Modesto, California —— Entering play on Thursday night, Seattle Mariners second base prospect Gianfranco Wawoe is slashing .276/.314/.368/.682 over 75 games in 2017, split between the High-A Modesto Nuts and the Double-A Texas League‘s Arkansas Travelers, with 16 doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 17 walks against just 40 strikeouts in 304 at-bats. I’ve observed the 22-year-old from Curacao dozens of times over the past two seasons; below is Baseball Census‘ full Gianfranco Wawoe scouting report, including several videos.
In addition to this scouting report, we’ve also just published a feature interview with Seattle Mariners second base prospect Gianfranco Wawoe. To read that interview, please click here.
Gianfranco Wawoe Scouting Report — Video
Our first video of Seattle Mariners second base prospect Gianfranco Wawoe comes from a May 4-7, 2017 series the Modesto Nuts played at home against the Lake Elsinore Storm, seen here:
Our second Gianfranco Wawoe video comes from a June 16, 2017 game the Seattle Mariners prospect played on the road down in San Bernardino:
And our final Gianfranco Wawoe video comes from his time spent in the Cal League a year ago, in 2016:
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Gianfranco Wawoe Scouting Report — Notes
The mechanical changes Gianfranco Wawoe has talked about—him standing taller at the plate—have proven a benefit in being able to leverage above-average bat speed into gap-to-gap line drives, and because of that, I like his offensive profile much more this year than I did a season ago in Bakersfield. He’s still incredibly aggressive at the plate, though (watch our May 4-7, 2017 video of him above to see just how many times he swings over 14 at-bats!). That aggressiveness is eventually going to burn him because his contact skills aren’t so far above average so as not to struggle against better pitching in the upper minors. He can also get tied up swinging at inside pitches due to some bat wrap up over his head at the beginning of his swing mechanics, and I think any opponent is probably wise to bust him hard and in on the hands right now. All that said, the taller stance helps his natural bat path and he’s finding it easier to get the barrel on the ball this season because of it, making him a more dynamic offensive threat than he was a year ago.
Defensively, Wawoe has always been a bit of a project at second base, and I don’t see him sticking there in any significant capacity down the road. He may be able to function as a super sub across the infield and outfield corners, but an everyday gig at second base is not going to be in the cards, for his glove is far too inconsistent right now for that role. Left field should be a good fit for him, and perhaps even center field to take advantage of some of his athleticism and decent speed, although the Seattle Mariners appear to have center field set with one of Wawoe’s teammates right now in Modesto. Regardless, if Wawoe proves he can hit for average with modest gap-to-gap power, which may yet happen in the upper minors, the Seattle Mariners will find a place for him to play.
Gianfranco Wawoe Scouting Report — Projection
I think Gianfranco Wawoe’s likeliest path forward is that of a super sub who can play across the diamond. His glove work isn’t consistent enough for an everyday infield role, and even with his improved swing this year, I don’t ultimately believe he will hit enough to carve out an everyday role in left field either. His aggressiveness at the plate is concerning for this level, and makes me wonder about how he’ll adjust to the Texas League and the Pacific Coast League, let alone The Show. But when you add all those things together and ride him out as a bench guy who can fill in here and there, maybe he’ll get a shot.
His top-30 prospect ranking is as much an indictment of the Seattle Mariners’ thin organizational depth as it is his good season in Bakersfield in 2016. Because of that, I’m skeptical about how much of a prospect Gianfranco Wawoe really may be. He’s athletic and versatile, though, and he snuck up on me once with a good season a year ago in Bakersfield, so perhaps there’s yet more in the tank for him to turn into a legitimate big league future. If that’s the case, then good on him—he’s a very nice, soft-spoken, and personable kid who deserves the success.