Chris Rabago Scouting Report, Colorado Rockies — January, 2018

colorado rockies baseball prospects
Full Name: Christopher Daniel Rabago
DOB: April 22, 1993 (24)
Birthplace: Riverside, CA
School: UC Irvine
Acquired: 13th Round, 2014 MLB Draft
Height, Weight: 5’11”, 185 lbs.
Position: Catcher
Bats/Throws: R/R
Dates Observed: 2017: April 10-12; May 24-25; June 12-14; September 6-7; September 12-15
Affiliate(s): Lancaster JetHawks (High-A, Colorado Rockies)
Previous Reports: None


Tool (PV/FV)
Notes & Comments
Hit (45/50)
Well balanced hitter at the plate with efficient bat path; unremarkable stride with insignificant weight transfer or leg kick for leverage. Nevertheless, good bat plane and feel for hitting the ball in the air — just not enough raw power to consistently produce extra bases, even in hitter-friendly environment like Lancaster. Patient hitter who has thus far focused more on contact than power; will work deep counts. Thrives as a small ball/situational hitter putting the ball in play to team ends. Profiles well as bottom-of-the-order bat who could help team in backup/platoon role with at-bats once or twice a week and situational approach.

Power (25/35)
Extremely little power, both raw and game, even in hitter-friendly Lancaster, and even with swing plane that can produce some contact in the air. Below-average bat speed with no real leverage through his stance and stride; more or less average raw physical strength, but lacks a projectable body or standout tools that would suggest he’ll produce power later in his career. Orientation towards being a contact hitter pulls him away from power, as well; can get reactionary with emergency swings at times just to put ball in play; probably gets away from his A-swing too often in bid for contact, especially if he becomes anything more than a backup option.

Glove (45/55)
Sure-handed defender behind the plate; converted from a middle infielder after starting 46 games at shortstop in short-season ball in 2014. Already seems like a natural behind the plate now three years later; good feel for framing and receiving, along with consistent mechanics to block the ball, too. Average to slightly below average arm (more below), but far from a liability in running game with quick release and good anticipation/situational awareness. For me, real shot here to be an above-average defensive catcher thanks, in part, to good sense of the field around him and natural leadership skills behind the plate; seems to be thriving in position conversion as he moves up.

Arm (45/50)
Registered second base pop times 2.07 – 2.15 over the summer with Lancaster. Slightly below average arm strength that lacks velocity and carry on his throws, but good accuracy along with mechanics that are made for a very quick release; harkens back to his days as a middle infielder and should serve him well as he rises.

Speed (50/55)
Times to first base clustered at and under 4.3 during the 2017 season. Decent speed, especially for a catcher, that is aided considerably by phenomenal instincts and anticipation on the base paths. At two separate times over the summer, two Lancaster teammates independently told me Chris Rabago was the team’s best baserunner; moves well with quick first step and efficient running mechanics; a bit slower out of the box than on the bases. Story here is on how he reads balls off the bat and situations on the bases, though; to that end, bumped his tool grade to above average with some projection to grow into sneaky-good runner.

Notes
Somewhat undersized and physically not as thick or strong as is ideal for an everyday catcher; that said, no real indication yet that his body has worn down over last two seasons catching 166 total games. Very, very calm demeanor with poise and maturity behind the plate; tough to get a read on his emotions with slow heartbeat and lack of visible frustration and anger; leads and directs teammates by example more than voice/presence. One of those players that is more or less solid all around; doesn’t stand out in one area of his game but workable and competitive across the board with fairly low risk and a good chance at reaching big league floor.

OFP (50 FV)
Average everyday starting big league catcher at ceiling; athleticism and versatility make a solid backup/platoon role more likely in the future, with a solid floor that should produce some degree of big league value. Aided immensely by overall athleticism and defensive prowess somewhat unique to position; Chris Rabago isn’t a frontline prospect or can’t-miss pick entering 2018, but he is a sleeper who’s better than most people realize. He’s a natural leader with a solid all-around game and a shot to make a big league impact in 2019 assuming realistic adjustment to upper minors at Double-A Hartford to begin 2018. Added to the 40-man roster this winter ahead of publicly-well-regarded catching prospect Dom Nunez; even with relative public anonymity, it doesn’t seem like the Colorado Rockies undervalue Chris Rabago. MLB ETA: 2019.

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