This past Saturday night, I was on hand in Hickory to take on my first Crawdads game of the season. The Crawdads are the reigning 2015 South Atlantic League Champions and their current roster is filled with quite a few of the Texas Rangers Top 25 prospects. None are hotter than second baseman Andy Ibanez.
Ibanez was signed out of Cuba after being one of their premier players for the latter years of his teens. Having not played on a professional level since 2014, the Rangers were able to nab him on the cheap at a mere $1.6-million. He came to the states known for a great bat and sound defense.
Ibanez entered the evening as the leading hitter in the South Atlantic League batting a gaudy .392. Thus far he has shown that he has been everything advertised, but it is important to keep in mind that Ibanez — despite the nearly two-year layoff — is 23-years old playing in a league full of 19-year olds with little if any professional experience.
He has a fluid batting stance that is fun to watch. Ibanez — a right-handed hitter — stands closer to the back of the box than the front. His hands are close to his body and up near his head, twirling the bat until the pitcher sets and delivers. He plants his toe in the dirt and exhibits little kick when he steps into his swing. This seems to have changed a bit as there is a little more leg in his kick than in earlier footage, but it is still hardly noticeable. His swing is quick, as are his hands, but standing at just 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, most of his power will go to the gaps as opposed to leaving the stadium.
For more video footage, a breakdown of how well he did Saturday night and more analysis, click the link below and head on over to Minor League Ball for the full article.