Arozarena was a little more than three years removed from signing with the Cardinals for $1.25 million when he made his Major League debut in August 2019. The Rays had noticed Arozarena’s development in the upper Minors that year and traded for him after the season, acquiring him with Jose Martinez in the early 2020 deal that sent 2018 first-rounder Matt Liberatore to St. Louis. Arozarena didn’t make his Rays debut until Aug. 30, but emerged as one of baseball’s hottest hitters down the stretch, posting a 1.022 OPS with seven homers in 23 regular-season games. Arozarena followed up with one of the greatest rookie performances in postseason history, slashing .377/.442/.831 with a record-setting 10 home runs in 20 games for the American League champions.
An explosive right-handed bat that yields tons of hard contact and power to all fields headlines Arozarena’s impressive suite of tools. He’s proved in parts of two Major League seasons that he can both obliterate the very best of fastballs and consistently hit the ball harder than the average player. Arozarena has an aggressive approach but controls the zone well and makes good swing decisions, showing an understanding for making pitch-to-pitch adjustments.
Arozarena is a plus-plus runner who can get down the line and steal a base thanks to Sprint Speed that ranks in the top seven percent in baseball. Those wheels also qualify him to play center field, and while Arozarena can hold his own there defensively, he’s a better long-term fit at a corner spot, with the necessary arm strength to profile in right field. Arozarena’s bat, meanwhile, should profile just fine regardless of his defensive home, as he now looks like an impactful big league regular who won’t hit free agency until after the 2026 season.
2020 Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Signed out of Cuba by St. Louis for $1.25 million in July 2016, Arozarena struggled to establish consistency early in his pro career, with his rawness repeatedly undercutting his tools and resulting in uneven production across multiple levels. That natural ability finally translated to on-field production in 2019, as Arozarena parlayed a career-best offensive campaign in the upper Minors into his first big league callup in August. He batted .300 during a brief stint with the Cardinals, only to be dealt to Tampa Bay along with Jose Martinez in the early 2020 trade that sent 2018 first-rounder Matt Liberatore to St. Louis.
With a quick bat and aggressive approach, Arozarena has no problems making consistent contact from the right side of the plate. The quality of said contact was considerably better in 2019, as Arozarena hit fewer ground balls, improved his fly-ball rate and showed greater aptitude for hitting to all fields en route to career highs in average (.344), home runs (15) and slugging (.571). Some evaluators believe Arozarena will tap into even more power, albeit mostly to his pull-side, in the coming years as he continues to tighten his approach, and the fact that he trimmed his strikeout rate by nearly 3 percent last season was a step in the right direction.
Arozarena is an above-average runner who is aggressive on the basepaths, often to a fault. Those wheels also enable him the ability to play all three spots, although he's a cleaner fit at the corners and has the necessary arm strength for right field. And while he currently profiles as more of bench outfielder, Arozarena also possesses more untapped potential than most players entering their age-25 season, with some evaluators viewing him as an everyday player if it all clicks.
2019 Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
The Cardinals signed Arozarena for $1.25 million in July 2016, after the Cuban outfielder ranked as MLB Pipeline's No. 19 international prospect in his class. He unofficially got his feet wet playing in the Mexican Winter League, then had a very solid first full season of pro ball in 2017, earning a promotion to the Double-A Texas League after he garnered Florida State League All-Star honors at Class A Advanced Palm Beach. Assigned to Triple-A in 2018, Arozarena struggled out of the gate and by early May was back in Double-A, where he hit .396 with seven homers in 24 games to force a promotion back to the Minors' top level.
With a quick bat and aggressive approach, Arozarena has no problems making consistent contact from the right side of the plate. The quality of his contact leaves something to be desired, though, as all too often he rolls over pitches and hits weak grounders to the left side. Becoming more selective and trying to hit to all fields could go a long way for him, but there are some that question his ability to do so given his ongoing struggles with making swift adjustments at the plate. When he does hit the ball in the air, Arozarena has shown some sneaky raw power to his pull side, and he hit all 12 of his home runs to left field in 2018.
Arozarena is an above-average runner who is aggressive on the basepaths, often to a fault. Those wheels do give him the ability to play all three spots, and the Cardinals feel he's better in center than expected. He's a cleaner fit at the corners and has the necessary arm strength for right field, which is where he saw the bulk of his playing time in 2018. If he can tone down his all-around aggressiveness and learn to make smoother adjustments, Arozarena could be ready to fill a need in the Cardinals' big league outfield should one arise in 2019.
2018 Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 60 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
Arozarena was MLB Pipeline's No. 19 international prospect in July 2016 when the Cardinals inked the Cuban for $1.25 million. After he unofficially got his feet wet in the Mexican Winter League, he turned in a very solid first full season of pro ball, earning a promotion from the Class A Advanced Florida State League up to the Double-A Texas League in 2017.
Arozarena hit well during his time in Palm Beach, a notorious pitcher's park and league, and held his own upon reaching Double-A. He showed an ability to make consistent contact with excellent bat speed and more extra-base thump than anticipated, especially before his promotion, though he is hit over power. His overall approach improved after his bump up, as he walked more and struck out less. Arozarena runs well and can steal a base, and he's still learning to use that speed effectively in the outfield. He's capable of playing all three spots and the Cardinals feel he's better in center than expected, showing good range going back and to the gaps. His solid average arm works well from the corners.
It was a very positive first step for Arozarena, one that puts him close to the doorstep of the big leagues. The outfield is obviously crowded in St. Louis, but he should be ready to fill a need should one arise in 2018 at the ripe old age of 23.
2017 Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 60 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
The No. 16 prospect on MLBPipeline.com's Top 30 International Prospects list heading into last July's signing period, Arozarena got $1.25 million to sign with the Cardinals. The Cuban got in 190 at-bats in the Mexican Winter League, showing off some of his tools, then reached Double-A in his first taste of affiliated baseball.
Arozarena's best offensive tools are his ability to make consistent contact at the plate and his speed. He has excellent bat control and an advanced approach at the plate. It's more hit than power with a line-drive approach, but he should have some extra-base ability and he has the wheels to be a basestealing threat. While he's played second base and the outfield, the Cardinals see him as an outfielder. He played all three outfield spots during his debut season and he has the potential to be an above-average defender.
Just 22 for all of the 2017 season, Arozarena and the Cardinals got acquainted this year. There's some hope, given the high level of play he experienced in Cuba and over the winter, that he could move somewhat quickly as a top-of-the-order table-setter.
2016 Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 60 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
While scouts were split on Arozarena in terms of playable now tools vs. rawness, he was nonetheless ranked No. 16 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 30 International Prospects list heading into the July 2 signing period. The Cardinals liked what they saw, giving the Cuban $1.25 million as part of an aggressive push in the Latin American market.
Some feel Arozarena will be able to help a big league team in a short time, while others feel he looks crude in the field. Some of that has to do with a lack of a true defensive home, with the 21-year-old playing mostly second base and center field, though he did play shortstop in the Cuban junior leagues. He has good speed, which gives him good range wherever he plays, though he understandably needs work on his reads and routes in the outfield since he lacks experience out there. Those who watched him in Mexico, where he went after leaving Cuba, feel he can play up the middle somewhere. Arozarena's speed, along with strong instrincts, allows him to be a basestealing threat. At the plate, he has outstanding bat control and an advanced approach. He could have enough power to reach double digits in the home run department.
With the investment the Cardinals made, they clearly feel Arozarena has the tools to be an everyday player at the big league level. Now it will be up to the player development staff to figure out just where he fits best to maximize his potential.