With the July 2 signing period fast approaching, I wanted to get a post together to give readers some info on a few of the players who’ve been linked to the Yankees. As you might have heard recently, two Cubans have recently defected. John Manuel of BA has the story, they have cleared all the hoops and are now officially free agents. Another recent development on the two Cubans, they have dropped their agent (Jaime Torres) in favor of Fernando Cuza. That name should sound familiar to Yankee fans, since he represents Mariano Rivera. This shouldn’t hurt or help the Yanks much as far as I know.
Noel Arguelles: LHP, Cuba and Jose Iglesias: SS, Cuba: From BP-
Iglesias has a similarly strong tournament record, drawing attention for his flashy glovework at shortstop, with one scout grading his fielding as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. His arm is enough to stick at shortstop, but his range is somewhat limited by his fringe-average speed. Iglesias makes the most of his ability, with instincts that enhance his tools and excellent makeup. He bats from the right side and while his overall offensive package leaves a bit to be desired, most scouts agree Iglesias will hit enough to allow him to profile as a big league regular. He has decent pop in his 5’10 frame, at a maxed-out 180 lbs., though he can get pull-happy at times. An international scouting director called Iglesias’ total package, “Ryan Theriot with better hands.” Iglesias is a defensive-oriented overachiever and executives say he would be more of a 2nd-3rd rounder if eligible for the recent draft.
Leonardo Fuentes-Outfielder, Colombia:
Colombian trainer Fredy Aycardi turned few heads when he arrived in the Dominican Republic last week. Mostly, he said, Dominican scouts were indifferent to him and his Colombian prospect Leonardo Fuentes, a 16-year-old, 6-foot-3 power-hitting outfielder. That soon changed when Fuentes had a workout with the New York Yankees. Immediately after the workout, Yankees senior vice president Mark Newman confirmed that he invited Fuentes to stay at the Yankees’ academy for the maximum 30 days allowed by Major League Baseball.
Soon scouts from other teams began to approach Aycardi.
“They asked me if I had more kids like him,” Aycardi said. In less than three years as a trainer, Aycardi has established himself as one of the most successful baseball men in Colombia. In February 2007, Miguel Teheran took his prospect nephew Julio to train with Aycardi. In July of that year, Teheran received $800,000 — the most ever given to a Colombian player — from the Atlanta Braves and is now considered one of their top prospects.
Last year, Aycardi trained prospect Giovanny Urshela, who signed for $300,000 with the Cleveland Indians.
This year, Aycardi’s prize is Fuentes.
Jose Osuna, RHP, Venezuela, 6’3 190
Osuna sits in the high 80s and touches 92 with his fastball and offers a solid curveball as a complement. He has struggled with commanding it in the past but some feel it’s due to poor mechanics and view it as a correctable problem. Osuna is said to be asking for 200k-350k in bonus money.
Daniel Sanchez, RHP, Venezuela
Jorge Arangure reported via Twitter that the Righty worked out for Yankees last week, as well as the Twins. Here’s some info from La Esquina (ESPN Latin Baseball Blog):
“Last week in Maracay, Venezuela, right-handed pitcher Daniel Sanchez likely established himself as the premier pitcher for this year’s July 2 signing period. In front of scouts from at least 25 teams, Sanchez—a thin, but not spindly-built power pitcher—threw a fastball that ranged from the low to mid 90’s. He threw with almost perfect form and his delivery was very advanced, said several who saw him.
“He will be Michel Inoa of this year,” one scout said, referring to the Dominican pitcher who last year received $4.2 million from the Oakland A’s.
It’s unlikely the Venezuelan Sanchez will receive that much—Inoa was left-handed which is considered a much rarer commodity—but Sanchez should at least get the $2 million bonus the San Diego Padres gave Venezuelan pitcher Adys Portillo last year.
Certainly, Sanchez isn’t a finished product. One scout said his breaking ball, a slurve at this point, still needs work.
“He could have an above average slider,” said one scout.”
Of course the part I left out was that some scouts have questioned whether or not he is 16. People believe Portillo will eventually throw mid to upper 90’s, but you don’t see a 16 year old throwing 98 (and if you do then holy expletive). Could he really be 16?
“”He’s way too advanced to be a guy that young,” another scout said.”
He is represented by the Diamond Club which is the same org that represents John Smoltz. Does that make them trustworthy? Here is another guy that could develop into a front end starter. If you are the Padres do you take a chance on this guy? Give him $2 mil and put him on a similar path as Portillo (start next year in Eugene the way Portillo will start the opening game later this week). And what about the age issue? Last year the Padres signed Jeffery Pena to $325,000; he is now being scrutinized for age issues. If he is found guilty, the Padres would still not be able to collect any of the 325k and Pena would be suspended for a year. (Although I love the quote from Smith: Most frustrating for the Padres is that MLB investigators did not have significant enough concerns with Peña’s age last year to warrant voiding the player’s contract prior to when San Diego paid out the bonus).
UPDATE:In the Dominican Republic, ESPN’s Jorge Arangure Jr. reports the Yankees have been “all over” SS prospect Damian Arredondo, touted for his “raw speed.” BP’s Ben Badler reports about his skills:
a Plus-plus runner, plus hands, plus arm. Bat needs a little work, but has tools.
BP’s Kiley McDaniel says:
Just talked to a source that brought up today’s hot name, SS Damian Arredondo, saying he’s easily a $500k player & thinks NYY will land him.