In George We Trust
A(nother) blog about the most storied franchise in sports
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Prospect Profile: Jose Tabata
Name: Jose Tabata
Position: CF/OF
Vitals: 5'11", 175 lbs
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Born: August 12, 1988
Hometown: Anzoategui, Venezuela
Signed: Spring 2005 out of Venezuela. Received a $500,000 bonus.

Background: Tabata joins the likes of Marcos Vechionacci, Irwill Rojas, and Luis Nunez as prospects the Yankees have signed in recent years out of baseball's newest talent hotbed, Venezuela. However, unlike those players, Tabata headed straight to the U.S. to begin his pro career as the Yankees felt he was mature enough to forego a stint in the Dominican Summer League. The only player younger than him in the Gulf Coast League last year was the Braves' Elvis Andrus, who is only 14 days younger than Tabata.

Strengths: Tabata is a legitimate five tool talent. His arm is often compared to Vladimir Guerrero's, and his athleticism may be unmatched in the organization, including the major league level. He's a high percentage basestealer thanks to his blazing speed (he led the Gulf Coast league with 22 SBs in only 44 games). He's a natural centerfielder, where his speed allows him to effortlessly track down balls from gap to gap, although he manned left field effectively last year in deference to Austin Jackson. For such a young player, Tabata has an excellent grasp of the strike zone and doesn't try to do too much at the dish. He's already a very good hitter for average and drives in runs when given the chance (25 RBIs). He takes instruction well and is eager to improve his game.

Weaknesses: The biggest problem facing Tabata at this point is adjusting to a new culture and learning a new language. As far as his game goes, the only noticeable kink in his armor is his inexperience. He'll occasionally throw to the wrong base or overthrow the cutoff man, but otherwise he's solid in all aspects of the game. His weakest tool is his power, and while he hits for decent power now, he doesn't figures to hit for anything more than average power as he matures.

Comparison: Tabata had a monster debut in Rookie ball; just look how it compares to the stats put up by these household names when they were down in the Rookie ball ranks:

Carlos Beltran18.278.331.328.6592.16
Andruw Jones17.290.358.412.7701.76
Bernie Williams18.270.379.343.7221.10

Here's how his performance stacks up against three of the today's premier outfield prospects when they were at the Rookie level:

Lastings Milledge18.231.323.308.6311.33
Javier Herrera18.230.329.410.7392.71
Jeremy Hermida18.224.316.321.6371.67

Those numbers do a good job of speaking for themselves, but what may be most impressive is that he walked more than he struck out, always a good sign regardless of the raw pitching in the GCL.

Outlook: Tabata's upside is the highest of any Yankee farmhand, and not since Alfonso Soriano have the Yankees had a prospect with this much potential. Don't be surprised if he trumps Phil Hughes in 2007 as the Yankees' top prospect. His speed and ability to hit for average make him an ideal leadoff hitter, however his ability to drive in runs would also allow him to hit in the heart of the order. He's still some years away from the Bronx, but barring injury, he could reach the Bronx and take over full-time centerfield duties just as Johnny Damon's 4 year deal expires.
Anonymous baileywalk said...
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Don't pencil him into center just yet, man. He's not the only great centerfield prospect in the system. Austin Jackson and Tim Battle will have something to say about this. Truthfully, I think all three of those guys could make it (though Battle will have to cut down on his Ks), but I think the one starting in center will be Austin Jackson, who reminds me of Derrek Lee (athletic, long limbs, speed, etc.). I think the Yankees would thank their lucky stars to have Jackson in center and Tabata in left/right. And I don't think Tabs will overtake that number-one-prospect designation because Hughes is a stud, top-of-the-rotation pitcher, and that's what is most valued in baseball.

Blogger Joseph P. said...
Don't forget Brett Gardner. Everyone just passes him over, but I seriously think he has the best shot of being the Yankes next centerfielder. Mike, how about a little ditty on him?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Agree with pretty much everything except that he doesn't project to hit for more than just average power. Power is usually the last area of a prospect's game that develops. When he fills out, with his plus-plus bat speed, he should hit for plenty of power.

Blogger tabatabread said...
this guy is going to be an allstar every year he is incredible, mark my words incredible. Nobody in the entire minor leagues have more upside than this guy

Blogger Mike A said...
I don't think I'd go as far as saying no one in the minors has more upside, especially with the Upton's and Brandon Wood still around.

Based on sheer numbers and history, you have to figure that at least 1 of Tabata, Austin Jackson and CJ Henry will flameout and not make the majors, and Tabata is the most likely to do so because he is so young.

That said, Tabata has great talent and ability, but he's not exactly knocking on the door.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Does anyone know the title of his theme song when he comes up to bat? I hear it at every game but noone seems to know it.

Anonymous ImissTino said...
Tabata... is he half Japanese?

Blogger TabataMonteroVZ said...
Hoe do you possibly compare Jackson to Derrick Lee. Lee is only 7 inches taler and about 30 lbs. heavier. Jackson is much faster and has little power. One is a center OF'er and the other plays 1st base. That could be the worse comparison of all time. As far as Tabata being most likely to bust since he's youngest. WOW His numbers are better than Henry's by ALOT across the board. The only thing Jackson did better in was stolen bases and thats because Tabata was hitting in the 3 spot. Tabata is the closest thing to a lock of the 3. The Yanks said he's the only other untouchable in the org., along with Hughes. That was ofcourse before they signed Montero who supposedly is the best player to come out of Venezuela since Miguel Cabrera(Tabata included) and will succeed Jorge as our backstop of the future.

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