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Juan Portes Profile

Juan Portes is a thirdbaseman in the Twins organization who finished the 2006 season with a .231/.278/.310 line in the Midwest League. Normally that means that you can write him off as a non-prospect. That may or may not be appropriate in this instance.

If one is going to build a scenario where a player remains a prospect after such a disastrous season, Portes has most of the elements that you're going to look for. He's still reasonably young at 20 years old. He missed part of the season due to injury. He was moving from second to third after being drafted as a shortstop. He had better road numbers than home numbers, though neither was something you want to hang your hat on. He also gets good marks from scouts for his athleticism and was rated as a high ceiling talent when he was drafted. He also put up good numbers in 2005 in the Appalachian League. Lastly, he's even more raw than most 20 year olds due to limited playing time in high school.

The last part may end up being a negative rather than a positive. Portes didn't play much in high school and grew up mostly in the Dominican Republic. He dropped out of high school and got his G.E.D. then spent his time preparing for the draft. I wonder if he lost a year of development time there. And I also wonder about makeup issues. That also might go a long way towards explaining why he fell all the way to the 15th round despite admiration from scouts for his tools.

Here's his career up to this point.

THUD!!

Every ratio collapsed. Everything that he was doing right all of a sudden turned very, very wrong. I'm willing to give him a mulligan provided he bounces at least most of the way back to where he was before. His injury was a broken finger, which I could see causing problems even after he returned. On the other hand he was struggling even before the hand injury. It's also possible that he was just way over his head in full season ball and he needed a consolidation season.

Anyways, it's hard to say that anybody's age 21 season is a make-or-break kind of situation, but 2007 will go a long, long ways towards figuring out whether Portes is a rookie league fluke who washed out against competent pitchers or if it was a bump in the road on the way to a Major League gig. Coming back from such a disaster of a season to reclaim a player's prospect status isn't to be expected. The chances are better against than for. But this is a black mark on his record, not a reason to write him off completely.