Cuban infielder/outfielder Randy Arozarena, a 20-year-old prospect, has left the island with intentions of coming to Major League Baseball, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. He joins a growing stream of interesting Cuban players at various stages of qualifying for free agency.
Badler and BA tabbed Arozarena as the nation’s ninth-best prospect recently, calling him “a quick-twitch athlete with a lean, lively frame.” With good overall hitting ability and plus speed, Arozarena probably will not need to provide much power to have value. But the scouting report — which you’ll want to check out for a full breakdown (subscription required, and recommended) — indicates that the line-drive hitter could conceivably produce double-digit home runs with some adjustments and growth.
It remains to be seen where clubs will view him defensively: he’s spent time in center and left field after starting out as a middle infielder and also seeing action at third. The tools are there for him to play a premium defensive position down the line, says Badler, though it seems that there’s plenty of development left for him in that regard.
Arozarena will be subject to international spending limits when he signs. Given his profile it’s a good bet that he’ll go to a team that is willing to incur a two-year timeout to add him (likely, in conjunction with other significant outlays).
It’s obviously far to soon to guess as to Arozarena’s market, not least of which because he is just beginning an often-lengthy process of establishing residency and attaining free-agent status. But it is safe to say that those teams that are already set to face bans on pool-bound international signings over $300K (Angels, D’Backs, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees) will almost certainly be out of the race.