Minasian: Cuban stats: examining the big picture

From SABR member Isabelle Minasian at The Hardball Times on June 21, 2017:

A few weeks ago, the Chicago White Sox, who incidentally have a long history of signing Cuban players, beat out a number of other major league teams to sign Cuban outfielder Luis Robert to a reported $25 million contract, with a bonus around $30 million. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! wrote about how Robert’s signing marks the end of an era of big-money contracts for Cuban players, based on new changes to the collective-bargaining agreement, but he is also part of a new wave of increasingly young Cuban signings.

Unlike the signings of older, more established players like José Abreu and Yoenis Céspedes, who spent little to no time in the minors before being called up to the bigs, 19-year-old Robert likely will start his American baseball career in High-A ball, similar to how current White Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada did when he signed with the Red Sox. Scouts are understandably high on Robert, but scouts were also high on Rusney Castillo, who is still stuck in Triple-A.

As with any big contract, these major Cuban signings have the potential to pay off in a big way or ultimately flop, but the relative dearth of information about Cuban players, and the fact that the statistics we do have access to from Cuba’s Serie Nacional de Béisbol (CSN) league (which many equate to the competition at High-A ball—more on that later) are incomplete (for instance, Baseball-Reference doesn’t have games played or intentional walk info for the 2004-05 season or any season prior), make Cuban signings an even more intriguing gamble for major league teams.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/cuban-stats-examining-the-big-picture/

Originally published: June 23, 2017. Last Updated: June 23, 2017.