Could 23 year old outfielder Yasmani Tomas provide an answer in the Cubs OF? Maybe.

Could 23 year old outfielder Yasmani Tomas provide an answer in the Cubs OF? Maybe.

Once in a while I get asked about recent Cuban prospects (post Jose Abreu) and my answer has been largely, "Meh".  I haven't covered much on them because frankly, the word I heard was they were a collection of 5th OF'ers, utility infielders, and relief pitchers --- maybe a fringe starter among them.

Yasmani Tomas is different.

Ben Badler reports that cthe 23 year old 6'1", 230 lbs. OF'er has left Cuba and will soon go through the process of making him eligible to play professional baseball in the United States.

As a 23 year old, he is not subject to the IFA Pool Spending Limits.  So maybe the Cubs can make up for their inability to spend on the 23 and under crowd and pour it all into Tomas.

Badler also says this,

"Given his present talent level, Tomas might have a chance to go straight into a major league lineup..."

Not so fast.

Badler does go on to say that a stint in the  minors is more likely.  One scouting source who has seen him play says it's more than likely.  It is necessary.   That is not to say there isn't some serious talent here,

Here is an excerpt from the report I have,

 He is a potent fast twitch player.  Bat speed to hit anything thrown, but will chase the break and stretch the zone.   He has everything you look for from a prospect, but he has some ironing  out to do.

When asked if he as athletic enough to play the OF with that rather thick frame, the response was,

Oh yeah, he is in the mold of (Yoenis) Cespedes and (Yasiel) Puig, has similar qualities of both men.

But before you get too excited, we're talking about athleticism and raw talent.  He is not Cespedes or Puig.  Not yet anyway.  There is a lot more risk/reward here and much like current Cubs prospect Jorge Soler, there is some development left, though perhaps not as much, as Tomas is older and has experience at the highest level of Cuban baseball.

There is the obvious issue with breaking balls and as stated above, he will chase them outside the zone. There is some swing and miss to his game.  There are some holes and U.S pitchers were able to exploit them in the WBC.

But the bat speed, youth, and athleticism is enticing.  And while he may not be ready for 2015, he has some upside.  For me, there hasn't really been a Cuban prospect worth writing about since Abreu entered the market, but even then, Abreu was a first baseman only and the Cubs already have a pretty good, young talent there in Anthony Rizzo.

Now, with Kris Bryant looking like he can stick at 3B, Jorge Soler battling injuries, Kyle Schwarber just starting his career, and Albert Almora derailing off the fast track so far this season, there is nobody to really block Yasmani Tomas right now.  But although  Abreu and Cespedes jumped straight to the majors, that isn't going to happen with Tomas.  He's not even yet at Puig's level where Puig just needed time to get into shape and get his timing back.  Tomas will need more than token time and seasoning in the minors, so that naturally involves a little more risk.

But, unlike the most recent prospects, there is some impact potential here to go with that risk, so this one is worth tracking.


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  • I was just typing an email about the bad link....

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Ha! I was quick on the draw and fixed the link :)

  • Are we still in last years signing period with the Cubs already blown past the limit so there's no reason not to go further? Or...?

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    He is 23 and not subject to IFA pool restrictions.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Now that you say that, I am sure you have said so before. Maybe I will remember this time. Being a teacher can be frustrating, eh?

    Thank-you for your patience.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think that rule changes as of 7/1 though, which would require Cuban players to be over 25. You might want to check on this.

  • In reply to JB88:

    Never mind. I see that because he played 5 years in the top league, he is not subject to that new rule.

  • I thought our international spending was limited this year.

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    In reply to jkcutback:

    If you are 23 or older, with more than 5 years professional experience in Cuba, you are free to sign for whatever you want

    I don't think it's a coincidence that he defected not long after his 23rd birthday......

  • In reply to Zonk:

    These rules crack me up. Thank you.

  • In reply to jkcutback:

    We are limited on signing 16 year old prospects. 23 year old players who have been in a professional league for 5 years don't have limitations if we want to sign them. It is only money. The question is does our FO think he is worth the money/risk.

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    We should be in on him, though I would have to think alot of teams will be, more than with Abreu maybe since he was defensively limited. The pricetag may get uncomfortably high. Everybody wants more young, controlled talent.

