For some Cuban defectors, becoming cleared for MLB free agency can happen quickly. We saw that with Aroldis Chapman, who defected in early July, established residency in Andorra in September, and was granted free agency less than a week later. For other players it takes a bit longer. As George King of the Post reports, Cuban prospect Adeiny Hechevarria is about a week away from clearing the OFAC, which is still verifying his age, identity, and residency. Once that happens, word is the Yankees will be involved heavily.
The Cuban Ball Players blog has a bit more information about Hechevarria — including the spelling of his name, which I trust from that site, since it’s dedicated to Cuban players. Then again, the blog has him listed as 19 years old, while King’s article has him listed as 21. So we can take any information on the kid lightly at this point. In any case, the blog says that while Hechevarria posted a lower batting average than fellow Cuban Jose Iglesias, who signed with the Red Sox for $8.2 million last year, he hit for more power, especially the opposite way. Check out this video:
Will he stick at shortstop, though? Here’s an interesting quote from King’s article:
“He is a very good athlete and runs real well,” the scout said. “I don’t see him as a shortstop, I think he has a chance to be a center fielder in the mold of B.J. Upton. His throwing actions at short are kind of long.”
That doesn’t. This prospect won’t come cheap — probably somewhere around Iglesias’s deal — but it sounds like he might be worth the gamble, given his power and all-around athleticism.
Oh, and I don’t think we need to worry about his range to his left. The web-gem comes at the 4:58 mark.