Mets Scouting Report: OF Ambiorix Concepcion

Concepcion plans to be in the big leagues in '07

The New York Mets signed Ambiorix Concepcion as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic back in 2000. Concepcion has shown plus tools in his time with the Mets but has yet to put them all together in one season. Here's a scouting report on Ambiorix Concepcion.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Ambiorix Concepcion
Position: Outfielder
DOB: October 15, 1983
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Upon being promoted to the Binghamton Mets, Ambiorix Concepcion thought of polished pitchers and their improved abilities, dropping nasty breaking balls into the strike zone.

A year ago, those curveballs and sliders might have bothered the 23-year-old outfielder more. But a Florida State League campaign had adequately prepared Concepcion for the challenge of his first taste of Double-A.

Bringing what he described as an "improved approach" to his at-bats, Concepcion followed an All-Star first half in the Florida State League by batting .261 in 63 games for Binghamton, showing enough in the Eastern League to continue impressing as one of the Mets' better position playing prospects.

"I feel better with breaking balls," Concepcion said. "I know I can hit the fastball. I knew I had to improve (hitting breaking balls), and I think I'm a little bit better this year."

"At the end of the year, you see my numbers and you see from day-to-day how the pitchers pitch you a little differently. I got a lot of base hits with two strikes."

A centerfielder for Gary Carter's St. Lucie Mets club, Concepcion batted .287 with 21 doubles, two triples and one home run in 71 games.

Promoted to Binghamton in late June after outfielder Bobby Malek went down with a broken wrist, Concepcion switched to right field for Juan Samuel's club, playing alongside top minor league prospect Carlos Gomez.

Concepcion found the more experienced pitchers he expected, but he also found ways to chalk up hits. Waiting back on pitches, particularly deep in the count, Concepcion managed 57 hits (15 for extra bases) in his 218 Double-A at-bats, hitting to the opposite field more often and leaving promising thoughts for a follow-up campaign.

"Here I'm learning a lot about getting my swing straight, hitting my pitch," Concepcion said. "It's something I have to keep improving all the time and see what's going on next year."

The year was something of a rebound year for Concepcion, who struggled early in his first long-season experience with the Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League. A product of the Dominican Republic, Concepcion had trouble adjusting to colder weather in the northeast United States, batting just .165 in 79 April at-bats.

He was spared that chill in 2006, instead playing the month under increasingly warm Florida conditions, but fully expects to be prepared for what Binghamton in April might offer.

"It's something I will have to learn, because I want to play in the big leagues," Concepcion said. "It's not warm at the beginning of the season, so I have to know that to start off next year."

Concepcion said that coming into 2006, he set two goals – to be named an All-Star and to finish the year at Binghamton. Having accomplished those, he said he'll return to the Dominican Republic and play winter ball, already holding an idea of how he'd like 2007 to end.

"It's still early, but one of my goals for next year is to be in the big leagues," Concepcion said. "I don't care where I start. I know by the end of the year I want to be in the Majors. I'm going to keep working hard and go into the offseason with that thought."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2006

Binghamton

.261

218

57

3

29

24

11

7

57

.291

.362

2006

St. Lucie

.287

282

81

1

33

38

18

25

67

.343

.387

2005

Hagerstown

.251

521

131

15

61

68

35

22

136

.289

.413

2004

Brooklyn

.305

259

79

8

46

38

28

13

54

.338

.475

2003

Kingsport

.214

168

36

0

19

22

10

9

35

.256

.298

2002

Kingsport

.276

228

63

4

31

25

6

7

51

.302

.421



Batting and Power. Concepcion surprised some people in 2006 by seemingly cutting down his power game, and did so drastically – after hitting 15 home runs in 521 at-bats in 2005, he hit just four in 500 between St. Lucie and Binghamton. But while Concepcion has raw power, he's always projected as a better doubles hitter, and he increased his two-base hit total to 32 between the two levels. Concepcion is still a little too much of a free swinger and his 260 strikeouts over the last two seasons are noted.

Baserunning and Speed. With an extremely aggressive demeanor on the bases, Concepcion can move when you need him to (and sometimes when you don't want him to). He stole 29 bases in 40 attempts between the two levels in 2006 and that's probably right on par with where he should be.

Defense. Concepcion still has one of the best outfield arms in the minors and literally scares opposing runners short of advancing. That obviously happened less at Double-A, but teams knew and respected his arm. His defense should eventually win him a job on a Major League roster.

Projection. Concepcion has power and he has speed, but he needs to continue putting it all together. He knows that his 2006 season was good, but not great, and that he'll certainly have more to prove when he appears in Binghamton or New Orleans this year. He went unprotected in the Rule 5 draft and was not selected, which could wind up being someone's big mistake.

ETA. 2008. Once on the 40-man roster, Concepcion is making a case that he shouldn't be forgotten. A lot will depend on how he returns to Binghamton, but he made it clear through his performance that he does belong in Double-A right now. There's no reason why, given a strong showing, he couldn't begin to sniff the big leagues next year.

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