Phillies rumors: Team linked to 15-year-old shortstop prospect

CLEARWATER, FL- MARCH 03: The Philadelphia Phillies warm up before the game against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field on March 3, 2016 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL- MARCH 03: The Philadelphia Phillies warm up before the game against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field on March 3, 2016 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies have been linked to 15-year-old Venezuelan shortstop prospect Alexeis Azuaje, who had mixed results at the MLB’s international showcase.

With J.P. Crawford set to graduate from prospect status this year, the Phillies are looking for their next top shortstop prospect. They have had success in the international signing market in recent years and will certainly devote plenty of resources there.

Major League Baseball held their annual international prospect showcase a week ago in the Dominican Republic. Baseball America’s Ben Badler was in attendance and profiled some of the top shortstop prospects there.

One prospect Badler said is linked to Philadelphia was 15-year-old Alexeis Azuaje. He isn’t very imposing at just 5’10, 160 pounds, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed. He ran the fastest 60-yard dash of any player there at 6.41 seconds.

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His speed translates well to the field as he made some nice defensive plays during practice and in-game, highlighted by a diving catch to his right side on a line drive. His arm looks strong enough to be able to stick at the position. Philadelphia values shortstop prospects who can stick at the position highly internationally as they have a higher floor if their hitting doesn’t come together.

Azuaje did struggle hitting during the showcase games, going 1-for-7 with four strikeouts. The righty hit plenty of line drives during batting practice, but as of now his bat trails his glove.

Most of the players in Badler’s article were linked to one team, but twin brothers Rainer and Ryson Polonius from Curacao were not. Both are six feet tall but only weigh about 140 pounds. Both need to put on strength to do damage with their swings and be able to have an arm for shortstop. Badler said Rainer tended to roll over his wrists during his swing, although he did display a good plate approach. Ryson had swing-and-miss tendencies but did pull a 94 mph fastball into right field as a left-handed hitter.

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Some of the other top names at the showcase included Gabriel Rodriguez and Branlyn Jaraba.