It has been awhile since the Angels got some production out of their Latin American pipeline, but in this speedy infielder, there are signs that the trend is about to change. Up next in our countdown is Ismael Dionicio.
Position: 2B/3B Highest Level: AZL
Bats: S Throws: R Height: 5'10" Weight: 165
Age: 22 Born: 7/19/1991
2013 Rank: Unranked
2013 Season Stats
AZL: 180 PA, .354 AVG, .389 OBP, .439 SLG, 12 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 20 RBI, 29 SO, 12 SB, 6 CS, .426 BABIP, .389 wOBA, 132 wRC+
Contact = B+
Players like Dionicio rely on their ability to make contact as a way of climbing the prospect ladder. Luckily for Ismael, since day one in the Dominican Republic, the tool that stands out most about him is his ability to make good, solid contact. According to both numbers and reports, he possesses a well above average ability to square up pitches.
Power = F
He’s not a power hitter. He has a total of 32 doubles and 0 HR’s in 239 games.
Discipline = D
He’s not going to reach base via BB a lot. In fact he’s not even really going to work the count. Dionicio’s approach at the plate is as simple as it gets. See the ball, hit it where they aren’t.
Speed = B+
Like most middle infielders, Ismael can run. He’s quick to first base and has timed well around the bases. His SB% does leave a bit to be desired however.
Arm = B+
Everything you need to know about his arm should be cleared up by this simple fact. The Angels signed him with the idea that he’d be a second baseman. And even though he’s done quite well at 2B, his arm was so strong the organization felt it’d be wasted at that position. So they’ve moved him to 3B as well.
Fielding = D
This was Ismael’s first extended look at third base and he’ll likely see more and more time at that spot as he moves up the ladder. He’s still a second baseman, and according to reports is increasingly more comfortable at that spot but he has the skills to handle third base as well, which should only help him in the future.
Range = B
According to word I’ve received, Dionicio shows fantastic range to his right both at second and third base and quick reactions. At second base he shows above average range to his glove side but the same can’t be said for third base yet.
Performance = B
Ismael hit .354 in his first taste of pro ball in the United States. Granted he was old for his level but he still looked thoroughly unchallenged by the level of play in Rookie Ball.
Projection = D
This is where it gets tough for me to grade. I haven’t seen Dionicio play yet, I’ve only read two reports (one of which is widely available on the internet) on him, yet I have to try and grade him on how he’ll be in the future. It seems like he has the tools and gamer type of passion for baseball that’ll help him climb the ladder. No one plans on him hitting HR’s or being an all-star at this point, but if he continues to make solid contact and maintains his speed and quality defensive attributes at multiple positions, he may be able to carve out a role as a utility player some day.
Grade as a Prospect = C
Under-sized contact specialist that plays multiple positions in the infield. Sounds like an Angels Farm System Special. They churn these players out more often than anyone.
Estimated MLB Arrival Date = 2017
If Dionicio follows the normal path as a prospect and makes it all the way through the minors he should be in Anaheim in time for the 2017 season, at age 26.
2013 in Review*
In his first taste of stateside action, Dionicio garnered some real attention. On full display was Dionicio's ability to make contact and burn up the bases. Even though he was a bit old for the AZL at 21 years old, that .354 batting average is hard not to notice. Same goes for his 12 steals in just 47 games. These were the same impressive skills that Dionicio showed during his days in the DSL, so it was encouraging to see that it translated to tougher competition. What didn't translate though was his batting eye. Dionicio had double digit walk rates in the DSL, but that cratered to just 5% in 2013. He still didn't strike out much though, so it is a very real possibility that his walk rate will rebound as he climbs the ladder and gets out of a league where he was basically squaring up everything thrown to him.
It is also worth noting that Dionicio spent most of the season working at third base. Nominally, he is a second baseman, but he has also worked in the outfield. It seems like the Angels are trying to find defensive home for him. The reports are good on his defense thus far, but with his speed, it seems like a waste to have him play the hot corner.
One thing you will notice with Dionicio is that he didn't hit any homers in 2013. In fact, he hasn't hit a single home run in 882 minor league plate appearances. Suffice it to say that power is never going to be part of his game. This is one of the issues with Dionicio playing third base. His bat just doesn't profile there at all since he has almost no power whatsoever. If he continues to prove he can hit for average and draw walks, the Angels will want to keep promoting him, but if he can't transition to second base or the outfield or a superutility role, he is going to eventually hit a ceiling due to his lack of pop.
What he really needs to work on though is stroke from the right-hand side. Dioncio has struggled against left-handed pitching his whole career. For his career, his OPS while hitting right-handed is .660 versus .805 while hitting left-handed. That gap was even more pronounced in 2013, but he also only logged 35 plate appearances in the right-handed batter's box, so there is still plenty of hope that he can turn things around. As a guy who seems like his future is probably as a bench player, having the ability to hit from both sides of the plate will be crucial to him having a big league career.
*As we do every year, the scouting reports and grades are provided by Scotty Allen while Garrett Wilson provides the 2013 in Review and Looking Ahead sections.