Ibandel Isabel: 1B, LA Dodgers (Hi-A)

April 7th- 9th, 2017. Ibandel Isabel made four starts at at Stockton, all at 1B. In 14 PA, Isabel had 4H, 1BB, 4K. Of his 4 hits, he hit 2 HRs. 

Note: I did not get to see BP, Isabel has such a unique profile I really wanted to get a full report in, but usually won't if I don't get to see BP.

Update July 21, 2017: Saw a Live-BP session for Isabel, Infield practice and an extra game. Defense remains a major issue, contact remains a major issue, and power is still there. See below for updates.

Scouting Report Framework

Ibandel Isabel
Age: 21.10
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 225
Position: 1B
Org/Level: LAD, Hi-A

Signed by LAD out of Yaguate, DR on April 5, 2013. Spent 2.5 years in short season leagues until making his debut in Low-A last season. Hit .273/.347/.591 but with a 41.8% K-rate in Low-A. Started 2017 at hi-A based on league leading ISO of .318.

Didn't see much. Seems relatively calm in the box for such an aggressive swing. Didn't get to see BP. 

Muscular, powerful frame at 6'4". Moderately broad shoulders but powerful legs/lower half. Looks a bit like Eloy Jimenez but doesn't move like him. Still generated a ton of bat speed with strength behind it. Still looks like he has room to get even stronger.

Athleticism - Fair
Fair at the moment but doesn't look like a bright future. Struggles with change of direction in the field. Moves alright in one direction, but doesn't show much body control/balance in field. Concerning for 21 years old. Will keep at fair for the future assuming Isabel will get plenty of Player Development time given the attention he'll get with his power.

Isabel sets up just as he swings, with all of his weight on a straight back leg. Leans into home plate with an exaggerated bat waggle.                                      
Wild swing. Javy Baez meets Vlad Guerrero with less plane or control. Isabel begins with low hands and takes a flat path through the zone. Keeps his back leg straight through the entire swing, only leaning farther into the zone to control different areas. Never strides forward, actually finishing with weight back and away from the plate following swing. Often has to step back towards 3rd after swing.  Even with ++ bat speed, Isabel has to load early and often cannot hold back once loaded. Good takes come with no load.

Shows moderate contact skills within the zone but struggles with elevated fastballs. Despite height, only covers the bottom half of the zone given flat/low plane. Also has troubles away given a lack of adjustability in his swing. While whipping bat through the zone, has trouble getting to that edge of the zone when he's fooled, always swinging FB velo. Doesn't track spin very well out of the zone.

Present: 35
Future: 40

Plate Discipline
Has very good idea of where the edges of the zone are, but only with respect to fastballs. Struggles to see break outside of the zone and will chase both low and away at CB/SL or CHG with drop. Also has trouble with early commit and physical difficulty in checking his swing. So much force that it's tough to stop once he starts.

Update 7/21/17: Fairly convinced that Isabel does not see spin in the slightest, the difference between his FB takes and his Breaking Ball swings are night and day. 35/40 lowered to:

Present: 30
Future: 35

Raw Power
Tough to separate true power from high-effort and torqued swing. Believe Isabel will actually keep getting stronger but also think his swing will be tamed slightly over time. 

Present: 70
Future: 70

Power Frequency
Most above average aspect of Isabel in game situations. When the bat even touches the ball, it rockets into the field. Basic groundballs are difficult to field, line drives never get caught and most flyballs get out of the park. 

Update 7/21/17: The willingness of pitchers to simply pound him with offspeed and breaking pitches near the outside of the zone and beyond has led to softer contact. Previously Isabel was still barreling anything near the zone, albeit a groundball, but that's diminished. In the major leagues this will only be more extreme. Changed from 70/70:

Present: 55
Future: 45

Moves in one direction well enough, but struggles with change of direction. Still problematic at 1B when he's playing off the bag. Doesn't project to get more nimble as he develops even more physically. Has decent glove skills and can get more refined though I don't see his physical abilities improving in terms of getting low and in position. 

Update 7/21/17: It may only be a 3 month period of time, but Isabel hasn't improved at 1B. It's hard to see him surviving in a ML infield role, 40/40 lowered to:

Present: 35
Future: 35

Similar to fielding in that he's barely passable at 1B but should improve a bit with more experience but should regress a bit with limited agility and mobility.

Present: 40
Future: 40

Didn't get a baserunning time but doesn't get out of the box very quickly or have a very comfortable stride. I'd guess he's a 4.6 type guy down the line.

Present: 35
Future: 35


Ibandel Isabel is a uniquely talented and flawed 1B seen in Hi-A with the Dodgers. Isabel is a wired, tense and strong 21 year old who looks to be emulating Vlad Guerrero at the plate, with poorer contact skills and pitch identifications. Moreso than Guerrero even, Isabel posseses incredible raw power. It's 70-grade strength which is more like 80-grade if you factor in his ridiculously high-effort, wild swing. Even at the plate, Isabel is feast or famine in a number of ways. He shows really good patience and understanding on fastballs at the edges and out of the zone, but struggles at following the break of pitches and gets into chase and swing/miss situations often. Ultimately, I see an athlete with exceptional strength but little else in the way of body control, balance or agility. I see a lightning bat that doesn't strike often enough to threaten a team. The power alone will keep Isabel relevant for a long time, but I don't see enough defensive ability or contact skills to make him an MLB regular. Think he will get every chance, but I don't see him sticking on a ML roster for an entire season.

Update 07/21/17: Looking at the still-diminished contact skills and defense, I find it hard to see Isabel getting promoted far enough to come close to the majors. My earlier summary suggests a team will give him every chance due to his power, but that's not the same thing as saying he will earn a chance in the MLB. I don't see enough of a complete player even in hi-A to warrant a AA promotion. Role 2.

Role: 2