Sanchez: Cuban righty Yaisel Sierra declared a free agent

(MLB.com screen grab)
(MLB.com screen grab)

According to Jesse Sanchez, Cuban right-hander Yaisel Sierra has been declared a free agent by MLB and is now able to negotiate and sign with any team. That means he’s already gone through the process of getting unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control as well.

Sierra, 24, impressed during a showcase event earlier this offseason and has reportedly been visiting interested teams these last few weeks. It’s unclear if the Yankees have any interest but, to be fair, no teams have been connected to Sierra yet. His market is a big mystery right now. The showcase reportedly drew approximately 350 talent evaluators, for what it’s worth.

In parts of five seasons in Cuba, Sierra had a 4.23 ERA with a 16.5% strikeout rate and a 12.4% walk rate in exactly 300 innings. That includes a 6.10 ERA with a 18.6% strikeout rate and a 10.5% walk rate in 62 innings in 2014, his last season before defecting. Keep in mind Sierra was a boy playing against men for much of his career. Here’s a recent mini-scouting report from Ben Badler (subs. req’d):

Everything looks good, with a nice frame, clean arm action, a lively fastball that sat 91-94 mph in Cuba and touched 96 (and has since been up to 97) while flashing an above-average slider. In Cuba, Sierra would sometimes use a splitter that could be an effective swing-and-miss pitch against lefties, though he’s scrapped it now for a changeup instead.

Badler says Sierra has settled on one arm slot — he used to throw from all different angles a la Orlando Hernandez — and notes he has been held back by his “poor command and pitchability,” which would be easier to stomach if he were still a teenage pitching prospect and not in his mid-20s.

Because of his age, Sierra is not subject to the international spending restrictions, which means the Yankees or any other team can pay him any amount. He’s a big league free agent, basically. The Yankees can not pay any international amateur players age 23 or younger a bonus larger than $300,000 until July 2017 due to the penalties associated with their spending spree a few years ago.

The Yankees are said to be looking for a young starter they can control beyond 2017, so, if nothing else, Sierra is an option who wasn’t available when the offseason began. Badler’s scouting report doesn’t exactly scream “must sign,” plus there’s a chance the “poor command and pitchability” mean Sierra’s future lies in the bullpen. (He pitched in relief a bunch in Cuba, including in 2014.)

The Reds signed Cuban righty Raisel Iglesias to a seven-year contract worth $27M last offseason, which I suppose gives us a ballpark contract estimate for Sierra. Seven years is a long time! That’s not a lot of money though, even if Sierra winds up in the bullpen. The Yankees haven’t signed a big name Cuban player since Jose Contreras, though Sierra’s not some kind of no-brainer pickup in my opinion. Just someone to consider.

Twins win posting for Korean slugger Byung-Ho Park with $12.85M bid

The Twins have won the negotiating rights to Korean first baseman Byung-Ho Park, MLB announced earlier today. Multiple reports say the winning bid was $12.85M, the second largest ever for an Asian position player (Ichiro Suzuki, $13M) and the second largest for a Korean player overall (Hyun-Jin Ryu, $25.7M). The Twins and Park have 30 days to work out a contract.

The Yankees were said to be among several teams scouting Park this past season, though it’s unclear if they even placed a bid. Jon Heyman said they were out of the race over the weekend. Park is a right-handed hitting first baseman, and while the Yankees could use a righty bat, pretty much the last thing they need right now is another first baseman/DH. Mark Teixeira, Greg Bird, and Alex Rodriguez are plenty.

Park, 29, hit .343/.436/.714 with 53 home runs for the Nexen Heroes this past season. He hit 52 home runs last year in the offense happy Korea Baseball Organization. Remember Eric Thames, the former Blue Jays and Mariners outfielder? He hit .381/.497/.790 with 47 home runs in Korea this past season. So yeah, it’s a great place to hit.

The Yankees figure to continue looking for a righty bat to balance their lineup this offseason. They need to replace Chris Young on the bench, at the very least. Second base is really the only open position player spot, though a trade is always possible. Brett Gardner would be rather easy to move if the Yankees wanted a righty hitting outfielder.

