Oscar Tejeda occupies as a spot on the 40 man roster due to having been in the Red Sox system for over five seasons and while he is not major league ready yet at 22 he should be getting close. 2012 will be an important season for the second base prospect after he struggled badly in AA in 2011. Last season all the negatives in his game bubbled up to the surface and his prospect status took a huge step back. The athletic Dominican has five tool potential and the Red Sox have promoted him aggressively, hurting his stats to some degree but as gets more exposure to the upper levels he needs to turn his tools into performance.
The major hole in Tejeda’s game is his plate discipline. Tejeda lives up to the stereotype of the free swinging Dominican player, hacking his way to a dismal .297 OBP at AA Portland last year with just a 5.6% walk rate. Making things worse, Tejeda doesn’t have elite contact skills, striking out 20.5% last season, marking the third time he has K’d more than 20% as a minor leaguer. As a result, it is little wonder that Tedeja dropped from being a top 10 prospect in the Red Sox system by a number of experts rankings to missing out on the top 20 on most lists.
The reason the Red Sox are still protecting the 22 year old second baseman might be hard to see looking at this rough 2011 season. In 2010 he did everything the Red Sox hoped he would with .148 ISO, a more reasonable 17.4% strike outs and 17 stolen bases at high-A. He still walked very rarely but the combination of contact and power made him look much more promising. I would expect him to begin 2012 at AA again with an eye on moving to AAA and if Tejeda makes adjustments and shows the pop and contact ability he did in 2010, he could once again get some love from scouts.
Tejeda has the athletic ability to be a very good fielding second baseman but like with his bat, his tools have yet to translate to skills on the field. Before 2011, his bat was the driving force in his game and he needed to grow as a fielder. In 2011 he showed some positive signs but also suffered from mental lapses a bit too often. He has a good arm and he moves well so he should be a reasonable major league second baseman or even a third baseman if needed. Should he fail to develop a major league bat, he can be a reasonable utility player in the future.
Tejeda is one of those players than give Boston’s farm system its depth. He is not a top prospect and he has a very limited ceiling but he should be a major leaguer at some point and that has value. I don’t see his bat ever evolving to the point where he can compete for a spot on the Red Sox major league team, but with a strong performance this season he could be become a Mike Aviles type player appealing to a team in need to more infield depth.