Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the younger brother of Astros infielder Yulieski Gurriel, hosted a showcase for 60 to 70 Major League scouts today in Panama City, per a pair of reports from MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez and El Nuevo Herald’s Jorge Ebro.
The Marlins had a pair of scouts on hand to watch Gurriel, per Ebro, while the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan reported yesterday that the Astros would be in attendance as well. And earlier this month, FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported that the Cardinals were planning on attending the workout, too. Realistically, though, given the number of scouts reported to be in attendance and the fact that the younger Gurriel brother is one of the most well-regarded prospects on the international scene, it’d probably be more notable to list the teams (if any) that didn’t attend his showcase. Heyman said that roughly 20 teams were likely to be represented, and it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if that number ended up closer to 30.
Gurriel, 22, is currently subject to international bonus pools. That, however, will change next month on Oct. 19 when he celebrates his 23rd birthday. Despite his relative youth, Gurriel spent parts of six seasons playing in Serie Nacional, Cuba’s top league, meaning he’ll have the requisite experience to qualify as a professional upon turning 23, thus exempting him from bonus pools and allowing him to a Major League contract with any team for any amount and length.
Gurriel began his pro career in Cuba at just 16 years of age and batted .277/.362/.426 in 305 games from 2010-16, including an impressive .344/.407/.560 with 10 homers and eight steals across 59 games in his final season on the island. Capable of playing both shortstop and center field, Gurriel showcased his skills at both positions today, per Sanchez, fielding grounders and turning double plays from the shortstop position while also catching fly balls and making throws from center field. He also took four rounds of batting practice, two rounds against live pitching and ran a 6.65 in the 60-yard dash (all via Sanchez’s report). Sanchez writes that Gurriel’s physique and strong arm drew praise, though some teams felt he could use some more work against live pitching.
From here, the likeliest step for Gurriel will be to conduct private workouts for teams with interest in signing him. Because he’s unlikely to sign before his birthday, the Wasserman client should have ample time to allow multiple clubs to make an evaluation before agreeing to terms with a team. In the above-linked piece from the Houston Chronicle, Kaplan spoke to Baseball America’s Ben Badler about Gurriel’s overall skill set, with Badler explaining that the soon-to-be 23-year-old could open next season in Double-A or Triple-A, suggesting that a reasonably quick rise to the Majors is possible.