Alvaro Rubalcaba Scouting Report
Cal State Northridge
Notes & Comments
Very short, punchy, line drive stroke. Good feel for contact and some ability to manipulate the barrel, but little consistent ability to hit the ball in the air with authority, especially to his pull side. High back elbow combined with high hands makes for generally downward-moving bat path, lots of ground ball contact. Orientation to go inside-out quite a bit; some modest gap power to right-center at times, but inconsistent. Perhaps a shot to be an average hitter thanks to good contact skills, pitch recognition, and short stroke; need to see him hold his own against better velocity to make a final determination.
Very little power at present and unlikely to develop significant game power in pro ball; some deceiving gap power with short, punchy stroke and quick hands. As discussed above, his (admittedly modest) power alley appears to be towards right-center field. Some doubles power potential with speed aiding, but not much to document regarding future raw/over-the-fence power potential.
Good glove man; great feel to his backhand side; soft hands that can really pick it at shortstop in all directions. Remarkably good range at the position, particularly deep up the middle, and shows good anticipation and quick first step moving on contact. Glove could prove to be a carrying tool; skeptical that Alvaro Rubalcaba can stick at shortstop due to his size (just 5’8″, 165 lbs.), but the leather is legit and should transition him well into a platoon/utility role in the infield.
Very much undersized and arm lags behind a bit; not enough velocity on throws from the hole or anywhere to his backhand side at shortstop. Lacks power behind throws to first base, too; carry is fine and accuracy is good enough, but arm strength profiles well below what’s ideal for a shortstop at the professional level. Very much expect Rubalcaba to transition to second base, or a utility infield role, at the next level.
Recorded four times between 4.28 and 4.34 from home to first; also timed once at 8.01 from home to second base. Slightly below average/fringe-average foot speed with good lateral quickness defensively and strong first step quickness/anticipation both in the field and on the base paths. Will steal a handful of bases in pro ball thanks to foot speed and some anticipation, but unlikely to be too major a part of his game.
Far and away the best infield defender on a decent Cal State Northridge squad, so he’s playing shortstop for the Matadors, but if Alvaro Rubalcaba is to play beyond this level it’ll be as a second baseman/utility man in the pro game. Lacks size and arm to play shortstop on an everyday basis in the minors; nevertheless, could still carve out a nice niche as a utility man with some projectionable tools — particularly his glove — that could develop well in the pro game. Appears to be a natural defensive leader/captain for this Matadors squad; takes charge in the infield and on mound conferences to direct teammates.
Decent 2018 MLB Draft candidate as a senior-sign, or perhaps as an undrafted amateur free agent after the MLB Draft takes place in June. No leverage here to negotiate with an organization and thus figures to be a low-priority, late-round pick because of his size and ultimate projection, but there’s enough in Rubalcaba’s game for a scout to turn him in as a solid organizational depth option with a future ceiling on the fringes of a 25-man roster.
OFP (40 FV)
With his size and tool projections as they are, I can’t imagine Alvaro Rubalcaba as much more than a bench/utility infield option on a 25-man roster at ceiling, with a likely floor as organizational depth. Rubalcaba will be old relative to level once he enters pro ball, too, and so he must move quickly if he’s to provide realistic big league value one day. Deck is stacked against him on the big league side, but Rubalcaba is a solid infielder who would do well to carve out a few years as organizational depth after this solid two-year stint at Cal State Northridge. MLB ETA: 2021.
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