Sarris: Will the Cuban market correct?

From SABR member Eno Sarris at on December 16, 2014:

The largest signing bonus ever awarded to a Cuban player was just handed to Yasmany Tomas by the Arizona Diamondbacks. There are serious doubts about his game. Is the market for Cuban players out of control? 

In what could easily become a yearly tradition, the most recent Cuban signee has a showcase video on YouTube — once again complete with jump cuts, slow mo, and a soundtrack (no Michael McDonald this time, though). Even as the video is edited to show Tomas at his best, the layman’s eye might notice a “thick lower half,” a long swing, and some iffy moves on defense.

While praising Tomas — by pointing out the scarcity of power and lauding Tomas’ raw ability in that department, and calling his swing short for a power hitter — FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel admitted that he owned a “riskier bat” than the Cuban immigrants who have been so successful in recent years. 

Ben Badler of Baseball America mentioned that Tomas’ weight ballooned in Cuba last season, and then pointed out risk factors beyond the outfielder’s body type in an email. “He’s a high-risk player because of his pitch recognition and swing-and-miss tendencies, both in and out of the strike zone,” wrote Badler of Tomas. 

The numbers tell the same story — Tomas is one of the riskiest big-money signings out of Cuba so far.

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Originally published: December 16, 2014. Last Updated: December 16, 2014.