Switch-hitter prospect Luis Alexander Basabe shows potential to be an asset, but his contact numbers, along with injuries, could delay his White Sox debut.
Continuing the Prospect Profiles series leads to our next prospect: Luis Alexander Basabe.
Basabe was signed by the Red Sox back in 2012 as a 16-year-old along with his twin brother Luis Alejandro Basabe. Shortly after Alejandro Basabe was dealt to the Diamondbacks, Alexander Basabe was dealt to the White Sox in the trade that sent Chris Sale to Boston.
Basabe has not seen good fortune apart of the White Sox organization as his first season with the team he endured a torn meniscus in his left knee. He struggled hitting with a slash of .221/.320/.320 with High-A Winston-Salem in 2017. A silver lining, however, could be found in his on-base percentage of .320. Paired with a batting average of .221, his OBP does not seem to be a concern. He walked 49 times but struck out 104 times. He did swipe 17 bases, but it is safe to say his first year in the organization was not spectacular.
His 2018 seemed to be showing a turnaround. He was still striking out too much, 140 times in 199 games with both Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. But he was getting on base, similar to his 2017 season. He recorded 64 walks and a .354 OBP. He was able to bump his batting average to .258, which is not great, but the improvement was a step in the right direction.
An unexpected surprise was his power numbers as he hit 15 home runs, compared to his five in 2017. He was also able to drive in 56 runs in 119 games, 20 more than his 107-game-2017. His sneaky power was displayed when he took Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds top prospect, to center field in the 2018 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
Unfortunately, he will begin his 2019 sometime in mid-May as he suffered a broken bone in his left hand this Spring Training.
Despite the low batting averages, Basabe was never really sought after for his bat. His plus speed, incredible defense, cannon of an arm and switch-handedness gives him the potential to be a five-tool player.
In his six seasons in the minor leagues, both Red Sox and White Sox, he has recorded 106 stolen bases and has only been caught 38 times. In 61 games with Double-A Birmingham in 2018, he swiped nine bases while only being caught four times.
He recorded only four errors in 2018 over a span of 113 games (17 in left field, 26 in right field and 70 in center field). He recorded eight assists from the outfield with a .985 fielding percentage.
For most prospects, defense seems to be the last piece to perfect before getting the call up to the Majors. Lucky for Basabe, he has an advantage in that part. Despite this, he is not expected in the Majors until at least 2020. Possibly 2021 if his broken hand sets him back a bit.
Basabe’s sneaky power gives him the potential to be a 20 home run-20 stolen base player, which is quite impressive. His versatility in the outfield, being able to play all three positions, gives him a better chance at locking down a starting job 2021 and beyond considering the stacked young talent the White Sox have in the outfield.