Cuban outfielder Dairon Blanco has left his home nation to pursue a major league career, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. The 23-year-old falls within international signing restrictions, which will function to shape and limit his market.
Blanco’s primary calling card is speed, with Badler calling him an 80-grade runner. He’s a major threat on the bases who’s also capable of playing in center, though the report suggests he could use some polish in the outfield.
That’s also the case with regard to his bat. Blanco owns a .303/.369/.409 slash in 916 plate appearances over four seasons in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, with 52 steals to go with a fairly promising 118:81 K/BB ratio. Though the high batting average, low strikeout rate, and wheels suggest that Blanco could be a useful contact hitter, Badler says that he hasn’t exhibited “natural hitting rhythm and actions” even though he’s generally succeeded against Cuba’s uneven pitching talent.
All told, Blanco looks to have an intriguing skillset but also a long way to go to the majors. He’ll also still have some time to wait before signing in the first place, as Badler notes that there’s essentially no chance he will be able to receive clearance before this year’s July 2nd signing period wraps up in mid-June. Still, Blanco could factor into the subsequent signing period, when he’ll join a growing list of Cuban players at different stages of their development in what promises to be a fascinating market.