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Under the Radar: Ti’Quan Forbes

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At long last, this versatile infielder looks primed to begin next season in AA

Hot Stuff: Ti’Quan Forbes has been reborn in the White Sox system.
@TiquanF

Under the Radar details players in the Chicago White Sox system who may have suffered setbacks, gotten lost in the shuffle, or just haven’t surfaced as significant prospects as of yet. Next up is Ti’Quan Forbes, a second round pick of the Texas Rangers, who in 2018 asserted himself in the crowded White Sox prospect picture.

Ti’Quan Forbes (3B) Winston-Salem Dash

Ti’Quan Forbes hit .427 during his senior season and verbally committed to the University of Mississippi as a six-foot-three, 175-pound senior from Columbia, Miss. However, a $1.2 million signing bonus was too much to resist after being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft.

Prior to the draft, here was Perfect Game’s take on Forbes, who they considered the third-best prep shortstop and 18th overall:

“Tall rangy athletic build, has some wiry present strength with more to come. Right handed hitter, tall open stance, will stay too open at times, busy hand load, very quick twitch hands, big bat speed when everything comes together, shows present pull power but can stay balanced and drive the right-center gap as well. 6.56 runner, easy gliding actions defensively, plays under control, smooth actions, soft hands and athletic balance, accurate throws with developing arm strength, arm strength will be key for shortstop future not size or athletic agility. High ceiling athletic talent with present tools and tons of projection.”

A popular comp for Forbes at the time was an infield version of Adam Jones, and the infielder began the 2015 season as the Rangers’ No. 20 prospect.

Forbes, who hasn’t added much weight since his varsity days (he’s currently listed at 180 pounds), struggled during his stint in the Rangers system (2014-17). Encompassing 1,305 at-bats (which concluded at A+ Down East), he combined to hit .246/.303/.330 with 15 home runs, 124 RBI, 23 stolen bases, 87 walks (6.1%) and 337 strikeouts (23.6%). Due to these disappointing results, Forbes was traded to the White Sox on Aug. 31, 2017 for right-handed starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez.

In his first full season with Winston-Salem, many of Forbes’s peripherals improved. His slash line, while still unspectacular, improved to .273/.313/.391 while hitting six homers, knocking home 51 runs, 21 doubles and six triples (all but the OBP and homers were career bests). He also struck out just 74 times, which also gave him a career best 16.34 K%. However, he only walked 21 times last year (4.6%) so he still needs work accepting the free pass.

While considered to have above-average speed, Forbes proved vastly ineffective swiping bases, as he was successful in only four of 13 tries. Finally, his 1.77 GO/AO rate indicates he hits the ball into the ground far too many times for someone of his power. Forbes just turned 22 last month, and he was 1.4 years younger than the Carolina League average. Defensively, Forbes spent 69% of his time at the hot corner, 23.4% at second, and 7.6% at short (he also played one inning at first). He committed 21 errors altogether, but is considered a respectable gloveman with slightly above-average range.

Forbes should begin 2019 at hitter-unfriendly Birmingham. This will be a huge year for him, because while there are no real hot corner prospects ahead of him in Charlotte, there are a couple behind him with significantly more power potential (Jake Burger and Bryce Bush). Certainly, his lack of overall game power would diminish his role in the majors if he should ever get there.

In a dream scenario in which he drastically improves his launch angle, his major league comp would be Tim Anderson sans the stolen bases. In a far likelier scenario, if he doesn’t increase his in-game power numbers, he could end up being a lesser version of Yolmer Sanchez in the utility role, provided of course he makes it to Chicago.