lourdes-gurriel

It’s probably easier to count the teams that didn’t send a scout or two to watch Lourdes Gurriel in his workout, with 60 to 70 scouts attending his workout in Panama City, hoping that the 22-year old Cuban prospect is a good as they thought he’d be.

Gurriel has a brother in the majors: Yulieski Gurriel, the 32-year old who made his debut for the Astros this season, and batting quite well when he’s given the chance (21 games, 75 plate appearances). The younger brother has been been playing in the Cuban league since he was 16, and probably had representatives from almost all 30 teams coming to watch him. Besides being one of the more talented players in the international pool, when he turns 23 he’ll be exempt from the international bonus, which will make it much easier to find a team.

From here, it’s probably on to private workouts for different teams. He has more than a month before turning 23 and he won’t sign a contract before. Obviously, not everyone is an agreement about how good and ready he is, but most think he might even start his baseball career in the United States in triple-A. Overall, it shouldn’t take him too long before he ends up batting for some team in the majors, be it the Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals or Houston Astros who have previously shown interest, or anyone else.

The younger Gurriel brother played mostly in left field last season (2015), but he’s capable of appearing in the infield as well. He batted .344 with a .967 OPS in 2015, hitting 10 home runs through 59 games and 245 plate appearances. His defense has also improved over the years, spending three years with Gallos de Sancti Spiritus and three with Industriales de La Habana, but playing in Series Nacional, Cuba’s top baseball league.

While some team might try and beat the competition and sign him earlier, not everyone is still allowed to add players during the signing period (like the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs), and paying so much as luxury tax just doesn’t seem worth it, to the team and to Gurriel himself.