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Rays Top 50 Prospects: No.23, Vidal Brujan

Vidal Brujan #2, Timmy Robinson #28 (Sandy Tambone / MiLB.com
(Sandy Tambone / MiLB.com)

Not sure that you’ll find a bigger fan of our next prospect’s abilities than me, and he has finally landed on the rankings lists — as he should have long ago. After making the leap from the Dominican Summer League to the Gulf Coast League in 2016, he spent last season in Hudson Valley.

No.23, 2B Vidal Brujan, 20 years old

Born: February 9th, 1998 in San Pedro de Macoris, DR

Height/Weight: 5’9” 155 lbs Bats/Throws: S/R

Signed: by the Rays in 2015 for $15,000

Twitter handle: @vidalbrujan

Twitter profile statement:Official Twitter of Tampa Bay Rays Middle Infielder Vidal Brujan”

Baseball America Rankings

  • Ranked as the 20th best Rays prospect post-2017
  • Ranked as the 5th best prospect in the New York Penn League

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 9th
  • Low: 33rd

Vidal Brujan: Abilities

  • Switch hitter
  • Well above-average contact abilities
  • Good power to all fields
  • Above-average speed and range
  • Above-average plate discipline

Grades for ‘18 (Pipeline): Hit: 55 | Pwr: 40 | Run: 65 | Arm: 50 | Fld: 55 | Overall: 45

  • Abilities notes: One area of his game he’s reportedly working on is getting a better read on opposing pitchers. Although he’s one of the fastest players on the field, he hasn’t fully displayed what he’s capable of on the base-paths, which is something you can expect to increase with time and experience.

Joined the Rays by way of...

The international free agency route, where his $15,000 bonus pales against the vast majority of his peers. His signing is an interesting one as it came during a time when the Rays were restricted in signing bonuses and therefore could not exceed $300,000.

So with the front office being as aggressive as they can be at times, they doubled the number of players signed and wound up signing 49 players, Vidal among them, with an approximated spending of $3M - just $400K less than the Yankees. Not only did they sign so many players and spend significantly, but they were also able to trade for two of the top targets that season — Lucius Fox and Carlos Vargas — who cost their respective teams a combined $7.7M.

That brings the total acquired players cost from that international class (had they been acquired by the Rays) to over $10.7M, which is quite a feat.

Latest Transaction: assigned to Tampa Bay Rays, March 3rd 2018

Note It’s very interesting that the Rays took a close look at Brujan this spring as he still hasn’t played above the short-season level.

Facts, Honors, and Awards

  • Signed by Danny Santana who also signed Jesus Sanchez, Resly Linares, and Diego Castillo.
  • I’ve been on the Vidal train for a long time — he was 27th on my list last year — when I noted that “Unlike the main outlets, I’m going with risk here but I’m that high on his ceiling.”
  • He was listed as 2nd on DRB’s Top 2B prospect list for 2017 here.
  • Among New-York Penn players, Vidal ranked 1st in Hits (74), Runs (51), Total Bases (108), 5th in doubles (15), triples (5), steals (16), OBP (.378), 6th in BB (34), 11th in SLG (.415).
  • Ranked 4th among Chris Mitchell’s KATOH list for NYP prospects, behind only Brendan McKay, Jorge Guzman, and Adam Haseley.

Stats

Vidal Brujan 2017

GP 67
GP 67
PA 302
AB 260
Hits 74
Doubles 15
Triples 5
Home Runs 3
RBI 20
SB (CS) 16 (8)
AVG 0.285
OBP 0.378
SLG 0.415
OPS 0.793
BB% 11.3 %
SO% 11.9 %
ISO 0.131
BAbip 0.321
wOBA 0.378
wRC+ 141

Stats Notes: Against LHP, Brujan managed .279/.389/.377 with 10 BB and 7 SO through 61 at-bats. Against RHP, he managed .286/.374/.427 with 24 walks and 27 SO. That shows an even turnout vs both sides. When looking for an area to improve, Brujan did wear down through the year, slowing to a .228/.330/.291 post all-star break (79 AB), so that’s something to look for in full season ball.

