Yankees interested in Cuban left-hander Gerardo Concepcion

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Monday: Ben Badler of Baseball America (subs. req’d) provided a scouting report today. “Concepcion is a slender 6-foot-2 with long arms, sloped shoulders and an athletic, wiry build that could have some projection remaining,” says Badler, who lauds his feel for pitching. “At times his fastball ranges from 88-92 mph, though some scouts have said they’ve seen him dip to 86-90 mph at times … Some scouts like Concepcion’s mid-70s curveball, which shows good depth at times … Concepcion also throws a changeup (some scouts have called it a splitter), though like many young pitchers it’s still a work in progress. While some scouts view Concepcion’s upside as a No. 5 starter, others see a bit more.” So there you have it.

Saturday: I’m way late on this, but Enrique Rojas reports that the Yankees are one of several teams with interest in 18-year-old Cuban left-hander Gerardo Concepcion. He’s reportedly close to signing as well, but it’s unclear with who.

I can’t find an actual scouting report on the kid for the life of me, so I don’t know exactly what kind of prospect we’re dealing with. Concepcion established residency in Mexico earlier a few weeks ago but is now training in the Dominican Republic. Concepcion defected from Cuba while in the Netherlands for the World Port Tournament this past summer. I guess we’ll find out more about him soon enough.

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  • Cy Pettitte

    from the article:

    “Concepcion, 18, was named rookie of the year for the 2010-11 season in the Cuban Serie Nacional, the country’s main amateur league. He went 10-3 with a 3.36 ERA in 21 games, including 16 starts, with Industriales de la Habana.”

    Mike (or anyone else), what minor league level would you compare this league to, if it has an MiLB equivalent?

    • Paul VuvuZuvella

      Amateur League. Maybe below MiLB and more like a Cape Cod League at best. Probably have to look at him like a H.S. prospect.

      • toad

        You don’t know WTF you’re talking about. This “amateur league” is the top league in Cuba. Putting up those kind of numbers is impressive work for an 18-year old. In fact, there are probably American AAA pitchers who couldn’t do that well.

    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Mike E

      The best example would be A+

      Again, he’s pitching against hitters who are in their mid to late 20’s and would probably be closer to AA and AAA, but also against players who would barely even make a MiLB team.

      • toad

        Are you quite sure of this? The Industriales are one of the top teams in Cuba, where all the leagues are considered “amateur.” El Duque in fact played for the Industriales before defecting.

        I suspect that the league he played in is much better than A+, and has players who might be able to play in the majors.

        • Genghis

          Industriales ia a top team, but there are 17 teams at this level, and only 11 million people in Cuba.

          • Genghis

            Let’s assume that for a given population in a baseball-oriented country, there is one player who is currently of Major League caliber for every 500,000 people. That’s a higher ratio than the USA, but I’d believe that Cuba somewhat more baseball-obsessed than the USA is. That would mean there are about 22 players in Cuba currently capable of playing at the ML level. If the top Cuban amateur leagues have 17 teams, they probably have at least 350 players. That’s nearly 16 times the estimates 22 ML-caliber players. Based on that, I’d estimate the average Cuban player would be at the level of USA baseball that is 7 levels down from the Majors. That would be just below Rookie league –basically the Cape Cod league level. That doesn’t mean there are n’t going to be some ML-caliber players, but that’s going to be balanced by an awful lot that would only be good enough to play on second-tier college teams in the USA.

            • toad

              Let’s assume that for a given population in a baseball-oriented country, there is one player who is currently of Major League caliber for every 500,000 people. That’s a higher ratio than the USA, but I’d believe that Cuba somewhat more baseball-obsessed than the USA is.

              Well, if we take 40-man rosters the ratio in the US is 1 in 250,000. Of course you might not want to define MLB level talent that broadly, and you do have to allow for the fact that we have lots of foreign players, so maybe 1 in 500,000 is not a bad estimate. Of course we also have lots of other sports competing for good athletes.

              But why use the US, where conditions are different than Cuba? According to this there were 137 Dominican born players in MLB in 2011. Many of course were marginal, but a marginal MLB player is not a GCL player. The DR has a population of 10 million, so that’s 1 out of 73,000. Indeed, why wouldn’t DR be a better comparison to Cuba than the US is? (There were 18 Cuban-born, BTW, about 1 in 650,000 Cubans, despite the obvious problems.)

              Could there be 137 Cubans capable of playing MLB? I don’t know, but it’s not implausible. Remember Cuba has about eleven and a half million people, 15% more than DR.

              Anyway, I’m not claiming that the Cuban league is at MLB level, just that it has some MLB level players, and to think of it in terms of the Cape Cod league is silly. There’s a wide range of talent in the Cuban league, so trying to pinpoint a level in the US system is likely useless, but the average level is much higher than that. Besides, we’re talking here about a guy who performed well. He’s not an average Cuban player.

              Also I’d be curious as to how you did those calculations, incidentally. Let’s say the logic doesn’t leap off the page.

              • Ted Nelson

                You seem to be talking out of your ass. Why not just ask someone who actually knows something about Cuban baseball?

                • I Live In My Mom’s Basement

                  I liked the bizarro Ned Telson better.

            • toad

              This is getting interesting.

              Let’s say there are 136 players in Cuba who are at least good enough to get an end-of-season callup to the majors. That’s one less than the number of Dominicans who managed that in 2011, despite Cuba’s 15% larger population. Let’s assume, reasonably, that these are all AAA players or better.

              OK. Given seventeen teams, that’s an average of eight per team. So you’ve go, on average, 5-6 position players and 2-3 pitchers. So the core of the typical team consists of players who clearly would be AAA in the US at leats, and you’re telling me it’s a Cape Cod level league on average?

              • Ted Nelson

                These assumptions are pretty questionable. There are people who actually know something about Cuban baseball you can ask rather than pulling things out of the sky. You have made up that there are 8 MLB caliber players per team in Cuba… you don’t seem to have any real idea what the level of competition is.

                Cuba doesn’t have the academy system of the DR or the minor league system of MLB. Their system is set up mostly to produce a national team. Having good players at the top of the system tell us very little about the rest of the system.

                A lot of the top Cuban players aren’t playing in Cuba. There were 17 Cuban born players in MLB last year and more in MiLB.

                • toad

                  I’m just responding to people making ridiculous claims about the low level in Cuba, and trying to play the numbers game they started.

                  I don’t know a lot about Cuban baseball, but I know it’s better than the Cape Cod league.

                  And I didn’t make up that “there are 8 MLB caliber players per team.” I suggested that by comparing with DR it’s possible to guess that there are eight AAA caliber players per team. Want to cut it in half? OK. That’s still a decent league.

                  And no, Cuba doesn’t have the academies and the like, but they are fairly serious about sports. And, for obvious reasons, Cuban players are more likely to play in Cuba than DR players are to play in DR.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    I’m not saying I disagree with your numbers, but that I disagree with your process. People actually watch and follow Cuban baseball. Rather than treat it like some unknown that is impossible to get at… find a few people online who follow it and write them. You’ll probably get a couple of responses and can start to get an idea for the range of informed opinions.

                    You’re basically saying “You guys don’t know squat about Cuba… I don’t know squat either… but my guesses are better than your guesses.” Cuba is not the Dominican Republic… taking the number of good players in the DR and projecting it on Cuba may be accurate or it may be totally inaccurate. My point about the MLB system in DR is that these players are weeded out and developed against progressively harder levels of competition. Cuban players don’t get to face those concentrated levels of competition. Winning international competitions is great… but those rosters aren’t MLB rosters. The US roster has maybe half MLB players… and usually not even very good MLB players.

                    You didn’t just jump on someone who said it was Cape Cod… you also jumped on someone who said it was A+… which is pretty high. If your contention is that 4-8 guys on a 25-man roster are AAA players… 17-21 are worse than that and High A seems like a generous guess. You just seem hellbent on trying to prove Cuban baseball is great with what seems like very little knowledge on Cuban baseball.

                    • toad

                      The average level of play is determined by the above average players in the league.

                      The average level of the Yankee infield is determined mostly by Teixeira, Cano, Jeter, and Arod. Pena and Nunez affect it some, but not that much. Even if the average player is at the A+ level, that doesn’t mean the league’s level of play is A+. It’s higher, because most of the time the above average players will be the ones playing.

                      Anyway, I know I got a little testy here, but I was reacting to silly comments from some who know even less than I do about Cuban baseball (at least I’ve been to a game, and learned a bit in the process).

                      I think maybe you’ve reacted that way to some comments in the past.

              • Genghis

                I’m very glad you found this interesting. That was the whole point of the thread– to show how you can have some fun using estimation techniques. toad, I’m really gratified you got into it. Obviously, you end up with different conclusions depending on your assumptions. But I really like what you did with it.

  • CMP

    Cashman’s can’t resist a potential LOOGY

  • Steve (different one)

    Sure, why not?

  • Ben

    One begins to wonder when Cuba will simply stop sending its team to other countries to compete when this keeps happening. lol

  • RobertGKramer@AOL.Com
    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Mike E

      What a fantastic article.

      • RetroRob

        Ha!

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Who is left in Cuba ?

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Fidel & Raul, I think.

    • CANO FAN #1

      Fidel

    • MannyGeee

      Tupac….

      #yeahIsaidit

  • Jamey

    I can’t begin to fathom how good he’d have to be to take that loogy role from Boone Logan, even with Boone not actually being terribly good at getting out lefties. I’m pretty sure Girardi took managing lessons from Monty Burns.

    • Steve (different one)

      The kid is 18, he has nothing to do with Boone Logan at all.

      • Jamey

        OMG you got me, I was being completely serious & in no way joking. Thanks.

        • Steve (different one)

          Well ok, my bad.

    • Ted Nelson

      Seeing as he’s an 18 year old who wasn’t even playing professionally in Cuba… I doubt you’re going to see him in MLB any time soon.

      Boone Logan is pretty good at getting MLB hitters out in general… http://www.fangraphs.com/leade.....;players=0

      • Jamey

        sure…

        • Ted Nelson

          How isn’t Logan good at getting out MLB hitters?

          • Mister Delaware

            Good implies better than average, no? Logan has never been better than league average. Worse every year except 2010 when he was even. 7 points over last year.

            • Genghis

              ML Average is not average; it’s pretty darn good.

              • Mister Delaware

                By that standard, Nick Punto is fucking awesome because he can actually play SS in the majors. We compare major leaguers to major leaguers, not ourselves.

            • Ted Nelson

              7 point over what? Last time I checked there is no one perfect agreed upon metric for pitcher effectiveness. His ERA the last two years is 3.2. His FIP is 3.5. His K/9 is above 9. His BA against is below .250.

              • Mister Delaware

                OBPa.

              • Mister Delaware

                I guess I should have stated that but we were talking about getting batters out, which is the inverse of OBPa. My mistake.

      • toad

        No one plays professionally in Cuba. He played at the top level, and Cuba is a baseball-mad country.

        See here for more information.

        • Ted Nelson

          Yeah, I came to realize that in a communist country there’s not going to be a capitalist baseball system after writing that.

          That’s a pretty marginal part of my point, though. Guy is 18 and a long way from the majors. Cuba is baseball mad and also has about half as many people as the NY metro area. They produce a relatively high number of very good players, but it’s not MLB competition by any stretch.

          • toad

            No. It’s not MLB competition, but the best players are MLB level or close. Chapman played in the same league as Concepcion, as do all top Cuban players. As I noted above, El Duque played for the Industriales before defecting.

            The Cuban National team is essentially an all-star team from this league. It’s probably wrong to compare it to any level in the US, since the range of talent is much wider, but the average level is certainly higher than low level minor leagues here.

            • Ted Nelson

              That the best players are good doesn’t say much about the average. A lot of the best players also aren’t in Cuba, and are in the US.

  • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

    Couldn’t find anything either.

    Someone on Twitter asked Klaw about him. He hasn’t given a scouting report on him, but he did state he wasn’t a top 100 talent. That doesn’t really mean much since Campos wouldn’t rate as a top 100 right now either (and both are about the same age), but Campos could very well be eventually, and I suppose so could Concepcion. My guess is Law, and others, haven’t put out a scouting report on him since they haven’t seen him, but Law is asking actual scouts their thoughts on him.

    @keithlawkeithlaw No. No clue on the bonus. RT @davidrelliott: @keithlaw Geraldo Concepcion a top 100ish talent? If not, big bonus coming anyway?

    • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

      Find another Twitter reference from Kevin Goldstein:

      Kevin Goldstein: Great polish for age, but stuff isn’t great. 4-5 starter.

      Yankees might be looking at him for the pen over the next year.

      • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

        …that last line about the Yankees is mine, not Goldstein’s.

  • yankeegirl

    i just searched him i read he defected on Thursday in the Netherlands during a tournament, no additional info on that; also said during the season he pitched 21 games was 10
    and 3 and ERA 3.36

    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Mike E

      He actually defected along with Aroldis Chapman.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        No, that’s what I thought at first but then I reread it. It was the same event (by name), just two years later.

        • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Mike E

          Thanks for that. I read it in the Rojas’ article and it makes no sense considering the years.

  • Monterowasdinero

    If you deliver the ball to the plate with your left arm anything is possible.

    Sincerely,
    Aaron Laffey

    • http://buntdouble.blogspot.com Ralph

      If you were rumored to be able to throw a spherical object 60 feet 6 inches away with your left hand, anything is possible

      Sincerely,
      Pedro Feliciano and Kei Igawa

      • MannyGeee

        If you can throw a Gyroball, $100million and a Town Car… Jus sayin

        Regards,
        Dice

  • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

    I can’t wait for the Yankees to sign me.

    Sincerely,
    Gerardo Concepcion, aka the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona

    • SamVa

      so well played
      even though he has no similar characteristics what-so-ever
      but I laughed.

  • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Steve S.

    If George was still alive, he would have bought Cuba by now.

    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Mike E

      Something tells me that if George was alive, Cespedes would be a Yankee already. Not that I’d condone that.

      • Leg-End

        He’s a player within a player within a player.

        CONCEPCION

        *BRAAPPPP*

  • CJ

    18.lefty from Cuba with ok stuff projects as 4th-5th starter….meh.

    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Mike E

      Where did you get “projects as 4th-5th starter”?

      For such a young kid, his stuff is electric. Based on what I’ve read, he looks more polished than Campos.

      • CJ

        Kevin Goldstein report posted above by urban

    • Robert

      He is only 18 ,many scouts would have said the same about ManBan.

      • Robert

        Just because he throws 90 now doesn’t mean that he won’t throw harder in a few years.With the new CBA the Yankees need to sign him and Soler.

        • Bo Knows

          there are countless pitchers who have gained a ton of velocity since age 18.

          Two big examples are Matt Moore and Strasburg

          Both were 90-93 at best when they were that young, needless to say they have been able to pump a little more gas since then.

          I’m not saying this guy will become like either of those two, but its obvious concepcion can and probably will gain more velocity after better training, coaching, and diet

          • Urban

            Listen, don’t you go knocking a good Cuban, rice-and-bean diet. Has all the nutrients you need to be MLB pitcher.

            • Bo Knows

              I prefer the Big time Timmy Jim Lincecum diet….

              a s$^t ton of greasy burgers, fries, and milkshakes and daily time running up and down stadium stairs, and push ups.

    • Bo Knows

      How many scouts have actually seen him enough to accurately judge his talent or even his stuff for that matter since he’s 18 f’n years old and probably was never even seen by any non-cuban national until 2-3 months ago?

      • bpdelia

        Seriously. I woulsld respect law, goldstein an awful lot more if they said “well i haven’t seen him and no one i know has either but multiple major league teams are interested so they must see something.” Sorry but it really really irks me that goldstein would say he is a 4 or 5 starter having never seen him.

        Seriously read the scouting report on like 80 percent of high school 18 year old lefties with this kids build and it will say ” sits around 90 with the potential for more as he fills out”

        How on earth do you make any call on a kids cielling on third hand hearsay. Just another example of why you absolutely cannot treat the prospect pundit guys word as gospel. I trust the actual scouts like Newman and pilierre so much more.

        • Bo Knows

          I looked up every mlb pitcher, and pitching prospect that I could think of (its a decent sized list) that are within 1 inch of Concepcion’s height and of a similar body type to him, many of the HS aged prospects are around 170-180 lb mark, but the older prospects and mlb players I’ve found are in the 185-205 lb range. That is a significant amount of Muscle and weight that can be added that will naturally increase velocity

  • James

    Are the Yankees gonna have a press conference for Pineda/Kuroda? I know that’s random

    • RetroRob

      You would think so, although both might have flown back to their respective countries before heading back for spring training.

  • Dicka24

    What’s not to like about them signing him? 18 years old, touches 94 according to the article someone linked, and has pitched for the best team, or in the best league Cuba has to offer. Really, what’s not to like? Plus curveball at 18, sitting 89-91, touching 94. It’s only money, and signing guys like these is going to get more difficult for big spending teams, since the new CBA has made how much money a team has, irrelevent. The limits via the “spending pool” or what have you, have totally leveled the played field with IFA’s.

  • Robert The Bruce

    This kid is so good, I predict after his first start all true Yankee fans will be on their knees praying to him as the “Immaculate” Concepcion!

  • Urban

    He’s 18, lefty, wiry, can already throw at least 90 and seems to have a good feel for pitching. If the price is right, sign him.

  • http://goldenshowers.com Favrest

    What are the chances that he’s really 18?

    • Bo Knows

      Since he’s a was a rookie for the Cuban teams, and some kind of multi-year vet I think his chances are better that he is actually 18. Plus the guy looks really young, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a year or two younger than 18.

  • Landry

    But can he jump boxes?

    • Gonzo

      Unless he has at least a 70 pimping show off move, ehhhhh.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    He’ll be an ace after the YouTube video.