  • John, I know we have lots of money to spend on the international
    market, but with a limit of $250,00 per players how will this be

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    There's a good chance the Cubs will try to trade some of their allotment to other teams for prospects for just the reason you're thinking of. (it's also possible that they'll sign a ton of prospects) Personally, I think they far overestimated the ability to pick up IFA pool money last year and screwed themselves in terms of top prospects this year. I know they said otherwise, but just my two cents. Last year's class was supposed to be quite strong so it may have been worth the gamble, but with having as much money to spend as we do, it would seem the year your major league team improves would be the year to go over. I guess they'll get another chance to go way over next year as well (hopefully with that improved major league team and a smaller pool of money for IFAs in 2016).

    Hopefully the value of those slots doesn't go down and others wish to trade into them as much as the Cubs would have liked to last year and they will be able to net a solid haul of prospects via trade.

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    would help if he was Left handed hitter. We have a glut of RH bats

  • In reply to Niren Desai:

    that's like bill gates saying he has a glut of $1 bills...first world problems

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    How are his hamstrings?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Nice :)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good point!

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    We may end up able to sign him simply because we've been second on so many of these guys that perhaps all the number 1 bidder candidates are out on IFA signings right now. It has to happen sometime right?

    As for the RH bat, I don't think that would give this FO pause, but the free swinging would, methinks.

  • Off topic...

    Here is a further analysis on Tony Gwynn's strike out rate. Looked at this way, Glenn Beckert is third best in the history of baseball! (There is a list at the end of the article.)

    I confess I never fully appreciated Beckert when he was playing. Now I find as an adult I haven't been fully appreciating him.

  • Updated the article as there was some confusion.

    23 year olds not subject to IFA spending limits. He is basically a free agent.

    With Cubs not able to spend it on the young guys, maybe they'll redirect their international budget to this guy.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Ah, to be 23-year old and be Cuban! It's the last outpost of "Wild West Free Agency". Young players, no qualifying offers, nothing but piles of money.

    Methinks this loophole is going to close at some point like all the others, but in the meantime, Scott Boras wishes all his clients were 23-year old Cubans

  • John, based on his ability, passed IFA's, and I assume descent demand, how much money do you think it would take to sign him?

  • I really want to fast forward to the trade deadline & the Tomas signing, then come back & enjoy the rest of my summer. All this is too much to take!

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    it is very stressful so many options.

  • Doesn't he have to go straight on to the 40-man roster if he signs? That's a pretty big consideration IMO.

  • ya he can take brett jacksons spot !!!

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Interesting point, wondering how he might compare with BJax. Bat has more upside and defensively more limited?

  • give him the same type deal as Soler , instead of IFA use the cash on this guy.

  • If this is a guy the Cubs want go balls to wall. Don't finish second in bidding for another intl free agent!

  • The guy has to establish residency somewhere. It could be a year before he is eligible to sign. That said, if the scouting reports are accurate, then sure the Cubs should be in on him. They have a need in RF/LF the next couple of years (at least). Even if if he has to start in AA or AAA next season it wouldn't be a big deal to me. The Cubs have plenty of cash available to pursue 23 year old talents. I would rather they risk the money on a guy like this than on a 32 year old stopgap.

  • John,
    I know this is off topic, but did you see where Chis Cotillo is reporting that the Cardinals' third round pick, Trevor Megill, is not signing and going back to Loyola Marymount for his senior season. His slot value was $504,400. With Jack Flaherty signing for $350,000 over slot, that's the better part of a million dollars unavailable to use on the rest of their draft. Am I missing something, or was this an uncharacteristic misstep by the Cardinals front office?

  • In reply to rdacpa:

    Definitely a misstep.

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    In reply to rdacpa:

    It's an error, though they do get the pick back next year. If a player in the first 3 rounds doesn't sign, you get a compensation pick the following year. That may be one reason they chose him when they did.

    If they waited to Round 4, that pick is just gone forever. IIRC, the comp pick will be at the end of the 3rd round.

    Unfortunately, the Cardinals won't be more than 5% over, which would be a total disaster for them. (You lose a 1st round pick for that)

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Thanks for that info. My question is when do they get the comp pick? Is it after the third round?

  • excuse me but why would anyone care about yet another outfieild prospect while the pitching staff s in flux and third base is a blatant deficiency?
    I hope Junior can continue to improve and fill the 2 hole.over time.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    If the guy were a 23 year old pitcher the Cubs would be just as interested. You can only be interested in whats available.

    Third base should be the absolute least concern for this organization. The chances that one of Bryant or Baez can't handle it there are slim, and in the event that does come to pass they would still have Valbuena as an option or other lower level prospects with talent that might break through (Bruno, Villanueva, Candelerio).

    For a guy that preaches acting quickly so often I don't get your willingness to bet on Junior Lake. The guy can't hit a MLB breaking ball, is an adventure at best in the OF, and at this point seems like a bad bet to be anything other than the short side of a platoon.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    if signed to a MLB contract He could stick or be used in a trade , assets are assets especially young guys with skills, Cubs will get pitching Bloomie

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Sadly I don't believe your joking. Aside from the very good reasons John mentions in the article it is ALWAYS a good thing to add talent to your organization. Really that can't be hard to grasp.

    Oh, by the way the Cubs have arguably the most exciting baseball prospect on earth, and his position is third, so blatant deficiency seems way over blown there!!

  • In reply to bleedblue:


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    In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Because they aren't mutually exclusive?

    This kid won't take anything but cash. No draft pick, no trades, no international pool slots.

    They can add pitching and still get the kid.

    As for third base... I can't even.
    Valvueba, Olt, Bryant, Villanueva, Candelario. Hell, you can maybe add Jordan Hankins, Vitters if you're getting crazy. Baez is a possibility too.
    So as for "deficiency" ...wth?

  • A tweet says that Tomas is in the D.R. and exploring his options.

  • Because of their $250,000 limit they should go all out after him

  • You can never have enough bats in the minors it's not a 100% all of our prospects will make it so sign at all possible look at what all the Cubans are doing act like a big market team and get him he's young us what I say like the tools

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    I've been reading as much as I can find on Tomas today, and though there is some risk, that is always the case when you are acquiring players, whether it be by trade or free agency/signings. Everything I read before Tanaka signed with the Yankees was how he was clearly not in Darvish's league but a nice pitcher nonetheless. So far, this does not appear to be the case.

    Based on what I've seen so far on Tomas, I think the Cubs definitely need to go all out on this guy when everything gets settled. It's painful to see the year for when the Cubs will contend keep getting pushed back, and while dealing Samardzija will seemingly leave a lot of work to be done in the pitching department the outfield seems to need a little attention as well.

  • From what I have read on him (Tomas), I get the feeling he might be a Cuban version of Jr. Lake.

    If you can get him for reasonable money, then I would take a chance...otherwise if you have to pay him Puig money, then I am not so sure.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Lake has raw power, but from what I read, this guy's bad speed and power are superior to Lakes... probably a more polished ball player, but less of an overall athlete. But, what do I know? Just a guess.

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    In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    If that is the case, then run for the hills!

  • What is the normal timeline on a guy from the time he officially defects to when he can sign a pro contract? This sure seems like the kind of guy you take a gamble on. Cubs outfield is a barren wasteland so seems like a perfect fit.

  • Since we have some money that was not used on Tanaka, we should definitely go for Tomas if the FO thinks he is worth it. If they don't think he is worth it then of course do not sign him. Don't spend the money just because you have it. Keep your powder dry until you see something worth shooting for.

  • John, I once met a woman that was very attractive---eyes, smile, body, hair, the full physical package. And brains also---intellectual conversation and she loved humor. We dated, but there was always two things that disturbed me---a very irritating laugh and would scream (and I mean SCREAM) out with laughter and thoughts in the movie theater or comedy club. No more matter how talented she was, those two things always negated them. That was 20 years ago, and just last weekend I ran into her, and learned that she is still single and not dating anyone. And, yes, the shrieking, nails-across-the chalkboard laugh and the loud shout-outs.

    Moral of the story, Tomas is attractive, but I am sure his lack of constraint on pitches outside the strike zone will always be there.

  • In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    Sounds like something out of a Seinfeld episode lol

  • That's how puig was gotten better solder when healthy has gotten a lot eye Ben badler saws he's got 70 power why not take a chance we need talent period

  • I didn't follow most of that sentence, but to answer the last half, it doesn't matter how much power they have if they can't make contact. The Cubs took a first baseman a few years ago named Hoilman who had as much power as anyone you could mention. I believe he even led the Northwest league in home runs. But got released after he fell flat in the Midwest league.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Paul Hoilman (2011-'12) only hit 15 points lower at Peoria than he did in Boise, but with half as many HR in nearly twice the at bats. I wonder if injuries had something to do with his downfall, as he's failed to catch on anywhere, even the independent leagues.

  • You can cut the excitment and the anticipation with a knife. Cub fans are in a frenzy. The time is near.

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