Cuban infielder/outfielder Randy Arozarena has been declared a free agent, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. The 20-year-old joins fellow standout Lazaro Armenteros as intriguing prospects who are now free to join an MLB organization.
According to Badler, Arozarena will hold a showcase in Mexico on January 22. Expectations appear to be that he’ll sign in relatively short order after that occurs. Notably, Arozarena will be subject to international bonus limitations.
In its last ranking of young Cuban talent, BA listed Arozarena as the ninth-best prospect who was (then) still on the island. Calling him a “quick-twitch athlete,” Badler praises Arozarena for his speed and says he could play up the middle and feature at the top of a big league lineup — if he reaches his potential.
While it doesn’t seem as if there’s a lot of power projection for the youngster, Badler does say he’s got enough pop to be a double-digit home run threat despite generally featuring a “line-drive approach.” And he’s said to have good contact skills, bat speed, plate discipline, and pitch recognition, making for an appealing overall package.
Defense remains something of a question, as Arozarena has moved around quite a bit in recent years. He has a history at shortstop and has featured there in showcases, but as Badler explains he has also been utilized quite a bit in the outfield in recent years. It’s not clear yet where Arozarena will end up, but it appears likely that he has a good shot at being able to handle a challenging defensive assignment in the long run, adding to his value.
Though he’s a fair bit older than Lazarito, Arozarena is still not a player who’ll be pursued for his immediate impact. Badler guesses that he’d be likely to open at the High-A level to start the 2016 campaign, suggesting it could be a few years until he factors at the major league level.