Reports: Cuban RHP Yasiel Sierra impresses in showcase, will begin visiting interesting teams

Cuban right-hander Yasiel Sierra shined during a recent showcase event in front of approximately 350 scouts and executives, reports Jesse Sanchez. It’s unclear which teams attended the workout in Jupiter, Florida, but if there were 350 of them there, I’m guessing the Yankees had eyeballs on him.

Sierra, 24, has been throwing for scouts for weeks, but this was his first time facing hitters — he retired all nine batters he faced during the showcase, but it was a bunch of high school kids — and pitching in front of a very large crowd. He must still wait for MLB’s clearance before he can actually sign, but Sanchez says Sierra will begin visiting the cities of interested teams soon.

Prior to defecting, Sierra spent parts of four seasons pitching in Cuba and participated in a bunch of international tournaments as well. He’s not a total unknown to scouts but they haven’t had a ton of looks at him at him either. Here are Sierra’s stats from Cuba, via Baseball Reference:

Year Age AgeDif Tm ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO BF WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2010 19 -5.7 Holguin 12.00 4 0 3.0 5 4 4 1 4 0 19 3.000 15.0 3.0 12.0 0.0 0.00
2011 20 -4.9 Holguin 5.33 25 3 52.1 58 34 31 5 26 30 231 1.605 10.0 0.9 4.5 5.2 1.15
2012 21 2 Teams 2.20 41 4 81.2 69 22 20 1 41 57 350 1.347 7.6 0.1 4.5 6.3 1.39
2013 22 -3.5 Holguin 3.92 25 18 101.0 79 47 44 3 64 79 448 1.416 7.0 0.3 5.7 7.0 1.23
All Levels (4 Seasons) 3.74 95 25 238.0 211 107 99 10 135 166 1048 1.454 8.0 0.4 5.1 6.3 1.23

Much more important than the stats is the scouting report. Teddy Cahill says Sierra sat in the mid-90s with his heater and around 87 mph with his slider during the showcase. He also threw a changeup. Here’s more from Cahill:

Thursday was Sierra’s first game action in a couple of months, but he overmatched the Chilidogs. While wearing a Cuban national team jersey, he threw three perfect innings, striking out four batters. His fastball sat in the mid 90s, peaking at 96 mph. He used his slider as his out pitch. All four of his strikeouts came on his slider, and a particularly tough 87 mph slider led to a broken bat groundout to end the second inning. He also showed one changeup.

Sierra said he is particularly pleased with the progress of his secondary pitches over the last few months.

“I worked 24/7 for my slider and changeup,” he said through translator and former big leaguer Alex Sanchez. “I was very excited to throw my slider and changeup because they don’t throw that kind of pitch in Cuba.”

Ben Badler (subs. req’d) ranked Sanchez as the 13th best prospect in Cuba before he defected earlier this year. “When Sierra is at his best, he has the look of a mid-rotation starter,” wrote Badler. “Like a lot of Cuban pitchers, Sierra intentionally throws from multiple arm slots, usually throwing from a three-quarters angle but frequently dropping down to a lower slot and at times going up to high three-quarters.”

Because of his age, Sierra is not subject to the international spending restrictions and can sign a big league contract worth any amount. That means the Yankees can sign him — they are limited to bonuses of $300,000 or less for international amateurs as a result of last year’s spending spree, but Sierra is exempt from those restrictions. The $300,000 limit doesn’t apply to him.

Sanchez says scouts believe Sierra can help at the Major League level next season and says the seven-year, $27M contract the Reds gave Cuban righty Raisel Iglesias last winter is comparable to what Sierra can expect. Iglesias spent part of 2015 in the minors but was serviceable in the big leagues, pitching to a 4.15 ERA (3.55 FIP) in 95.1 innings spread across 16 starts and two relief appearances.

The Yankees seem to scout every Cuban player these days — as they should, if only for due diligence — but they haven’t signed a big money Cuban player since Jose Contreras more than a decade ago. Sierra doesn’t seem like a budding star or anything, but pitching is pitching, and the Yankees could decide he’s worth an investment.

Report: Korean third baseman Jae-Gyun Hwang asks to be posted this offseason

(Chung Sung-Jun/Getty)
(Chung Sung-Jun/Getty)

Third baseman Jae-Gyun Hwang has asked his club, the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization, to make him available to MLB teams via the posting process this offseason, reports Yonhap. The two sides were set to continue talking in recent days and weeks.

