The Chicago White Sox will reportedly agree to terms with the 21-year-old Cuban ballplayer
— Francys Romero (@FrancysRomero10) December 13, 2018
Lazaro Leal is a 21-year-old Cuban 1B/OF who emigrated legally to Mexico in 2016. Upon arriving in Mexico, Leal established himself in Mexico's Northern League in the Triple-A Circuit. The league has a total of 16 teams organized in two divisions in the North and South. The Mexican League has two minor leagues as well called the Liga Norte de Mexico and Mexican Academy League. The Mexican League was founded by sportswriter Alejandro Aguilar Reyes back in 1925 and has expanded numerous times since.
The 21-year-old was recently playing in games for Algodoneros de San Luis which is the Double-A level in the Northern League. Romero said that Leal profiles as a "utility player who possesses good contact skills and could still develop more power". He is said to have great athleticism with speed as a standout tool. Lazaro plays mostly at first base and in the outfield. Romero was guessing that Leal possesses a 50-grade arm. Leal also stood out at a showcase that took place in Mexico in 2017 after leaving Pinar del Rio. At his showcase, he measured in at 6'1" and 5/8 inches and weighed 214 pounds. Someone that was close to the showcase reported that Leal, "hit home runs that hit the houses that are beyond the gardens". Lazaro is represented by My3G Sports and his path to the majors was compared to St.Louis Cardinals prospect Randy Arozarena. The article also lauded his "swing acceleration and bat speed".
Lazaro Leal highlights from Mexican League:
Some more highlights:
The current international signing period ends on June 15th and the White Sox will be out of the penalty box for the following period that runs from July 2nd, 2019 through June 15th, 2020. During the current period, the organization had a bonus amount of $4,983,500 to spend on international amateurs even though they were prevented from signing a single player for more than $300K. On July 2nd, the club announced the signings of five amateur free agents and spent a total of $1.35 million. This left Marco Paddy and crew with just over $3.5 million left in the hopper to use.
Because of the Luis Robert acquisition though, trading the pool space was seen as a more advantageous use of resources by the front office. $1.5 million in international pool space was used to acquire LHP Caleb Frare from the New York Yankees. The Sox then traded an undisclosed amount to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league lefty Hunter Schryver. Earlier this week, the franchise sent another $500K in pool space to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the deal that acquired RHP Ivan Nova. The White Sox should be pretty close to their spending limit at this point but smaller signings similar to what is expected to take place with Leal could be announced up until the signing deadline in June.
***Featured Image credit: Peninsula Deportiva, via ON Cuba
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