ELVIS ESCOBAR
CENTER FIELDER
Born: September 6, 1994
Height: 5′ 9″
Weight: 165
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Signed: Int. FA, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2011
How Acquired: Int. FA
Country: Venezuela
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Escobar was one of the Pirates’ two top international signings in 2011, the other being Harold Ramirez, also an outfielder.  Oddly, the two of them were born on the same day.  Escobar is a line drive hitter who doesn’t project to have great power and his size raises some questions about his ceiling, but he had among the best current hitting ability among available Latin American prospects.  He’s currently a centerfielder, but has adequate speed and throwing ability.  He’s somewhat similar to another Pirates’ prospect, Exicardo Cayones, who was traded for A.J. Burnett.

2012
R:  274/338/374, 190 AB, 5 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 18 BB, 46 K, 6-11 SB

The Pirates sent Escobar straight to the GCL, which is an aggressive placement for a 17-year-old.  He handled it well and finished the season strongly, hitting 324/387/456 in August.  He played center all season and showed good enough range. He had an extreme reverse platoon split, with a .999 OPS against LHPs and .630 against RHPs, but that probably means little at this point.

2013
A-:  268/293/350, 183 AB, 8 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 9 BB, 47 K, 9-13 SB

For some reason, Escobar played only sporadically in July and August, as the Pirates chose to go mainly with Jeff Roy regularly, even though Roy probably profiles as an organizational player.  Escobar finally started playing regularly in August.  He ended up spending most of his time in right.  He didn’t hit especially well, although it has to be remembered that he was in only his second pro season and played the season at age 18.  Much of the trouble occurred in July, when he posted a .475 OPS.  He obviously had significant issues with plate discipline.  Escobar hit RHPs and LHPs almost exactly the same.

2014
A-:  274/316/349, 146 AB, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 BB, 28 K, 6-9 SB
A:  210/239/315, 200 AB, 11 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 7 BB, 55 K, 3-5 SB

Escobar opened the season in West Virginia and ended up playing regularly when the team’s entire starting outfield was wiped out by injuries.  He split his time between center and right, and struggled to hit, with terrible plate discipline.  The Pirates eventually moved him down to Jamestown, where he played regularly in center.  He got on a hot streak in the first half of August and had his average up over .320, but he slumped after that.  Escobar did finally make some progress with his plate discipline.  On the season, he had problems with LHPs, posting just a .434 OPS against them.

Escobar is making very slow progress, although he’ll play the 2015 season at age 20.  That’s a good age for low A, which is where he’ll probably be.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2015: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $570,000
MiLB Debut: 2012
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2016
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
July 3, 2011: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.