Friday, December 25, 2015
Christmas Wish for a Giants Fan
MLBTR had a Christmas Day article about a 16 year old Cuban phenom named Lazaro Armenteros, and I've found my Christmas Wish and Giants New Year's Resolution all wrapped into one. He's a 6'2", 205 lbs of fast twitch athlete. Here's a quote from an international scout: "…a rare combination of dazzling speed, raw power and outfield arm strength." Here is the one that hooked me: "….reminiscsent of Willie Mays and Bo Jackson." Well, gulp! Do you know how long I've been waiting and hoping for the next Willie Mays? And with Bo Jackson's size? He even already has his own soccer style single name, Lazarito.
The kid has an interesting story in that he grew up poor in Cuba, but in a family unit. His father was 6'5" basketball player of some note. He has played organized baseball with good on-field results. Then he got shut out of organized baseball by the Cuban government, possibly due to suspected anti-government sentiment among family members. He decide to defect. He flew with his mother from Cuba to Ecuador, but was denied entry and sent back to Cuba. He then flew to Russia and was again denied entry. During a layover in Germany on the flight back to Cuba, he purchased a ticket to Haiti was was able to disembark there. He then made his way to the Dominican Republic where he is reportedly working out 6 days per week in a secluded area of the country. He is represent by the brother of the Hairston boys and has scheduled an exhibition on January 8. Since he has yet to be declared eligible for the current international signing cycle, MLB scouts are not supposed to attend, but over 100 are expected to anyway.
He is applying for an exemption from the May 15 filing deadline due to circumstances beyond his control. There is precedence for MLB granting such exemptions. If it is granted, the Giants would have a chance to sign him. If not, they will be limited to $300 K next year and have no chance.
There are several Cuban players still out there who are eligible to be signed this period including Jorge Ona, an OF who looks a lot like Yoan Moncada but bats exclusively RH. There is also Yordan Alvarez a 6'4" B-L, T-R first baseman who looks a lot like Darryl Strawberry at the plate. Jonathan Machado is a small B-L, T-L OF who is also eligible to be signed.
The Giants are already over the penalty line for international signings for the current period. They still have to pay a 100% penalty for further signings, but do not get further penalties in terms of future signings, so they may want to maximize their haul this period. I just know that if they do not end up signing "Lazarito" that Willie Mays reference will be just cruel!
I'll close with a reminder that you don't have to be a human toolshed to be a great player. When asked about living up to his first year exploits, Matt Duffy gave this reply: "I think it's human to think about that, but you just get back to what made me able to do it. I wasn't worried about hitting .300 or hitting 10 homers. I did it by focusing on the most simple thing: See the ball as big as I can and put a good swing on it. As soon as you think about other people's expectations, you lock yourself up trying to do the simplest things."
That's from an article by Henry Schulman.
Gotta love it! Matt Duffy!