It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Cuban prospect’s hype video – a concept to which we were introduced back when Yoenis Cespedes was first emerging, and exploded into our consciousness with a 20(!) minute hype video, complete with a ‘Star Wars’ scrolling introduction. Unfortunately the audio has now been scrubbed on that glorious original, but there was a follow-up video you can see and read about here.
By contrast, the just-released “Showcase Trailer” for top Cuban prospect Lazaro Armenteros (nicknamed “Lazarito”), who will work out for scouts on January 8 in the Domincan Republic, is extremely tame. It’s well-packaged, though, with numerous shots of Lazarito’s LZ brand symbol. This kid is being marketed for real – also, there’s a couple glances at baseball in there, too:
On the baseball stuff, I couldn’t help but notice two things about Lazarito’s swing: (1) he hits the ball very hard, especially for a 16-year-old; but (2) he appears to be all kinds of off-balance. I know you’re not going to get a polished, finished product at that age, especially when he hasn’t played competitive ball in a year, but even my #NotAScout eye can tell something’s off. And those are the shots they chose to include in the video.
I guess that’s probably a reminder that, although the Lazarito hype is going to go through the roof, and, indeed, maybe the raw ability and tools are right there through the roof to match, he’s still just a 16-year-old prospect. Even the best of the best take years to develop, if they do at all.
As I said this weekend in the write-up on Lazarito, it remains very difficult to know in advance the kind of market that will develop for Cuban prospects, especially when they are as young and hyped as this particular player. Still, it’s important to follow Lazarito’s story because, if he becomes available to sign in the current IFA period, the Cubs are going to look at him heavily, given that they’re already well over their bonus pool.
Furthermore, Lazarito’s availability will greatly impact how things shake out for the many other quality Cuban prospects currently available or who will soon be available. That all affects the Cubs, too.
In other words: expect to hear a lot about Lazarito in the coming weeks and months.