No, they aren’t those two Cuban players, but today the Chicago Cubs signed two Cuban prospects, outfielder Yasiel Balaguert and righthander Carlos Martinez.
Baseball America describes the soon-to-be 19-year-old Balaguert as a “thick-bodied” center fielder with “modest tools,” who “shows occasional average power with a quick bat and good extension.”
But BA adds that “several scouts have said he’ll have to continue to make adjustments to get to his power in games because of a long, uppercut swing from the right side and an aggressive, pull-oriented approach that leaves him susceptible to secondary stuff.”
From some quick research, it looks like Balaguert (who was previously identified as “Balaguer”) was a hot name when he defected around this time last year, and actually worked out for the Cubs in January. Why it took so long to sign, I can’t say.
Martinez, 20, is a huge kid – 6’4″, 215 lbs – who has pitched in relief at the highest level in Cuba, but with limited success. He’s described as having a decent fastball that sits in the low 90s, and a curveball and change up that both need work.
There is more on each in the Baseball America article, including some on Balaguert’s time in the World Junior National Tournament in 2010 playing alongside Jorge Soler and against future 2011 first-round picks Bubba Starling, Francisco Lindor and Blake Swihart.
The Cubs’ brass, you’ll recall, spent considerable time earlier in the offseason in the Carribean scouting Cubans Yoenis Cespedes and Soler, along with other (at the time) unnamed prospects.