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While We Wait: More Firsthand Analysis of Cuban Shortstop Aledmys Diaz


Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

According to his agent, Aledmys Diaz was supposed to have signed a major league deal by now. Well, this is obviously not the case, and it appears the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins have decided to take a pass on the 23-year-old Cuban infielder.

That's about all we know. Somehow, no major news sources have provided us (the fans) with any more knowledge about this international man of mystery. Thus, I took to Google, found some names, checked some backgrounds for reliability purposes, and sent some emails.

On Sunday, I provided information from Joe Kehoskie, a former player agent who now serves as a baseball consultant. Tonight, I provide you with analysis from Peter Bjarkman. I had actually emailed him over the weekend, but he was in Cuba at the time and with publication deadlines of his own, he was only just recently able to get back to me.

Bjarkman is the author of more than 40 books on sports history and is "best known in recent years as the leading authority on post-revolution Cuban League baseball and is also the first American to write regular columns and analysis on two 'official' Cuban League baseball websites."

Without further ado:

I saw Aledmis Díaz play frequently in the Cuban National Series and also during his one international appearance with the Cuban B-level national team in Haarlem in 2012. I just don’t see him as a very strong major league prospect. He may well get there, but I would peg him as a AA ballplayer or perhaps a Mexican leaguer. That is a view that was also shared by the vast majority of MLB scouts who I chatted with about him in Haarlem in 2012 when he abandoned the Cuban team.

He is a very heady player with considerable baseball savvy, but he just didn’t seem to have the physical tools or reaction time to play in a big league infield. He put up decent offensive numbers in Cuba, but that was a few seasons back at the time there were dozens of .300-plus hitters in the league and when Cuban rosters were filled with numerous young pitchers who struggled to throw above 80 mph and who had one-pitch arsenals.

I would be most surprised to see him in a big league uniform any time during the coming season. He is probably most parallel as a hitter to Juan Carlos Linares in the Red Sox chain who has impressed in the Boston minors but never has been able to take the final step. (Leslie Anderson was also a much stronger prospect – certainly a better hitter – and yet failed to make the top grade with Tampa Bay.) Diaz is certainly not a hitter or fielder on a pair with Abreu, Puig, Alex Guerrero, Escobar, Hechevarria, Viciedo, Alex Ramirez or even Erisbel Arruebarruena.

As many of you have already pointed out, the one comment that stands out most from Bjarkman is that Diaz is a "very heady player with considerable baseball savvy." However, is this enough to warrant the amount of money his agent is asking?