Since he was signed by the Phillies for a reported signing bonus of $759,000 in the summer of 2011 on his 16th birthday, Carlos Tocci has been followed by a tremendous reputation that he’s yet to live up to between the lines on a pro field.
Despite being retained stateside at the Phillies’ spring training home in Clearwater in recent winters to work out under the supervision of the Phillies’ training staff, the Venezuelan born Tocci has failed to bulk up his gaunt six-foot-two 160-pound frame. The right-handed batter has displayed minimal power in his three professional seasons, slugging just two home runs and tallying a .291 slugging percentage in 281 contests at two levels.
After participating in the Phillies’ fall instructional league following his signing, Tocci debuted in the minors with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2012, batting .278 with two doubles, nine RBI and nine steals in 38 games. The following year, as a 17-year-old, he played the entire season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Struggling against more experienced pitching, Tocci posted a .209/.261/.249 slash line in 118 games.
In a repeat campaign with Lakewood last season, Tocci, who grew up admiring MLB slugger and fellow Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera, continued to adapt to the more mature hurlers, seeing some improvement at the plate with a .242/.297/.324 slash line in 125 games.
Often praised for his speed, Tocci’s yet to utilize that skill to his advantage on offense, averaging just a 47% percent success rate in stolen base attempts over the past couple seasons. In center field, that’s a different story, as he uses his quickness to cover great amounts of ground and displays outstanding range on defense. His arm is strong and keeps eager base runners honest.
There are some positive notes related to Tocci’s abilities at the plate. He has quick hands, shows a solid ability to get the barrel of his bat to the ball and can hit to all fields. Strength is needed to help the raw teenager’s batted balls miss the defense’s leather.
The Phillies not only want Tocci to add muscle, they have expressed a desire for him to become a better athlete overall. Tocci is well aware of his organization’s wishes for his physical evolution. While expressing intentions to comply, the results elude him.
Already having played two full seasons in Lakewood, Tocci hasn’t shown enough offensive prowess to be ready for Class A Advanced Clearwater. With the youngster entering his age 19 season, it’s not farfetched to presume a third turn in the Class A South Atlantic League could be the most suitable assignment for him in the coming season. He’ll still be younger than a hefty portion of the players on that league’s rosters.
Ranked in the Prospect Nation top 10 in each of the past couple years, Tocci has dropped considerably based on lack of offensive production and physical development. A guy’s proposed potential and notoriety can only get him so far.
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