Details Emerge About Hechevarria

Jorge Ebro at the Nuevo Herald interviewed newly signed Blue Jays prospect Adeiny Hechevarria in Spanish, digging out a few fresh insights concerning both the signing and the 19-year-old Cuban shortstop's potential.

Hechevarria avoids saying directly that the Blue Jays aren't the team of his teenage dreams, but he lets slip that he "played shortstop for Santiago imagining that it was Yankee Stadium." Nevertheless, Ebro notes that Hechevarria turned down an offer from the Yankees in the hopes of rising more quickly to prominence in Toronto's system. The New York Post's George King II wrote three days ago that the Yankees were likely willing to offer similar money to Toronto, and more recently, the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott quoted an unnamed executive as saying that "the word in the scouting community" was that the Yankees' offer was larger Toronto's winning bid of $10MM for four years.

Shortstop for the Blue Jays has been a sorespot in terms of both reliable production and reliable attendance since back when the team was a perpetual contender, as last year's .789 OPS by Marco Scutaro was the highest by a Blue Jays shortstop logging at least 500 PAs since Tony Fernandez in 1987. Over those ensuing years, other AL East teams have built their lineups around the likes of Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, and Miguel Tejada. Even the Rays have been able to bank on shortstop with more reliability than the Jays, as Tampa Bay's recent history has witnessed the best years of Julio Lugo's career and the arrival of Jason Bartlett.

But what to expect from Hechevarria himself? In the absence of minor league stats and scouting reports, Ebro's sources reach for comparisons. One scout labels him "an Alfonso Soriano who can defend," while another describes him as more polished than last year's highly regarded Cuban shortstop prospect, Jose Iglesias, who will start the season in Double A Portland for the Red Sox. Comparisons between the two prospects are seemingly inevitable, for reasons of age (Iglesias is 20), nationality, contract size, and because Hechevarria got the nod over Iglesias at short for the Cuban team at the World Baseball Junior Championships in 2007.

Elliott at the Toronto Sun quotes an AL executive who calls Hechevarria "a much better player" than Iglesias, while another official from a team who made an offer to Hechevarria labeled him "probably more of a fielder than a hitter" for the time being, albeit one who will be "pretty offensive when it all plays out." Like Iglesias, Hechevarria will likely start out at Double A, notes Dave Perkins at the Toronto Star.

All comparisons with other prospects aside, though, Ebro's article starts out by comparing Hechevarria's potential to the next few years of his idol, Jeter, and writers in New York have noted the comparison as well. Mike Vaccaro at the New York Post most recently wrote that Hechevarria was widely believed to be "earmarked for the Yankees," and that that missing out on Hechevarria shows the team's commitment to an iconic shortstop who "will have to morph from shortstop into either a left fielder or a full time designated hitter" by the end of his next contract—especially if that contract stretches to six years, as Jon Heyman recently posited.

According to some, though, Hechevarria's future isn't even at short. One scout tells Elliott that the prospect's skills will eventually put him in the outfield, while Vaccaro notes that Hechevarria's bat could translate well to second base or center field, just one more reason why the newest Blue Jay "made all the sense in the world" for the Yankees.


29 Responses to Details Emerge About Hechevarria Leave a Reply

  1. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Well whaddya know? Money can’t buy everyone after all. Maybe this kid has his head on straight. Maybe he sees the big picture instead of the money and the fame that comes with playing with the Yanks. I would have liked to have seen him sign with the Cubs but if it wasn’t the Cubs, the Jays would have been my next choice. I’m looking forward to seeing what Hechevarria can do. I’ve read he may eventually have more pop than Iglesias, he’s a good defender and a good athlete, and, considering he passed up more money and a chance to play for his dream team for a better opportunity on the field, it seems that this kid, above all else, just wants to play ball.

    • I think the opposite, he wanted to make more money over the long term. He knew Jeter would block him from making that money quickly, so he went to the Jays so he could make money and go into arbitration or get a huge contract on the free agent market. He can become famous more quickly this way because he’ll get into the majors atleast one or 2 years earlier than he would have if he joined the yankees. I really wish he could have been on the yankees, but this is a great signing by the Jays.

      • crunchy1 5 years ago

        That could well be I suppose…a little cynical,maybe but we don’t have a whole lot of details about him or what kind of advice his agent has given him. Maybe they are looking long term financially, but even in that scenario it shows the kid isn’t short-sighted. He would have been a nice sign for the Yanks, but they are in a tricky situation with Jeter right now.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      I’ve read he’s already got more power than Iglesias, but Iglesias hits for a higher average

      • crunchy1 5 years ago

        I read that somewhere too. Both should increase their power as they fill out, though Hechevarria has the higher ceiling in that area. It’ll be interesting to compare the two as they come up through the minors.

        • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

          It’s said that Hechevarria has better defense than Iglesias too.

          I would have liked to see Chapman in a Jays uniform, but it looks as if Hechevarria is a very nice compensation. I tip my hat to Anthopolous for pulling this one off.

          • crunchy1 5 years ago

            Hechevarria did bump Iglesias to 2b two years ago, so he obviously has some serious natural skills at SS. It’s hard to say what’s happened in 2 years, though, Iglesias was 17 at the time and he’s made some progress since then. We do know that Iglesias is an oustanding SS now, so if Hechevarria is still ahead of him then he’s got to be scary good. Hechevarria also looks like he has the bat and athleticism to move around if necessary, that’s a nice bonus but I’m sure the Jays have no plans to play him anywhere but SS.

