Here’s what we know about the latest Cuban defector:
According to ESPN Deportes, Arruebarruena is a “defensive artist” who batted .320 in 2011-12 and .293 last season. Arruebarruena played for Cuba in the most recent World Baseball Classic. He went 6 for 16 (.375) with a stolen base in six games. Here’s a clip of his two-run single against Brazil.
Since Arruebarruena has six years’ experience in Cuba, the Dodgers aren’t limited by the spending restrictions placed on international amateurs. ESPN reported that most scouts believe Arruebarruena is capable of winning a Gold Glove but don’t consider him an “offensive force” in the majors. BaseballAmerica.com recently offered this scouting report:
At 6 feet, 195 pounds, Arruebarruena has clean hands, quick actions and good body control. He’s a below-average runner, but his quick first step and instincts give him good range. He has a quick transfer and a plus-plus arm with accuracy, which allows him to make throws from deep in the hole and turn 4-6-3 double plays with ease. His awareness in the field is advanced and he’s shown the ability to make the barehanded play look routine and make strong throws from different angles.
The video above certainly confirms the “clean hands.”
Knowing nothing else, Arruebarruena could be a valuable complement to offensive-minded shortstop Hanley Ramirez, if his defense is as good as advertised. But without any sterling offensive evaluations to point to, it’s not clear if Arruebarruena is major-league ready. It will be interesting to see what kind of a contract he commands.
Arruebarruena established residence in Haiti and displayed his talents for teams in the Dominican Republic.
His name is admittedly difficult to pronounce.
Si Arruebarruena llega a Grandes Ligas ya me imagino como colegas gueros van a despedazar su apellido.Pocos s esfuerzan x pronunciar correct
— Jaime Jarrín (@JaimeJarrin) February 12, 2014
If it seems like the Dodgers practically have their choice of Cuban defectors, well, maybe they do.
Some bullet points for a Wednesday:
• Joe Torre wants to eliminate dangerous home-plate collisions; he doesn’t want to completely eliminate contact either. That’s why the long-discussed rule hasn’t been written yet: Baseball doesn’t know how to word it.
• Yahoo! Sports sized up the Dodgers and ranked them second among the 30 teams.
• This item from FanGraphs.com superimposing major-league teams over a map of the Roman Empire, is fantastic.
• I’m driving to Arizona today. This album will get a fair amount of spin in my car: