22-year-old Cuban prospect Lourdes Gurriel will hold a showcase for interested MLB teams on September 14th in Panama City.
While the New York Yankees ultimately did not land Cuban star Yulieski Gurriel, who has been tearing the cover off the ball for the Houston Astros since his August promotion, they still have a chance to correct their mistake by signing his younger brother Lourdes Jr., who may ultimately be the bigger prize.
The younger Gurriel brother is probably a better fit for the Yankees given their recent focus on youth. Lourdes is a decade younger than Yulieski and will likely come much cheaper than the $47.5 million it took to land the his big bro.
Gurriel will almost certainly wait until his 23rd birthday on October 19th to sign when he will no longer be limited by the spending restrictions for international free agents. This certainly helps the Yankees, among other clubs, who aren’t able to sign an international free agent for more than $300,000 as a penalty for exceeding their bonus pool limit during their infamous 2014-2015 spending spree.
Hopefully New York’s front office has learned their lesson from the Yoan Moncada debacle, where the Yankees let a likely superstar go to a division rival over rather than increase their bid by a few million.
Lourdes Gurriel may not have the ceiling of Moncada, but when the richest team in baseball (and perhaps American sports) has the opportunity to add a premium young talent that costs nothing but money, they need to jump on it. No one is going to outbid them if they are serious about bringing someone in, as we saw with Masahiro Tanaka back before 2014.
Back in 2015, Gurriel was ranked fourth on Baseball America’s list of “Top 20 Prospects in Cuba.” Here’s an excerpt from Ben Badler’s scouting report at the time:
yGourriel is a smart hitter with a chance to get on base at a high clip and drive the ball for power. He improved his balance at the plate this past season, keeping his hands inside the ball well for someone with his long arms with a fluid swing. Gourriel has plenty of bat speed to catch up to good fastballs and the plate coverage to make frequent contact.
In his most recent professional action, Gurriel hit .344/.407.560 in 245 plate appearances for the Industriales de la Habana in the Cuban National Series against competition that was an average of 7.7 years older than him according to Baseball-Reference.