Interesting Comparison: Jose Ramirez (CLE)

Also a switch-hitter, Jose Ramirez is about as close a match to Vidal Brujan as you could get here. Jose also stands at 5’9” and is “light” at 165 lbs, just 10 lbs more than Vidal. Just as with Vidal, he’s managed to walk and strike out at similar rates throughout his career - 7.5 % BB rate and 10.9 % SO rate for Ramirez, 10.8 % BB rate and 8.4 % SO rate so far for Brujan.

While at the rookie level in 2011, Ramirez managed a .124 ISO and .363 wOBA which are almost identical to what Vidal managed in 2016 at the same level with .124 ISO and .356 wOBA. Moving to the following season in A ball (2012 for Ramirez), he slowed to a .108 ISO but managed a similar wRC+ overall with 145, which compares favourably to Brujan who managed a 141 wRC+ with a .131 ISO.

The numbers are just as similar speed wise, with Ramirez stealing 15 bases in 2012 and Brujan managing 16 SB in 2017.

Looking at where they hit the ball, both were in the same ranges, managing to hit the ball to opposite fields 26% to 37% of the time, and they hit a similar number of fly balls to this point, in the 32% to 38% range for the most part.

And finally, to this point in his career, Ramirez also was used primarily as a 2B, showing outstanding range at the position, just as Vidal has. The sole difference being that Ramirez also had the arm to man 3B, whereas it remains to be seen how Vidal’s arm would play the hot corner.

If you’re wondering how great things could turn out for the Rays if this proves accurate, Ramirez has managed 4.7 and 6.6 WAR over the last two season. Now that’s something to get excited about!

Fishkill, NY, USA - June, 21, 2017: Hudson Valley Renegades host the Staten Island Yankees at Dutchess Stadium. (Sandy Tambone / MiLB.com)
(Sandy Tambone / MiLB.com)

Notes for 2018 and beyond

The Rays have brought in a glut of middle-infielders of late, so competition is going to be fierce among that group. Trying to sort out who’ll come out on top is a very difficult thing to do since it has a lot to do with the organization’s assessment, opportunities provided to these players, health, and performance. The latter should trump all, but sometimes it doesn’t.

Having said that, if I were pressed to select a player that’ll come out on top as the second baseman of the future for the Rays, Vidal Brujan would be the guy.

As you’ll see in many more of these rankings comments, there seems to be a lot of trepidation in ranking international prospects highly, and I’m not sure why. From Jesus Sanchez to Yonny Chirinos, some of these seem like they obviously belong among the best — yet they seem to be held to a higher standard. But let’s get back to Vidal, who’s done everything he can to put himself in a very competitive position for 2018 and beyond.

Vidal is advanced enough that it’s easy to envision the Rays pushing him at a faster pace than most. That makes his next assignment hard to nail down, as he could easily be pushed to either Low-A or High-A and likely do well at either level.

There’s something enticing about having him kick off 2018 with Jesus Sanchez in Charlotte, so I’m hoping the Rays challenge him with that route. If not, he’ll kick things off in Bowling Green (Low-A) and likely make his way to Charlotte at some point in the season.

What may be most interesting to watch in 2018 is whether or not the Rays begin moving Vidal around defensively. As will be the case with many of their middle infield prospects, being versatile and able to fill in at various positions could be the difference between getting an opportunity or not. In Vidal’s case, center field has been mentioned as a possibility, but third base and left field also remain possibilities.

His best position will remain 2B until we see otherwise, however, and fans should be monitoring his progress very closely in 2018. Just as with Jose Ramirez, his abilities could have him skip levels and make it to The Show well before most people expect.

Vidal Brujan: Spotlight Videos

Want to see the kind of impact Brujan can have on the game? From a nice defensively play, to smart base running, to driving in the game-winning run, this video has it all.

You can see one of one of Vidal’s HRs here,

And another here mid-way through,

And Brujan shows off his speed with a triple in this one,

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 55 Rays Prospects

*Note: rankings were adjusted and reflect recent additions to the system - it is now a Top 55 list