Showing posts with label Cuban Baseball. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cuban Baseball. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hot Fantasy Prospect: Jose Abreu

Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu has been so impressive playing for the Cuban National Team that when he officially declared a MLB free agent every team in baseball sent someone to see him in his various showcases. These were teams that had obvious needs at first base and/or designated hitter as well as teams that had the positions well filled. The obviously strong interest was fueled even further by teams in need of a power bat that could not afford to part with a top draft pick to sign free agents who received a qualifying offer.

Despite all the interest the scouting reports on Abreu have skewed a bit negative. Most of them seem to focus on the report from Baseball America which states that Abreu seemed to struggle against quality fastballs located on the inner third of the plate. This is a weakness that many major leaguers have and one that does not necessarily destroy his potential as a high average masher. He may certainly struggle against the frontline starters with impeccable control but doesn’t everyone? Many major league starters struggle to consistently locate their fastballs. Abreu could also be coached to take a half step away from the plate.

I think it is helpful to note that several teams were involved in the bidding. Depending on which reports you buy into it is possible that as many as seven teams bid more than 50 million for Abreu. Those teams seem to include organizations such as the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Houston Astros – organizations that at this point we should have learned to trust when it comes to scouting and player evaluation.

I first heard of Abreu when I saw Clay Davenport’s Cuban Player Translations. Take a look at these stats and I think you will be quite impressed. Clay Davenport of course one of the best analyst in the business and his translations well worth your attention.

What should be emphasized from almost every report is that Abreu despite average bat speed, has advanced hitting skills and tremendous power. I fully expect him to hit for a quality batting average and above average power as he adjusts to the majors. The hype created by previous Cuban imports like Yoanis Cespedes and Yasier Puig not only fed into the free agent frenzy but will also drive up his fantasy cost this coming season. I will be a buyer as long as the price stays reasonable. If he costs the same as other established power hitters I’d rather have one of them then the newbie, wouldn’t you?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Check Out This Article on Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes has quickly become a player in which fantasy owners have a great interest. He has flash and pizazz. All of those traits that make us want to be First. But while most of us have watched his scouting/promotional video, few of us have received any real scouting reports. For that reason I'd like to point you to Derek Carty's recent article on the Baseball Prospectus site.
In talking with scouts, everyone is in agreement that Cespedes is a physical freak; however, some made mention that this hasn’t always been the case. As recently as the World Baseball Classic in 2009, Cespedes was said to have been almost a completely different player. A few scouts I spoke with hadn’t seen him since the WBC and didn’t feel it was even worth it to relay their impressions because Cespedes has changed so dramatically. Given his striking change in stature and tools, one scout who has seen Cespedes recently actually speculated that Cespedes could be on HGH. To be clear, this was pure speculation and not grounded in any actual knowledge or evidence, but it is worth passing along as Cespedes is sure to get tested under MLB’s new policies and would need to stop, which may or may not affect his tools and performance.
The article has a ton of interesting stuff that you want to read as a potential Cespedes owner.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Mr. Yunesky Maya Goes to Washington

After his work visa is worked out the Washington Nationals will officially sign Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya. This is a huge step for the Nationals as an organization. You can see some of the advance work they did to get this done with both Livan Hernandez and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez in the organization. Maya should be made to feel comfortable right away.

If you are wondering why Maya seems familiar it is because you've seen him in both World Baseball Classics pitching for the Cuban entry. He was one of the best pitchers in Cuba before defecting last September. He was the ace of the Cuban rotation that included Aroldis Chapman. he won the Cuban equivalent of the Cy Young in the 2008-09 season. Most scouts believe he can pitch for the Nationals almost as soon as he arrives.

Fantasy owners should be very aware of Maya. He may even impact the pennant races in some leagues, especially NL-only leagues. He'll report to Florida for extended Spring Training but should move through the system quickly.

EDIT: To add quotes from the August 1st Press Conference (h/t

"The actual negotiations went fairly quickly once were able to negotiate," DC GM Mike Rizzo explained when asked how long the team had been talking to Maya, "There's a strict policy and the red tape of getting him the documentation he needs to come to the states....we went after him quickly and aggressively as a person we thought could give us instant impact at the major league level for the long term and that's the reason we decided to sign him to a major league contract." (ed. note - "According to Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, the contract is worth $6M over 4 years.")

The Nationals had a "very thorough evaluatory process" of the pitcher, Mr. Rizzo continued, "He was seen I think by five separate scouts on separate occasions, during international competition over the years, most recently during the World Baseball Classic and we had multiple reports on him and we scouted him very in-depth in the Dominican Republic once we got over there."

"How soon will Maya be in the Majors?" Mr. Rizzo said that, "Yunesky's going to be around [in D.C.] for a couple days to see the ballgame(s), then he's going to immediately fly to Viera [FL] to throw in front of our Pitching Coordinator Spin Williams. We're going to assess where he's at in his conditioning and how stretched out he is as far as a number of pitches he can [throw], then...he'll throw a live bullpen, a simulated game, do a rehab start, then we'll reassess at that point where he goes, if he comes directly to the big leagues or to the minor leagues for a little bit of more seasoning and to build his pitch count up."