strides with how he tracks and judges balls hit his way. Now able to fully concentrate on baseball after splitting time between football and baseball in high school, Perkins has the ability to make quick gains against the learning curve. He has the type of offensive package to profile as an impact power hitter as his skills begin to mature.

Development Needs: In the early stages of developing his approach and coming up to speed against professional pitching, Perkins has a lot of work to do in order to become a complete hitter. One of the first steps for him is improving on his selectivity and how he handles off-speed offerings. Without much sense for his strike zone presently, he chases a lot of balls and is hesitant on pitches with break to them. Perkins also needs some work with keeping his weight back, which shows in an over-commitment of his hands and hitting out in front of his body. In order for his power to show consistently in games, he will first need to master making strong contact and focus on hitting the ball up the middle. Resisting the urge to try to pull everything will help him react more naturally to balls being thrown at him. Perkins has the potential to have good power to all fields and improvement on how he hits inside the baseball should allow him to develop a sweet spot of power into the left-centerfield gap. An overall raw player with work ahead of him in the coming seasons, Perkins may experience a longer adjustment period closing the gap between himself and the opposing pitching he will see.

2011 Outlook: Making a brief appearance in the Gulf Coast League at the tail end of 2010, Perkins is a likely candidate to stay back in Extended Spring Training before assessing where he is for a placement in 2011. The instruction and close attention he is slated to see will be a good chance for him to concentrate on his needs and slowly begin to develop the necessary approach to graduate into the full-season leagues next season. Once Perkins gets going in game action, signs to look for over the course of the season that his work is starting to trend towards positive results down the line include more consistent contact rates and reducing strikeout rates. A rise in the amount of balls he hits the other way is a good clue that he’s becoming more relaxed at the plate and not just looking to pull the ball. Brand new to the Red Sox system and professional baseball, Perkins is all about projection and potential at the moment. The next couple of seasons will focus on honing his raw skills, with an eye on showing that he’s making progress towards reaching his projections. While 2011 shouldn’t be expected as a season with a stat line that jumps off the page, flashes of things to come can show through with steady work on improving the initial development goals and push Perkins closer to being ready for an assignment in full-season baseball to start next season.