Cuban prospect Lazaro Armenteros received clearance Monday, according to multiple reports, from Major League Baseball that he can sign with a team as soon as February 10. Due to his age, Lazarito is subject to International signing restrictions and would count against a team’s International signing bonus pool.
Jesse Sanchez reported over the weekend that Lazarito’s first showcase last Friday went very well and he had another event in Columbia scheduled.
According to Jon Heyman, 100 executives and scouts were on hand at the Padres’ facility in the Dominican Republic to watch him. Jesse Sanchez put the number at more than 140 scouts being at the showcase to evaluate Lazarito. He is represented by Ariel Nunez of Culture 39, an agency owned by Charles Hairston, who is the cousin of one-time Cubs’ Scott Hairston and Jerry Hairston Jr.
Lazarito is 16 years old (May 22, 1999), 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and hits and throws from the right side.
Lazarito showed plus bat speed and plus speed on the bases during his showcase. And he tracked down balls in both center and right field. Scouts were able to see his throws from two of the three outfield spots.
MLB Pipeline posted scouting grades and a detailed report on Lazarito, who is now considered the seventh best International prospect.
MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 60 | Run: 65 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60
According to MLB Pipeline, “Scouts noted an uppercut swing that could use some work, as well as a few holes in his offensive approach that need attention. Some scouts raved about his strong throwing arm. Others said it was ‘fringy average.’” At the plate, Lazarito displayed “great hands and advanced strength.” Lazarito posted a 6.48 time in the 60-yard dash, according to Yahoo Sports, which is close to the time Mike Trout posted when he was still a prospect.
Lazarito reportedly “impressed scouts with his power, speed and athleticism.” His build, which MLB Pipeline labeled as a “muscular college-football-player-body,” raised concerns with some scouts. And some scouts think his skillset fits better in a corner outfield spot rather than center field.
The mainstream media has not connected Lazarito to the Cubs. If the Cubs were to sign him it will end up costing them double from what he actually receives. The Cubs have already sailed past their International bonus pool for the 2015-16 signing period. The Cubs will be penalized for the next two signing periods (limited to signing players to $300,000) and will have to pay 100 percent tax on the overage. In other words, if Lazarito receives the same signing bonus as Yoan Moncada got from the Red Sox last year, $31.5 million, it will actually cost a team $63 million to add Lazarito to their organization.
The Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Diamondbacks and Angels cannot sign Lazarito, those four teams are restricted to signing players for $300,000 or less for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing periods.