A number of baseball players have defected from Cuba to the United States in recent years to try their hand at breaking into the majors. Two of the most visible are the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig and the Red Sox' Yoenis Cespedes, but they were preceded by many others. The latest to make it to the big leagues, Rusney Castillo, inked a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox last month and made his debut last night, picking up an infield single.
The newest name is that of 23-year-old outfielder Yasmani Tomas, who will be participating in a showcase in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. Newsday's Marc Carig reports that the Mets will be among the teams represented.
The Mets may only be window shopping, but they’re sending scouts to a showcase for Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas: http://t.co/MbQNeDkIik— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) September 18, 2014
We profiled Tomas back in June here at Amazin' Avenue, and the early reports from scouts are that he does possess power and a good arm, but average defense:
Owing to his thick 6'1", 230-pound frame, scouts say Tomas possesses more raw power than anyone else on the island not named Alfredo Despaigne-the preeminent slugger in Cuban baseball over the last decade. While Tomas obviously demonstrates power when pulling the ball, he also has power when driving the ball up the middle or to right-center. His swing is somewhat uppercutty, and as a result it opens holes in his swing, particularly on pitches inside that he can't catch up to...
Looking at his defense, Tomas is primarily a corner fielder, but he has spent time in center field, at third base, and at first base during his career with the Industriales. In the outfield he runs well enough and has a solid enough arm that he can likely stick in either corner position, but his defense is nothing particularly special. As long as he maintains his current weight, he should be neither a boon nor a liability.
The expectation, noted by Carig, is that due to the Mets' staying steadfast in not raising their payroll, they would not survive a bidding war among other teams. NBCSports.com is reporting that the price tag could be over $100 million.