“Any baseball player would dream of playing in the majors,” said Hwang to Yonhap. “And I have been working hard to realize that dream myself. I’ve already signed on with an American management company … I wanted to keep a low profile, but when articles on (teammate Ah-Seop Son) mentioned my name, I decided to go public, too.”

Hwang, 28, is a right-handed hitting third baseman who is known for his power and bat flips. Here is one of his better bat flips (skip to the 0:46 mark if you’re impatient):

Oh yeah, that’s the good stuff. Hwang spent time with three teams earlier in his career — there are ten teams in KBO now but there were only seven when Hwang first broke in — before finally finding a home with the Giants in 2010. Here are his career stats, via Baseball Reference:

Year Age AgeDif Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2007 19 -9.5 Hyundai 63 171 19 48 6 0 2 12 2 2 5 33 .300 .323 .375 .698
2008 20 -8.2 Woori 117 333 27 73 10 1 1 18 10 7 16 56 .239 .279 .288 .567
2009 21 -7.3 Woori 133 608 86 152 27 5 18 63 30 15 55 100 .284 .349 .453 .802
2010 22 -6.0 2 Teams 94 352 41 69 14 3 6 40 18 7 32 73 .225 .303 .350 .653
2011 23 -5.4 Lotte 117 458 62 115 18 4 12 68 12 6 40 78 .289 .360 .445 .805
2012 24 -4.3 Lotte 133 504 42 122 19 1 4 51 26 8 38 81 .272 .335 .346 .681
2013 25 -3.5 Lotte 128 559 70 134 29 3 7 56 22 11 49 78 .274 .350 .389 .738
2014 26 -2.9 Lotte 128 550 66 156 33 3 12 76 17 10 53 86 .321 .388 .475 .864
2015 27 Lotte 144 596 95 155 41 2 26 97 11 10 48 122 .290 .350 .521 .870
All Levels (9 Seasons) 1057 4131 508 1024 197 22 88 481 148 76 336 707 .280 .343 .417 .761

So far Hwang has only had one big power season, and he attributes his 2015 power spike to a new offseason training regime designed to add muscle. It’s worth noting his strikeout rate jumped from 15.0% from 2012-14 to 20.5% in 2015. That suggests some approach changes as well. It seems Hwang is swinging for the fences more often.

Inevitably, Hwang will be compared to Jung-Ho Kang, who was a smashing success for the Pirates this year. Kang was a consistent 20+ homer guy in Korea and he swatted 40 dingers in 2014. He struck out in 21.2% of his plate appearances in his final season in KBO, so his strikeout rate was in line with Hwang’s. Of course, he also hit way more homers too.

Our Sung-Min Kim tells me Hwang is considered a natural third baseman with a strong arm. He has played some shortstop in the past but works exclusively at the hot corner these days. Plenty of teams have scouted Hwang this year and the consensus is his plate discipline and approach are a bit worrisome, though that seems to be the case for all foreign position players.

The Giants do not have to post Hwang this offseason — MLB’s posting agreement with KBO is like the old posting system with NPB, meaning a blind bid and then a 30-day negotiating window — but they have incentive to do so because he will qualify for international free agency next offseason. They could either post him now and get gobs of money or lose him for nothing next year.

Kang is the first Korean position player to successfully transition to MLB through the posting system, and because of his success, I’m sure teams will spend some extra time evaluating Korean position players. There are 29 clubs right now who wish they had pursued Kang more aggressively. Hwang could benefit from Kang’s success simply because there figures to be more attention paid to position players in KBO now.

The best third baseman on the free agent market this offseason is David Freese, so yeah. Hwang figures to generate some interest. The Yankees have Chase Headley at third base, though they are said to be seeking a right-handed bat, so I suppose it’s not impossible they could trade Headley and bring in Hwang to play third. Unlikely? Oh sure. But not impossible. The Yankees will surely explore every option.

Given the lack of alternatives, I doubt the Yankees would have much trouble finding a taker for Headley, especially with only three years and $39M left on his contract. That’s nothing these days. I doubt the Yankees pursue Hwang this offseason, but he is an option that exists.

Chosun Ilbo: Yankees scouting Korean 1B Byung-Ho Park

According to a Chosun Ilbo report passed along by our Sung-Min Kim, the Yankees are among the teams scouting Korean first baseman Byung-Ho Park. Various reports have indicated the Red Sox, Twins, and Pirates are among the other clubs scouting Park. The Korea Times previously reported 17 of the 30 MLB teams have watched him this year.

Park, 29, started his career in Korea with the LG Twins before being traded to the Nexen Heroes in the middle of the 2011 season. He broke out after the trade and has hit 30+ homers every year from 2012-15, including 52 last year and 47 this year. Park has twice been named KBO MVP (2012-13). Here are his career stats via Baseball Reference:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2005 18 -10.5 LG KBO 79 185 22 31 11 0 3 21 1 0 12 48 .190 .265 .313 .578
2006 19 -9.5 LG KBO 48 142 7 21 2 0 5 13 1 3 9 42 .162 .227 .292 .519
2007-08: Did Not Play (Military Service)
2009 22 -6.3 LG KBO 68 213 28 41 7 0 9 25 2 1 20 70 .218 .305 .399 .704
2010 23 -5.0 LG KBO 78 192 25 30 4 0 7 22 5 1 26 55 .188 .305 .344 .649
2011 24 -4.4 2 Teams KBO 66 230 31 51 11 2 13 31 2 0 26 76 .254 .343 .522 .866
2012 25 -3.3 Nexen KBO 133 560 76 136 34 0 31 105 20 9 73 111 .290 .393 .561 .954
2013 26 -2.5 Nexen KBO 128 556 91 143 17 0 37 117 10 2 92 96 .318 .437 .602 1.039
2014 27 -1.9 Nexen KBO 128 571 126 139 16 2 52 124 8 3 96 142 .303 .433 .686 1.119
2015 28 Nexen KBO 122 547 116 163 32 1 47 134 9 2 68 137 .351 .442 .727 1.169
All Levels (9 Seasons) 850 3196 522 755 134 5 204 592 58 21 422 777 .281 .387 .563 .950

Yep, Park’s a slugger. Lots of dingers and also lots of strikeouts, apparently. He had a 25.0% strikeout rate this year and 24.8% last year in a league where the average strikeout rate is 18.8%, so right away that’s a bit of a red flag. Jung-Ho Kang, Park’s former teammate with Nexen, never had a strikeout rate higher than 21.2% in Korea, for example.

There are no good freely available scouting reports of Park available, so we have to stick to the basics. He stands 6-foot-1 and 194 lbs., both bats and throws right-handed, and his home run total suggests he has some power. The strikeout totals suggest Park also has some holes in his swing. Remember, he’s been striking out in a quarter of his plate appearances against KBO caliber pitching, which is several notches below MLB pitching.

Kang has been tremendously successful with the Pirates this season — he went into last night’s game hitting .287/.357/.469 (132 wRC+) with 15 homers and a 20.6% strikeout rate — which is going to lead to teams taking a much longer look at Korean position players in the future. Yoenis Cespedes really helped kick the door open for Cuban players and Kang could do the same for Korean players. Twenty-nine teams are wondering why they missed on him.

Yonhap News reported earlier this year that Park wants to come over to MLB after the season, though he will not be a free agent. The Heroes will have to agree to make him available via the posting system. The posting agreement with KBO is the old NPB system, meaning teams submit blind bids then win a 30-day negotiating window. The MLB team only has to pay the posting fee if they sign the player.

The Pirates landed Kang with a $5M posting fee and a measly four-year contract worth $11M. Total steal. Prices for Korean players are only going to climb though. That’s how these things usual work. They don’t get cheaper. I have no idea what kind of posting fee will be required to win Park’s rights and I have even less of an idea of what kind of contract it will take to get him signed. Total guesswork.

Now, that said, what would the Yankees do with Park? He’s a first baseman and a first baseman only. Mark Teixeira is signed through next year and Greg Bird is poised to be his long-term replacement. The Yankees also have Alex Rodriguez under contract through 2017, so they don’t need a DH either. Maybe Park’s athletic enough to play the outfield, or maybe they consider him a better long-term option than Bird. Who knows? Either way, we’ll hear more about Park this offseason. I’m sure of it.

