Vicente Lupo, OF
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6’ Weight: 180 lb.
MMO Top Prospect Rank: #15
Signed as an international free agent in July of 2010, Lupo quickly showed a penchant for extra-base power at a young age. While his 2011 season was marred after a dangerous bout with malignant hypothermia that ruined his DSL season, the strongly built slugger came back with a vengeance the following season.
2012 saw Lupo explode in the Domincan Summer League, where he posted a .343/.508/.600 batting line while drawing as many walks as strikeouts – something seldom seen in power hitters.
Of his 70 overall hits, 31 were for extra-bases. While not possessing top-flight athleticism, he has the bat you look for in a corner outfielder. According to what Mets executives said in response to some questions from Joe D., Vicente will be playing stateside in 2013, so look for him at Kingsport or possibly even Brooklyn this summer.
Everyone is super excited about Lupo. His .500 OBP in 2012 was completely ridiculous, and he had 1.108 OPS to go with that. If he continues to put up numbers like that, maybe he will live up to some early comparisons to Miguel Cabrera. Not much has been reported on Lupo thus far, but what little info is out there has many Mets fans excited. I am proud to say that thanks to fellow minor league analyst Teddy Klein, MMO is the first to have some video footage of Lupo, which you can see below.
We’ve all read the reports – great bat with plus-plus power, raw strength, solid frame and a good eye at the plate. At this point, it’s almost like Lupo is somewhat mythological, since not many fans have gotten a chance to see him play. This video was the first chance many of us got to see of Lupo, since he has spent the majority of his playing time in the DSL.
Vicente Lupo is a player who will need his bat to carry him through the system. He’s not considered speedy and doesn’t have a very strong arm which limits him defensively. He will most likely be relegated to a corner outfield position, probably left field.
Baseball Reference has Lupo listed as six feet, but after seeing him stand in the batter’s box he is probably closer to 5’10” or 5’11” tall. He does have a solid build, and seeing as he’s only 19 years of age, he’ll probably put on even more muscle as he matures.
Regarding his swing, he starts with his hands high and then quickly gets them into a good hitting position. Hitters have to be careful with starting their hands up high, because it could take them longer to get them into the hitting zone, leaving them susceptible to better fastballs. But Lupo does a great job of getting his hands down into the zone, and keeping his hands high is a good way to make sure he stays on top of the ball.
Unfortunately, the swing in the video attached is not his greatest effort. He looks like he was confused by an off-speed pitch, and is very off-balance. You can even see in the first pitch that he takes, he is out on the front foot a little. Keep in mind that it is only one swing, and he is 19 years old, so as he matures, he will learn to adjust to the off-speed stuff. He has probably made a living at this point of his career by eating a steady diet of fastballs for breakfast, so as he progresses through the system he will have to work on his pitch recognition and driving the off-speed pitch the other way.
In 2013, we will see how Lupo progresses during his first season playing stateside. Look for him to start with one of the short-season leagues (Kingsport or Brooklyn) and stay in extended spring training until then. He’s definitely a player you’ll want to keep an eye on in the coming seasons and could easily become a top ten prospect for the Mets if he continues on this torrid pace.
To read previous editions of this feature, go to our MMO Prospect Pulse Archives.
Follow MMO Minor League Analyst Mitch Petanick on Twitter at @FirstPitchMitch for even more Mets Minor League and prospect coverage.