Kansas City Royals shortstop prospect Orlando Calixte‘s season was delayed due to visa issues coming into the season, but he is in Extended Spring Training getting himself ready to head to Double-A.
Calixte has already shown he is in top form when it comes to hitting fastballs, as he hit a sharp line drive home run in his third at-bat I saw of the day. The home run in the video above came off a fastball from Luke Lanphere, a 21st round pick for the Texas Rangers, who I have seen sit around 90-91 MPH on previous days (I didn’t sit behind a radar gun today).
Earlier in the day, Calixte was out on his front foot and popped out to the second baseman on a breaking ball, something he has made a habit of in his minor league career. In his first at-bat, he hit a sharp grounder that resulted in a single, then proceeded to break up a double play on a ground ball by the guy following him in the order.
Breaking balls have long been an issue for Calixte, and pitchers will take advantage of that when he returns to Double-A and moves up from there. He showed a strong arm, but is not all that fast for a shortstop. Defensively he is usually pretty sure handed, but booted a routine ground ball allowing Yeyson Yrizarri to score from second base on the play.
I am not sure if Calixte will ever hit enough to be an everyday player, but his arm is strong enough to play third and he has the fluidity in the field to play either middle infield spot, so he could be a very valuable utility infielder at the big league level. The Royals are not currently in need of a utility infielder, nor is Calixte ready, but he could be a valuable piece as soon as early 2015.