Cuban Defectors we KNOW are available
Today I went to a tryout of 4 Cuban defectors at the Arizona Diamondbacks´ academy. The scene there was wild. The players´agent told me that at least 26 major-league teams had their scouts in attendance. No idea about the identity of the few teams who weren´t interested, but I was able to pick out reps from the Devil Rays, Yankees, Mets, Giants, Cubs, Mariners, Braves, Indians, Diamondbacks, Reds, Twins, Brewers, and Nationals.
The scouts who came were a bit disappointed to find out that the most interesting player, 23-year-old pitcher Sergei Linares, was suffering from food poisoning. Linares is reported to throw in the high 90s, but he was held out of the simulated game and limited to a side-throwing session.
The other three players are 22 y/o shortstop Yohannis Perez, 23 y/o catcher Alexis Fonesca, and 25 y/o RHP Yoslan Herrera.
Perez, who was also suffering from foid poisoning, is a line-drive hitting shortstop who drew wide praise for his footwork and glove. His bat wasn´t on display too much today, as the raw DSL pitchers he faced nearly hit him five times. He ended up taking a couple of walks on pitches nowhere near the zone and hitting a double in what I saw of the simulated game.
Fonesca displayed solid gap power, going 4-for-4 in the at-bats I witnessed, with 2 doubles and 2 triples. Against better defenders, those triples would have been a double and a single, but his bat definitely drew some interest.
Herrera was nowhere near as hyped as Linares, but seemed to handle himself just fine in the tryout. His fastball was sitting between 90-92, and the DSL Devil Rays, who served as the whipping boys for this exhibition, were helpless against his breaking ball.
The prevailing opinion of the people I spoke with was that Linares and Perez were the best of the group. It’s possible that these players could get bonuses north of $1 million.
In terms of market value, nobody´s really sure how to treat Cuban players yet. In the wake of the Contreras signing, the prevailing wisdom was that the Cuban mystique caused teams to overrate - and overpay - defectors. The Yuniesky Betancourt signing, which turned out to be a huge bargain, changed all that. There hasn´t been a significant Cuban signing since Betancourt came over, and none of the scouts I talked to today had any idea what these players´ price range would be.
I should have pictures of the 4 Cuban players in the next couple of days.
International Rumor-Mongering: Boras gets busy
*Thanks to everyone who submitted questions for the Serra interview. It went incredibly well, and I’ll have the report written up in the next couple of days.
*I got the chance to see one of Scott Boras’s Dominican clients in action a couple of times over the last week. RHP Jose Luis Arias is a legit 6′8″. His fastball sits in the 91-93 range and tops out at 95, and he reportedly has a slider in the 89-90mph range. I know, I’m skeptical too, and didn’t have the benefit of watching the gun while he was warming up, but that’s what I’ve been told. I won’t say which team is involved, but a signing may be close.
Arias is an interesting case, not because of his size or his stuff, but because of his age. At 19, Arias is a rare top talent who wasn’t considered noteworthy enough to sign the past few years. Apparently when he was first eligible, he was sitting in the low 70s with his fastball and didn’t generate any interest. He’s been fine-tuning his stuff over the past few years, and looks to be due for a big payday.
*I haven’t gotten confirmation from the Rangers’ camp on this yet, but I’ve heard they were one of the other teams heavily involved in the bidding war for Esmailyn Gonzalez.
*The Brewers will be trying out several top names in the next week, including the two Boras position prospects, Triunfel and Villalona.
*The Cubs have made 2 low-dollar signings, and aren’t in the hunt for any of the top money guys left. The two signings, whose names I don’t have, were given bonuses of $25,000 and $35,000. 6′5″ Venezuelan RHP Larry Suarez was the Cubs’ big addition this summer, and while they’ll probably sign 8-12 more, they’ll all be in the $15-75,000 range. Suarez, 16, is reportedly sitting at 88-92 with his fastball. Definitely one to watch.
i got these 2 stories by email while i was gone last week and no i dont have any info until i get to shea this weekend(sat,& sun.) so i hope this feeds your hunger