Name: Carlos Cortes
Born: Oviedo, Florida
Age: 20 (6/30/1997)
Height/Weight: 5’8”/190 lbs.
School: University of South Carolina
On the smaller side, Carolos Cortes has long stumped scouts and evaluators. As a high school player at Lake Howell High School in Winter Park, Florida, he never had true defensive home, playing in the infield, the outfield, catching, and even occasionally pitching. Hit bat, on the other hand, was quite tantalizing, as he regularly hit well on the showcase circuit, and hit .380/.533/.632 in his senior year. The Mets drafted him with their 21st pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, but Cortes elected to honor his college commitment. In the two years there, he has done little to help scouts evaluate his true talent level. In his first year with the Gamecocks, he played in 50 games and hit .286/.368/.565, leading the team with 12 home runs. That summer, he played in the Cape Cod Collegiate League and hit .268/.340/.406 with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. This past season, he spent the first few weeks languishing through slumps before finally breaking out. Through 42 games this season, he hit .244/.369/.507.
The left-hander stands open at the plate and now uses a swing with some uphill bat path, reducing his ability to make contact but increasing his power, particularly to his pull side. Balls already jump off his bat thanks to his big load and coil, bat speed, and barrel accuracy, but the added uphill plane in his swing has really magnified his power. His swing is fluid and Cortes swings with intent. There is some swing and miss in it, particularly against breaking balls out of the strike zone, but he has no problem handling pitches in the zone.
Cortes still does not have a true defensive home, even at South Carolina. He has been used primarily as an outfielder with the Gamecocks, but his skillset works best in the infield. Naturally a left-hander, Cortes taught himself to throw with his right hand and is fully ambidextrous. When he is playing in the infield, he throws right-handed. When he plays the outfield, he throws left-handed. Because his arm strength is fringy from both sides and because he is a slightly below-average runner, he profiles best in the infield, at second base.
As a sophomore, Cortes can elect to return to South Carolina University.