International Signings: Medina, Garcia, Espinosa, Jimenez

The 2015-16 international signing period opened on July 2nd, just as it does every year, except this year the Yankees were effectively shut out from the top available talent. As a result of last year’s spending spree, the team can not sign a player to a bonus larger than $300,000 during both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing periods.

That’s okay, the Yankees signed about three years worth of top talent last summer, plus they are very good at finding under-the-radar prospects. Both Luis Severino ($225,000) and Jorge Mateo ($250,000) signed for relatively small bonuses, for example. Anyway, the Yankees did indeed sign several international prospects this year. Here’s the little bit of bonus and scouting information I could dig up.

The Top Prospect: RHP Luis Medina

Medina, 16, is the best prospect the Yankees have signed this signing period, as far as I can tell. He received a $280,000 bonus plus a $120,000 scholarship according to the Dominican Prospect League. Kiley McDaniel got a firsthand look at Medina late last year. Here’s his write-up:

The best of a so-so group of pitchers that made the trip was RHP Luis Medina.  He sat 89-91 and hit 94 mph in a short outing but one scout told me he saw Medina a few weeks before and he sat 93-95, hitting 96 mph.  It obviously isn’t a super clean or polished delivery, but the frame has some projection, the arm works, he has some feel to spin an average or better curveball and the arm speed is elite.  There predictably isn’t much of a changeup at this stage either, but Medina looks like a sure seven figure guy right now and there’s time for him to develop some starter traits before signing.

Obviously the seven-figure thing didn’t happen. Medina, like most non-elite prospects his age, is very raw and a work in progress. He has good velocity and a quick arm, so that’s a good start. He has the unteachables. Now the Yankees need to help Medina refine his offspeed stuff and command.

Known Bonuses

In addition to Medina, bonus information for four other Yankees signees has been reported. RHP Deivi Garcia signed for $100,000 according to MYN Baseball RD, while C Robert Espinosa, IF Brian Jimenez, and OF Vinicio Martinez all received $50,000 bonuses. Espinosa also received a $60,000 scholarship. That all comes from the Dominican Prospect League. Each team gets six $50,000 bonus exemptions that do not count against their bonus pool, so Espinosa, Jimenez, and Martinez take half of those slots. Garcia’s the lucky one. He got six figures.

Unknown Bonuses

The Yankees also signed 16-year-old LHP Heiner Moreno out of a prospect camp in Panama, MLB announced. His bonus is unknown. Matt Eddy reported a slew of signings without bonus information: 3B Sandy Acevedo, 2B Diego Duran, RHP Rony Garcia, SS Jesus Graterol, LHP Argelis Herrera, SS Brayan Jimenez, C Moises Lobo, SS Kleiber Maneiro, RHP Alex Mejias, RHP Luis Ojeda, RHP Elvis Peguero, and 3B Alfred Pujols. I would love to tell you more about each and every one of these players, but I can’t do it. No information to be found. That’s par for the course when it comes to non-top international guys.

* * *

The Yankees were allotted a $2.2628M bonus pool for international free agency this summer. They spent $380,000 of that on Heredia and Garcia. Who knows how much all of those other players received though. There are 13 players in that “Unknown Bonuses” section and I’m sure some of them received a decent chunk of change. The Yankees can also trade their four international slots, but they don’t have much value. Bonus slots been included as throw-ins and instead of players to be named later in trades around the league. Hopefully we get more information about all these kids the Yankees signed at some point. I’m sure we will … eventually.

Saturday Links: Castro, A-Rod, Draft, Ibanez, Heredia

Starlin ... and Manny! (Presswire)
Starlin … and Manny! (Presswire)

The Yankees and Red Sox continue their three-game series later tonight. So, until then, here are some spare links I had lying around to hold you over.

Start the Starlin Castro rumor mill

According to Jon Heyman, several executive are speculating the Yankees will pursue Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro due to his connection to Jim Hendry, currently a special assistant with New York who was the Cubs GM when the team signed (and called up) Castro. Just to be clear, Heyman is passing along speculation, not a hard rumor that the Yankees are pursuing Castro.

Anyway, I wanted the Yankees to acquire Castro in the offseason to play shortstop, so of course he is hitting .249/.282/.323 (63 wRC+) on the season. (Reminder: Don’t ever listen to me. I’m awful.) Castro is still only 25 though, and he did hit .292/.339/.438 (115 wRC+) just last year, so it’s not like there’s nothing to like here. There’s about $43M left on his contract through 2019 with a club option for 2020.

