Kelvin Gutierrez 3B Potomac Nationals
Future Grades Hit (45) / Power (40) / Speed (45) / Arm (60) / Defense (55)
Signed as an international free agent in 2013 for $30,000, Gutierrez was originally a shortstop before he outgrew the position and shifted to the hot corner. A right-handed hitter and thrower, the 23-year-old Gutierrez (born August 1994) owns a lean 6-3 185lbs frame with the potential to add significant muscle mass in the future. Gutierrez is an intriguing athlete with fringe-average speed, consistently clocking 4.33-4.36 second times home to first.
Defensively Gutierrez is quite impressive at third base, flashing soft hands, quality first-step quickness, along with an above-average to plus arm. Interestingly, I have seen him make a handful of outstanding plays, yet he will occasionally struggle on the routine one and commit an error. The primary cause is he will get lethargic with his footwork, which will cause an erratic, errant throw. However, this should correct itself with additional game experience and maturation. Gutierrez profiles as a future, above-average defender at the hot corner.
At the plate the right-handed hitting Gutierrez possesses noticeable bat speed in a rather lengthy swing. He shows a natural ability to put the bat on the ball and flashes raw power in batting practice that has yet to translate to game action. There is natural loft and leverage in his swing path however, so one can envision him developing more power in the future. I have noticed some balance issues during his swing and worry he is susceptible to spin low-and-away, which causes him some swing-and-miss. While he needs repetitions and refinement, Gutierrez has a chance to become a fringe-average hitter with some below-average raw power.
Gutierrez is yet another example of the job the Nationals’ Latin American staff have done uncovering promising, slightly older, talents for relatively smaller signing bonuses. He possesses one plus tool, his arm, but there is a chance he develops five fringe-average or better tools. Although his power will be light for the hot corner, Gutierrez has a ceiling of a below-average starting third baseman, with the likely outcome being a quality Triple-A player or bench contributor.