Andy Ibanez was rated as the Rangers number-two prospect, and the 4th best second base prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline. The youngest player on Cuba’s 2013 World Baseball Classic team, the now 23-year-old is getting closer to MLB ready.
Defecting from Cuba in 2014, Ibanez enjoyed his first year of professional baseball in 2016. Ibanez enjoyed success at every level last year. Starting the year in rookie ball Ibanez would eventually find himself in Double-A by the end of 2016.
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More of a contact hitter than a power hitter, Ibanez posted a .285 average last year. While he may not hit many home runs he does have solid gap to gap power. Hitting 36 doubles he posted a respectable .449 slugging and a .804 OPS.
Winning the Cuban Gold-Glove in 2011 as an 18-year-old, Ibanez has the potential to be a well above average defender. He’s quick enough to field balls deep in the hole and has the arm strength to convert double plays at a high level.
Ibanez may still be a year away. With the crowded middle infield, it will be interesting to see how the Rangers handle him. Could he be a trade piece down the line or will Jon Daniels and company find a way to use him?