Another international shortstop cracked Baseball America’s top 31 prospects for the Kansas City Royals heading into the 2012 season. That shortstop was Orlando Calixte, and he came in at number 20. He is currently ranked 14th in the Royals system by MLB.com.
BA believes he may outgrow the shortstop position, but he has a strong arm. He struggled immensely at the plate with a push to Low-A in 2011 (just .208), so he returned there to start the 2012 season. Despite showing homerun power (he hit ten in 62 games), he still struggled (.241).
Injuries in the upper levels of the middle infield moved everyone up, so Calixte was promoted to High-A Wilmington. He more than held his own once promoted to the Blue Rocks and impressed manager Vance Wilson with his bat, despite being just 20-years old:
Calixte’s a free-swinger. Typically a young kid like that who’s a free swinger, you get exposed even at this level. For him to be able to step up, he’s such a big part of our team. A big part of our success. Not only am I proud of him, but very, very happy for him.
He hit .281 with 17 doubles, but did strike out 65 times in 63 games in a pitcher’s ballpark and league. However, strikeouts were a problem throughout the Blue Rocks lineup.
The alarming part of Calixte’s game is his defense. At shortstop in Kane County, he made 25 errors in 278 chances. After his promotion, in the same amount of chances, he made 21 errors. So that’s 46 total errors. Sure, he gets to balls that others cannot and makes the flashy play, but it’s the routine plays that give him trouble.
He began the offseason by participating in instructional league and has since moved on to the Arizona Fall League. Calixte is a member of Surprise’s taxi squad, meaning he can only play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He has played both third base and shortstop and has yet to make an error in three games (he has also hit). Hopefully Calixte can team up with the sure-handed Alex McClure and tighten up his defense.
For more on Calixte, check out a comparison between him and third base prospect Cheslor Cuthbert by Zach Mortimer at PineTar Press.
I could show you video of Calixte striking out against Baltimore Orioles uber prospect Dylan Bundy, which was much talked about around Twitter, but I’ve decided to link to one of my favorite videos of Calixte:
Who doesn’t love watching a guy get pied in the face following a walk-off win?