HOUSTON -- Called a “rapid mover to the big leagues,” Cuban outfield prospect Pedro Leon was signed by the Astros on Friday for $4 million (according to a source) -- one of 10 international free agents the club signed. Leon, No. 7 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 International Prospects List, has five-tool potential, according to Astros senior scouting advisor Charlie Gonzalez.
At the plate, the 22-year-old Leon has a short and compact swing. He doesn't swing and miss much, and he shows power potential to all fields. He's also a plus runner with basestealing potential. On defense, Leon has the tools to stay in center field and displays a strong and accurate arm.
“He is a special talent,” Astros general manager James Click said. “He has all five tools, and a sixth one if you count just how good he is at the game of baseball from an instincts perspective -- tremendous off-field guy. There's just not enough good things that we can say about him.”
In 65 games in two seasons for Mayabeque in Serie Nacional, the island’s top professional league, Leon hit .359 with 21 home runs and a 1.098 OPS. During the 2018 season, he was named an All-Star at 20 years old after batting .383 with seven doubles, 15 home runs, 36 RBIs and a 1.256 OPS in 33 games. He defected from Cuba in '19.
“Pedro Leon projects to be an everyday center fielder and rapid mover to the big leagues,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Pedro has a compact build, tremendous strength and is an extreme quick-twitch athlete. He possesses five-plus baseball tools on the 20-80 scouting scale, including an 80-grade arm with throws between 96 and 100 mph. His personal character is exemplary, and he has well-above-average baseball game instincts and work ethic, both on and off the field. We are very excited to bring Pedro into the organization.”
Leon isn’t bound for the big leagues yet and will likely begin 2021 in the upper levels of the Minor Leagues. He isn’t in the Astros’ plans in the outfield for the start of this season.
“We’re hoping that he will dictate to us where he plays in 2021, and hopefully he comes in and can really start pushing us and pushing us to find playing time for him at upper levels of the Minors,” Click said. “But certainly, the main thing right now is getting him here, getting him situated, getting him comfortable, us learning him and him learning us, and we'll go from there.”
The Astros also signed the following international free agents: Carlos Arcila, a 17-year-old catcher from Venezuela; Freilyn De Peña, a 17-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic; Richel Del Rosario, a 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic; Yamal Encarnación, a 17-year-old infielder from the Dominican Republic; Brayan Nolasco, a 17-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic; Darwin Rosario, a 20-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic; Juan Soto, a 17-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic; Miguel Ullola, an 18-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic; and Elvin Villega, an 18-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic.