blue jays minor league year in review

2021 Year In Review: Rafael Lantigua

Jays From the Couch Will Review Seasons Of Many, Hopefully, Most, Of The Toronto Blue Jays Prospects. Not Just The Top Prospects.

 


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Rafael Lantigua

Born April 28th, 1998, the native of Puerto Plata, D.R. signed as a free agent on August 22, 2016.

 

He made his pro debut in 2017 as a member of the DSL Blue Jays, batting .284 with a .755OPS. In 59 games, the 5-foot-8 collected 8 doubles and 6 triples while finishing with 33/32 BB/K.

 

In 2018, Lantigua started the year playing 8 games in the GCL before joining Bluefield where he’d play 48 games. Bluefield’s infielder slashed .303/.422/.376 with 7 doubles, a triple, and his first professional HR while driving 23RBI, 30BB, and 33K.

 

He got his first taste of full-season ball in 2019 with the Lansing Lugnuts. In 95 games, Rafael Lantigua saw his batting average and OBP plummet, batting .254 with .302OBP. He did a good job of collecting extra-base hits with 16 doubles and 6 triples while sending 4 balls over the outfield wall.

 

Month-By-Month

In 2021, Rafael Lantigua joined the Vancouver Canadians. He struggled in May, batting .149 with 3 doubles in 15 games. Lantigua finished the month with 8BB and 14K, posting an ugly .486OPS.

 

Still fighting for regular at-bats, June saw Lantigua’s bat come alive. In just 13 games, he slashed .283/.333/.509 for a .842OPS to push his batting average up to .220 and his OBP to .304. The native of D.R. collected 4 doubles, a triple, and hit a pair of home runs. His homers came in back-to-back games (June 17th and 20th) which happens to be when Rafael Lantigua started getting regular playing time.

 

July saw Lantigua play 22 games, slashing .291/.384/.477 to push his season BA to a respectable .253. More impressive than his BA, was the extra-base pop he was showing off. He collected 7 more doubles and 3 more HR.

 

Rafael Lantigua had another solid month in August. In 21 games, he collected 5 doubles and 2HR, driving in just 5RBI after driving in 16RBI in July. Lantigua batted .304 with a .411OBP and .443SLG for a .854OPS.

 

He played just 9 games with Vancouver in September, batting .371 with a 1.263OPS to go along with 3 doubles and 4HR (WOW!). He was New Hampshire bound on September 16th after slugging 2HR on September 12th. He only played 3 games with New Hampshire, going 0-for-11 with a walk and 5 strikeouts.

 

At the End Of the Day

The 23-yr-old played 80 games with the C’s, batting .280 with 22 doubles, one triple, and a career-high 11HR for a surprising .190ISO. His impressive season generated a .379wOBA, 127wRC+, and .341BABIP.

 

He scored 65 runs and for the first time in his career posted impressive stolen base numbers with 26SB in 32 attempts. After posting K% of 16.5 and 15 in ’18 and ’19, Rafael saw his K% climb to 21.9, striking out76 times. He still walked 42 times for a 12.1BB%.

 

Lantigua set career highs in ground balls and fly ball hit with 39.4GB% and 40.4%. His 12.5 HR/FB shattered his previous best of 3.7 he posted in ’18 and ’19.

 

Despite his increased power numbers, Lantigua continues to spray his hits 41.6Pull%, 28.3Cent%, and 30.1Oppo%.

 

Best Game

The 23-yr-old infielder produced one 4 hit game, two games with 4 runs scored, and two games with 2 doubles but he only had one game with 2 home runs. On September 12th (his last with Vancouver) against Spokane, Rafael Lantigua went 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored, a single, 2 home runs, and 4RBI.

 

In the Field

Rafael Lantigua played all over the field in 2021. Lantigua played 28 games at 2B, 16GP at 3B, 7GP at SS, 10GP in LF, 6GP in CF, and 6GP in RF with 9 as the team’s DH.

 

At 2nd base, Lantigua committed two errors in 236.0 innings for a .983FPCT. He committed 3 errors at 3rd and 1 error at SS.

 

Looking Ahead

Eligible for the Rule5 draft, Rafael Lantigua has done enough to earn a promotion to Double-A but not enough to be concerned about losing him at the draft. If he hits, the 23-yr-old should continue to play all over the field to get his bat into the lineup. There is no reason to think Rafael won’t continue to post solid batting averages with decent OBP and SB. The question with Lantigua is whether his 2021 power numbers are for real.

 

 

 

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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Ryan Mueller

Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn't cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I'm more right.