Castro is seen as a change of scenery guy — the Cubs surely want to put Addison Russell at short — but he’s not a shortstop, his defense is terrible, so maybe the Yankees look at him for second base. If so, the move would probably wait until the offseason. I doubt they’d throw him to the wolves defensively and make him learn second on the fly a la Stephen Drew last year. Either way, my guess is we’ll hear lots more about the Yankees and Castro in the coming weeks and months.

The real cost of A-Rod‘s 3,000th hit ball

Last week, the Yankees agreed to donate $150,000 to Pitch In For Baseball in exchange for Alex Rodriguez‘s 3,000th hit baseball. Noted ballhawk Zack Hample caught the ball and leveraged it into a big fat donation for a charity he supports. Good for him. Of course, there’s much more to this story. Hample told Shawn Anderson the Yanks gave him a ton of other stuff in exchange for the ball as well:

“The Yankees have given me all the things they initially offered, such as meeting A-Rod, doing a press conference at Yankee Stadium, being interviewed live during the game on TV and the radio, and receiving signed memorabilia and free tickets, including tickets to this year’s Home Run Derby and All-Star Game in Cincinnati.” Hample told The Hall exclusively. “I will also have opportunities to write for Yankees Magazine, get a special behind-the-scenes tour to the most restricted areas of the stadium that no one in the public gets to see, get to meet the players, and more. There are certain things I’ve been asked not to talk about, so I need to respect that.”

Geez, that was one mighty valuable baseball, huh? Give Hample props for holding out for the donation rather than taking all that cool free stuff and running. That’s probably what I would have done.

2015 Draft signing updates

Morris. (Indiana Daily Student)
Morris. (Indiana Daily Student)

The signing deadline for the 2015 draft is next Friday, and the Yankees recently signed both UC Santa Barbara C/RHP Paddy O’Brien (24th round) and Indiana RHP Christian Morris (33rd). Morris announced his signing on Twitter while O’Brien is currently listed on the Rookie GCL Yanks2 roster. No word on their bonuses but I assume they didn’t receive more than the $100,000 slot for picks after the tenth round. O’Brien was a catcher in college who the Yankees are apparently going to try on the mound because he has a strong arm.

By my count the Yankees have signed 33 of their 41 draft picks, which is an unusually large number. Teams usually sign something like 25-30 picks each year. The Yankees will make it 34 of 41 when they sign UCLA RHP James Kaprielian (1st) next week — Jim Callis backed up Heyman’s recent report and says Kaprielian will get an overslot bonus in the $3M range — which I’m confident will happen. The Yankees have a bit more than $3M to spend before getting hit with penalties and there’s nowhere else to spend it — the late-round overslot candidates probably aren’t going to sign at this point — so that money either goes to Kaprielian or Hal Steinbrenner.

Rangers sign Andy Ibanez

Earlier this week the Rangers signed free agent Cuban infielder Andy Ibanez to a minor league contract worth $1.6M, reports Jeff Wilson and Jesse Sanchez. Ibanez, 21, was cleared to sign way back in February but took his sweet time picking a team. The Yankees had him in Tampa for a private workout in May and were reportedly interested, though they were unable to offer him anything more than $300,000 once the 2014-15 international signing period ended a few weeks ago. Ibanez is a light hitting second baseman who was expected to get upwards of $15M, though it sounds like teams didn’t value him that highly. You have to think he would have topped $1.6M easily if clubs felt he was as good as the public scouting reports.

Cuban OF Guillermo Heredia cleared to sign

According to Ben Badler and Jesse Sanchez, 24-year-old Cuban outfielder Guillermo Heredia has been unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and declared a free agent by MLB, so he can sign with any team at any time. Heredia is not subject to the international spending restrictions because of his age, so the Yankees and any other team can offer him any amount.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 180 lbs., Heredia is considered a good defensive center fielder with speed and a strong arm. Badler (subs. req’d) ranked him as the 11th best prospect in Cuba last August and said he has “similarities to a righthanded-hitting version of Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley,” which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement these days. Heredia will work out for scouts soon.