A new Cuban prospect is officially on the market, and the potential landing spots are already starting to take shape.Shortstop Yolbert Sanchez, who will be 22 in March, was cleared by Major League Baseball on Tuesday and will be eligible to sign starting Feb. 5.Known for his elite defense, Sanchez's
A new Cuban prospect is officially on the market, and the potential landing spots are already starting to take shape.
Shortstop Yolbert Sanchez, who will be 22 in March, was cleared by Major League Baseball on Tuesday and will be eligible to sign starting Feb. 5.
Known for his elite defense, Sanchez's polished glove might be ready for the big leagues now. According to scouts, he can spray the ball from "line to line" and is considered a line-drive hitter. He ultimately projects to hit eight to 10 home runs per season in the Major Leagues. He is also known for his average to slightly above-average arm as well as an average to slightly above-average running ability.
Scouts also like his game instincts and track record.
Sanchez was the starting shortstop for the Havana Industriales and projected to be the starting shortstop for the island's national team before his defection last summer. He was the starting shortstop for Cuba's 23U team in Panama and was a teammate of White Sox prospect Luis Robert on the country's 18U team.
Where Sanchez signs is to be determined. There will be a showcase for him in the coming weeks in the Dominican Republic.
Because of his age and experience, Sanchez will sign under the international signing guidelines. The Orioles, who came up short in their pursuit of Cuban outfielders Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. and Cuban pitcher Sandy Gaston, still have close to $6 million in bonus pool money to spend on international prospects -- the most money in baseball -- and the Dodgers ($1.4 million) are next. The Phillies have close to $1 million remaining while the Cubs, Rangers and Red Sox follow with bonus pools in the $700,000-$850,000 range.
Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix.