Cuban infielder Luis Yander La O has defected from Cuba while traveling with the national team to North Carolina, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs noted last night on Twitter that it seemed a move might be in the offing when La O did not appear at the park.
The 23-year-old had been said to be attempting a few months back, and now that seems to have finally taken place. La O (who is also sometimes given the surname “Camacho”) becomes the second player to defect on the national team’s swing through the states, joining Yadiel Hernandez. He intends to seek to achieve free agency and sign with a big league club, per Badler.
La O is exempt from international signing limitations, meaning he’ll be able to sign as any other free agent would once he achieves that status. He should draw a good bit of interest, as Badler rated him tenth among current Cuban players and says he’s nearly prepared for big league action. La O has played mostly at third and second, though he’s seen time at short as well. He’s a high-contact hitter from the right side, says Badler, though he lacks power and leaves some scouts wondering if he’ll hit enough in the majors.