Rancho Cucamonga, California —— At the top of this post, watch our scouting video of Los Angeles Dodgers first base prospect Ibandel Isabel, taken from a late April series playing for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at home at LoanMart Field against the visiting San Jose Giants. To visit Ibandel Isabel’s player page, please click here. And please subscribe to the Baseball Census YouTube channel here for hundreds more videos like this one.
Ibandel Isabel scouting report notes
There aren’t too many guys that you can start to analyze immediately just based off their stat lines, but Los Angeles Dodgers first base prospect Ibandel Isabel is undoubtedly one of them. Ten home runs in his first 40 games with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes entering Monday is good enough to lead the California League, so it’s obvious he’s a power hitter. And yet he’s already struck out 64 times—and walked just 13 times—over 141 at-bats, a mystifying total that includes a current 1-for-31 hot streak with 19 strikeouts over his last ten games. (Yes, that one hit was a home run.)
Isabel, a 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic getting his first taste of High-A ball this season, is a feast-or-famine power hitter to the extreme. He has both incredible raw strength from the right side of the plate, and an almost unimaginable inability to make consistent contact. He reminds me a ton of another Dodgers prospect—outfielder Johan Mieses, who is now in Double-A Tulsa; both are liable to go hitless over a full week and then, when you least expect it, hit a beautiful, towering shot about 475 feet to get back on track.
When you move past the stat line and see Isabel’s big, hard swing, you start to understand exactly why he’s doing what he’s doing this summer—and even his swing mechanics are somewhat similar to Mieses.
Here is Ibandel Isabel’s dynamic, big swing connecting on a sharp single through the left side a couple weeks ago at LoanMart Field:
With a leg kick and hand movement to such a degree, especially considering his size (6’4″, 225 lbs.) he’s built for leverage and already understands the role he’s supposed to play in a lineup. He doesn’t do it often, but when he catches the ball square, Ibandel Isabel hits it hard. And when he gets it at the right launch angle, he hits it far.
If Eloy Jimenez is the exit velocity darling among prospects right now, Ibandel Isabel ought not be far behind (only in exit velocities, of course; Isabel is far off the player Jimenez is becoming across the board). Obviously, Isabel’s present strikeout rate (40%) is pretty wild and unsustainable, and the hope is that as he ages, he won’t go through stretches quite as brutal as the funk he’s in right now. He’ll need to improve his patience and balance across the board, since he’s only going to see more and more off-speed pitches and he has early shown an inability to pick up spin or hold off on lunging out at those pitches even down here in High-A.
All that can be somewhat ignored (for now) because of his unbelievable raw power and the potential therein. He’s a fringe prospect with literally one tool right now, but my goodness, it’s a loud tool. At just 21 years old and already being challenged in the Cal League, the Dodgers obviously like him enough to see what he’s made of here, and he’s still got time on his side for the next couple years as he’ll try to adjust to better and better pitching. The odds are stacked against him, he’s limited offensively and likely a one- or two-position defender at best (first base, left field), the cold funks and bad stretches will always be there, and the strikeouts are forever going to be a big part of his game—though hopefully not to the tune of forty percent of his at-bats.
But the power potential, man. If Ibandel Isabel can cut the whiffs down a little bit and refine his approach while keeping that gorgeous, powerful swing, his will be a name to know in another few years.
To visit Ibandel Isabel’s player page, please click here.
Ibandel Isabel scouting report: 140 characters or less
Exceptional raw power coupled with wildly inconsistent contact skills has Ibandel Isabel an extremely raw, feast-or-famine slugger.
Ibandel Isabel scouting report video
Here’s a look at our most recent Ibandel Isabel baseball video, taken during a late April series for the Quakes against the San Jose Giants:
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Ibandel Isabel scouting report GIFs
In addition to our video clips, we broke out some Ibandel Isabel baseball GIFs for a deeper look at his mechanics, etc.:
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In this Los Angeles Dodgers / Ibandel Isabel baseball scouting report: