Lazaro Armenteros carried a five-tool skill set that generated a significant amount of hype during the 2016-17 international signing period. So when the A’s signed him as a 17-year-old out of Cuba for $3 million, the expectation was that he would soon blossom into a Major Leaguer who matched that hype.
Of course, not all player development is linear, even for one as touted as Armenteros. Through his first five professional seasons, the outfielder underperformed, each year slowly slipping further down the A’s prospect radar. This past season, however, Armenteros began to show signs of all that talent perhaps finally coming together.
In a combined 110 games between High-A Lansing and Double-A Midland, Armenteros posted a .879 OPS with 20 home runs, 20 doubles, six triples, 17 stolen bases and 82 RBIs. After getting an extra look at him over the past month by sending him to the Arizona Fall League, the A’s decided to officially add Armenteros to their 40-man roster on Monday, signaling the belief they still hold in the 24-year-old's intriguing mix of speed and power.
“Lazarito enjoyed a breakout season that he is finishing off in Arizona,” A’s assistant general manager and director of player personnel Billy Owens said. “I think Laz, physically and career trajectory-wise, has [Nationals outfielder] Stone Garrett possibilities to his game.”
Though he remains unranked on the A’s Top 30 Prospects list with lingering concerns over his high strikeout rate, it is clear the organization’s view of Armenteros is trending upward.
Now part of the club’s roster and getting a chance to compete against some of baseball’s top pitching prospects in the AFL, Armenteros will enter A’s Spring Training expected to get a strong look alongside outfielders Lawrence Butler, JJ Bleday, Brent Rooker, Esteury Ruiz and Seth Brown, as well as A's No. 3 prospect Denzel Clarke and recently acquired Miguel Andujar, whom the A’s claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Monday.