Cuban right-hander Raciel Iglesias is set to host a showcase for Major League teams in Haiti tomorrow, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds (also via Twitter) that many clubs are expected to attend, as Iglesias is seen by some as a potential reliever that could make an impact at the Major League level late in the season.
The 24-year-old defected from Cuba this winter, though as of this writing, there’s been no indication that he has been cleared by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which is a necessary step before he can sign with a big league team. Because he’s older than 23 and has three or more years of professional experience, Iglesias will not be subject to international spending limitations once he is cleared to sign. Any club can sign him for any amount, though that doesn’t guarantee a massive payday, as we’ve seen with the minor league deals signed recently by Yenier Bello (Braves) and Odrisamer Despaigne (Padres).
As Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote last fall upon Iglesias original attempt to defect — he was detained once prior to successfully defecting to Mexico — Iglesias threw 88 to 92 mph at last year’s World Baseball Classic but has been considerably more impressive in the past, flashing 92 to 95 mph velocity and a sweeping breaking ball that sat between 76 and 81 mph. Badler did note on more than one occasion that Iglesias would likely need to begin his career in the minor leagues rather than jumping directly to the Majors.
Iglesias’ stats are available over at ObstructedView.com, which shows that in his past 82 2/3 innings, he’s posted a 3.05 ERA with a 74-to-30 K/BB ratio (five of those walks were intentional). He was connected to both the Red Sox and Diamondbacks in the offseason, though it’s not clear if either club would still have interest at this point.