It’s becoming really clear that the Diamondbacks front office likes Cuban players.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are interested in yet another Cuban player, this time flame thrower Yadier Alvarez according to a report by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
The Dodgers and the Phillies are also expected to be in on Alvarez according to Passan:
Alvarez is an 18 year old right-hander who recently defected from Cuba. Two weeks ago Alvarez held his first showcase for scouts in the Dominican Republic, and it is being rumored that he hit 98 mph on the radar gun, but of course unless you were there, you wont know for sure. As you will read below, he generally sits in the 93-96 mph range with his fastball, and can hit 98. His slider is nasty, and is his best off-speed pitch. He also has a plus change-up.
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Kiley McDaniel, the lead prospect writer for FanGraphs attended Alvarez’s second workout for scouts last Wednesday, and gave him these grades on a 20-80 scouting grade scale:
Fastball: 60/65, Slider: 50/60, Changeup: 50/55, Command: 40/50, FV: 55
This is what he had to say about him:
"“Alvarez is an 18-year-old Cuban pitcher that recently defected and above is video from this Wednesday, his second outing for scouts in the Dominican. Details are scarce, but Alvarez wasn’t a big name in Cuba and never played in their top pro league. I heard rumors after his first appearance for scouts two weeks ago that he hit 98 mph, but you take that type of buzz with a grain of salt in this market. He hit 98 mph again in the outing I went to on one scout’s gun, but hit 97 mph multiple times on every gun, sitting at 93-96 mph over his two innings. As you can see in the video (from his second inning when I moved down to get a closer look) the slider is plus and the changeup is surprisingly good, flashing 55, and Alvarez used it multiple times in two strike counts and against right-handed hitters. While the command isn’t all the way there yet, he’s only 18 with new velocity that he’s still adjusting to, while the delivery, arm, frame and athleticism are all solid to very good with some flashes of feel to pitch already.He projects as a starter, but the question is that of consistency and stamina. We likely won’t learn much about the stamina as his workouts will go on for another month or two before signing and he’ll likely be limited to a couple innings at a time. He checks all the boxes for a pitcher of this age and you’d obviously like to see more than the four innings scouts have been limited to so far, but Alvarez will get plenty of money after just throwing a handful of innings, so it would be an unnecessary risk to expose himself to, and teams would rather handle his throwing program themselves than have an agent do it. It’s too early to really know what he’s capable of or if his body can hold up to this new velocity, but the raw talent here is comparable to LHP Brady Aiken and the other top 18-year-old arms in the world.After talking to his camp, they expect Alvarez’s paperwork to be done in 4-8 weeks and for him to sign as a part of the current July 2 period. This means the Cubs and Rangers wouldn’t be able to sign him and the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Diamondbacks and Angels would all have a chance to sign him before their two-year penalty of no players over $300,000 kick in on July 2nd of this year. Due to the chance the Dodgers sign Moncada and join this group, they are potentially in the same situation and, as mentioned in the Olivera section above, it would make sense to sign multiple Cuban players subject to the bonus pools if they’re going to sign one.”"
Everybody has to remember that he is only 18, and as McDaniel said, he has time to fine tune his mechanics, command, control, and his delivery. This guy has a high ceiling and great stuff. I see no reason why the Diamondbacks shouldn’t pursue him. Its a great way to add to a already stacked farm system, and make the future even brighter.
Here is some video of Alvarez’s workout last week from FanGraphs:
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