Top 50 Scouting Report: Ambiorix Concepcion

Concepcion had a disappointing season in '07

The New York Mets signed the outfielder as an international free agent way back in 2000. Upon entering the organization, he impressed with many strong tools but in following years has fought to put it all together. Here is a scouting report on St. Lucie outfielder Ambiorix Concepcion.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Ambiorix Concepcion
DOB: March 19, 1982
Height: 6'2'"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

It has been a tumultuous career thus far for Ambiorix Concepcion. When he entered the farm system seemingly another baseball lifetime ago, he enthralled the organization with his tools. Though they were pretty raw, early signs pointed to a bright future. Concepcion could find the gaps, hit for power, and flash the glove in the outfield. Projections were that his time working towards the big leagues would be relatively short when compared to his peers.

In his first season stateside with Kingsport in 2002, he impressed by hitting for a solid .276 average and displayed good power as a 20-year-old. Yet, he still had holes in his swing and needed for a stronger plate presence, leading factors for his return to the Appalachian League the following year.

Fast forward to the 2005 season to Concepcion's stay in the South Atlantic League with then-affiliate Hagerstown. His average dipped to .251, down nearly 54 points from the previous season, but his power numbers exploded. He popped 15 home runs that season, knocked 29 doubles and stole 35 bases, signs the organization interpreted as a true breakout year for the outfielder. However, his 136 strikeouts that year seemed to indicate he was sacrificing his swing for power numbers.

He broke camp with St. Lucie in 2006 determined to advance his game. He cut down his power stroke in favor of his batting average, and it paid off. After hitting .287 in St. Lucie, with a career-best .343 on-base percentage, he was promoted to Binghamton for the second half of the season. He hit .261 in 63 with the B-Mets, but his improved stroke and confidence at the plate reignited the Mets' confidence in him as a prime position player.

With a crowded outfield of older players at the Double-A level at the beginning of 2007, Concepcion started last season back in St. Lucie with the hope of continuing the success he achieved thanks to his altered approach.

While in Binghamton, he matured at the plate by working deeper into counts, learning to wait on pitches and driving off-speed pitches to the opposite field. Coming into the 2007, he anticipated a spot on Binghamton's Opening Day roster, but instead returned to the friendly confines of Tradition Field in St. Lucie. He had the opportunity to possibly receive a quick promotion back up to Double-A, but the same results never materialized.

He got off to a sluggish start in April, hitting for limited average with not much production to speak off. He was slotted in the bottom third of the St. Lucie lineup, nagged by missed playing time, ineffective due to the reappearance of holes in his swing which plagued him in the past—all amounting to a rather disappointing year.

If 2006 was a bounce back year for Concepcion, last season ideally would have been one of vindication. The Mets continue to work with and patiently for his inherent tools and ability to resurface, but reservations about his future which were at a simmer going into last season, may now be at a full boil.

Concepecion, now a very qualified veteran of the Mets' system, will be 26 years old when the upcoming season kicks off. He was bypassed in the Rule 5 Draft in 2006 which gave him a second life with the Mets, but each new season brings about pivotal opportunities which must be taken advantage of—this spring will certainly prove no different.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2007

St. Lucie

.256

289

74

3

45

37

12

21

61

.304

.346

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: In his earlier days, Concepcion demonstrated very good power with high home run totals, including a career-high 15 back in 2005. Since then, he has trimmed home runs from his game and has reverted back to a solid gap and contact hitter which better suits his natural abilities. He still needs to improve upon his patience at the plate as indicated by not only his low walk totals over the past two seasons, but a disappointingly low on-base percentage. He has not shaken his tendency to be a free swinger and his offense may continue to flounder because of it until he learns greater focus in the batter's box.

Base Running and Speed: Concepcion stole just 12 bases last season, but given the fact that he appeared in just half the amount of games compared to 2006, that number projects to where he would be in that category over the course of a full season, which is in the mid-20s. He is naturally athletic and shows good speed both on the base paths and in the outfield.

Defense: Concepcion's defense is one part of his game that routinely wins over coaches. He intelligently mans his position with good reactions to the ball, which combined with his speed, makes him a reliable defender in his corner outfield position. His terrific arm strength forces opposing coaches to rethink gambling with base runners and intimidates those base runners from taking too many chances.

Projection: Throughout his career, Concepcion has shown waves of his pure talent which the Mets originally thought would have him in the big leagues by now, but he still has not played a season in which he put the complete package together. He followed a respectable season in 2006 with a fairly modest showing last season which must have the organization question if his once bright future will ever come to fruition. He has the defensive capabilities to be a Major League outfielder, most likely in a reserve role, but until his shows real growth at the plate, he will have trouble finding a spot on the Mets' roster.

ETA: 2009. A year after spending the latter half of his season in Double-A, Concepcion remained in High-A for entire 2007 season. In spite of what could be viewed as a regression, he should get his chance a starting the upcoming season with Binghamton. At this stage in his career, it is fairly pressing he have a strong season. If he can do that in the Eastern League this year, that should put him on a short track to the big leagues sometime during the 2009 season.

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories