Cuban right-hander Yadier Alvarez has quickly become one of the most talked-about prospects on the international market, and the buzz among scouts, per Yahoo’s Jeff Passan (on Twitter), is that the Phillies, Dodgers and Diamondbacks are expected to heavily pursue the 18-year-old. In a recent workout in the Dominican Republic, Alvarez showed 93-to-97 mph heat, and as Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs has shown in posting video, he also features a promising slider. A previous report noted that the Twins had their VP of player personnel and other scouts watch Alvarez also, though their specific level of interest remains unclear.
Here’s more from the international front…
- The Angels are looking at Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports (Twitter link). It’s unclear how serious the Halos’ interest is at this juncture, Fletcher cautions, but certainly their long-term outlook at second base is hazy at best. Grant Green, Josh Rutledge and Johnny Giavotella will compete for reps at the keystone this season, but the Angels could benefit from adding an MLB-ready (or close to it) second baseman. Then again, the Angels have persistently refused to make moves that would put them over the luxury tax threshold, and Olivera is expected by teams to seek as much as $12MM annually.
- Yoan Moncada worked out for the Dodgers in Florida today, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. A number of the Dodgers’ top executives were present to get a first-hand look at the 19-year-old infielder. The Dodgers are said to be one of the most serious suitors for Moncada, along with the Yankees, Red Sox and possibly the Padres.
- The Dodgers are reportedly wary about limiting themselves for future international signings by making a big splash for Moncada, though Baseball America’s Ben Badler opined (via Twitter) that he wouldn’t be surprised if L.A. signed both Moncada and Olivera. I agree with Badler — if the Dodgers are willing to exceed the international pool limit anyway, they might as well load up on international talent now since they’ll be virtually unable to make any such signings until June 2017.
- If Moncada was eligible for the 2015 draft, he’d be a strong candidate to be the first overall pick, MLB.com’s Jim Callis notes in his comparison of Moncada to current top infield prospects. “His overall 65 grade would place him among the top dozen prospects in baseball right now, and it’s arguably a bit conservative, because teams haven’t had the chance to evaluate him against much quality competition,” Callis writes.