The chase after Lazarito is winding down and seems to be down to three teams going after the 16-year old Cuban prospect: The San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves.
Right now, most of the talk regarding Lazarito is whether or not he’s the best Cuban prospect heading to the 2016-2017 international class or he might be overhyped. Baseball America’s Ben Badler ranks the teenager as the 11th best prospect on his list of the top 15 Cuban players available to Major League clubs. Badler and others aren’t saying that Lazarito isn’t a good player, only that his age might be confusing some people into thinking he’s some out of this world phenom talent, which might not be the case.
The Padres seem like the favorites to land him, which could mean they’re picking up quite an impressive catch of internationals in 2016-2017, with outfielder Jorge Ona (19) and 17-year old lefty Adrian Morejon most likely to end up with them. The Padres can sign him and exceed their 2015-2016 international bonus pool or convince him to wait until the 2016-17 international signing period, then eliminating the risk of venturing into penalty territory, barring them from signing a player for more than $300,000 in the 2016-17 and 2017-2018 classes.
Since becoming eligible for free agency, Lazarito has held a showcase and some private workouts with a number of MLB teams. Others who have been linked to him include the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies, who happen to have a very impressive class coming in a year from now.
Lazarito is likely to end up playing in one of the corner outfield positions. He’s already 6’2, 205 lbs, which has made some worry he might be too big for the majors, looking more like he’d fit in college football than playing professional baseball. Either way, the bigger he gets in the next few years, the more likely he’ll end up in right or left field.