The Marlins are among the teams showing interest in Cuban right-handed pitcher Yaisel Sierra, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The 25-year-old has yet to be specifically connected with any other club, although it’s probably just a matter of time. He will not fall under international spending requirements.
Sierra last pitched in Cuba’s Serie Nacional in 2014. He posted a 6.10 ERA in 62 innings. However, he pitched to much better results in previous seasons, and scouting reports are positive. In August of 2014, Ben Badler of Baseball America rated Sierra as the 14th best player in Cuba. He cited a 96 mph fastball, occasional plus slider, and multiple arm angles.
The scouting profile reads like fellow Cuban Raisel Iglesias. Like Sierra, Iglesias thrives on using multiple arm angles with a plus fastball and offspeed pitch. According to Rosenthal’s sources, Sierra is expected to beat the seven-year, $27MM deal Iglesias signed with the Reds in 2014. Badler notes that Sierra has a more physical presence than Iglesias, but he comes with questions about his command.
Based on Badler’s profile, it seems that scouts are split as to whether Sierra is a future starter or reliever. While it can be said that the Marlins don’t have an urgent need for a starting pitcher after inking Edwin Jackson, it’s fair to assume that opportunities will arise throughout the season. After Iglesias’ success in 2015, teams may opt for a similar development plan with Sierra. That would entail some time in Triple-A and split work between the major league rotation and bullpen.