Outfielder Ruben Paz has left Cuba to pursue a contract with a major league team, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. Paz likely would have been the rookie of the year in Serie Nacional for the 2015-16 season had he remained in Cuba, according to Badler. Given his age (21) and the fact that he doesn’t have at least five years’ experience in Serie Nacional, Paz will be subject to the international bonus pools, Badler notes.
Paz hit .361/.411/.476 in 76 games for Las Tunas in Serie Nacional, whose season ended earlier this month. He’s now the second straight potential rookie of the year in Serie Nacional to depart Cuba in hopes of landing in the majors, joining fellow outfielder Yusniel Diaz – who signed with the Dodgers for $15.5MM during the offseason. Paz isn’t the same caliber of prospect as Diaz, however, writes Badler.
Paz is a right-hander batter who has a short, simple swing and possesses the ability to hit to all fields, per Badler, who adds that he didn’t show much power in 2015-16 (three home runs) and wasn’t particularly successful on the bases (three steals in 10 tries). He also struck out 38 times compared to 17 walks. Paz demonstrated more power last summer as part of Cuba’s Sub-23 league, amassing six homers and a .297/.331/.464 line in 152 plate appearances, according to Badler.