Cuban prospect Lazaro Armenteros, known as Lazarito, is holding his first showcase for teams Friday at the San Diego Padres facility in the Dominican Republic. The 16-year old outfielder is the latest in a long list of Cuban prospects that includes 2B Jose Fernandez, OF Jorge Ona, RHP Norge Ruiz, SS/CF Randy Arozarena and RHP Yasiel Sierra that several teams are interested in signing.
The Cubs have shown interest in Norge Ruiz, Jorge Ona, Jonatan Machado and Adrian Morejon.
The Cubs have not been directly connected to Lazarito, but with being well over their International bonus pool the Cubs, along with the Dodgers and Giants, are expected to be heavily involved in all of the Cuban prospects leading up to the end of the 2015-16 International signing period on June 15.
Major League Baseball has not declared Lazarito a free agent. According to Bob Nightengale, MLB is “expected to rule by the end of January whether he’s eligible to sign now, or must wait until the next signing period that begins July 2.”
At least one representative from just about every big league team is expected at Lazarito’s showcase. Scouts have not seen him play in person since late summer 2014. The Yankees, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Angels and Rays will not be able to sign him because they are ineligible to sign a player for more than $300,000 after exceeding their International bonus pool last year.
Lazarito can play first and third base but he is best suited for a corner outfield spot. The right-hander has good bat speed, a chance to hit for big power according to Baseball America and possess above average speed.
Lazarito is a potential five-tool player that has been comparted to a 16-year old Bryce Harper. And his speed-power combination has drawn unfair comps to Willie Mays and Bo Jackson.
Reports have suggested it could be a rather large investment for the team that decides to sign him. If Lazaro Armenteros lands a contract similar to the $31.5 million it took the Red Sox to sign Yoan Moncada, the total cost for a team, like the Cubs in the maximum penalty for this year’s International signing period, would be $63 million.
According to Baseball America, Lazarito can start holding private workouts for teams after Friday’s showcase.