Tigers Prospect Profile #37: Franklin Navarro

Navarro came stateside for Fall Ball

Franklin Navarro wasn't much of a known commodity coming into 2012, after being a late sign in 2011. Despite that, Navarro quickly established himself as one of the top young catchers in the system, with an impressive debut year. What's the book on Navarro?

Franklin Navarro
Position: Catcher
Height: 5-10
Weight: 180
Born: 10/17/1994
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent, 2011
Ranking History: No Previous Ranking

Background
The Tigers signed Navarro late in 2011 and he debuted with the VSL Tigers last summer. He succeeded immediately, playing 62 games and showing a strong bat with a .315/.360/.452 line. The then 17-year old Navarro popped 19 doubles and four home runs while driving in 33 runs.

The Tigers, recognizing Navarro's talent, brought him stateside for the Fall Instructional League and were impressed with his progress in a short amount of time.

Scouting Report
Navarro has plenty of tools behind the plate and at it, allowing for easy projection and plenty of excitement surrounding his overall profile. He has an average body that fits the prototypical catcher's mold and he is a decent athlete.

Though Navarro is a switch hitter, he is much more fluid from the left side. At present, he lacks the ability to control the barrel of the bat, often swinging wildly and fouling off pitches he could drive. The head of his bat moves a lot during his load/trigger and that exacerbates the problems he has controlling the barrel. Despite these concerns, Navarro has projection for good hit tool utility. He shows some ability to make contact and could be an above-average to plus hitter if all his tools pull through.

It's hard to project a ton of power in Navarro's game right now, but with strength, he could show good gap power and enough juice for 10-15 home runs annually. Navarro's game power is a long way off and may be a late addition to his overall profile.

Behind the dish Navarro needs some work as well. He showed some pop times in the 2.03-2.07 range during Instructs but they were inconsistent and infrequent. He has an above-average arm with projection for a plus arm with physical maturation.

When I saw Navarro, he showed some solid receiving ability but reports from Venezuela weren't always as glowing. He made improvements in this area during Instructs but still needs work to become a better overall receiver and game caller. His catch-and-throw skills show some potential, but his footwork was often sloppy and he needs repetition to improve.

Overall, Navarro is a huge project, but a project that is worth the time and effort because of the potential payoff. If the offensive and defensive tools come together, he could be a first-division player behind the plate.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

R

VSL Tigers

241

.315

19

4

33

51

16

.360

.452


Health Record
Navarro's career is brief but he has had no major injury issues so far.

Projection
Navarro needs a lot of time to develop and should spend the entire 2013 season in the complex leagues; likely in the Gulf Coast League after the Tigers presumably bring him Stateside for spring training.

With considerable grade jumps necessary on both sides of the ball, it becomes difficult to visualize what Navarro can become. He has the raw ingredients to become an impact big leaguer, but the reality of that projection will likely take several years to even begin to manifest, putting his potential MLB arrival quite a few years out.

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