            Ditto on Chapman. I was rooting hard for the Jays since my Cubs didn’t seem to be in the race. And though Chapman is the most ballyhooed Cuban prospect, Hechevarria fills the bigger need.

          • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

            If Hechevarria turns into John McDonald with a potent bat, yikes! Time will tell though.

          • Andy Mc 5 years ago

            maybe that’s why they signed JMac to a 2 year deal… mentorship with the glove goes a long way. Hopefully he can make the Jays while Mac is still around…

          • crunchy1 5 years ago

            Or as the one scout said, “an Alfonso Soriano who can defend” We’re assuming he means Soriano in his prime, of course! I don’t remember the last time Toronto has had such a high profile amateur signing. I think this is good strategy by the Jays. Landing Hechevarria establishes them as a serious player in the Cuban market and hopefully they can expand it to other Latin American markets as well. We know Toronto will always have a tough time beating the Yanks and BoSox on the FA market, but maybe they can beat them when it comes to scouting and the international market.

  2. Shoeless_Joe 5 years ago

    I just wish he’d sign on the dotted line already! Beeston (Jays President) said in an interview last night (fan590.com) that they still haven’t officially signed him.

    • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

      I read somewhere that the deal is pending a physical.

      If I come across the link I’ll post it.

      EDIT: Pending Physical

  3. Jonathan Gallo 5 years ago

    19 or 21?

    • alxn 5 years ago

      He’s listed as 19 on some places and 21 on others. The New York Post said 21. A site about Cuban players has him at 19.

  4. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    I don’t see why anyone would take this as a slight against the Yanks. Clearly the kid grew up as a Yankees fan. He said he dreamed of the field he played as if it were Yankee stadium. If he wanted to be a Yankee and the Yankees offered similar money, then clearly, the truth of the matter is what’s been speculated………he didn’t want to get trapped behind Jeter and felt that with the Jays he would have a clearer path to the majors. Great for him and I hope he reaches the majors quickly and experiences great success. Stop trying to turn his decision into a slight against the Yankees because clearly it isn’t.

    • crunchy1 5 years ago

      No slight meant to the Yankees, just kudos to the kid for looking beyond signing bonus and the mystique of playing for the Yanks to make the best decision for his future.

      • infamy707 5 years ago

        Why in the world would a baseball player look past signing bonuses and not getting the most money he can out of the sport, this is life not fantasy.

        • crunchy1 5 years ago

          You’re kidding, right? .

          First of all there is this line from the posting itself, “…and more recently, the Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliott quoted an unnamed executive as saying that “the word in the scouting community” was that the Yankees’ offer was larger (than) Toronto’s winning bid of $10MM for four years.” So apparently, the kid DID turn down a larger offer.

          Secondly, many commenters on this thread have noted that his path toward playing time is shorter in Toronto because he won’t be blocked by a hall of famer. There’s a better opportunity to get on the field in Toronto.

          Thirdly, and related to the reason above, one commenter noted that the sooner he plays, the quicker he becomes eligible for arbitration and free agency, where he can get a bigger major league contract. Probably more than enough to make up for the differences he may get today on his first contract.

          There’s more to life than immediate gratification. In fact, every successful person I know (financially or otherwise) has the ability to delay short-term immediate gratification for greater long term success in the future. Turning down a bigger deal for a better opportunity with a better future outlook isn’t fantasy. It’s reality. Successful people do it all the time. Like I said earlier, this kid has his head on straight.

    • Please name me a player in baseball that doesn’t come up saying ‘I dreamed of playing in Yankee Stadium’. It’s the equivalent to ‘I’m in the best shape of my life’ for spring training. Also, the Yankees were slighted in that he DID NOT sign there. But I’m glad you’re always here to damage control the situation from the Yankees end.

      • shockey12 5 years ago

        So every baseball player in the world wants to be a Yankee?

      • Yankees420 5 years ago

        Yeah I think it’s a little over the top to say every player says they dream of playing for the Yanks, yeah they do have the most mystique of all major league teams, but if I remember correctly Mauer grew up a twins fan and he’s one of the top 3 players in the league. So I think your reaction is a slightly over the top my friend.

      • deere5800 5 years ago

        I think his point was that it doesn’t matter if you’re a Yankees fan or not, you still dream of playing in Yankee Stadium. I dream of playing in Yankee Stadium and beating the crap out of them.

        • Andy Mc 5 years ago

          i grew up dreaming of playing at Exhibition Stadium.

  5. LifeLongYankeeFan 5 years ago

    I sure as hell hope my Yankees do something pretty soon because Jeter isn’t gonna be at ss forever but he also keeps amazing me and as long as he has his mind set on something he will keep working his ass off at it. Hopefully they can draft someone down the road or hope something pops up in free agency in 3 years or so. At first I was pissed saying I hope this kid is a bust and the Yankees would say oh well too bad but now I understand where the kid is coming from. Who knows maybe he will become a star and then the Yankees might go hard after him down the road in fa but I’m sure more cuban ss prospects will pop up in the near future. Life in Yankee land moves on lol.

  6. grownice 5 years ago

    if this kid plays steller D and can hit 270 with 15 -20 jacks down the road id be ecstatic!

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