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A 6’0″, 180-lb. sophomore from Saugus High School in Saugus, California, shortstop Rudy Aguilar enters his second year at Ventura College in the fall of 2017 fresh off being the club’s best defensive infielder and starting the bulk of games at short last spring. He appeared in 37 games and got 156 at-bats for the Pirates in 2017, where Aguilar hit .282/.356/.321/.677 with six doubles, four stolen bases, 12 walks and 21 strikeouts. He also led the team in assists defensively and fielded at a .940 clip across his freshman season.

Along the way, Aguilar quickly proved himself an adept defender at shortstop, and while he may not stay there long-term, he’s got the chops to set himself apart right now and make himself a potential MLB Draft candidate, either out of Ventura College after the spring of 2018, or after his four-year school transition beyond that. (Aguilar is being recruited by several NCAA Division I four-year programs.) Below, we’ve got a full Rudy Aguilar scouting report from our extensive looks throughout 2017, with projection notes, game video, and everything else you need to know about the Ventura College infield prospect.

Rudy Aguilar, Ventura College — 2017 Scouting Report

Dates observed in 2017: March 11; March 16; April 4; April 11; April 16; October 6

Hit (40)
Open stance, tall to start and through swing. High hands, and a very high back elbow. Has some ability for leverage in stride and swing mechanics, with good thick base on strong lower half, but hasn’t translated to significant power yet. Very aggressive hitter; loves to hack first pitch and will need to adjust off that in professional game. Average bat speed. Average hand-eye coordination. Modest ability to manipulate the barrel. General pull approach but not tied to it; can go to right center when he’s pitched that way — full plate coverage, but with some work to do on going the opposite way with authority. High hands and back elbow will tie him up across upper half of the zone against better velocity. Good understanding of his strike zone, and what he can and can’t handle at the plate.

Power (35)
Physical hitter with some leverage from his open stance and tall set. Average bat speed. Power zones are down; easy extension in hitting low pitches. Virtually any/all power to his pull side right now. Hasn’t yet translated to over-the-fence power, though he does play on a notoriously big home field. Unlikely to ever be much of a power threat; value tied into defensive ability, though he may leverage strong lower half into modest pop.

Glove (55)
Soft hands with a good feel for his forehand and backhand side, and an especially talented ability to run in on choppers and dribblers. Good hand-eye coordination and tracks the ball off the bat extremely well; quick reactions and ability to adjust to late/bad hops. Good concentration and spatial awareness on defense; will take charge across infield. Fundamentally sound, but plays better when free — above-average athlete at short and does well to let it hang out. By far, best defensive infielder I sat on in my (admittedly limited) couple-dozen game junior college schedule in the spring.

Arm (45)
Good for this level, slightly below-average on pro grading scale. Figures to stick at shortstop for wherever his college career may take him because of his above-average glove work, but likely a utility man or a candidate to move off elsewhere in the infield in the pro game. Good carry on throws but lacking above-average velocity. Enough arm strength and accuracy to throw extremely well on the run, especially when going over the middle or coming in on a ball. Not as much behind throws from deep in the hole; to that end, likely a good second base candidate in pro ball.

Speed (45)
Had him 4.33 - 4.39 to first base out of RHH box this spring. Improved athleticism in my fall look; may well be a step quicker now. Not burner speed, but enough to get it done on defense. Smart baserunner still learning the nuances of reading pitchers. Unlikely for plus stolen base ability in pro game, but more than enough speed and lateral quickness to thrive across infield.  

Hard worker; looked good defensively this spring, and came out last week and was even better. In springtime, spoke to a rival coach who called him the best defensive infielder in the Western State Conference. Former Ventura College assistant head coach Steven Hardesty, now with Santa Barbara City College, has marveled at how hard Aguilar worked on his defensive game behind the scenes last year. Makeup and attitude both check all the right boxes. Very good athlete who likes to play the game, likes to be on the field. Carries himself like a pro ballplayer; quiet confidence and some intensity. Leadership potential, especially as language/cultural a bridge in low minors between American players and Latin American guys. Depends on his spring season, of course, but I’d likely recommend Rudy Aguilar for the MLB Draft in June.

Rudy Aguilar Scouting Report, Ventura College — 2017 Game Video

Rudy Aguilar Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis

A defense-first middle infielder who has the glove to play professional baseball one day, Rudy Aguilar has improved steadily since I first saw him early in the spring. Now in his sophomore year at Ventura College, he’s looking at some NCAA Division I offers and weighing a legitimate four-year future beyond this season; if his bat continues to develop and the glove shows out like it has already, he may be a legitimate MLB Draft candidate in nine months, too. I spoke to new Ventura head coach Jimmy Walker for a long time about Aguilar at one of the Pirates’ workouts last week; the story, broadly, goes that Aguilar worked incredibly hard to focus on fielding fundamentals in his first year. Now that he’s more experienced, Walker wants to turn him loose in the infield, and let Aguilar play into his athleticism. That’s a good plan — and a good way for an above-average middle infielder to show out for pro organizations.

There’s still some work to do here with the bat, and he’ll likely always be a below-average professional hitter, but he’s got a good body and frame that might help him there. Besides Rudy Aguilar will quickly find his glove to be his carrying tool, and improved defensive acumen will give him a shot to play the pro game whether next summer, or after his four-year stop.

Rudy Aguilar Scouting Report — Future Projection

There’s a long way to go through Aguilar’s spring season, but he’ll get a look from some organizations this spring. Long term, I believe he’ll be moved off shortstop in pro ball as his arm strength is more conducive to second base, or perhaps third base (and most likely, a utility infielder role), but his glove is true and he can really pick it at short. Assuming a similar development path to what he’s done over the past ten months, I’d be comfortable recommending Aguilar for a late-round (25-40) draft selection come June. He’ll have a Division I future and enough leverage to maybe push that depending on how strong a season he has for Ventura College in 2018. Ultimately, he may be better served to go to a four-year school and continue his development out of there, to be drafted in 2019 or 2020. Whenever it happens, Rudy Aguilar has a legitimate shot to play professional baseball as an above-average defender in the middle infield with a long-term chance to make his way forward as a glove-first utility-man.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Bench/up-and-down middle infielder; defense-first backup (40)

MLB ETA: 2023


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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census, the author of We Is Blaze, (obviously) a fan of minor league baseball, and an unlikely expert on the animated classic TV show King Of The Hill. For more on Bobby and the personal, human side of this site, follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @BobbyDeMuro.

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